The Difference Between Open & Closed Orbital Weld Heads

The Difference Between Open & Closed Orbital Weld Heads

January 11, 2023

In many industrial fields, human skill is no longer enough to get the job done. When you need absolute precision, it’s time to bring in a computer. Enter orbital welding, which allows manufacturers to create high-precision welds in places that are difficult for human welders to access. However, human operators still need to decide whether to use open or closed welding heads. Read on to learn the difference between them.

What’s at Stake?

Using a weld head that’s too narrow for your project can mean ending up with a weak weld. It might also mean you just can’t complete the job at all. When you’re using a heavy-duty weld head, it’s easy to generate so much heat that you damage your workpiece. Every orbital welding operator needs to know the difference between open and closed weld heads.

What Are Open Heads?

In an open weld head setup, the weld head is exposed to the air around it. To keep your weld from becoming damaged, you’ll need to pump a substantial amount of shielding gas through the weld head. Open heads create strong welds with a large bead, which makes them more suitable for large projects with a sizable outside diameter.

Avoiding Welding Defects

Regardless of which kind of weld head you use, you have to protect the weld from atmospheric gases. These can cause oxidation and contamination, and they can cause tiny holes to appear in the weld. Many types of weld heads use shielding gases like argon to protect the tungsten electrode from the surrounding air.

What Are Closed Heads?

Closed weld heads have (you guessed it) an enclosure around the tungsten electrode. This setup means you don’t need quite as much shielding gas since the head helps protect the weld. Closed heads allow for more precise welds, but the enclosure limits the size. So you’re better off using a closed head when working on smaller projects.

Finding the Right Welding Gear

AMI orbital welders are some of the best in the world, and you can find them at SEC Industrial. We carry power supplies, weld heads, and remote pendants perfect for your next equipment upgrade.

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