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PWL#149, Virtual Welding Simulators, Remote Control, Proper steel filler, new welding technique
January 04, 2016
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Practical Welding Letter No. 149
January 2016

PWL#149 - Evaluating Skills with Virtual Welding Simulators, Remote Control Welding Technologies, Steel Filler Metal appropriate for the Base Metal, Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW) new welding technique, Weld Quality and Resources, Tips for small Welding Businesses and much more...

January 2016 - Practical Welding Letter - Issue No.149

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1 - Introduction

2 - Article - Experience with Virtual Welding Simulators

3 - How to do it well: Remote Control Welding Technologies

4 - Choosing a Steel Filler Metal appropriate for the Base Metal

5 - Online Press: recent Welding related Articles

6 - Terms and Definitions Reminder

7 - Article: VFAW - A new welding technique to watch

8 - Site Updating: Weld-quality and Resources

9 - Short Items

10 - Explorations: beyond the Welder

11 - Contributions: Tips for Small Businesses

12 - Testimonials

13 - Correspondence: a few Comments

14 - Bulletin Board

1 - Introduction

The Welding Advisers Website ( and this Monthly Newsletter, Practical Welding Letter, wish a Happy New Year to all Readers and their Families.

This new issue opens with a report (2) on a study of Virtual Welding Simulators used not to train new welders, but to assess and grade the skills of welders applying for a job.

A simple and dependable objective examination may be welcome when one needs to hire new welders from a dwindling resource pool.

It is an interesting development for a new service to the industry, that training facilities may be willing and ready to offer to their customers.

In another reported development (3), a trend was identified in welding situations of large fabrication projects, where the welder work extends to vast distances, far from the emplacement of the power source.

In these cases it is recommended to provide the welder with an effective form of Remote Control Welding Technology, of which a few different types are available. The use of such devices is said to improve profitability and safety.

A guide to the selection of filler metals for steels, given (4) in a note reporting an article published some time ago, is provided as a reference to be looked for when in need. A link is available to a commercial publication likely to be useful: no recommendation is intended.

A new welding technique is then introduced (7), which may develope into a practical automatic application for the automotive industry.

Weld-quality and Resources are new pages (8) providing a reminder and some online links.

Then a few Tips for Small Businesses (11) are reported from interviews with successful entrepreneurs, who were selected in successive yearly contests.

The other columns can be found at their usual place. To send us comments and feedback and original contributions reflecting your unique experience, please use the Contact Us form to send us your mail.

2 - Article - Experience with Virtual Welding Simulators

Weld. Jnl. Cover December 2015

Virtual-Welding-Simulators are machines used for learning and training welding skills.

Virtual reality or computer-simulated reality, replicates an environment that simulates a physical presence in space in the real world or in an imagined world, allowing the user to interact in that world.

Virtual realities artificially create sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, and smell.

Initially it was developed for computer games, producing visors and screens, stereo headphones and inertia sensors.

Outside of the welding profession, virtual reality has been widely used for training drivers and pilots.

Successful training programs for medical use, employ a surgery simulator, based on computer technology, to offer the opportunity to perform virtual surgical procedures, for the purpose of training medical professionals before resorting to actual practice.

We briefly mentioned Virtual-Welding-Simulators and their use in PWL#093, in PWL#096, and occasionally provided links to articles and commercial publications on the subject.

A recent article, published in the December 2015 issue of the Welding Journal at page 389-s reports on "The Use of Virtual Welding Simulators to Evaluate Experienced Welders".

In this article a known system from a commercial manufacturer was used to test if its use could provide a way to assess the actual skill of experienced welders.

Assessment of tasks requiring skill can be performed using virtual reality trainers because simulations can be recorded and analyzed.

A potential advantage of virtual reality simulation is the ability to measure technical competence using software programming to analyze performance.

The conclusions of the study was that simulators properly programmed can indeed provide an objective and unbiased independent evaluation to help in screening job seeking welders, by assigning scores to their performance.

