Lead Forensics

A welder’s guide to tubular steel

The best warehouse equipment, such as shelving, packing tables and trolleys are made from tubular steel. Tubular steel is lightweight and strong, but it requires the work of expert welders to stay in place.

What types of welding are used for tubular steel?

There are two types of welding that can be used for tubular steel: MIG and TIG.

MIG welding

MIG (metal inert gas) welding uses a tube or gun that feeds a small wire that is arc welded to the metal. It is cheaper and faster than TIG welding and is often used in the car industry. Many home welders use MIG welding because it is inexpensive.

MIG welding is quicker and generally easier than TIG.

TIG welding

The TIG (tungsten inert gas) technique uses a torch with a tungsten electrode protected by gas (argon or helium). The metal is melted before being welded together. TIG welding is more expensive than MIG and is more difficult to do well, requiring greater accuracy. However, if done correctly, it creates a stronger, higher-quality weld than MIG.

How do experts do it?

To use better quality TIG welding requires expert welders. Done well, TIG welding creates joints that will not fall apart.

Many businesses, such as Crew Clothing and Joules, have expanded their online business. Their warehouses process large volumes of orders each day. The trolleys, garment rails, and shelving they use must withstand a lot. Shelves carry heavy items, and a trolley travels several miles each day. Businesses need reliable strong equipment that performs well under heavy use and will not damage easily.

Warehouse equipment made from tubular steel is only as strong as the welded joints. If a joint fails and equipment cannot perform, order processing is held up, and that’s before safety hazards are taken into consideration.

At Steely Products, we employ expert metalworkers who bend, cut and weld lengths of tubular steel together to fabricate the warehouse equipment our clients rely on.

Are there alternatives to welding?

There are alternatives to welding, but they have disadvantages, which is why we continue to favour welding.

Rivets can join tubular steel, but these add weight. Fasteners such as pin clamps and collars can be used, but these are not as strong as welded joints and are not suitable for equipment that carries heavy loads.

Glues have been developed to join steel, and some motor manufacturers use them. If a welded joint breaks, it can easily be repaired, but glued joints are more difficult to repair.

Soldering is used in electronics to join metal together but solder is not strong, so is not suitable for load-bearing joints.

Future technology may provide cheaper, faster and stronger ways to join tubular steel, but presently welding is the best joining method, which is why we continue to rely on welded joints to produce equipment designed to last a long time.

If you want to find out more about the wide range of welded tubular steel products we make, contact us by using the form below or give us a call.

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