Welding in a factory

How clean are your stainless steels welds? Are there methods and procedures to ensure this?

John Butterfield - 17 December 2015

In this article, Steven Webb of Cougartron looks at how stainless steel is only as corrosion resistant as the quality of the welding it contains.

About the author

Mr John Butterfield
John Butterfield is Editorial Manager at KCI Publishing. A new field of interest for him is additive manufacturing.

When it comes to industrial or architectural applications, stainless steel is often, without doubt, the material of choice due to its corrosion resistance. Its immediate qualities are well known: it has high endurance, can be easily fabricated and often requires minimum maintenance. However, the industrial environment in which stainless steel is formed or machined is, in contrast, quite hostile and is not very conducive to corrosion resistance – particularly the corrosion usually takes place in the welds. As a result pitting and structure failure can often take place which can potentially lead to disasters. So how do you go about ensuring your welds do not form the basis of corrosion. Stefan Webb of Cougartron, Denmark talked to Stainless Steel World1 magazine and came up with some interesting advice.

"It’s imperative to treat the surface corrosion of stainless steels," Stefan tells us "and there are a handful of methods for doing this, one of which is electrochemical cleaning. Electrochemical cleaning has a working mechanism that is similar to that of electro-polishing but unlike electro-polishing, electrochemical cleaning is deemed far more portable. It can also be applied locally. It has several advantages over other methods such as electro-polishing, acid cleaning or even mechanical cleaning in that you don’t have to deal with the annoying problems of dirt, buffing compounds or excessive noise. In addition to that, the appearance of the steel surface is not changed at all: it is simply restored to its original state of being neat and bright. It is also an essential step in passivating and enhancing the corrosion resistance of treated surfaces and is a very flexible method of cleaning in that it can be carried out on the site during installation. Additionally, it can also can also be performed as a remedial treatment."

If you want to know more about the electrochemical cleaning process and the reasons why it is so suitable for weld cleaning, or about the problems caused generally by the lack of information on post-weld treatment, why not read the full article from the December edition of the Stainless Steel World magazine.

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