Welding is useful in the construction and manufacturing of aircraft for commercial use for a long time. Over the years, the manufacturing processes, as well as the technologies in use in aerospace, have evolved. This new technique developed by the aerospace industry can work with lighter metals such as aluminum, titanium, and magnesium.
Also, several types of welding processes are involved in aircraft welding processes. A brief look at these processes will enlighten upon welding applications in aerospace and their need to be monitored.
- Gas welding –Electric arc welding has replaced gas welding majorly as it is very economical. However, gas welding is still frequently used to repair aircraft. The aerospace industry uses the following types of gas welding –
- Electric Arc Welding for manufacturing and repair of aircraft as it is suitable for many metals
- Oxy-Acetylene Welding for the fabrication of aircraft
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW or TIG) –This type of welding is still in use for aircraft maintenance and repair because of its use on magnesium . However, the following types of welding are more in use –
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) for welding steel fuselage structure
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW or MIG)Hey for manufacturing aircraft on a large scale
Additionally, Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding includes a high-frequency pulsed variant of the process, keyhole plasma welding, Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) for precision and miniature applications have been used to manufacture aircraft engine parts for many years. The aerospace industry is also investigating the use of reduced spatter Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding.
Steps involved in welding
The welding process involves the following steps:
- Study of specifications, sketches, and blueprints
- Calculation of dimensions of welding projects
- Inspection of materials and structures to be welded
- Monitoring of one’s work to prevent overheating
- Maintenance of machinery and equipment
The aerospace industry is now paying more attention to the implementation of sensor monitoring systems for innovative production environments. These monitoring systems are based on the belief that monitoring and controlling manufacturing processes is an essential issue for the fabrication of products with very high quality.
In an effort towards zero-defect manufacturing concept implementation, various Welding Control Equipment, weld monitor current sensor, Weld Monitor, weld data monitoring, Weld Counter, Arc Timer, sensory arc timer, and Welding arc timer are being used. They help reduce welding defects and get the perfect weld to avoid any risks or dangers that attract accidents. Modern innovative technologies of 2D laser distance measurements are now used for process monitoring and having control during tack welding of some nickel-based alloy aerospace components.