Category Archives: Welding Industry News

Coast to Coast Eclipse 2017

The Sky’s So Bright… I Gotta Wear [#14] Shades


We’re fascinated by the upcoming Eclipse on August 21, 2017, which migrates from one U.S. coast all the way to the other. To serve our customers, we’ve added an awesome Shade 14 lens and a bundle with goggles to help you SAFELY share the eclipse experience with friends & family. Click to listen to this little ditty by Timbuk 3. Guaranteed to get you in the Eclipsing mood. 

Who Knows Eclipses?… Welders Do!

Watching an eclipse is similar to welding with a passive lens.  It feels like you’re wandering around blind for a moment, but once you strike an arc, your small glimpse of the world [puddle] comes into view.

Same goes for slipping a #14 lens into your hood or goggles to stare at the sun… keep your hood down, til there’s total darkness & then it’s safe to gaze upon the wonder of the sunless sky (or your weld zone) and the world around you. Once the flash of the sun reappears, it’s time to get back under the hood, outfitted with a #14 lens or an ISO 12312-2 compliant & CE certified pair of special shades. 

There’s an Eclipse, You Say…

On August 21, the lure of staring at the sun is going to overcome most Americans… as we try to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse. In 1,000’s of towns & cities and 14 states from sea to shining sea, there will be total darkness for over 2 minutes in the middle of the day. The last time the contiguous U.S. experienced a total eclipse, bell bottoms and disco were all the rage & the year was 1979. During a solar eclipse, the moon obstructs the Earth’s view of the sun completely or in part. The entire event will last about 3 hours, but the longest period of total darkness will be under 3 minutes. Oregonians will be the first in the U.S. to dawn their eclipse lenses at 9:05 am PDT with totality commencing at 10:16 am PDT.


When will the eclipse happen in your town?  Check-out NASA’s Interactive Map to pinpoint when you should be on the look-out for the big celestial event. Note: You’ll need to convert from (UTC) Coordinated Universal Time to your time zone.

So Why Do Eclipses Happen?

Sky & Telescope does a good job of describing how and why:

“A solar eclipse… occurs only at new Moon, when the lunar disk passes directly between us and the Sun. Conversely, a lunar eclipse takes place during full Moon, when our satellite passes through Earth’s shadow.

These alignments don’t happen at every new and full Moon because the lunar orbit is tipped about 5° to Earth’s orbital plane — only occasionally do the Sun, Earth, and Moon line up exactly enough for an eclipse to occur. (The technical name for that, by the way, is syzygy.)

Solar eclipses more tightly restrict where you can see them because the Moon casts a smaller shadow than Earth does. If the Moon completely hides the Sun, the eclipse is considered total. With its brilliant disk completely covered, the Sun’s ghostly white outer atmosphere is momentarily revealed for durations from seconds to several minutes. In November 2013, for example, planeloads of eclipse-chasers converged in a remote portion of northern Kenya to watch just 11 seconds of totality.

A completely eclipsed Sun can be viewed only from a narrow track or path on Earth’s surface that’s typically just 100 miles (160 km) wide. Outside of that path, about half of the daylit hemisphere of Earth is able to watch a partial eclipse as the Moon obscures a portion of the Sun.

The [August 21st Total Solar] eclipse in 2017… is a very special one. Whenever the Moon covers the Sun, the narrow path of totality can be anywhere in the world — often traversing remote locations. But this year’s event is very close to home for many of us, because the 70-mile-wide path of totality stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic across the continental United States. The Moon’s full shadow hasn’t passed over any U.S. soil since 1991 (Hawaii) nor across any part of the contiguous 48 states since 1979. Moreover, a total solar eclipse hasn’t run coast to coast since 1918!”

Be Safe!

Arc Flash is no joke! Welders understand the importance of safeguarding their eyes from the scorching effects of UV radiation. Shade #14 is the recommended minimum protection for welding at 400 Amps or for staring at the sun. Can you say, it’s getting hot in here?

