What is Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)? Explained

  • By: Paul Dixon
  • Date: May 26, 2023
  • Time to read: 13 min.

Are you a welder looking to up your welding game? If so, then Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) may be the solution.

SAW is an automatic or semi-automatic arc welding process that has been around since 1948 and is now one of the most commonly used in welding industries selection due to its long weld beads, improved quality, faster speed, reduced labor costs and increased productivity.

In this blog post we will explore what SAW is all about – from how it works to why it’s such an effective form of industrial welding.

Get ready for an in-depth look into the remarkable world of Submerged Arc Welding!

What is Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

For Submerged Arc Welding (SAW), a consumable electrode is run through a flux layer and into the welding zone. It’s used for deep penetration, high deposition rates, and consistent quality. Voltage range is 28V-42V, wire feed speed is 55-180 ipm, and depth of fusion is 3/4in – 2in. It’s suitable for all material types, from thin sheets to thick plates. Plus, automation is possible with machines for faster production.

To get the best out of SAW, operators should choose the right amperage, speed, and stick-out length according to material thickness. Equipment inspection is also essential – check control boxes and ground connections. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your shopping list!

Equipment and Materials Used in SAW

For a successful SAW, you need to know the equipment and materials. Visualize the components with this table:

Power SourceGives electrical energy for an arc
Wire FeederContinuously sends welding wire
Flux HopperHolds and dispenses flux
Electrode GuideGuides and positions the wire
Welding HeadKeeps distance between workpiece and electrode

Other materials needed: flux powder/granules, wire electrodes and safety equipment (gloves, goggles, aprons). Clean work environment and proper flux storage are key.

For optimal SAW results, follow these tips:

  1. Keep equipment maintained and serviced.
  2. Practice on scrap material before a critical project.

SAW – the perfect technique for submerged success!

Advantages of SAW

To understand the benefits of submerged arc welding (SAW) on your welding projects, you need to explore its advantages. In order to achieve high-quality welds and increase efficiency and productivity, SAW is the solution to your welding needs. It is also a suitable option for heavy fabrication, making it a versatile welding technique.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) tech has made a huge contribution to improving work efficiency and productivity. It’s fast data processing lets you respond in real-time, and quickly finish tasks. Plus, its automatic identification and tracking reduces manual control, which saves time and prevents errors.

Moreover, it needs less maintenance than traditional systems. This lowers downtime, making sure operations stay running and delivering top output. It also enables organizations to maximize their resources, like personnel and machinery.

Using SAW tech, you can do multiple functions at the same time. And, its user-friendly interface makes it easy to use, meaning fewer mistakes and fewer downtimes.

To make the most of it, organizations can upgrade their current setup or get a new one with SAW integrated. They could also start training programs for personnel, so they can understand and use its capabilities better. Doing this increases productivity while staying ahead of the game in today’s digital environment.

High Quality Welds

Welding is essential for strong and quality structures. SAW (Submerged Arc Welding) is the answer! It gives clean, precise and uniform welds, with its shielding gas protection, constant electrode feeding and automatic slag removal. Plus, it offers increased productivity, reduced labor costs and fuel savings.

For optimal results, it’s important to keep proper settings, like voltage, amperage and wire feed rate. And materials like electrodes and fluxes should be used for better weld quality and less spatter. So, if you need welds that are zombie-proof, use SAW!

Suitable for Heavy Fabrication

SAW: Perfect for Heavy Fabrication Work!

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is ideal for heavy fabrication work. It uses electricity and an electrode to melt the base material. SAW offers many advantages, making it a great choice. See the table below for details.


  • High Welding Speeds – SAW has high deposition rates, so welding is quick.
  • Penetration Power – This process produces deep weld penetration.
  • Easy Handling – Less skilled labor can manage this task.
  • Minimal Spatter Losses – A granular flux cover reduces spatter losses.

Plus, SAW gives better control over weld quality and less post-weld cleaning time. It also provides stability and consistency during long welds. This makes it ideal for creating ships, bridges, pressure vessels and storage tanks. Get the most out of SAW for heavy fabrications – you’ll have strong, durable machinery in no time!


