Selecting the Right Shielding Gas

Finding the best shielding gas is critical to your welding operations and product quality

Shielding gases play a critical role in many welding operations across virtually every aspect of metal fabrication. For example, shielding gases help you protect your weld pool from exposure to nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and other elements that negatively impact your weld. Keeping these contaminants out gives you better control over the welding process, resulting in better weld bead shape and reduced spatter levels. Better welds require less rework and clean up – saving you time and money. It just makes sense. But sometimes just using a shielding gas isn’t enough. If you haven’t selected the best option for your application and material, you are putting your finished product quality at risk. Using the best shielding gas for your job not only enhances your metfab shop’s productivity, but can also improve weld quality and increase your bottom line. When customers call on us for help with quality issues, often times there are a number of underlying problems,” said Chris Vihnanek, director of MetFab Productivity for Praxair Distribution. “Our team goes in, performs a Praxair StarSolver® assessment and looks at the whole welding process. Nine out of ten times, a new shielding gas is part of the team’s final recommendation.”

What’s best for your shop?

So, how do you know you are using the best shielding gas for YOUR job? There is a huge range of options, from simple carbon dioxide to Praxair’s precise, high-quality argon-based gas blends – do you know which is the best for your shop? The materials, application and process used are the primary factors involved in choosing the optimum shielding gas and often there are multiple options. Since the joining of carbon steel makes up over 75 percent of all welding done, there are many more shielding gas options for steel than there are for aluminum welding. Few, if any, shielding gases are “one-size-fits all.” Different materials demand different performance features. That’s where your local Praxair representative can walk you through your welding applications and determine the shielding gas that best fits your shop.

Praxair’s premium, argon-based gas blends are the most advanced shielding gases available and are designed to enhance your arc performance, significantly reduce spatter and fumes, eliminate residual slag and increase weld speed.

 Stargon™  Stargon CS  Carbon steel welding; Ideal for robotic arc applications
 Stargon SS  Stainless steel welding; Can be used for all types of metal transfer
 Stargon VS
 Carbon steel, coated or electro-galvanized steel welding; May be suitable for some stainless steel applications
 HeliStar CS
 Carbon and low-alloy steel welding; Good over mild surface contamination
 HeliStar GV
 Coated steel welding; Successfully joins galvanized and galvannealed materials without rework or cleanup
 HeliStar SS
 Stainless steel welding; Designed as a universal shielding gas for stainless steel
 HeliStar A-25, A-50, A 75
 Aluminum and other non-ferrous materials; Produces a hotter, broader arc
 HydroStar PBSS

 Austenitic stainless steel welding; Provides improved weld carbon control

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