What Is Specialty Welding? [2021]

If you search for specialty welding, you would be flooded with all the “specialty welding services” that companies have to offer.

But, what exactly is specialty welding?

Any of the welding processes that fall inside the scope of welding, excluding the standard welding methods are known as specialty welding.

Well as you are guessing, YES, there are several such disciplines and in this post, we are going to look at that.

Let’s dive right in:

Specialty Welding

Specialty Welding Types

Specialty welding got its name from the specific purposes the welding processes are used for. And also, most of the time these are done on serious projects which are usually expensive.

Since there are more than 50+ welding processes as listed in Wikipedia, it will be difficult to explain and classify each of them.

Instead, we are going to talk about major specialty welding types which are widely used worldwide. Some of them might not be familiar to you as a hobby welder. 

Wet Welding

Don’t get excited about the name! It’s dangerous. 

Well, Wet welding or underwater welding is the welding process employed underwater with a raised pressure. 

In wet welding, the welder and the electrodes are exposed to the water, Unlike other form of underwater welding i.e dry welding.

Requiring a great deal of expertise and knowing all welding processes by heart is the only way to succeed in this field as any misstep can be lethal. 

Apart from the electrodes, all the welding machinery and power supply are placed outside of the water and are connected via wires. 

Yes, including an engine-driven welder if you are working in an isolated area where power is inaccessible.

Usually, wet welding is only considered the last option, due to the risk factors it possesses. Hence, many precautions are a must apart from the heavy protective gear and oxygen tank for the welder such as insulation for the weld equipment, etc.

Wet Welding - Under water Welding
Wet Welding

Roll Welding

Roll Welding is a solid state welding process which involves multiple metal sheets or plates being stacked, which are then passed through a roller under certain pressure resulting in the weld

Highly ductile metals such as copper, aluminum, nickel, etc are preferred for the ease of the process. 

Often abbreviated as ROW, has some strict conditions on the selection of metals as the weldability of dissimilar metals and alloys comes into play.

After the process, the reduced thickness is anywhere between 50-60%. To minimize the thickness lost during the process, the metal stacks are often pre-heated, provided that the metals will not undergo excessive oxidation.

Sub Arc Welding

Submerged arc welding in short as Sub arc Welding is the welding process commonly used in heavy steel industries which requires long welds.

As the name suggests, the weld and the arc created is submerged under a layer of powdered flux. Further, the flux generates a protective gas shield similar to argon as the shielding gas, thus protecting the weld pool.

The process of sub arc welding is often automated, hence the quality of the weld depends upon the parameters set by the welder. Most of the time, welding cameras are used to film the whole process and later are checked for any error.

Sub Arc Welding or Submerged arc welding
Sub Arc Welding

Bore Welding

The type of welding process which is used to weld the insides of bores is known as bore welding. 

There are different types of bores, some are small and can be welded via standard welding techniques, whereas, some bores are difficult to reach, and hence bore welding is used.

Similar to the principles of orbital welding, bore welding too requires heavy machinery to do the job. However, it can also be done manually but it may result in a certain unforeseeable discontinuity in the weld.

There are automated and programmable(CNC) bore welders that are used for this purpose. Bore welding is mainly used to weld machinery issues.

Laser Welding

The welding process which incorporates lasers for joining metals and thermoplastics together is known as laser welding. 

Known for the clean weld produced, laser welding is often used where precision is required such as in the automobile industry and micro-machinery parts.

Instead of typically used heat sources, lasers are used to generate the heat by concentrating the beam onto a certain point, producing a narrow deep weld.

Laser welding, however, comes with a very high price i.e its capital cost and maintenance cost. 

Also, it needs to be made sure of the rapid cooling of the weld to not happen. Some metals are prone to cracking due to the rapid cooling rate

A Laser Welding Machine
Welder Using A Laser Welding Machine

Electron Beam Welding

Electron Beam Welding involves electrons generated off a welding gun which is then accelerated at high speeds via the means of electric fields.

Comparatively a newer welding process to other processes, the EBW results in highly precise welds and also provides the ability to join dissimilar metals with different properties. That is, metals which are often ignored or are not used can be welded by using the electron beam welding

Also, EBW is executed under a vacuum environment because the presence of impurities in the air could potentially scatter the beam. Due to the vacuum environment, there is no debris formed. 

Similar to laser welding, the electron beam welding machine requires high upfront and maintenance costs. 

Specialty Welding Salary

Specialty Welding being different from the standardized welding processes has some advantages for welders. Since it involves working different or multiple processes, the welder could make a good chunk of cash.

I went through 12 different job portals, some of them dedicated to welding, checked different welders unions, and collected data. By analyzing it, I found that specialty welders could potentially earn anywhere between $28-$52 an hour, which comes out to around $64,000 yearly.

Conclusion

And the list of specialty welding methods ends here. 

Although there are quite a few things that could fall into the classification, I decided to not include them as each of them would require a post of their own.

I hope you got all the information regarding specialty welding, which a regular google search might not answer you and instead bombards you with the services & companies named specialty welding.

Always remember to wear your safety equipment.

Happy Welding.