Tungsten electrode for AC aluminum welding

Orbistar Pro © Wolfram Industrie

When preparing TIG electrodes for AC aluminum welding, welders previously had to manually make the required hemisphere at the electrode tip. With the Alustar TFT (Thermal Formed Tip), this is now a thing of the past. Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH will present this novel electrode at Schweissen & Schneiden 2023. According to the supplier, it is the first TIG electrode specifically designed for AC aluminum welding and comes with a thermoformed hemispherical tip, making it 100 percent ready to weld.

Alustar TFT © Wolfram Industrie
Alustar TFT
© Tungsten Industry

In 2018, the Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH presented the Alustar. This is the world’s first electrode developed specifically for TIG welding of aluminum alloys and now goes by the name Alustar Pro. Their special alloy composition enables better focusing of the arc and, thanks to their high current-carrying capacity, ensures optimum dome formation and better burn-off behavior compared to conventional TIG electrodes.

The result is a clean weld that requires minimal rework. With its precisely ground tip, the Alustar Pro for AC enables, on the one hand, the fast and optimized shaping of the hemispherical tip required for AC aluminum welding. Secondly, the grinding geometry of the Alustar Pro for DCEN has been optimized specifically for demanding DC welding applications.
“In recent years, however, we have been busy developing and testing the next generation of Alustar®,” said Oszkar Santa, director of global business development at Wolfram Industrie GmbH. “This new TIG electrode for AC aluminum welding is the first of its kind on the market that comes with a thermoformed tip, making it ready for immediate use.”

Uniformly preformed tip avoids quality losses

The fact that the hemispherical tip of the electrode for AC aluminum welding is thermally preformed has several advantages: On the one hand, the user’s workload is reduced, and on the other hand, productivity is increased. This is because it is no longer necessary to weld on start-up plates to precondition the tip and perform the necessary shaping manually. Without this time-consuming and inherently uneven pre-processing, the Alustar TFT ensures a reproducible aluminum welding process.

The thermally formed and thus uniform electrode tip also prevents the occurrence of tungsten inclusions in the weld. These can represent a considerable quality deficiency and lead to defects that can only be remedied at great expense. “Our beta testers were visibly thrilled with the performance,” confirms Santa. “They reported a significant improvement in quality by using the Alustar TFT at the manual and machine welding stations.”

Functions for professional orbital welding applications

Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH manufactures all electrodes completely in-house and thus has full control over all parameters. Thus, both the new Alustar TFT and the Alustar Pro meet the same quality standards as their sister product line Orbistar in terms of grinding angle, high-precision axial grinding, and alloy homogeneity. This TIG electrode, specially designed for orbital welding, is also available in two variants: “Orbistar Pro was developed for high-tech industries such as the semiconductor and nuclear industries.

We therefore do not tolerate any compromises in terms of user-friendliness, packaging and traceability,” explains Santa. “The Orbistar Arc doesn’t sacrifice quality either, but it does without some of the premium features of the Pro, making it less expensive with the best value.”
One of these special features is the more functional packaging of the Pro version in a practical box, where the electrode does not need to be touched when removing it. In addition, the beveled end facilitates insertion into the welding machine and the laser-engraved serial number guarantees reliable traceability.

Application support through highly equipped test laboratory

“Despite its small size, the electrode plays an important but often neglected role in the welding process and has a significant impact on results,” Santa explains. “Just because you can’t see the metallurgical composition of the starting material or the precision of the grind with the naked eye, the TIG electrode is not an ordinary consumer product.”

Because the manufacturer places great emphasis on factors such as homogeneous alloy composition and precision grinding, its TIG electrodes achieved three to five times the durability of most commonly used electrodes, it says. Due to the longer burn time and low scrap rate, the use of the Alustar and Orbistar electrodes effectively lowers the total cost of ownership, he said.

In this context, Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH not only specializes in the development and manufacture of high-quality electrodes, but also offers application support. Their Swiss-based laboratory is able to replicate the conditions and parameters of each customer. With this hands-on test environment and in-depth knowledge of the welding process, the manufacturer can further improve and optimize the welding process and results for the individual user.

Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH will present the new Alustar TFT and the Alustar Pro as well as the Orbistar product line at this year’s Schweissen & Schneiden in hall 5 at booth 5B08.

Society for tungsten industry

Originally founded in 1911 as Wolfram Drahtfabrik GmbH for the production and processing of tungsten and molybdenum by the grandfather of today’s managing partner Marion Freifrau von Cetto in Berlin, the company changed its name to Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH in 1928. In 1943, the company headquarters were moved to Traunstein, where further production buildings were erected in the mid-1950s.

After the death of the shareholder Helga Freifrau von Cetto, her daughter Marion Freifrau von Cetto took over the management of the company as owner in 1974. In 1991, Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie acquired its competitor Bayerische Metallwerke GmbH in Dachau, which had been active on the market since 1923, thus expanding its product range. Both companies produce exclusively in Germany. There are currently 57 employees at the Dachau site and 63 in Traunstein. In August 2018, the company opened another location in Winterthur, Switzerland, with Wolfram Industrie GmbH, which currently employs five people.