Welding with Miller & The Need For Speed
Motorsport vehicles typically require hundreds of parts which in turn need hundreds of welds. Most welds join intersecting tubes that make up the frames and roll cages in racing cars. Depending on which motorsport you’re looking at, vehicle requirements differ. For instance, NASCAR cars have a minimum weight of on average slightly above 1500 kg.
Due to the amount of precision involved during the manufacturing process for the different parts of the vehicles in motorsport, it is imperative that welders know their material and ensure that they have not just the right equipment to work on, but also the best, if possible. The chassis, spoilers, seat brackets, and the rear end housings connected to the upper and lower control arms, including intercoolers and radiators are amongst the many welded race car parts. With the intensity and risks involved on the track, the strongest components and best fabrication are required – right from the frame, roll cage to even the cooling units which needs consistent structural integrity to provide the unique combination of safety and performance.
A critical part of a race vehicle is the intercooler unit which allows the intake air charge to be cooled before it flows into the engine thus adding to the horsepower. Generally, for most cars, the intercoolers sit in front of the radiator which in turn offers superior air cooling over intercoolers mounted over the top. There are a couple of factors which decide the quality of the intercoolers: 1) the internal flow characteristics and 2) the cooling fins. In an ideal situation, the fins should have as large a surface area as possible together with the internal core benefitting from a low number of tapered bends and there should be no internal welds that might result in turbulence.
Renowned manufacturers of vehicle cooling units like PWR serve world class racing teams that employ the gas tungsten arc welding (TIG) process. This process uses the heat generated by an electric arc struck between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the workpiece to fuse metal in the joint area and produce a molten weld pool. To achieve the highest quality welding in the quickest and most efficient manner, TIG machines need to have exceptional balanced controls for adjustable oxide removal and frequency controls for directional stability, and that is exactly what the Miller Dynasty machines provide.
PWR relies on the Miller Dynasty series as part of its welding processes, which can be operated with or without fillers. The Dynasty series can be run on AC or DC and offers high precision welding. The very high quality welds produced to support world championship Formula 1 teams like Red Bull Racing, can be achieved by the use of a wide range of materials and in thicknesses of up to about 8 or 10mm. Unlike other welding methods, the process is considered environmentally friendly because it produces very low amounts of particulate fume matter.