Design & Construction Job Descriptions & Questions
What is the job description for a Construction Welder?
Job Description Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufacturing activities. Welding also is used to join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries. There are over 80 different welding processes that a welder can employ. Some are performed manually, and the work is entirely controlled by the welder. Others are semiautomatic, and the welder uses machinery, such as a wire feeder, to perform welding tasks. One of the most common types of welding is arc welding. Standard arc welding involves two large metal alligator clips that carry a strong electrical current. One clip is attached to any part of the piece being welded. The second clip is connected to a thin welding rod. When the rod touches the piece, a powerful electrical circuit is created. The massive heat created by the electrical current causes both the piece and the steel core of the rod to melt together, cooling quickly to form a solid bond. The speed with which the welder works can affect the strength of the weld. Two common and advanced types of arc welding are Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. TIG welding often is used with stainless steel or aluminum. The welder holds the welding rod in one hand and an electric torch in the other hand. The torch is used to simultaneously melt the rod and the piece. MIG uses a spool of continuously fed wire instead of a rod, which allows the welder to join longer stretches of metal without stopping to replace a rod. The welder holds the wire feeder, which functions like the alligator clip in arc welding. Like arc welders, soldering and brazing workers use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. However, the metal added during the soldering and brazing process has a melting point lower than that of the piece, so only the added metal is melted, not the piece. Soldering uses metals with a melting point below 800 degrees Fahrenheit; brazing uses metals with a higher melting point. Because soldering and brazing do not melt the piece, these processes normally do not create the distortions or weaknesses in the piece that can occur with welding. Soldering commonly is used to join electrical, electronic, and other small metal parts. Brazing produces a stronger joint than does soldering and often is used to join metals other than steel, such as brass. Brazing can also be used to apply coatings to parts to reduce wear and protect against corrosion. Skilled welding, soldering, and brazing workers generally plan work from drawings or specifications and use their knowledge of welding processes and base metals to determine how best to join the parts. The difficulty of the weld is determined by its positionhorizontal, vertical, overhead, or 6G (circular, such as in large pipes)and by the type of metals to be fused. Highly skilled welders often are trained to work with a wide variety of materials, such as titanium, aluminum, or plastics, in addition to steel. Welders then select and set up welding equipment, execute the planned welds, and examine welds to ensure that they meet standards or specifications. By observing problems during the welding process, welders can compensate by adjusting the speed, voltage, amperage, or feed of the rod. Some welders have more limited duties, however. They perform routine jobs that already have been planned and laid out and do not require extensive knowledge of welding techniques. Automated welding is used in an increasing number of production processes. In these instances, a machine or robot performs the welding tasks while being monitored by a welding machine operator. Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders follow specified layouts, work orders, or blueprints. Operators must load parts correctly and constantly monitor the machine to ensure that it produces the desired bond. The work of arc, plasma, and oxy-gas cutters is closely related to that of welders. However, instead of joining metals, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, a stream of ionized gas called plasma, or burning gases to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. Cutters also dismantle large objects, such as ships, railroad cars, automobiles, buildings, or aircraft. Some operate and monitor cutting machines similar to those used by welding machine operators. Plasma cutting has been increasing in popularity because, unlike other methods, it can cut a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium.