How to Choose the Right Welding Consumables for Greater Productivity

Welding consumables are essential materials used in welding processes to join two or more metal parts together. Self-shielded flux-cored wires are a popular type of welding consumable that offer several advantages over stick electrodes, including faster welding speeds and not requiring an external shielding gas. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and applications of self-shielded flux-cored wires in construction and other outdoor settings.

Self-shielded flux-cored wires often substitute stick electrodes for construction and other outdoor applications. They don’t require an external shielding gas, and they weld faster than stick electrodes since the wires continually feed, allowing for greater productivity. 

Some common self-shielded flux-cored wires include T-6, T-8, and T-11. The latter two wires offer faster-freezing slag for improved out-of-position welding capabilities. T-6 wires provide slower-freezing slag. 

T-6 wires offer impact toughness of a minimum of 20 ft-lbs. at -20°F to help resist cracking in applications exposed to harsh environments. These include bridge and structural construction. Their arc drives well into the joint, resulting in consistent root penetration, and the slag is easy to remove. T-6wires are used for flat and horizontal welding applications. 

T-8 wires offer the same impact toughness as T-6 and can be used for all-position welding on materials with no thickness restrictions. Some filler metal manufacturers offer T-8 wires with a J designator, which means the wires offer impact toughness to -40°F. T-8 wires are commonly used in applications that must meet the requirements of the AWS D1.8/D1.8M Structural Welding Code – Seismic Supplement for Demand Critical Welds. This way, they can be used in areas prone to seismic activity. They require careful attention to the technique by the welding operator, as they are less forgiving to errors than a T-11wire and can be more difficult to use. 

Unlike T-6 and T-8 wires, T-11 wires do not require impact toughness testing and they are not as crack resistant. They are general-purpose wires for outdoor applications and are versatile and easy to weld with. Even though they cannot be used for critical welding, AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code for Steel deems them usable on materials less than 1/2 inch thick. 

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