Among the upsides of MIG welding, the most significant is probably the high efficiency and the comparatively low heat input to the workpiece, coupled with the fact that the method is so easy to automate. Productivity is substantially higher than with manual metal arc welding because there is no need to interrupt welding to replace filler rods, and little or even no slag chipping required.
MIG welding is an especially flexible method and covers a variety of applications:
- Plate thickness from 0.5 mm and upwards.
- Low heat input is valuable when welding thin sheets, helping to prevent deformation and distortion of the sheet. The filler passes can be administered with high productivity when welding in thicker metal.
- All structural materials commonly encountered, such as mild, low-alloy
- and stainless steel, aluminum and alloys, and several other non-ferrous metals.
- In all positions of welding.
These benefits have enabled the MIG process to find several applications, both in the large-scale industry and in smaller workshops. Examples of industries where the approach is common include the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, and offshore sectors.
It can be said that the MIG method is both easy and difficult to learn and use. If the pretensions do not extend beyond welding two sheet metal pieces together without any special demands on the quality of the welded weld, the method can be said to be easy to use. On the other hand, if there are special requirements, such as welding, complete fusion, few pores, etc., then the MIG process requires considerable skill and experience on the part of the welder.
The limitation of the MIG method compared with say SMAW would be that the welding equipment is more intricate and, therefore, can be more expensive and less portable. It also has a more limited use outdoors, as the shielding gas must be protected from the elements. The design of the welding gun also means that, in certain situations of welding, accessibility may be reduced.