Weld cleaning is an important part of the work in the welding industry. Both before and after the welding process, it is very important to prepare and clean the steel properly for the durability of the object. Various techniques are possible for performing this weld cleaning. But what are these weld cleaning techniques, how do they work, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the various options? And how do MontiPower power tools play a role in this?
Weld cleaning of (stainless) steel prior to welding
Not only after welding, but also prior to the welding process, it is important to properly clean and pre-treat steel and stainless steel. In the world of welding, various welding techniques can be distinguished. The most common welding techniques are MIG, MAG and TIG. The last mentioned, TIG, is considered the welding technique with the highest quality results. However, the TIG welding technique is possible on only a few materials. Ideally, the TIG welding technique should only be performed on clean material. However, steel is very sensitive to rust, mill scale and other dirt. In addition, in many cases steel objects are coated with paint or other coating. Should this be the case, then, for an optimal result, weld cleaning prior to welding is necessary.
Cleaning of (stainless) steel after welding
Also, after the welding process, a good cleaning of the weld is of great importance. During the welding process, different types of residue and dirt can occur. A well-known example of dirt that is created after welding is slag. Slag is a brittle material that is created in most cases during MIG and MAG welding techniques. In such a case, slag is usually created because the steel material was not adequately cleaned of dirt, rust, paint or other coatings beforehand. Slag is not a negative in all cases. Sometimes the slag is even produced on purpose, due to the protective effect it has during the welding process against external influences. However, after the slag has performed its protective function, it remains on the welded object. It is therefore important to carry out a thorough cleaning after welding.
Ways of weld cleaning
There are several ways to perform weld cleaning before or after welding. To remove mill scale, rust, paint, coatings and other debris prior to the welding process, blasting is used in many cases. Blast cleaning is intended for cleaning and preparing steel, stainless steel and other metals. To accomplish this, a variety of blasting media can be used. Originally, sandblasting is the most well-known and widely used method, but weld cleaning can also be carried out using blasting grit, glass or plastic as an abrasive. The abrasives are applied with great force to the steel surface during the weld cleaning process. This force and the abrasive effect created by the impact of the blast removes paint, rust, mill scale and dirt from the surface.
Also, for weld cleaning after welding, abrasive blasting can be used for the removal of slag and other residue. But this is not the only method of weld cleaning. Mechanical cleaning by sanding the surface or chemical weld cleaning by staining the surface, for example, can also be chosen.
Disadvantages of weld cleaning methods
Although the different methods of weld cleaning have been used for quite some time, the different techniques also have their disadvantages. For starters, in many cases, it is necessary to enlist the help of a professional to perform the weld cleaning. Since some materials are more sensitive to cleaning than others, this job needs to be done with extreme precision and care. It ensures that blasting as well as chemical and mechanical weld cleaning is a time-consuming and also expensive job. But that is not the only thing. The various techniques for weld cleaning are not only hard on the steel surface, but can also harm people, animals and the environment. It is a problem that is particularly encountered with sandblasting. Due to the high speed at which the sand grains are directed at the surface, the grains break down into small particles. As a result, the small partials can easily be inhaled by humans and animals, which can cause health problems. Chemical weld cleaning often involves the use of aggressive agents that, in turn, can also cause damage to the health of humans and animals. In addition, chemical cleaning often produces fumes that are harmful to the environment.
The solution: weld cleaning with MontiPower machines
As mentioned, in addition to their advantages, the various methods of weld cleaning also have many disadvantages. Users must of course be able to rely on the effectiveness of the cleaning tools when removing the residue and dirt. MontiPower® offers the solution for this. With their specially developed technology, the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® tools provide perfect weld cleaning, both prior to and after the welding process. The mechanical, manually operated machines leave the welded material completely intact. Moreover, slag and residue are completely removed from each layer. With this, MontiPower offers the ideal method for preparing welds for coating. The convenience, safety and speed of MontiPower® weld cleaning guarantees an excellent surface profile for optimal coating adhesion, ensuring long-term weld protection. In addition, the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® are easy to operate yourself, eliminating your dependence on outside parties.
How do MontiPower’s stainless steel weld cleaning machines work?
The Bristle Blaster® and MBX® are characterized by their rotating brush with recognizable, curved brush tips. The weld cleaning systems for steel and stainless steel not only ensure effective cleaning of the welded surface, but also a surface profile that serves as a perfect new adhesion layer. Weld cleaning with the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® works as follows: during the rapid rotation of the machines’ brush, brush tips with their curved ends are obstructed for a very short time by the ‘accelerator bar’. Due to the small hiccup in the rotation, the brush tips are released from behind the accelerator bar with extra large force. Due to the high speed at which this happens, the curved brush tips of the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® enter the surface with great force. In addition, the tips are immediately withdrawn from the surface. The technique not only ensures effective cleaning, ridding the object of rust, mill scale, paint and coatings, but also provides the ideal surface profile for a new bonding layer. It makes the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® the ideal alternative to sandblasting and other weld cleaning techniques.