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Aluminum Workshop: An introduction to pulsed MIG power supplies

December 19, 2014

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Q: What’s the story behind pulsed gas metal arc welding (GMAW) aluminum? Some think it’s great, but others say it’s just a way for equipment makers to sell expensive power supplies. A: GMAW transfers metal in three ways. At low currents, you get short-circuit transfer, in which the molten...

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Aluminum Workshop: TIG welding and radio frequency interface

December 18, 2014

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Q: When I gas tungsten arc-weld aluminum using AC, my portable radio speakers buzz. Does the high frequency that stabilizes the arc cause this? Will it hurt the radio or other electrical equipment? Can I shield adjacent equipment or minimize the effects? A: The high frequency (HF) that...

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Surface modeling techniques

December 18, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis guides the reader through some of the CAD tricks necessary to create a 3-D model of a series of drill bits.

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Collaboration in the cloud

December 18, 2014

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Streamlined production, better customer relationships, and smarter decision-making are just some of the benefits that may result from cloud-based ERP software.

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New squeezes on the small metal fabricator

December 18, 2014

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The custom fabrication market is changing as more customers—with a single-minded focus on price—stipulate new performance demands for quality, delivery, service, responsiveness, and payment terms. Should custom fabricators rethink how they are structured and how they operate to offset what could be fatal weaknesses?

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Smart equipment choices in structural fabrication

December 18, 2014

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Structural fabricators have a plethora of equipment options to choose from these days, and all the choices can be a bit overwhelming. Knowing what’s available, as well as keeping a few basic factors in mind, can help a structural fabricator make an educated choice.

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Maximum sheet metal punching, minimal distortion

December 17, 2014

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Hole-intensive punching work can induce significant stress into the workpiece. To mitigate this requires a careful look at programming and tooling.

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High-precision plasma system automates Chromalox’s cutting, beveling processes

December 17, 2014

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Chromalox, a manufacturer of industrial heating systems, relied on skilled workers do quite a few manual processes, especially cutting and beveling. As the supply of people with this skill slowly dried up, the company realized that it would need to invest in an automated system. It chose an Ultra-Cut 400 XT plasma power supply from Thermal Dynamics (Victor) and coupled it to a 6-axis CNC pipe-handling system from Watts Specialties Inc.

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Improved plasma cutting of stainless steel

December 17, 2014

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New equipment technology and better understanding of gas selection make it possible to cut stainless steel productively using the plasma cutting process.

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Which code or standard applies to your shop?

December 16, 2014

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Codes and standards are important and necessary. Which apply to the work your shop does? That depends on the nature of the work.

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Managing welding information more efficiently

December 16, 2014

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A company can improve only those areas of production that can be tracked and measured. In welding, information management systems can help to provide the support to bolster production efficiencies.

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Improving flying cutoff operations, mill productivity

December 16, 2014

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Tube and pipe production is a capital-intensive process, but paying close attention to the efficiency of some of the lowest-cost items, specifically the consumables, can yield big benefits in productivity. At the cutoff, proper blade choice and optimizing the cutting depth are important first steps, but it’s also necessary to diagnose saw problems and—most important of all—develop a blade replacement strategy that minimizes mill downtime.

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Aluminum Workshop: Why 6061 filler metal doesn’t exist

December 15, 2014

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Q: The most common grade of aluminum I see is 6061-T6, but I’ve never seen 6061 filler metal. Why is this? Why does everyone seem to weld 6061-T6 with 4043 or 5356 filler metal? A: You never see 6061 filler metal because, if it existed, it would be an awful filler metal. Virtually every weld you...

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Aluminum Workshop: Cleaning aluminum parts

December 15, 2014

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Q: What’s the proper method to clean aluminum parts before welding? A: Cleaning aluminum parts before welding is a two-step process. First, remove oils, grease, and other contaminants to prevent weld porosity. Second, eliminate oxide from the areas to be welded to prevent lack of fusion and...

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Aluminum Workshop: New wire brand may mean new parameters

December 12, 2014

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Q: When I run out of aluminum gas metal arc welding (GMAW) wire and buy a different brand, it doesn’t seem to weld as smoothly. Is there that much of a quality difference among brands? A: While there may be a difference in quality, you may be experiencing something else entirely. If you’ve...

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