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Gouging welding steel structure and bright sparks in steel construction industry


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Gouging is a method for removing material in connection with welding or casting. A distinction is made between thermal and mechanical gouging methods. The thermal methods are generally faster than the Thermal gouging is an essential part of welding fabrication. Used for rapid removal of unwanted metal, the material is locally heated and molten metal ejected - usually by blowing it away. Normal oxy-fuel gas or arc processes can be used to produce rapid melting and metal removal.

Gouging operations can be carried out using the following thermal processes:

  • Oxy-fuel process
  • Plasma arc
  • Manual metal arc (MMA)
  • Air carbon arc
Gouging using acetylene as the fuel gas

Flame or Oxy-fuel Gouging

Flame gouging is a variant of conventional oxy-fuel gas welding. Oxygen and a fuel gas are used to produce a high temperature flame for melting the steel. When gouging, the steel is locally heated to a temperature above the 'ignition' temperature (typically 900°C) and a jet of oxygen is used to melt the metal - a chemical reaction between pure oxygen and hot metal. This jet is also used to blow away molten metal and slag. It should be noted that compared with oxy-fuel cutting, slag is not blown through the material, but remains on the top surface of the work piece. The gouging nozzle is designed to supply a relatively large volume of oxygen through the gouging jet. In oxy-fuel gouging, equal quantities of oxygen and acetylene are used to set a near-neutral preheating flame. The oxygen jet flow rate determines the depth and width of the gouge.
Gouging welding steel structure

Plasma Arc Gouging

The use of the plasma arc as a gouging tool dates back to the 1960s when the process was developed for welding. Compared with the alternative oxy-fuel and manual metal arc gouging techniques, plasma arc has a needle-like jet which can produce a very precise groove, suitable for application on almost all ferrous and non-ferrous materials. Plasma gas can be argon, helium, argon/hydrogen, nitrogen, or air.
Gouging Welding, Industrial welder wear safety protective mask

Manual Metal Arc and Air Carbon Arc Gouging

In these processes an electrical arc is generated to melt the material. Other techniques like special electrodes or a jet of compressed air are used to blow away the molten material. No specific high purity or compressed gases are needed in these processes.

Ask the Expert

John Dwyer

John Dwyer

Microbulk Applications Engineer, North America

“I use high-pressure gas cylinders and am concerned about safety. Is there a better way?”
Traditionally, high-pressure gas cylinders have been the supply mode for users in the low to medium volume range. Air Products CryoEase® microbulk service consolidates your gas supply to a centralized system eliminating the need to handle cylinders and ensures the right gas is delivered to your use point. Further benefits of the CryoEase® microbulk service include decreased exposure to high-pressure containers and reduced traffic congestion with less frequent supplier deliveries. Air Products developed the microbulk supply option as a cost-effective, reliable alternative to high-pressure cylinders for nitrogen, argon, oxygen and carbon dioxide supply. In addition to efficient and flexible storage systems, innovative piping solutions are available to help you have a smooth transition from cylinders to microbulk.
Microbulk truck

CryoEase® Microbulk Solutions

CryoEase® microbulk technology is a modern concept where your gas is supplied by filling on-site vs. the traditional method for smaller volume usage, where gas is supplied by swapping full for empty cylinders and dewars. CryoEase® microbulk supply features specially designed trucks with integrated controls and flexible storage tank options. End usage can be provided as pure gases, cryogenic liquids or gaseous mixtures via a blender installed at your site.
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Cryoease Tank

CryoEase® Microbulk Solutions – Gas Supply Made Simple

A compact on-site cryogenic tank that is regularly replenished by a specially-designed delivery vehicle. Air Products' CryoEase® microbulk service offers the advantages of bulk supply to smaller volume users of oxygen and nitrogen users.

  • Saves time – no more handling or changing of cylinders
  • Saves space – tank can be sited conveniently to relieve valuable floor space
  • Peace of mind – our Gas Management system automatically schedules regular deliveries, saving you the hassle of chasing orders or waiting for deliveries

Constant and reliable supply with a lower carbon footprint— you can reduce the number of gas deliveries to your business since Air Products looks after your order planning, fulfillment and delivery.

Download CryoEase® Service brochure


Air Products gases, typically provided in gaseous and liquid form, enable customers in a wide range of industries to improve their environmental performance, product quality, and productivity.


Compressed argon gas and liquid argon in a variety of purities and in various modes of supply around the world thanks to our network of storage and transfill facilities.


An inert gas for cryogenic, heat transfer, shielding, leak detection, analytical and lifting applications


Valued for its reactive and protective properties, and used by many industries such as electronics, foods, glass, chemicals, refining and more can benefit from its unique properties to improve quality, optimize performance and reduce costs.


Useful as a gas, for its inert properties, and as a liquid for cooling and freezing. Virtually any industry can benefit from its unique properties to improve yields, optimize performance and make operations safer.


In addition to its use as a respiratory gas for healthcare applications, its strong oxidizing properties benefit many industries by improving yields, optimizing performance, lowering costs and reducing carbon footprint compared to other fuels. 

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