Welding & Fabrication
Welding plays an important role in the construction and repair of hydraulic systems and industrial equipment. At Fluid Tech Hydraulics, we support the hydraulic and industrial sectors with our comprehensive fabrication and repair services. Our full-service machine shop is equipped with the latest welding and machining technologies, allowing us to assist with everything from custom machine fabrication to the repair or rebuilding of existing components or systems.
Welding describes the process of fusing two or more parts using high heat, pressure, or a combination of both. As the parts cool, they become permanently bonded together. While metals are the most commonly welded materials, thermoplastics and wood materials can also be joined.
In most welding operations, a welding gun or torch is used to melt the base materials in specific locations. Liquefied filler metals can also be added to fill the space between the two workpieces. This results in the formation of a molten weld pool, which cools to complete the join. Depending on the welding technique, pressure can also be used independently or in conjunction with heat to create the weld.
Base Metals for Welding
For optimal weld performance, it is important to choose metals that are amenable to the welding process and require minimal or no pre-weld or post-weld operations. In general, the higher the proportion of carbon in the metal, the more difficult it is to weld. A few of the most commonly welded metals include:
- Mild steel: Characterized by low carbon content, mild steel is one of the most readily weldable metals. The ductility of mild steel eliminates the risk of hydrogen cracking and other weld defects.
- Stainless steel: While not as weldable as mild steel, stainless steel can be welded when the right techniques are used. Working with stainless steel requires an understanding of the alloy’s intricate composition and how to navigate the unique challenges it can present during the welding process.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is slightly less weldable than mild steel, but welding can be performed successfully if the right grades are used. Most aluminum welding is performed using the tungsten inert gas (TIG) method.
- Others: Titanium and other hard metals can also be welded, but they tend to require additional equipment and various pre- or post-weld treatments to minimize the risk of weld failure.
Types of Welding
Different welding techniques can be employed depending on the type of material being welded and the requirements of the application. The most common welding methods include:
- Gas welding: With gas welding, fuel gases are ignited to create a concentrated high-temperature flame. The flame is applied directly to the workpiece’s weld area, creating a molten weld pool that cools to form the weld joint. Gas welding is ideal for tough alloys because the weld point temperature is much higher than electric welding.
- Arc welding: Arc welding uses an AC or DC power source to form an electric arc between a consumable electrode and the base metals. The arc creates enough heat to melt and join the metals.
- MIG welding: With metal inert gas (MIG) welding, a consumable bare metal wire is used as both the electrode and filler material. The electrode is fed into a molten weld pool using a welding gun, and the two base welding materials become permanently fused upon cooling.
- TIG welding: Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to form the arc and facilitate the weld. This type of arc welding is known for providing a precise, high-quality weld.
Benefits of Welding
While each welding technique has its own unique set of advantages, all welding methods provide the following general benefits:
- Durable bond: When the right technique is used, welding creates an extremely durable connection that is often stronger than the parent materials.
- Smooth, leak-proof seam: Welding is preferred over other joining processes when a smooth, simple, and flawless seam is required. In addition to being visually appealing, welded joints are extremely secure and leak-proof.
- Versatility: The welding process is highly versatile and can be used to join dissimilar metals as well as various component shapes (rods, plates, sheets, etc.).
- Lighter weight: Unlike riveting and other mechanical joining processes, the welding process allows materials to be joined without increasing the weight of the final product.
Welding techniques have become increasingly specialized over time to accommodate the needs of specific industry challenges and requirements. The most widely used welding methods and the types of applications for which they are best suited are outlined below:
- Sheet metal fabrication
- Automobile and aircraft manufacturing
- Joining ferrous and non-ferrous metals
- Joining thin materials
- Automobile manufacturing
- Mechanical industries
- Sheet metal fabrication
- Pressure vessel and steel structure fabrication
- Automobile manufacturing
- Home improvement projects
- Aerospace and aircraft fabrication
- Automobile manufacturing and repair
Machining Services in Sacramento, California
To meet various customer needs, Fluid Tech Hydraulics offers the following machining services:
Our machinists have the technical expertise to perform a range of manual machining operations involving mills and engine lathes. During these operations, cutting tools are used to selectively remove material from the workpiece until the desired shape and size are achieved. In general, mills are preferred for fabricating flat or rectangular parts, while engine lathes are better suited for handling cylindrical or helical shapes.
Manual machining is best suited for parts with simple geometries since it lacks the level of precision and consistency provided by computer-controlled processes. While it provides a simple and fast initial setup, manual machining is typically limited to machining projects with relatively low part volumes.
We also offer CNC machining services for complex parts or larger-volume projects. CNC machines utilize pre-programmed computer software to tightly control the motion of the cutting tools as they shape the workpiece. From lathes and mills to routers and grinders, CNC technology is compatible with a wide range of machinery.
Despite their longer initial setup times, CNC machines are much faster and more cost-effective than manual machining operations when it comes to larger production volumes. Other benefits include:
- Excellent material utilization
- Increased accuracy for complicated or intricate parts
- Reduced labor requirements
- Increased scalability
Superior Welding & Fabrication at Fluid Tech Hydraulics
With over 30 years of experience in our field, Fluid Tech Hydraulics has the expertise and machining capabilities to handle even the most complex industrial applications. Our high-quality welding and fabrication services allow us to assist with everything from general welding repairs to custom hydraulic power unit fabrication. To learn more about our welding and machining capabilities, please contact us today.