What is

Electrode Welding?

Simple, Versatile, Effective

Electrode welding (also known as manual arc welding, manual electrode welding or manual metal arc welding) is usually the first welding process that welders are taught during training. It is easy to learn, but already offers insights into the way that welding systems work and into the ratio of metals to electrical voltage.

Welding with the rod electrode offers numerous advantages in comparison with MIG/MAG and TIG processes. In principle, almost all materials can be welded using electrode welding. The process is mainly used in steel and pipeline construction, but is also used in metal trade and industry. Manual metal arc welding allows for any type of weld seam and position, irrespective of whether this involves restricted or overhead positions, vertical up seams or vertical end welding. Furthermore, the welder is not dependent on shielding gases and can easily work outside, even in unfavorable weather conditions such as wind or rain.

Manual Metal Arc Welding: This Is How It Works

In electrode welding, contact between the rod electrode and workpiece ignites the arc. This creates a short circuit for a fraction of a second between the two poles, meaning that current can then flow. The arc burns between the workpiece and the electrode. This creates the required fusion heat. Via the consumable core wire and the coating, which is also consumable, the electrode also supplies the protective slag and the gas shroud.

Manual arc welding requires a low voltage and a high amperage. The welding system converts the available mains voltage into a significantly lower welding voltage. At the same time, it provides the required amperage, which also allows the power source to be adjusted and regulated.

In manual metal arc welding, the amperage is the most important parameter for the quality of the connections. It must therefore remain as constant as possible, even if the arc length changes. In order to ensure this, power sources for electrode welding always have drooping characteristics.

Electrode Welding System Structure

(1) Mains connection

(2) Power source

(3) Welding power-lead (electrode)

(4) Grounding cable (workpiece)

(5) Electrode holder

(6) Earthing clamp

(7) Rod electrode

(8) Workpiece

Advantages of Electrode Welding

  • Easy handling
  • Can be used universally, irrespective of location
  • Easy to learn
  • Low noise
  • Low procurement costs
  • Protection of the weld seam due to slag formation
  • Not sensitive to contaminations such as rust, scaling, oils or grease
  • Almost all metallic materials can be welded
  • High weld seam quality and high mechanical properties

Disadvantages of Electrode Welding

  • Low welding speed
  • Lots of smoke is produced
  • Occurrence of arc blow
  • Increased error sources due to end-craters and contact positions
  • Electrode diameter is dependent on sheet thickness and welding position
  • High setup times and downtimes: rebaking of standard packed electrodes
  • Mounting of the electrodes, removal of the remaining stump, removal of slag and spatter
  • Cannot be mechanized

How is an Arc Created?

In order for an arc to be able to be created, the circuit between the electrode and the workpiece must be broken. During manual metal arc welding, this takes place via a contact or touch ignition. The welder guides the electrode to the workpiece, and this contact and the connection with the grounding cable forms a closed circuit. Raising the rod electrode breaks the circuit, a short circuit is created and the arc starts to burn.

Historic Milestones in Electrode Welding

Electrode

Tasks of the Electrode Coating

  • Ionization of the contact-gap
  • Formation of a gas shroud
  • Formation of the slag
  • Stabilization of the arc
  • Control of the deoxidation
  • Control of the alloying and dealloying processes in the weld pool
  • Influencing the cooling speed of the weld seam
  • Increasing the deposition rate (production)

 

Code Electrode type Properties and use
A acidic coating high arc stability, very fluid weld pool, only rarely used
C cellulose coating intensive arc, little slag, high fusion rate in the area of the weld pool, difficult to weld
R rutile coating spray transfer, easy to weld, flat seams, poor gap-bridging ability
RR thick rutile coating spray transfer, easy to weld, flat seams, poor gap-bridging ability
RC rutile cellulose coating spray transfer, easy to weld, flat seams, poor gap-bridging ability
RA rutile acidic coating spray transfer, easy to weld, flat seams, poor gap-bridging ability
RB rutile basic coating spray transfer, easy to weld, flat seams, poor gap-bridging ability
B basic coating suitable for high-strength connections, welding ability in various positions, slightly more difficult to weld than rutile coated electrodes

Innovative welding systems for manual metal arc welding

Accupocket 150/400
  • Welding independent of the grid thanks to integrated battery
  • Battery, generator and hybrid mode possible
  • Light and robust for harsh operating conditions
Find out more about AccuPocket 150/400
Transpocket 180
  • Portable manual metal arc welding system
  • Robust construction for harsh operating conditions
  • Can be updated for other functions
Find out more about TransPocket 180
TransSteel 2200
  • Multiprocess system: MIG/MAG, TIG, manual metal arc welding
  • Portable and light for mobile use
  • Intuitive operation and easy menu navigation
Find out more about TransSteel 2200

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The Dream of Welding

Everyone wants to “live the dream”—David Blackburn is building it. For 15 years, he has been working as a metalworker by day and as a welder by night and at the weekend. With his one-man company Blackburn Fabrication in Columbus, Ohio, he repairs everything from exhaust manifolds for planes through to farm fences. Read David Blackburn’s full story 

Protective Clothing for Welders

Spending an entire day at the welding table is stressful. The UV radiation and the welding fumes are just some of the factors that can be dangerous if you do not have the right protection. The correct welding equipment makes the crucial difference in this area.
Read more about safety

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