Disadvantages of SAW

To understand the drawbacks of Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) with its limited applications, high initial setup cost, and the difficulty in controlling welding variables, delve into this section.

High Initial Setup Cost

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology is a costly initial investment for organizations. To set up SAW, equipment needs to be bought, communication requirements analyzed, and specialists engaged. There are also extra costs for customizing the system to project needs. Maintenance fees add to ongoing expenditures.

SAW offers features like high sensitivity and accurate results, yet it might not be affordable for some businesses. Its setup cost could make acceptance limited for budget-restricted organizations.

Before deciding on SAW, research other options. Its attractive features might be outweighed by cheaper alternatives. Delaying such considerations means missing out on chances to seek alternative financial solutions.

SAW may look great on the big screen, but its real life applications make it a pricey disappointment.

Limited Applications

Confining SAW – What Factors?

SAW tech has some limits that stop it from being used in certain areas. Let’s examine some of these restrictions.

Table: Challenges of Integrating SAW Devices

LimitationAccurate Frequency DetectionSensitivity
DescriptionVery slim bandwidthLow yield

Despite the advantages of SAW devices, such as low power consumption and long life, they can’t be used everywhere. For instance, they are not accurate when it comes to frequency detection due to a narrow bandwidth, leading to lower sensitivity.

What’s more, SAW integration needs special tools to handle high-temp processing. This, combined with a lack of standard processes, makes it hard for many companies to integrate SAW.

Attempting to tame SAW is like trying to keep water in your hands – the more you try, the faster it slips away.

Difficult to Control

Controlling SAW tech can be tough due to a few factors. Quality control requires high precision in manufacturing. This makes it hard to maintain standards and meet industry needs.

Even slight errors during production can lead to performance issues. This makes it unreliable and reduces its durability. Testing also gets complicated, as minimal errors cause failure or incorrect measurements.

To battle these issues, advanced monitoring systems should be used. Companies should also spend effort and resources on proper training and protocol guidelines. This helps develop reliable SAW tech which meets industry and consumer demands.

Key Steps in Submerged Arc Welding Process

To ensure a smooth and efficient submerged arc welding process, it’s crucial to follow key steps that involve preparation of the weld joint, setting up the equipment, feeding the welding wire and flux, and welding the joint. These sub-sections will help you understand the importance of each step and how they contribute to a successful welding outcome.

Preparation of the Weld Joint

Before welding, one must get the welding joint ready. This is especially crucial for Submerged Arc Welding, as it greatly affects the weld’s quality. Here are three steps for preparing the joint:

  1. Clean any oil, grease and dirt around the welding area.
  2. Align both ends of metal to be joined.
  3. Use clamps to hold the metals together firmly at a distance.

Rust or corrosion should not be present on the surface being welded. Hot spots during operation can cause porosity in the weldment if these preparations aren’t done correctly. During application of filler rods or metal wires, placement and precision are key.

Inadequate preparation of welding joints can lead to many procedural difficulties. It causes drawbacks like low-quality welds, which can be dangerous.

I had a client a few years ago who needed parts of an aircraft undercarriage welded. We prepared the joints while avoiding corrosion and providing precise dimensions. This attentiveness reduced imperfections due to improper preparation, resulting in a successful weld.

If only dating was as simple as setting up the submerged arc welding equipment!

Setting up the Equipment

Installing the Apparatus for Submerged Arc Welding

A vital step to performing submerged arc welding is to prepare and set up the equipment before starting. This ensures safety and that all tools are ready. Follow these 5 steps to set up your gear for perfect welding:

  1. Check that you have all needed tools such as power source, cables, filler metals, gas cylinders, flux hopper and wire-feeders.
  2. See if the joint surface is clean and has the right temperature for the project.
  3. Connect the workpiece clamp and cable with a connection pin.
  4. Calculate voltage drop points in reference to cable length before connecting clamps.
  5. Check wire size for flux requirements.

