Today's welders and machinists may be familiar with the technologies we mention in third part of the history of welding. Niels Miller continued to control the development, who decided to give the electric current a new direction, almost literally.
Inert Gas Atmospheres Welding
Welding in an inert gas atmosphere became popular in the late 1920s. The first patented technology in this field was the use of an electric arc in an inert gas in 1930 for Hobart and Devers. However, the promising technology had somewhat stagnated in its development. Firstly, gases like argon and helium were very expensive, and secondly nobody focused on the development of torches and welding electrodes, which were necessary for welding in an inert atmosphere.
Good soldiers follow orders
Similar to other fields, the development shifted thanks to the military and in this case military aviation. In 1939, Russel Merideth was tasked with developing a cheaper method of welding magnesium alloys to aircraft structures, which until then had only been oxy-fuel welded. And the whole process was accelerated even more by demand during World War II.
Thus, Merideth has begun to search for the ideal welding torch or other welding tool. Tungsten, for example, came to the fore, so we can talk about laying the foundation of TIG welding. And we also have to mention the type of current that was used for this process until this time, it was DC, direct current. The current was unusable in conjunction with the tungsten electrode, and therefore its use stopped, however only for a time. The reason was that the electrode melted during direct current welding.
Cool down Tungsten, cool down!
In 1942, the Linde Company obtained a license to research tungsten inert gas welding. It comes with a water-cooled torch capable of withstanding 250 amps. And do you remember Niels Miller from our previous episode? The latter refused to put up with the mere use of direct current in welding. Miller Electric decided to face the imperfections of AC welding and build a welder specifically for TIG.
The combination of AC and DC even before the formation of the band...
The high-frequency circuit of the welder was redesigned and the arc was therefore more stable. Thanks to the development of the welding machine, attention also turned to the development of welding torches, electrodes and other accessories. The welding snowball started moving. New ways in which TIG welding could be used were explored. Steel, copper, titanium and many others are also added to the welding of aluminum and magnesium. The welding machines used in the 1950s are not that different from those from the 1930s. The secret ingredient was adjusting the current so that it was reliable and stable during TIG welding. The first welding machine with a current rectifier was introduced by Miller Electrics in 1950. However, development did not stop here, of course. How about a welder that could handle both AC and DC current? These resources could be used for different materials. Prototypes were presented soon, already in five years, in 1955.
Welding, like many other fields, shows how important the interconnection of different industries is. Researching one method sometimes even unintentionally starts a revolution in another industry. Just as you can use our clamps for welding, they can also be used in many other workshops and are simply at hand at any time.
Next time we will see if it was possible to overcome TIG welding and which other methods were developed especially after World War II.