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Practical tips for welding: How to remove and prevent weld spatter

Posted by Florian Görlitz on Sep 14, 2020 11:41:21 AM

Anti-spatter spray, anti-spatter liquids, anti-spatter fluid and more

You have to break an egg to make an omelet. Especially with MIG/MAG welding, weld spatter occurs, which can already be heard from afar. With this »crackling and cracking« small metal droplets are created that are hurled from the weld pool or from the hot liquid electrode end to the workpiece surface or land on the weld seam and the torch wear parts. Excessive weld spatter is caused, for example, by an incorrectly set welding current, a non-optimal arc, incorrect polarity or insufficient gas shielding. However weld spatter occurs ... burnt weld spatter has to be removed again. This rework costs time and money. Anyone who welds wants to keep the adhesion of weld spatter as low as possible. And if they do stick, they can easily be removed again. Here we answer the questions that our field staff are asked the most on site.

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Why do you need anti-spatter fluid at all?

The name speaks for itself: with a separating agent as spatter protection, you can prevent spatter that occurs during the welding process from sticking to the workpiece itself or to the front area of the torch on the gas nozzle and the contact tip. So there is splash protection or anti-spatter fluid especially for the workpiece and specifically for the gas and contact tip of the welding torch. There are a few points to take into consideration when choosing a suitable anti-spatter fluid.

On the one hand Splash protection for the workpiece should be easy to apply and on the other hand wash off well after welding so as not to affect the further process. Anti-spatter fluid that is applied to the gas nozzle needs to stick well on the torch, no matter in which position it is held. Since the surface of a gas nozzle is generally very smooth, it goes without saying that the consistency of the anti-spatter fluid must be different from that of the workpiece. We recommend the ceramic spray or super pistol spray NF from ABICOR BINZEL as splash protection for the front end of a welding torch and ABIBLUE NF for use on the workpiece. I will go into more detail about the properties of these two anti-spatter fluids later in this blog.

Applying spatter protection reduces the need for rework by mechanically removing the spatter on the workpiece. It is therefore also better for the workpiece not to allow the weld spatter to adhere in the first place. In the case of black steel, reworking using a wire brush or even an angle grinder may be of no consequence, but it can cause high reworking costs. With stainless steel, everything looks different again. Who would want a surface on the railing that shows traces of friction or abrasion? The adhesion of welding spatter should be avoided with the gas nozzle in order to be able to keep it in use as long as possible. Keyword service life. If the front of the gas nozzle becomes clogged with adhering splashes, the shielding gas cannot escape freely in order to protect the weld pool from oxygen – it swirls and impairs the shielding gas cover. Everything is possible, including scrap due to poor weld seams. And that can get really expensive.

Thus, it is fundamentally better to ensure that splashes do not adhere in the first place – and splash protection or anti-spatter fluids take care of that.

How much anti-spatter fluid needs to be applied?

Whether super pistol spray NF or ABIBLUE NF – we recommend: the smallest possible amount that guarantees an uninterrupted covering layer. The different properties of the workpiece surfaces are already taken into account in this specification. With a rougher workpiece, this consistently covering layer is reached faster than with one with a smooth surface. And the blue color of the ABIBLUE NF makes it particularly easy to see when a completely covering layer has been applied. This way you are always on the safe side.

 

What are the quality advantages of ABICOR BINZEL anti-spatter fluid?

A clear advantage of the welding chemicals that ABICOR BINZEL has in its product portfolio, which also includes anti-spatter fluid, is that the majority of these products have an NF standard. NF stands for »non flammable«. ABICOR BINZEL has developed a standard for these NF products that even exceed the provisions of the GHS (Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) and the CLP Regulation (Recommendation for the safe handling of hazardous substances) with regard to classification for flammability.

 

ABICOR BINZEL anti-spatter fluid has the advantage that it can be used practically anywhere. Also in places where other flammable sprays are prohibited, such as in closed rooms as well as in container and shipbuilding or in the automotive industry. The anti-spatter fluid ABIBLUE NF is even easily biodegradable and therefore particularly environmentally friendly.

 

Can ABIBLUE NF also be used on the gas nozzle as anti-spatter fluid?

Theoretically, ABIBLUE NF also works on the gas nozzle, but when applied there it does not have the desired effect. In terms of its properties, ABIBLUE NF is designed to be applied to a workpiece and washed off again so that it performs optimally there. The structure of a gas nozzle is smooth so that ABIBLUE NF as an anti-spatter fluid only sticks for a short time due to its optimized cleaning behavior and would not bring the desired effect. Although there are anti-spatter fluids on the market that can be used both on the workpiece and on the gas nozzle, ABIBLUE NF has been specially developed for the workpiece.