The researchers suggest to continue to investigate the subject by performing follow-up studies to validate the findings.

Interested readers facing the necessity to test and grade applicants to welders' positions in the industry may benefit from the reported study by looking into the above mentioned article, dowloadable from:

Was this article useful? Your feedback is welcome.


Simulated Welds completed by participants.
[From the Welding Journal, December 2015 - page 391-s]

3 - How to do it well: Remote Control Welding Technologies

Weld. Jnl. Cover December 2015

For certain types of construction where the power source is located far from the point of welding, it appears that recent profitable developments are now available.

While the operation details may differ for different solutions, the advantages advertised include complete parameters setting and control at the welder's end, eliminating trips to and from the source and reducing risk of tripping and falls, increasing arc-on time, improving profitability and promoting jobsite safety.

In the past, some devices involved the use of an extra cable for managing the controls, but this is discouraged in modern solutions that consider it an extra cost both for purchasing and for maintaining.

Wireless controls are offered which may be adequate if the distance is not excessive and if the line of sight is not obstructed.

Some solutions run the control signals on the power cables avoiding additional accessories.

Interested readers who may wish to explore more in depth these modern remote control technologies for welding, can find a few articles on this subject in the press, albeit written by equipment manufacturers, who may offer biased suggestions.

One of these can be found in the December 2015 issue of the Welding Journal at page 32.

They could also ask their suppliers to inquire which solutions are offered.

Readers with practical personal experience with the technology are invited to share it here.

Weld. Jnl. Flux cored

Converting to flux-cored and advanced wire welding processes.
[From the Welding Journal, December 2015 - page 33]

4 - Choosing a Steel Filler Metal appropriate for the Base Metal

Weld. Jnl. Cover April 2015

Where can we find a guide to selecting a Steel Filler Metal appropriate for the Base Metal?

An Article on this subject was published in the April 2015 issue of the Welding Journal at page 52. In case such a question is likely to come up sooner or later, it would be wise to keep this reference handy for the time when it may be needed.

As more than one filler metal may be appropriate for any given case, one should note that other factors could play a role in the selection, like welding process, welding position, plate thickness, plate surface condition, electrode size and packaging.

Low carbon steels include those of 0.05-0.30% carbon, Medium carbon steels those of 0.30-0.45% C, High carbon steels those of 0.45-0.75% C.

While low carbon steels have good weldability and can normally be welded with many different filler metals and welding procedures without problems, medium to high carbon steels have poorer weldability and produce more crack sensitive welds.

See the Lincoln Electric Filler Metal Selector Guide downloadable from:

One important consideration that is frequently brought up is that of matching minimum tensile strength. Exact correspondence is not required, but the filler metal’s minimum tensile strength should be at least as high as that of the base metal.

When welding together two steels of different strength it is recommended to select a filler matching the strength of the weaker of the two. The lower strength filler metal would provide such benefits as better ductility, improved weldability, and lower cost.

Sometimes one can compensate for the reduced strength of the filler metal by increasing the section of the weld performed, beyond the strict minimum. This practice is called overwelding with undermatching filler metal.

Preheat is needed in general for carbon content higher than 0.30% or for Hardness equal to or higher than 30 HRC. Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT) may be needed too in those cases.

For high strength steels one should specify low hydrogen filler metals to reduce susceptibility to cracking.

Requirements for filler metals exhibiting minimum Charpy V-notch (CVN) test value at given low temperatures are spelled out in certain Codes.

If stress relieving is required, it may reduce the weld strength. To maintain the strength required from the structure, one may need to use low alloy steel filler metals instead of low carbon steel.

Special requirement steels like weathering steels, low alloy steels and quenched and tempered steels may need special consideration that cannot be adequately covered in this short note.

In conclusion the properties required from the structure to be welded (to perform adequately in service) will condition the choices available in the selection of appropriate filler metals.

Interested readers in need of additional information are urged to seek the original article quoted above.

