SUBMERGED ARC WELDING (SAW)
Submerged arc welding (SAW) is a common arc welding process. The first patent on the submerged-arc welding (SAW) process was taken out in 1935 and covered an electric arc beneath a bed of granulated flux. Originally developed and patented by Jones, Kennedy and Rothermund, the process requires a continuously fed consumable solid or tubular (metal cored) electrode. The molten weld and the arc zone are protected from atmospheric contamination by being "submerged" under a blanket of granular fusible flux consisting of lime, silica, manganese oxide, calcium fluoride, and other compounds. When molten, the flux becomes conductive, and provides a current path between the electrode and the work. This thick layer of flux completely covers the molten metal thus preventing spatter and sparks as well as suppressing the intense ultraviolet radiation and fumes that are a part of the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process.
SAW is normally operated in the automatic or mechanized mode, however, semi-automatic (hand-held) SAW guns with pressurized or gravity flux feed delivery are available. The process is normally limited to the flat or horizontal-fillet welding positions (although horizontal groove position welds have been done with a special arrangement to support the flux). Deposition rates approaching 45 kg/h (100 lb/h) have been reported — this compares to ~5 kg/h (10 lb/h) (max) for shielded metal arc welding. Although currents ranging from 300 to 2000 A are commonly utilized, currents of up to 5000 A have also been used (multiple arcs).