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Welding is a process for permanently joining two or more pieces of metal to make a single piece. It is an important industrial process, and has a huge impact on the economy of the United States. In fact, almost all of the things we use everyday has either been welded or had been manufactured by equipment that had been welded. These include kitchen utensils, automobiles, buildings, bridges and other infrastructure.

Welding is done through application of heat or compression or both. Usually, heat is applied using an arc flame. This type of welding is called arc welding. Some people have this confused with soldering, which is a slightly different process. In soldering, another material is melted in between the parts that are to be fused. Arc welding, on the other hand, uses the heat from the arc to actually melt the pieces of metal together.

Welding may also use a filler metal that is melted into the seam of the fused pieces. This is done either through a manual wire feeder in the welding rod, or a welding gun equipped with a wire feeder.

In preparation for the welding, the edges of the pieces to be welded are shaped into a groove, usually a V-shaped groove. The arc flame creates a molten pool from the grooved edge of the metal pieces and the filler metal. A shielding gas from the welding torch surrounds the molten pool. The shielding gas is necessary to prevent oxygenation and weakening of the welded pieces.

Commonly welded metals include aluminum and steel. Plastics are also welded, but the heat source used is hot air or an electric resistor.

Different industry groups hire different types of welders. In the construction industry, welders work on building of bridges and subways. Machinery manufacturers employ welders for making cranes and bulldozers, food-processing equipment, printing machinery, and other heavy equipment. The transportation industry hire welders for manufacturing land and water-based vehicles, as well as aircraft.

Welders also perform maintenance and repair work for automobile body shops and shops that specialize on repairing industrial machinery. Welders are present in the petroleum industry, especially in the construction of oilrigs. In the electric industry, welders are needed in the building of electric generators and appliances.

Training of professional welders usually requires knowledge of industrial math, measurements and workplace safety regulations. Technical skills focus on the identification of electrode colors, selection of the correct tip for gas welding, understanding of welding prints, and a working knowledge of the different applications of gas tungsten arc welding and gas metal arc welding. Welders also need to be familiar with the different shielding gases and filler metals used in welding. They are given training on proper procedures for inspecting and testing of welds. Welding training always go hand-in-hand with apprenticeship and on-the-job training, as the best way to acquire the necessary knowledge in this field is through direct application of skills learned. If you are interested in becoming a professional welder, and are looking for a suitable training school, look for one that is aligned with the standards of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

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