Weld. Jnl.  April 2015 pg 53

These tensile specimens represent examples of relative high and low ductility.
The tensile specimen on the top shows poor ductility with minimal elongation.
The specimen on the bottom shows a greater percentage of elongation.
[From the Welding Journal, April 2015 - page 53]

5 - Online Press: recent Welding related Articles

Automated Welding for Making Custom Exhaust

Snake-Arm Robot Welds with Lasers

VIDEO: Industrial Robotics Simplifying the Welding Process

Techniques for determining the effect of a sour environment on fracture toughness of steel

Robotic arc welding

Connect - Issue 12 - November/December 2015

6 - Terms and Definitions Reminder

Adaptive control welding is done with a process control system that automatically determines changes in welding conditions and directs the equipment to take appropriate action.

Backing back pass is a weld pass resulting in a back weld.

Cold soldered joint results from incomplete coalescence caused by insufficient application of heat to the base metal during soldering.

Design for welding primary objectives are to produce an assembly that performs the intended functions, has the required reliability and safety, and can be fabricated, inspected, transported and placed in service at minimum cost.

Energy input is the quantity of energy applied per unit length of weld expressed in joules per meter or equivalent

Fitter is a worker whose task is to fit the workpieces in preparation for welding.

Gas Standards are regulatory specifications concerning properties, manufacture, transportation, storage, handling and safety procedures emitted by the (US) Compressed Gas Association (CGA), for gases used in the welding industry.

Hydrogen Brazing is a nonstandard term used to indicate brazing in a hydrogen atmosphere.

7 - Article: VFAW - A new welding technique to watch

Weld. Jnl. Cover December 2015

A short note, published at page 14 in the December 2015 issue of the Welding Journal, briefly introduces a new welding technique developed by engineers at The Ohio State University.

It is worth watching because, after being properly commercialized, it could have a major impact on the automotive industry, as it is intended to weld together dissimilar metals, like high strength new steels and strong aluminum alloys, that are considered unweldable by current processes.

Called Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW), this cold welding process produces welds similar to those obtained by explosion welding but in a laboratory setup, far from the dangers of working with explosives.

A high-voltage capacitor bank creates a very short electrical pulse of high current inside a thin piece of aluminum foil. Within microseconds, the foil vaporizes, and a burst of hot gas pushes two pieces of metal together at very high speeds.

The impact joins the two metals together, resulting in strong bonds. Upon testing, the failure occurs in the unaffected metals, not in the weld.

Several materials combinations were successfully welded by this technique, where regular fusion welding would have produced unacceptable brittle intermetallic compounds.

The aim of the development is to achieve automatic production of spot welds right in the assembly line of vehicle manufacturing.

In another publication the author describes the characteristics of VFAW as follows: Low Energies needed, High Versatility, High Joint Efficiency, Great Joint Properties without heat affected zone, and possible Automation.

Interested readers are urged to watch the following videos.

Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding by Collision of Dissimilar Metals

VFAW State of the Art November 2015

Weld. Jnl.


This diagram shows vaporized foil actuator welding.
(Image by Glenn Daehn, courtesy of OSU.)
[From the Welding Journal, December 2015 - page 14]

8 - Site Updating: Weld-quality and Resources

What are the Pages of This Month? By the way, why would not you try to come up with suggestions as to which subjects would you like to see explored in new pages?

You are warmly invited to take some bits of your precious time to think over this! And to send us your ideas by the form at Contact Us. Thanks.

Back to this (or better - last) month: the subject dealt with is Weld quality, a big item upon which stands most of the success of welding technology.

The page reminds what supports our happy hopping on modern aicraft, our careless use of elevators, our confident driving of modern cars, and practically whatever we do.

It may be useful to remind from time to time basic concepts that we may take for granted, but that in the practice of every welding job must be constantly present and monitored.

The page in question is found at Weld-quality.

And the list of links to useful online sources on the same subject is available in the Bulletin 115 page.

Your comments and feedback are always welcomed.

