Myth or fact? Establishing the biggest welding misconceptions

By Jordan Arseneault

Toronto, Ontario — December 21, 2018 — With a diverse background of work experience dealing with both welding and tools and equipment, Slaven was a perfect candidate to help shed light on some of the incorrect knowledge being spread throughout the repairer community. Having visited his fair share of repair shops over the course of his career, Slaven has just about seen it all. He is passionate about educating those involved in the trade, not only to help repair facilities become more efficient, but to also keep drivers on the road safe. In this interview Slaven shares his extensive knowledge of bonding and the changes he has seen from the use of oxy-acetylene to the introduction of the Uni-Body .

This is where Slaven saw the birth of the MIG/MAG welder within the collision repair industry. Due to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, the collision industry and technicians have seen the introduction of ultra high strength steels, aluminum, carbon fibre and other exotic materials.

TIG welders should be used to bond aluminum on a vehicle. Slaven explains that this is not only a common misconception in repair shops, but also one that can cause unnecessary damage to a vehicle. According to Slaven a MIG/MAG Pulse welder must be used, as the high frequency arc used by the TIG welder can disturb the sensors in a vehicle. Regardless of if the battery is connected or not, any part on a vehicle being repaired with a TIG welder will lead to problems with the automobile’s on-board computers. In the event of a TIG welder being improperly used, collision shops can expect to see a variety of lights appear on their dashboards, or as Slaven likes to put it “your dashboard will light up like a Christmas tree.”

I can use a standard MIG welder to fix today’s vehicles. This is a myth many technicians believe today, but because of the introduction of new materials such as ultra high strength steels, aluminum and car- bon fibre the technician may be required to use various methods of bonding. These methods include Squeeze Type resistance spot welders (STRSW), MIG/MAG Pulse Welders, rivet bonding and panel bonding. In some instances all four methods can be used in a repair. This is why it is crucial for collision repair shops and technicians to adhere to and follow OEM repair procedures. The use of resistance spot welders has been adapted by OEM’s because of the introduction of ultra high strength steels. This allows the technician to bond ultra high strength steel with minimal damage to the molecular structure. In cases where the STRSW cannot be used, the OEM repair procedure will indicate to the technician what method of bonding is required, such as MIG/MAG pulse Brazing.

‘I’m repairing it correctly because that’s the way the factory made it.’ It is a common misconception in the industry that repairing something correctly is to use the same process the vehicle went through when it
was first built. An example of this is an OEM using a STRSW to build the vehicle, but calling for rivet bonding and panel bonding in conjunction with each other as the proper repair procedure.

The fourth myth is not actually a myth, but rather a prediction into the future. Slaven believes MIG/MAG pulse brazing will become more common place within the repair process when bonding UHSS. According to Slaven MIG/MAG pulse brazing is ideal due to its lower melting point. Utilizing a method that generates significantly less heat is extremely beneficial, as it lowers the margin of error that exists from the threat of the welder disturbing the molecular structure of the steel. In the end the technique is able to maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle, which will ultimately better protect the vehicle’s occupants.


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