Author Archives: Jim Watson aka Joe Welder

High-Purity Welding Starts and Ends with the Right Tools

What constitutes a perfect weld? 

Perfection isn’t just about looking good “on the outside.” Perfection is actually difficult to evaluate because a poor quality weld may actually look good on the outside; it’s what you can’t see that can cause the most serious problems.

Photo Provided by: Means Engineering

Imperfect welds are undesirable on any job site. But they are unacceptable when the application is process piping for the food and beverage, water treatment, semiconductor, and many other industries. High-purity welding starts with proper preparation and is followed up with highly skilled process pipe and tube fabricators, using the best tools and equipment available.

It wasn’t long ago that you could get away with plugging pipes and tubes with masking tape and cardboard in order to create a dam to fill the tube with inert gas.  This process is referred to as purging or back-purging, and it’s critical to shielding the I.D. of the tube from atmosphere. And atmosphere is the enemy of quality, non-porous welds.

Today, there are purpose-built bladders, baffles and dams engineered to help fabricators, jobsite foreman, and welding engineers get repeatable, quality welds and establish welding processes. Add an oxygen monitor that measures contamination down to the PPM, and you’ve got a kit that’s really set-up for success. Collectively, these tools take the guesswork out of the welding process and help the operator deliver consistent, food grade, high purity welds.

What happens if there isn’t good penetration in the weld?

An improper weld can become corroded, allow bacteria to breed, and ultimately create an unsanitary environment. An unsanitary environment can cause a food poisoning outbreak if it occurs in a food processing pipe or container, and goes undetected.

In recent months, several companies have recalled food products due to the outbreak of foodborne illnesses. Sargento [1], the Home of the Real Cheese People, reported a problem in February 2017, when it recalled over 20 of its products after discovering a potential contamination with listeria that originated at one of its supplier’s manufacturing facilities.

While processors maintain high standards for the quality and safety of their products and hold suppliers accountable to the same standards, “things” can literally fall through the cracks. Corrosion is the enemy of  the food processing operation; it can cause cracks to develop in the stainless steel tubing and pipes which allows for contamination from various types of bacteria. These cracks often develop from the inside out; therefore, things may look up to par on the outside but on the inside, everything is slowly deteriorating.

Other improper welding techniques that can cause foodborne illnesses include flexing, pits at the end of the welds and stitch or spot welds [3]. Flexing occurs when there is an overlapping of butt welds which causes cracking and allows for contamination. In order to avoid flexing, a butt weld must be ground and polished to the same texture as the contiguous pieces. When pits develop, it is because the weld was terminated too rapidly. Welding is a precise science, it takes patience and extreme focus; it is very important to take the time necessary to ensure complete and safe welds. Additionally, stitch or spot welds, which should be avoided in the food processing industry, cause large gaps in between two pieces of metal. As mentioned before, any gaps or cracks are just an invitation for contamination and bacteria.

According to the Food Poison Journal [4], two children were admitted to pediatric intensive care due to a botulism outbreak from canned chili sauce. The Castleberry Food Company issued a recall for three of its chili sauces after eight reported botulism cases. Its warehouse and manufacturing plant were immediately put under investigation, and the FDA found over 16 cans of contaminated chili sauce. During the investigation, they also found that many pieces of the food processing equipment were not properly maintained.

All food-industry companies follow guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which includes adhering to strict welding schedules to ensure proper fabrication of all pipes and tubes necessary for the food processing operation. Ron Schmidt [2], contributing writer for Food Safety Magazine, says, “While it is not too difficult to protect the outside surface of a weld by using an inert gas as coverage, preventing oxidation and loss of corrosion resistance on the inside is often overlooked.”

What tools are recommended for Process Pipe Applications?

At Arc-Zone, we have assembled best of breed welding products that include:  torches, front-end parts, and back purging equipment to ensure the job is done safely, with the focus on cleanliness and durability.

We recommend investing in purge gas equipment to avoid corrosion in stainless steel pipes. This equipment is highly effective to control gas flow and pressure, and is suitable for food-safe and multi-use applications [2]. There’s a wide offering of high purity welding equipment, such as purge baffles, purge dams, weld backing tape, trail shields, purge cups, and oxygen monitors.

We welcome your questions; our team of knowledgeable Customer Care Technicians can help you out – The Right Tools Make All the Difference, especially when you’re looking for the Perfect Weld!

Thanks for Reading… and Good Welding,

Jim Watson –  ” Joe Welder”


[4] Falkenstein, D. (2015). The 2007 Castleberry Farms Botulism Outbreak. [ Article]. Retrieved from


[2] Fletcher, M. (2014). In the Food Plant: Danger of Corrosion When Welding Stainless Steel. [ Article]. Retrieved from


[3] Graham, D. J. (2006). Snapshots in Sanitary Equipment: Developing an Eye for Hygiene. [ Article]. Retrieved from


[1] Sargento. (2017). Retail Products Affected by Expanded Recall. [ Information]. Retrieved from

Monster Nozzle Testimonial

A Picture Speaks a 1,000 Words, Especially in TIG Welding

Arc-Zone’s Monster Nozzles are a great way to maximize quality in your purge welding applications.  We’ve introduced a complete line-up of these bad boys, and a complementary selection of Monster Nozzle Kits to choose from:

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.41.20 AM

Monster12™3/4″ (19.05mm) #12 Orifice x 1″ (25.4mm) Long.  Small, compact, lightweight, everyday gas nozzle that delivers optimized shield gas coverage ideal for restricted space or hard to reach TIG welding applications like intake and exhaust manifolds, tubular clusters, headers, etc.


