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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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Pass it on

December 12, 2014

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Ron Covell’s 50-year career manually building autobodies for street rods, dragsters, and motorcycles is impressive, to say the least. But he doesn’t plan on hoarding all of the expertise he’s garnered over the years. His latest passion, of the last 20 years anyway, has been sharing information in his traveling workshops to current or up-and-coming autobody enthusiasts. It’s what he hopes is his longest and most impactful legacy.

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One metal fabricator, two value streams

December 12, 2014

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For decades Nu-Way Industries operated with a conventional management structure. In recent years, managers at the Des Plaines, Ill., fabricator discovered that the two kinds of orders the company processed, engineered to order and make to stock, really called for two distinct value streams, each operating under a different business model.

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Aluminum Workshop: Preheating aluminum

December 12, 2014

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Q: What preheat temperature should I use when welding aluminum? I’ve heard different numbers, and I know they can’t all be right. A: Let me begin with a bold statement: If you have the right equipment, you never need to preheat when welding aluminum. I have gas tungsten arc-welded (GTAW)...

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Aluminum Workshop: Alloys for furniture fabrication

December 11, 2014

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Q: Which alloy would you recommend for cold bending aluminum tubing or fabricating aluminum law furniture? A: First consider alloy availability. Many alloys are available as round tubing, but not all are obtainable. Most small-diameter tubing is extruded because it’s relatively economical to...

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Boatbuilder switches from aluminum to steel

December 11, 2014

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Burger Boat Co. has weathered many a storm in its 150-year history, often changing direction to incorporate new technologies and adapt to changing market conditions. When the pleasure craft industry sank in 2009, it went after commercial work, and in the process had to develop a program for working in steel, which it hadn’t done in five decades or so. With the new process came new consumables from ESAB.

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Aluminum Workshop: Electrical current in TIG and MIG

December 11, 2014

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Q: When I gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW) aluminum, I always use alternating current (AC), but when I gas metal arc weld (GMAW) aluminum, I always use direct current electrode positive (DCEP). Why the difference? Does anyone GTAW aluminum using DC? Does anyone GMAW using AC? A: In both GTAW and GMAW,...

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Aluminum Workshop: Determining aluminum metallurgy

December 10, 2014

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Q: Most of my aluminum welding involves the repair of components my customers bring me. How do I know which alloy they are made of and which filler metal to use? A: This is a good question and one to which there is no easy answer. There is no quick, cheap test that will tell you which aluminum...

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