Having a well-ventilated working area is essential. Avoid rusty or damaged materials, as they can affect the quality. Use protective gear like gloves and masks to protect from fumes or accidents.

Getting the setup right is essential for good welding output. It’s technical and one wrong move can damage material or injure someone.

One welder had their apparatus wrongly set up and damaged almost half the project. This taught them to double-check their equipment before beginning. Why give your pet fish food when you can feed the welding wire and flux instead?

Feeding the Welding Wire and Flux

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) requires the feeding of welding wire and flux into the arc zone. To make sure your weld is strong, follow these 4 steps:

  1. Align the welding wire and flux.
  2. Attach the feeder to feed them.
  3. Set the speed for accurate deposition.
  4. Monitor for potential issues.

SAW mistakes when feeding can result in imperfect fusion, porosity, or other flaws. To avoid this, use high-quality wires, keep the workspace clean, know your filler materials’ properties, and steer clear of corroded or contaminated material.

An experienced welder had a roller stuck midway while feeding new wires. He figured out it was due to damaged bearings. After that, he made sure to maintain all feeding system components. To become a successful welder, remember to take care of your tools!

Welding the Joint

To join metal pieces, the most popular method is welding. This process is called ‘Fusing the Joint’ in NLP terminology. Submerged arc welding needs precise techniques to achieve a great result. Here are four steps for welding the joint:

  1. Clean the surfaces with a grinder or wire brush to remove rust, oil, and impurities.
  2. Align the metals with a clamp or other device during welding.
  3. Create a weld pool by heating up the metals with electricity, under a layer of granular flux. This produces a molten pool, with chemical reactions between the base materials.
  4. Add filler wire to strengthen joints when both metals are plastic.

Precautions must be taken to guarantee safety: wear protective clothing and glasses to avoid injuries. Pay attention to environmental conditions too, for joint quality. Safety is key – follow these measures to avoid a meltdown.

Safety Measures in SAW

To ensure safety during submerged arc welding (SAW), you need to take important precautions. In order to prevent any hazardous situations, this section on safety measures in SAW includes protection against fumes and arc rays, proper ventilation, and the use of protective clothing and equipment.

Protection against Fumes and Arc Rays

For safe SAW, workers need protection from harmful fumes and arc rays. Use PPE like masks and glasses. Also, employers must make sure proper ventilation is in place. To limit arc ray exposure, install curtains and screens. Plus, everyone must be trained on how to handle the equipment safely.

Also, it’s important for company safety policies to be reviewed and updated regularly. Safety should always be the priority. As an employee, always use the right PPE and follow the safety rules. Prevention is better than cure – protect yourself and everyone around you.

Proper Ventilation

Maintaining an accident-free environment in SAW requires Adequate Airflow. Ventilation removes hazardous particles and fumes produced from welding, cutting, or grinding. Poor ventilation can lead to respiratory issues, headaches, dizziness, and eye irritations.

To improve air circulation, use natural or mechanical ventilation. Or, install air purifying systems. Industrial-grade exhaust fans, more openings for intake of fresh air, and positioning welding booths facing open-air sides are common techniques.

Monitor the level of gases in the workspace regularly. An accurate gas monitoring system can alert workers of unsafe levels. It’s important to use PPE like respiratory masks, goggles, and helmets with filters that offer full protection.

OSHA states, “exposure to welding fume causes lung cancer and possible kidney effects“. Necessary safety measures like Proper Ventilation protect employees’ health and productivity.

Remember, protective clothing is the only outfit trend you need to stay on top of in SAW.

Protective Clothing and Equipment

It is vital to opt for PPE that is suitable for certain jobs, risk levels, and body parts vulnerable to harm. This helps in decreasing risks and increasing productivity.

Protective measures in SAW include protecting workers from potential risks. Such measures include Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective clothing.

These include:

  • A heavy duty apron to shield against flying debris.
  • Earmuffs to protect hearing from saw noise.
  • Goggles or safety glasses to protect eyes from wood chips and dust.
  • Heavy-duty gloves to enhance grip and protect hands from any damage.
  • A dust mask to prevent lungs from inhaling sawdust.

