Welding is a manufacturing fabrication process that utilizes heat or pressure, and in some cases both, to create a durable joint between two separate pieces of aluminum, carbon steel or stainless steel. Depending on the component and production specifications, manufacturing technicians execute different welding techniques to produce the desired component or product.
The two most common welding methods are metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Although there are some similarities, such as the use of an arc and shielding gas, these processes are different:
- MIG welding uses a semi-automatic or automatic arc to weld. The continuous wire electrode and shielding gas are fed through a lead to the welding torch to then manipulate the material.
- TIG welding also uses an arc to weld. However, it uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and a separate consumable filler material, which is manually fed into the weld puddle while the non-consumable tungsten electrode produces an arc.
In this blog post, you will find a comparison of TIG vs. MIG welding, outlining both methods with their advantages and disadvantages as well as their typical industrial applications.
TIG vs. MIG Welding: What Are the Advantages?
Despite sharing certain similarities, the TIG and MIG methods are distinct in both process and benefits. Both MIG and TIG welding operate under the principle of heat generation by an electrical current that melts the base materials or bonding materials, and in some situations both. When cooled, the material creates a solid joint. Here are the benefits and applications of each method.
TIG welding: Benefits and applications
A highly versatile method, TIG welding enables technicians to join a wide range of thin, small materials through the use of a non-consumable tungsten electrode that heats the metal. The equipment does not require a filler material, which is used as the binding agent.
TIG welding is a much slower process compared to MIG welding, which often results in longer lead times and greater production costs. However, these factors also contribute to a greater control of the welding operation and the production of strong, precise welds.
TIG welders require highly specialized training to ensure that they produce components with a high level of precision and accuracy. According to Fortune Business Insights, the key market drivers for TIG welding include rapid growth in the construction and infrastructure sectors, although that growth is being restrained by a shortage of skilled welders, who require high labor costs.
MIG welding: Benefits and applications
MIG welding is a process that’s typically used for large, thick materials. To heat the metal, the welding machine uses a consumable wire that acts as both electrode and filler material.
MIG welding is much faster compared to TIG welding, which results in shorter lead times and lower production costs. Because it is easier to learn and produce the welds, the training required for a technician is not as substantial compared to that required for TIG welders. Due to the high frequency of production, the welds tend to not be as precise, strong or clean as those produced by the TIG welding process.
The MIG welding market is expected to grow substantially over the next decade as technology advances positively impact efficiency and productivity.
Common Industries for TIG Welding
TIG welding is a precise and controlled application with the capability to work with thin workpieces. It is an effective process for almost any metal, including specialty alloys and exotic materials. The process is useful for a wide range of industries, including medical, aerospace, energy, defense and electronic enclosures.
TIG welding machines are equipped with thin workpieces, which allows them to produce small-diameter and thin-walled piping and tubing. This makes the process well-suited for the aerospace industry because space vehicles require an incredibly high number of precise, reliable components.
TIG welding is one of the few processes that offer so many unique alloy and filler metal options, which makes it incredibly versatile. For their ability to utilize these specific materials, TIG welds are extremely strong and resistant to corrosion and cracking over time.
Common Industries for MIG Welding
Because of its capability to produce with thicker metals and at higher volumes, MIG welding is used in many industries, but especially in the automotive industry.
In the automotive industry, MIG welding provides a strong weld for even very thin metals, which makes the method ideal for assembling the body and interior components of cars, motorcycles, sports vehicles and vans. The metals used in MIG welds are extremely versatile, which is a must for vehicles that need to be used for many years.
Aluminum, a material that is often used in MIG welding, is being utilized more and more for vehicle production. This makes MIG welding an excellent method for the automotive industry as it moves into the future. With advances in the method, especially with laser MIG welding, the process offers higher stability, greater ductility and more productivity at a lower cost than the traditional MIG welding method.
TIG vs. MIG Welding: Partner With an Expert in Both Methods
When searching for a vendor that provides welding services, it is important to partner with a vendor that provides a variety of welding services rather than just one.
At VPIC, we provide both TIG and MIG welding services for a variety of industries that require specialty components produced with a range of metals. We are committed to managing highly complex projects without compromising reliability, precision or cost.
To help in your search for an outsourced manufacturing company, take a read through our outsourcing checklist.