How Does K-TIG Welding Work?

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The K-TIG process delivers advantages previously achievable with only high-cost laser, hybrid laser or electron beam welding.

This simple process makes automated, high quality, deep penetration welding accessible to any small-to-medium sized fabricator.

This patented technology is based on extensive, scientific study of the gas-tungsten-arc process, and is the result of many innovations relating to arc characteristics, weld pool stabilisation, heat removal and process efficiency. The K-TIG process is well suited to lower conductivity materials such as stainless steels, nickel alloys, titanium alloys and indeed most corrosion resistant and exotic materials.

 K-TIG welding technology combines the high-quality and cleanliness of GTAW with a depth of penetration that is unmatched by conventional gas-tungsten arc, gas metal arc or plasma welding processes.

The Benefits of the K-TIG System

  • Improved speed and productivity
  • Reduced gas and power consumption
  • Dramatic reduction in overall cost
  • Simplified / no edge preparation
  • Elimination of filler material requirements
  • Staff can now operate in a safe, clean, low-fume environment

Read more about the benefits here

View of a K-TIG weld on 9.5mm, 3/8 inch wall thickness AISI 304 stainless steel pipe.
The impact that K-TIG has had on our productivity is exceptional. There is no preparation. We simply tack up butt joints and start welding. The speed, quality and repeatability of the welds are remarkable.
Brett Jago, Production Supervisor, Bilfinger

Through the Keyhole

The K-TIG variant of the GTAW process is the solution to the weld pool instabilities which are characteristic of higher current GTAW welding.

A fundamental characteristic of the keyhole process is the intentional increase in arc pressure to the point where it extends the crater to the bottom of the pool. At this point, the bottom of the crater breaks through the root face of the weldment, forming a keyhole and allowing the arc gases to escape. Most importantly, the openings in the front and root faces of the weldment act to anchor the liquid surface of the pool. In helping to understand what this looks like, it’s helpful to visualise the elastic properties of a soap film bubble, as illustrated in the image to the right.

The minimisation of the surface energy associated with the keyhole geometry and the relatively unrestricted egress of the arc gases combine to produce a very robust and tranquil weld pool. Added to this, the molten metal within the weld pool is prevented from falling from the root face by surface tension, as evidenced above.

The K-TIG keyhole is unique because it does not rely on the very high energy densities of other keyhole processes such as laser and plasma, resulting in a wider fusion zone at the front face. 

Soap film bubble analogy of a K-TIG keyhole, illustrating the stabilising effect of surface tension when the keyhole surface is anchored to both front and root faces.
K-TIG GE Case Study