Category Archives: Welding Industry News

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”


References

[4] Falkenstein, D. (2015). The 2007 Castleberry Farms Botulism Outbreak. [FoodPoisonJournal.com Article]. Retrieved from http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/the-2007-castleberry-farms-botulism-outbreak/#.WLcWEvnyvIU

 

[2] Fletcher, M. (2014). In the Food Plant: Danger of Corrosion When Welding Stainless Steel. [FoodSafetyMagazine.com Article]. Retrieved from http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/in-the-food-plant-danger-of-corrosion-when-welding-stainless-steel/

 

[3] Graham, D. J. (2006). Snapshots in Sanitary Equipment: Developing an Eye for Hygiene. [FoodSafetyMagazine.com Article]. Retrieved from http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2006/snapshots-in-sanitary-equipment-developing-an-eye-for-hygiene/

 

[1] Sargento. (2017). Retail Products Affected by Expanded Recall. [Info.Sargento.com Information]. Retrieved from https://info.sargento.com/

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.” – water4.org/what-we-do/  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 Water4.org)

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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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!

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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

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Live Razor Blade Challenges!

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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.

 

Scary Things in your Weld Shop

mm-blogsafetyHaunted Houses, ghosts & goblins, headless horsemen, and creepy clowns make October a scary month, but there’s all kinds of scary things lurking in your weld shop year-round.

Protecting yourself from flames, sparks, and miscellaneous flying objects doesn’t have to be a scary thing!  Here’s a rundown of the basics:

Welding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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A welding helmet is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of welding PPE. Other than a torch, a helmet (like the one worn by Arc-Zone PRO Partner, Nick Mishler -pictured left) is the accessory most associated with welding.

From passive to professional auto-darkening welding helmets, we’ve got what you need to protect your vision. If you need help selecting the proper PPE, start with this handy guide, “Choosing Welding Helmets and Goggles.” And make sure you and everyone in your weld shop are keeping an eye on safety with our “Eye Care for Welders” (pdf) guide.  Arc-Zone also has safety goggles, helmet bags for welders on the go, cheater lenses for welders of a certain age, and replacement parts for your helmet. Continue reading

Trade (welding) School Enrollment Rises in Indiana

Train Depot or Welding School?

 

What’s an old train depot have to do with welding school?

For so long we’ve been focusing on getting kids into college–but the trend may be shifting.  Trade school attendance won’t leave you crippled with six-figure student loans and you’ll graduate with skills (like welding!) that are in demand.   In Indiana, enrollment in trade schools is on the rise and in fact, the Porter County Career and Technical Education center (which includes a welding school) has found a creative way to increase their classroom space–by using this old train depot--which they moved from its original location in Valparaiso, Indiana. Continue reading