FCAW Flux Cored Arc Welding

Flux core arc welding was introduced in the 1950’s. Technically the introduction of this process was not new. It was just a new type of an electrode that can be used on a MIG welding machine. Flux cored arc welding is a process similar to MIG welding. Both processes using continues wire feeds, and similar equipment. The power supply for a FCAW, and a MIG welder, are the same machine. They are both considered semi automatic processes, and have a very high production rate.

The main difference between flux cored arc welding and MIG welding is the way the electrode is shielded from the air. Flux cored arc welding just like the name implies, has a hollow wire with flux in the center, similar to the candy called “pixy sticks”. Just as the name states, a “Flux Core”. The main difference between MIG welding and flux core arc welding is, FCAW gets its shielding from the flux core, and this allows the operator to weld outdoors where it is windy. It’s like a SMAW welding electrode turned inside out! MIG welding gets its shielding from a bottle of gas which has serious draw backs, when welding outdoors, or in drafty conditions.

Flux cored arc welding is the most productive of the manual welding processes! When comparing MIG welding to flux core arc welding, there is a huge gap in production, in the amount of weld per hour. A MIG welder can typically produce 5 to 8 pounds of weld per hour, verses a FCAW welder packing 25 plus pounds of weld per hour. On top of that flux core welding can weld 1/2″ plates in a single pass with full penetration on both sides. Flux core arc welding for this reason is primarily used in the ship building industry. Ships are made of heavy plate, and have endless amounts of welding that needs to be done. Flux core welding produces high quality welds, fast, and even when in windy conditions.