Penetration depth monitoring and control in submerged arc welding

X. R. Li, Y. M. Zhang, L. Kvidahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Submerged arc welding (SAW) is known for its high productivity. However, there is a lack of capability to monitor and control weld penetration. Because penetration is believed to be primarily determined by base metal current, a gas metal arc welding (GMAW) gun is added into the SAW process to bypass part of the total current. The base metal current that controls weld penetration is directly reduced, and the ability to adjust the base metal current to control weld penetration without reducing deposition rate is introduced into SAW. To conveniently monitor weld penetration and acquire the needed feedback for weld penetration control, welding parameters and conditions affecting weld penetration were analyzed and specific variables subject to variation and fluctuation were identified. Experiments were conducted to see what parameters affect the weld penetration and what their significances are. It was found that the base metal current is the dominant parameter that determines weld penetration with a sufficient accuracy when other major parameters are in their stated ranges. A control system has been established to monitor and control weld penetration using a proportional integral derivative (PID) control algorithm. This algorithm is based on penetration feedback provided by the penetration model that correlates weld penetration depth to base metal current. Experiments on DH36 square butt joints verified the effectiveness of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48s-56s
JournalWelding Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Control
  • DH36
  • Modeling
  • Proportional integral derivative (PID)
  • Submerged arc welding (SAW)
  • Weld penetration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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