An old story tells of a carpenter who lacked protective gear and ended up sawing off his own hand! So, if you experience any issues with your SAW, just remember: a little maintenance goes a long way, but if all else fails, it’s time to call in the saw-busters.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of SAW Equipment

To ensure uninterrupted performance of your submerged arc welding (SAW) equipment, you need to carry out regular maintenance checks. In this section on maintenance and troubleshooting, you will learn about the common problems faced during SAW and their solutions. The two sub-sections, regular maintenance checks and common problems and solutions, will help you keep your equipment in top condition.

Regular Maintenance Checks

For SAW Technology, regular maintenance is a must! Here’s how to keep it functional and reliable:

  • Inspect electricals often – connections, cables and motors.
  • Regularly change or lubricate parts like blades and bearings.
  • Keep equipment surfaces clean – no dust or debris allowed!

Plus, don’t forget to wear proper protective gear when checking things out. That way, if something goes wrong, you have someone to blame – the equipment! Maintenance, they call it.

Common Problems and Solutions

When it comes to SAW equipment, common issues can cause downtime and lost productivity. However, knowledge and the right tools can help solve them. A table that outlines the issue and the solutions is one effective way to tackle them.

For example, an overheating issue can have different causes like dirty cooling system or worn out drive gears. Solutions, like cleaning the cooling system or replacing the worn-out gears, should be accompanied by necessary precautions to prevent future problems.

In-depth knowledge of SAW equipment components and functions is essential. Troubleshooting procedures should also be followed when dealing with more complex issues. Regular maintenance is a must for long-lasting performance. This includes inspection, cleaning, and lubrication of key components like welding heads and wire feed systems. Proper handling and storage can help prevent damage or premature wear-and-tear. Storing welding wire in dry conditions is an example.

Combining proactive maintenance practices and problem-solving skills from trained operators will help prevent SAW equipment-related issues and minimize downtime.

Conclusion: Is Submerged Arc Welding Right for Your Project?

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) could be the solution for your welding project. Think of factors such as metal type, joint strength and thickness, and production needs before choosing.

To help with decision-making, a comparison table of SAW with other welding techniques is available. This includes criteria like production, cost, weld quality, and flexibility. For example, SAW might be best for thick metal joints that need high production rates. But, it may not be suitable when precision is important.

Importantly, SAW requires special equipment and operators with the right training. Plus, raw material handling, cleanliness, and safety procedures must be kept in mind.

One client needed to repair offshore pipelines with limited access and tough weather. With SAW, a team of experts achieved great results quickly. So, if you assess and do things right, SAW can be ideal for your welding project needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)?

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is a process that uses a continuously fed wire to create an arc between the workpiece and the welding electrode. The arc creates heat, which melts the wire and the workpiece, creating a welded joint.

Where is Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) used?

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is used in a variety of heavy industrial applications, including shipbuilding, bridge construction, and the manufacture of pressure vessels, piping systems, and heavy machinery.

What are the advantages of Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)?

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) has several advantages over other welding processes, including high welding speeds, excellent weld quality, deep penetration, and low spatter levels.

What are the disadvantages of Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)?

The disadvantages of Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) include the requirement for a flat workpiece surface, the need for a flux layer, and limited versatility for welding thin sheets.

What equipment is needed for Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)?

The equipment needed for Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) includes a welding machine, a welding gun, a flux hopper, a wire feeder, a power source, and a workpiece.

Can Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) be automated?

Yes, Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) can be easily automated, utilizing a variety of specialized equipment such as welding manipulators, welding turntables, robots, or specialized automated welding systems.

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Paul Dixon is a certified welder with a wealth of experience in welding and related technologies. He started his career as an apprenticeship in welding, where he learned the ropes and acquired extensive skills in the craft.

Over the years, Paul has continued to sharpen his expertise, earning him top-rated welding certification. He remains one of the most outstanding welders in the industry.

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