Photo Credits: @McCannFab


Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.44.08 AM

Monster14™: 7/8″ (22.2mm) #14 Orifice x 1″ (25.4mm) Long. Compact, lightweight, everyday gas nozzle that delivers optimized shield gas coverage ideal for TIG welding applications that require a larger gas shield than off-the-shelf nozzles.


Photo Credits: @blackburnfabrication


Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 10.39.29 AM

Monster16™1″ (25.4mm) #16 Orifice x 1-1/8″ (28.5mm) Long. Large diameter, flooding nozzle designed as an alternative to extra large gas lens collet bodies, trail cups and other purge welding devices that are expensive and cumbersome.




Photo Credits: @Coldhardart


Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.02.01 AM

Monster24™1-1/2″ (38.1mm) #24 Orifice x 1-1/2″ (38.1mm) Long. Extra Large diameter, flooding nozzle designed for that special application that requires maximum shielding and is used by a skilled operator.



Photo Credits: @mishler_made_fab



Monster™ Nozzle Series Pro Kits
For those that want it all. You get one of each Monster TIG nozzle size, and all the torch parts needed to start welding.  Each kits is packaged in a convenient, high-quality kit box with a technical “how to” and lid card for easy re-ordering.

Nestor: An African Welder Transforming His Community

Why are the Trades Key to Sustainable Community Transformation?

An Oklahoma based, non-profit has executed on its vision of “putting communities on a path toward self-sufficiency.” –  Pouring money into band-aid or one time fixes, only solves a crises for a moment in time. When the leaders of our industries, local communities, or countries take the time to evaluate the human capital (or people resources) available to solve local problems, both big & small, they gain the traction needed to fabricate long term, sustainable solutions that provide opportunities for the very people they support.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration to guide your way or just your day, check-out this story about Nestor, the Togolese Welder who’s simultaneously built a business and helped solve the water crises that plagues his community in Togo. How can you use your own 2 hands to make a difference?

A little bit about Nestor:  He was born into a family of Togolese blacksmiths, and since childhood he aspired to achieve more than his father and ancestors. In the early years, Nestor worked all morning and night for just less than a dollar a day. In 1995, he built his own small shop, but he had very little consistent business, which made it difficult to survive each month. In 2010, an opportunity with Water4 gave roots to Nestor’s dream. The first piece he created for Water4 was the cross-piece for the surface assemble of a water pump. Through the hard work of Nestor and other tradesmen, 106 wells were drilled in Togo in 2014, bringing access to clean water to more than 10,000 people! (All credits for the story about Nestor and about the Water4 organization belong to

It’s easy to feel lost and powerless in our great big, lumbering, global economy.  But the power to positively transform our communities and our lives, lies within each of us. Why can’t our local trade associations work with local small business owners, metal-workers, and students to create tangible goods, tools, complete solutions that benefit our communities at large. We have the power to bridge a pathway to recover from job losses due to innovation, outsourcing, automation, and paradigm changes. How can we take what we know, build upon it, and develop our own plans to harness opportunities and solve problems?

Maybe your passion isn’t to work with people across the globe; maybe instead it’s to give a hand up to those we see when as we drive across town. What can we build, weld, tack, or fabricate together to solve critical problems? By working together, we can dream big and build a reality that’s even bigger and better than any one of of thought possible! If you have any ideas on how we can work together, drop us a line, we’d love to be inspired.

What is your dream? Weld on and make a difference. “Be the Change you want to see in the world,” – Gandhi

Fabtech 2016 Schedule and Live Videos

At Fabtech this week, Arc-Zone is partnering w/ CK Worldwide and some talented fabricators (like you… if you dare) to demo the MT200 machine, outfitted with a Monster nozzle. We’re hosting live welding challenges at CK’s Booth #N4520, and you’re invited to join the fun. Scroll down for details on how to participate & win… from home.

Fabtech Welding Demonstration Schedule


Live Razor Blade Challenges!

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-3-11-48-pm screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-3-11-24-pm
Pic Credit: @Kingpita_fab                                      @narcissisticwrench

November 18, 2016 (Friday) 12:00 – 1:00 P.M

November 17, 2016 (Thursday)



November 16, 2016 (Wednesday)




Not Going to Fabtech? You can still participate in the Razor Blade Challenge!!

For those of you who are unable to attend this year’s Fabtech 2016 that want to participate in the Razor Blade Challenge we didn’t forget about you! Let’s see what skills you’ve got! Tag Us in your photo and use #razorbladechallenge and #WeldLikeAPro for your chance to win a Monster Nozzle of your choice!

Winners will be picked by the Arc-Zone Pro Partners at the end of each day (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) and will be announced the following morning.


Welding Fix Of The Day: Stubby PRO Kit

Take a look at these goodies!😍
Now with the Low-Profile, Stubby Pro Kit you can shrink the size of the “long” parts on your 17, 18, 26 & 3 series TIG torches. Go ahead, dive right into those hard to reach areas and achieve maximum detail on your welds. 🔥👌
#arczone #weldlikeapro #welding #arctime#weld #welder #arczoneoriginal #prokit via Instagram

Welding Fix Of The Day: Welder’s First Aid Kit

Safety Police… Picked this up at my local industrial supply store a couple weeks ago. Never had one, or seen one dedicated to the Weld-shop.
So when your best laid plans and all your good welding safety precautions fail – You need a back-up plan!
We actually take safety pretty seriously at Arc-Zone.  We carry a select line of welding safety apparel, including welding wear for women!  And the best gloves for TIG welding.