 

Anti-spatter fluid for workpiece and gas nozzle

An anti-spatter fluid that works extremely well for the workpiece and gas nozzle is the super pistol spray NF from ABICOR BINZEL. Please do not mix it up with the super pistol spray without NF, because this is only suitable for the gas nozzle. The super pistol spray NF is designed to stick to the gas nozzle so that it can fulfill its purpose, but at the same time can be easily removed from the workpiece. The spray system is designed to apply as much anti-spatter on the workpiece as needed, not too much and not too little. The super pistol spray NF in the spray can is particularly suitable where smaller amounts or less anti-spatter fluid is of anti-spatter fluid are needed or the use of a flammable spray is prohibited. It is the ideal solution, especially for use in closed rooms or in container and shipbuilding. You could say that the super pistol spray NF is a compromise for both gas nozzle and workpiece, with which users have had very good experiences overall.

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If a welder decides to use only one product as an anti-spatter fluid, he is very well advised to use the NF super pistol spray. It has an NF standard, is label-free, can be used anywhere and can be stored anywhere. If you like it simple, use super pistol spray NF. However, more frequent re-spraying is then necessary because the front end of the torch does not have the durability of a ceramic spray, for example.

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Best solutions especially for the front end

The best solution and best suited as an anti-spatter fluid for the front end of a torch – i. e. for gas nozzle and contact tip – is the ceramic spray. This anti-spatter fluid leaves an extremely smooth ceramic layer on the sprayed parts. During welding, spatter from the process can stick on for a short time, but these fall off automatically or can be easily removed by tapping the torch neck.

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What are the most common mistakes when using anti-spatter fluids in MIG/MAG welding?

It is always frightening and astonishing how often serious mistakes are made in welding. Even with the use of anti-spatter fluids, improper handling or simply carelessness can lead to torch failure or production of rejects. These are the three most common mistakes made when using chemical anti-spatter fluids in welding:

 

1. Water-oil emulsion for aluminum

Basically, every aluminum welder knows it: A water-oil emulsion on aluminum does not go well together. The reason: the water in the emulsion evaporates, and some hydrogen is released. Hydrogen is soluble in aluminum, depending on its alloy content and the temperature. The solubility of hydrogen in aluminum drops sharply as the temperature drops from approx. 600 ° C. During the subsequent solidification process, pores are formed, which is not desired during welding.

 

2. The wrong anti-spatter fluid

Anyone who uses anti-spatter fluids in the form of welding spray or spatter protection wants to have as little rework as possible and remove weld spatter easily. In brief: he wants to optimize his manufacturing process. It is not uncommon for people to act according to the principle »the more, the better«. So, also with the anti-spatter fluid. If you use these agents with the right ingredients, i. e. without silicone, there is nothing wrong with it and it usually has no negative impact on the welding process, but is has on your wallet. Also, everyone knows that silicone on the workpiece surface is very difficult to remove after welding and can lead to serious errors in subsequent processes – such as painting in automobile production. ABICOR BINZEL anti-spatter fluids are absolutely silicone-free and can be used anywhere without hesitation.

3. Milky surface is not a defect

When using super pistol spray NF instead of super pistol spray, remember: A milky surface caused by emulsion is normal and even wanted – and therefore not a defect indication. With a higher output rate, you guarantee optimal behavior for the front end and workpiece surface. So don't worry about a milky surface! The milky surface even shows which surfaces or areas are already sufficiently covered with the fluid.

Can you prevent spatter in the first place?

In fact, you can largely avoid the occurrence of spatter in an automated process in the first place, but this must be optimally synchronized. This is almost impossible with manual welding. There are companies that invest a lot of time and know-how to create the optimal process and to weld without anti-spatter fluids and almost spatter-free. To achieve this, the stickout must not change a millimeter during the entire process. The robot power source used needs to be able to compensate for short intervals as quickly as possible. There are also a few things to consider when choosing the shielding gas, because gas has an effect on many factors: penetration, droplet transfer, fume formation, welding speed. Weld spatter is a side effect. For example, the gases can be used to influence the chemical properties and viscosity of the melt, which always produces different results. Low viscosity, good droplet transfer and welding as short-circuit-free as possible ensures that less weld spatter occurs.

 

The wire should also be the focus when avoiding weld spatter. On the one hand, it must be absolutely clean and should not insert any other particles into the weld pool. But it is also essential that the wire material, wire thickness, feed speed, contact pressure of the wire feed rolls, the ratio of the gas composition and much more are precisely synchronized if you want to avoid spatter from the outset with automated welding.

 

If you want to make it easy for yourself and be on the safe side, we recommend the right anti-spatter fluid to prevent weld spatter from adhering in the first place or to be able to easily remove it again. You got to know some of them in this blog. Now all you have to do is see it for yourself.

 

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