Pros & Cons: Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Published on 22 December 2021

8 min

What is Shielded Metal Arc Welding? It’s a process that is taken place manually and in that process, the required heat is generated using an electric arc to carry the procedure of welding. In other words, metal and steel are joined using electricity. During the welding process, the heat can even rise to 6500 degrees Fahrenheit. The prime reasons to carry out this process are - To maintain wear and tear heavy machinery, welding pipelines, and also to help in big-scale construction projects. When the process is done, a flux-like substance is formed around the weld that protects the substance from dirt and makes it firm.

There are 4 types of Arc Welding:

1) Shielded metal welding (SMAW): The requirements for smaw welding are simple and nominal and are generally used in wear & tear, repair, and construction processes. 

2) Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW): This one is more expensive than the previous one. The reason behind this is its faster welding speed and metal penetration.

3) Gas metal arc welding (GMAW): The welding done with gas has a high speed but can’t be adapted easily.

4) Submerged arc welding (SAW): Here, the arc is underneath a layer of flux. This process is used to restrict the contact of contaminants.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of this process:


1) Mobility: The materials used in the procedure are extremely easy to transport from one place to another. When it comes to Industrial and Manufacturing areas, mobility of the materials is of the essence. 

2) Cost-effective: As compared to other processes, metal arc welding is less expensive. Since there is no gas in the process the required equipment is also less. 

3) Apt for most metals: Another reason why Industries prefer arc welding is that it’s suitable for numerous metals and alloys.

4) Less Pollution: While the other methods of welding produce a lot of smoke and sparks, SMAW emits comparatively less smoke making it safe for human beings. 

5) Resistant to corrosion: Arguably one of the best benefits of the process. Corrosion is a major challenge in manufacturing and many other industries and if the welding consumables are free from corrosion, it’s always an added advantage.


1) Unsuitable for certain materials: SMAW is not suitable for thin-shaped materials. Since the temperature can rise to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not advised for tiny materials that can’t sustain it.

2) Irreplaceable welding electrodes: The welding electrodes cannot be easily replaced. Once fixed, they can’t be replaced frequently hence one needs to be careful about it. Apart from that, the removal of slag from the weld becomes compulsory.

3) Low Deposition Rate: As compared to other methods like GMAW and FCAW, the deposition rate for Metal arc welding is quite low. Also, the entire process requires a high set of skills.

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