submerged arc welding

What is Submerged Arc welding (SAW)?

SAW stands for Submerged Arc Welding. Despite the fact that a submerged arc welding machine is commonly applied in the industry in an automated or mechanic way, semi-automatic submerged welding machines with flux feed equipment are available. Due to the highly automated process welding, setups are mainly to carry out horizontal and groove welds.


This is how SAW works:

During the submerged arc welding process, a consumable electrode produces an arc that melts the metal of the workpiece, while the welding area is shielded from atmospheric pollution by a fusible layer of flux. Hence, the term submerged.

Additionally, the flux, consisting of various compounds, melts, and functions as conduct, forming the current between the electrode and the workpiece. Besides protecting the weld from any pollution, the flux prevents the welding surroundings from metal splashes, UV-radiation, and smoke.

The reasonably speedy SAW process, automated or semi-automated, is ideally used on metals with high iron contents.


SAW equipment components

 The SAW equipment consists of:

  • a high-power welding machine (up to 1500 amps) or power source with a full duty circle for continuous operation
  • the welding torch with wire feeder, either configured in the build-up or gun for semi-automated applications
  • an adjustable flux feeder (depending on the length of the arc)
  • a flux overflow retrieval system
  • a travel system, for example, pipe rotators {link to page The utility of pipe rotators}


Advantages of submerged welding

The advantages of SAW are:

  • the high-quality and high-speed of produced welds
  • the protective flux layer prevents the exhaustion of fumes and sparks
  • as the arc is submerged, the UV-radiation is minimal
  • the process requires operator skills as opposed to manual welding skills
Submerged Arc Welding tractor
Submerged Arc Welding tractor

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