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Pipe welding generally refers to a set of professional skills used for the joining of pieces of metal. Welding is one of the most cost-efficient means of joining multiple sections of pipe and involves heating pieces of metal and joining them so that the resulting product becomes a single piece of metal. This task generally requires welders to learn several methods of connecting pipes and to understand the factors that affect the quality of the connections that they intend to make. Many of the individuals who engage in pipe welding are professionals who specialize in this area of metal work, and they are usually certified.
Although many individuals may have the ability to weld pipes, the tasks are often reserved for those who are certified. This is because pipes are often used to transport hazardous materials, which can pose a risk to individuals and the surrounding environment if connections or repairs are not done properly. Errors, even when non-hazardous material is concerned, can also be very problematic. Certification generally involves passing a number of tests, which tends to require a person to master several welding techniques in advance.
Arc welding is a common process used for connecting pipes. There are several types of arc welding processes, however. One of the methods that a pipe welder may need to learn is gas-shielded metal arc welding. This method involves exposing the weld area to inert gases to create a protective barrier while power is also used to soften the pieces of metal and bind them together.
The level of skill required to perform pipe welding tasks should not be underestimated. There are many things that an experienced pipe welder knows that enhance his abilities. For example, tack welding is commonly considered a very important step when joining pipes. This is a technique in which a fairly small and temporary bond is used to hold something in place. The experienced pipe welder knows how to determine how many tacks, or temporary bonds, to use and how to assess the pipe to determine the size of the bonds that are needed.
Many other things must be considered for professional pipe welding jobs. An electrode is the conductor that is used to carry electricity to the site of the weld. All electrodes are not suitable for all pipe welding tasks. It is therefore the responsibility of the welder to know which electrode should be used on a given occasion.