9 - Short Items

Do you know...

  • ...DNA Nanobots?
    See: techno1.

  • ...Phase transitions? See: phys1.

  • ...Nano snow blowers? See phys2.

  • ...Molecular Light Switch? See: techno2.

  • ...Strong new metal? See: techno3.

9.1 - Green Sand is a naturally bonded sand, or a compounded molding sand mixture, that has been mixed with water and that is used while still moist.

9.2 - Hall Process is a commercial process used for winning aluminum from alumina by electrolytic reduction of a fused bath of alumina dissolved in cryolite.

9.3 - Impact Extrusion, also called cold extrusion, is either the process or the product in which a punch strikes an unheated slug in a confining die. The metal flow may be either between punch and die or through another opening.

9.4 - Linear Strain is the change per unit length, due to tensile or compressive force, in an original linear dimension. An increase in length is considered positive.

9.5 - Minimum Bend Radius is that over which a metal product can be bent to a given angle without fracture.

9.6 - Notch Depth is the distance from the surface of a test specimen to the bottom of the notch. In a cylindrical test specimen, the percentage of the original cross- sectional area removed by machining an annular groove.

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10 - Explorations: beyond the Welder

Why 2016 Could Be a Watershed Year for Emotional Intelligence--in Machines

The Science to Look Out for in 2016

So Your Neighbor Got a Drone for Christmas

Potential New Particle Sparks Flood of Theories

Archaeological Finds in El Salvador Tell a Whole Different Tale about Maya Society

11 - Contributions: Tips for Small Businesses

Weld. Jnl. Cover December 2015

An article with the above title was published at page 36 of the December 2015 issue of the Welding Journal. The author interviewed the winners of a Small Business Awards contest comparing the achievements of welding shops, for the last five years.

The winners were asked about the most significant aspects contributing to their success in today's economy.

The answers identified different challenges, but their core issue was the same: strategic focus was singled out as their most important issue.

One must find out one's core competencies and concentrate the efforts around projects that can forward the business: know what you do best, and stick to that product or service.
Avoid being everything for every customer.

Try to solve customer's problems at a faster lead time than the competitors.

Deliver outstanding results whenever your customers needs. Make every product something the whole company can be proud of. If you only have one brand of product, this helps you keep a unique identity.

Focus on more difficult projects that the competition veered away from.

Some of the inquired stressed the importance of a strong website and the implementation of social media for increased communication with customers.

Financial tips start with the need of an accountant and a bank that one feel comfortable with.
Also there is a need to have plans for bridging the financial gap between paying for materials and being paid by customers.

Costs and workforce are common subjects that need attention.

Know your customers needs ahead of time. Let them know that you follow personally their project. A capable and dedicated team is essential to the business success.

These and other hints and suggestions appear in the article above that interested readers are urged to seek, to gather the most out of the experience of successful welding shops.

The comments of experienced shop owners are welcomed for our readership.

12 - Testimonials

On Fri Dec 04 05:27:13 2015, the following results were submitted from the "Form 5" on

E-Mail Address: removed for security
Country: United Kingdom
Organization: MANUFACTURER
Details: WE NEED TO LOOK AT [...]

On Tue Dec 08 12:04:44 2015, the following results were submitted from the "Form 5" on

Name: Hector Bernal
E-Mail Address: removed for security
Country: United States
Organization: n/a
Your Task: looking for a metallurgy class to take.
Details: [...]
Thank you.

13 - Correspondence: a few Comments

Looking for a new job?
We received information on the availability of a list of resources, likely to be of help to people in search of a job.

Readers interested in checking for themselves, can obtain the list by sending a request to:

14 - Bulletin Board

ShipTech 2016.
March 1, 2, 2016. Charleston Marriott,Charleston, South Carolina

March. 22–24, 2016, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, Canada.

9th International Seminar & Conference on Advances in Resistance Welding.
April 12–15, 2016. Miami, Fla. seminar-conference-on-advances-in-resistance-welding.

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