We’ve haven’t found any auto-darkening TIG welding helmets that go above a Shade #12 or #13… cuz Shade #14 and above isn’t really used for TIG. At that amperage, you’re probably carbon arc welding (CAW). Yikes! So be careful, as your normal hood isn’t going to offer the recommended protection for your eyes, against the mighty sun’s rays.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? It’s Just UV Light…

UV Radiation Damage >>>

Corneal Epithelial Injury >>>

Ultraviolet Keratitis >>>

Chronic Solar Toxicity >>>

Protecting one’s eyes is no joke and should be taken seriously. Dr. Alex Koyfman authored a short overview of the causes of Ultraviolet Keratitis, and it definitely scared us straight… Please share  to make sure that everyone you know is viewing the eclipse safely (& welding safely) and understands the consequences of not protecting their eyes. The more frequently or longer your eyes are exposed to harmful UV radiation the worse your eyes can become, as the damage is cumulative and you may not really feel/see the effects of previous years of exposure until it’s too late. PLEASE be safe out there, when welding and when looking at the sun, especially during the solar eclipse.

On a Lighter Note, Here’s a few more informative links:

  • Curious to SEE it Now?
    • Check out NASA’s simulation of the eclipse online. It’s a great way to prep the kids safely before the Real Deal on the 21st.
  • Can’t get outta Work to See the Eclipse?
  • What about Going Camping?
    • Sky & Telescope made some suggestions for jumping in the RV or tent and checking out the eclipse from a campground. Definitely, the best idea we’ve read about!
  • Final Notes about How to View Safely:
    • Excerpt from NASA:  “Experts suggest that one widely available filter for safe solar viewing is number 14 welder’s glass. It is imperative that the welding hood houses a #14 or darker filter. Do not view through any welding glass if you do not know or cannot discern its shade number. Be advised that arc welders typically use glass with a shade much less than the necessary #14. A welding glass that permits you to see the landscape is not safe. Inexpensive eclipse glasses have special safety filters that appear similar to sunglasses, but these do permit safe viewing.”
    • Click here for a printable pdf that outlines safe eclipse viewing suggestions.

We sign off by saying stay safe out there and wear your PPE, because your future truly IS bright, and we want you to be able to see the next celestial event clearly too.

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

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

Razor Blade Challenge 2016: A Recap of Welding Demos

We were honored to join Team CK Worldwide in Las Vegas this year for the Fabtech Show. They hooked us up with a welding cell and a CK-MT200-AC/DC TIG Welding Machine. We added in a Monster Nozzle, ArcTime Tungsten, and the Cordless Sharpie Grinder to keep that tungsten (and arc) on point. None of these activities would have been possible without a little (or A LOT) of help from our dedicated Employees, our Pro Partners, and the most amazing group of Arc-Zone Customers-turned-Ambassadors on the Planet.

So what exactly went down at Fabtech?

Check it out!

Winners of the Daily Razor Blade Challenge






11/16 Wednesday: Rush Kane
(Instagram: @KaneKid)






11/17 Thursday: Karsten Anderson (Instagram: @kid_the_welder)


11/18 Friday: Ed Haroutonian (Instagram: @mobileweldspecialist)





11/18 Friday Special Winner:
D. Joshua Burgess
(Instagram: @deweyjoshua)




Thank You Dave Blackburn!

Arc-Zone would like to tip our hood to David Blackburn.  Dave drove out to LV and partnered with the Arc-Zone and CK Worldwide crews to literally make the #Razorbladechallenge happen. Dave tirelessly got each and every participant set-up to #weldlikeapro. He even supplied the Razor blades!! It’s guys like Blackburn that are driving our community forward. The unconditional support is rare in this day and age..  Thanks Again, Dave!


Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the Razor Blade Challenge!

Tom Thesing, Mark Winchester, Walter Posten, Richard Cretsinger, Julian Hernandez, Johnny Branch, Bill MCcann, Tim Rust *Woodward Inc, Aaron Biefer, Eric Williams, Mitchell Doyle, Brian Doyle, Cody Stromberg, Dave Sauvageau, Josh Himmer, Curtiss Anderson, Isaac Carrion, Richard Bishop, JD Brewer, Michael Smith.

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.