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Full-Featured Spool Gun for Pulse Aluminum Welding (GMAW-P) with Red-D-Arc’s New GX330XL Portable Gas Drive Welder

05 October, 21 1:55 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc

GX330XL Gas Engine Welder with Spool Gun for Aluminum Welding
If you’re looking for a portable, hassle free, full-featured spool gun solution for your steel or aluminum welding projects, look no further than Lincoln’s Magnum PRO 250LX GT K3569-2 spool gun for you next in-field welding job. The Magnum PRO 250LX GT connects directly to Red-D-Arc’s new GX330XL (and Lincoln’s Ranger 330MPX) without the need for additional adapters or control boxes. It’s simply a matter of attaching the gas hose, attaching the 7-pin control cable, and attaching the power cable to the output studs for .025”, .035” steel wire welding or .030”-.035” and 3/64” aluminum wire welding. (more…)

Welding Aluminum Just Got Easier with the Lincoln Magnum SG

06 May, 21 2:46 pm · Leave a comment · Geoff Campbell

Lincoln Magnum SG spool gunWelding aluminum just got easier with the help of the Magnum SG spool gun from Lincoln Electric. The Magnum SG is a lightweight, semiautomatic spool gun designed to provide easy and reliable aluminum wire feeding. It works with a variety of CV power sources and engine-driven welders. Rated 250 amps @ 60%, the Magnum® SG features a 25 ft (7.5 m) gun cable and integrated wire feed speed control in the handle to reduce the need for walking back to the power source. (more…)

6 Ways Welding Factors Into Successful Plant Shutdowns

14 April, 20 11:42 am · Leave a comment · Geoff Campbell

Whether you’re working in the petrochemical, manufacturing, or food and beverage industry, plant shutdowns are inevitable. Plant maintenance is vital to optimizing the peak performance of a facility to ensure profitability, safety, and regulatory compliance.

From a routine plant shutdown and maintenance period, metrics such as quality, schedule, and cost can be measured and planned in advance. However, exceptions such as the global outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic can pave the way for unexpected maintenance opportunities. In a move to contain the virus spread, companies close up shop temporarily to follow government mandates, protect their employees and take advantage of the opportunity to perform deep-cleaning routines using technologies like dry ice blasting on their factories simultaneously.

tig welding on pipe

Due to decreased market demand and socioeconomic factors, ramping up production won’t make sense in this time of crisis. Economically, increased future profits from plant maintenance might outweigh the revenue loss from operations and expenditures from the plant shutdown once all capital assets are calibrated to perform optimally.  In this article, we discuss the crucial steps on how to manage a successful plant turnaround with welding factored in.


1. Planning and Scope Management

Plant shutdown or turnaround requires detailed project management. Managing complex layers of plant maintenance that revolve around three crucial standpoints of cost, time and quality can make or break the plant turnaround performance.

Stakeholder involvement also plays a part in setting the scope of work for the plant shutdown. Success should be measured from the business, operation, execution, and organizational perspectives. Hiring plant turnaround service providers can be beneficial in terms of shutdown expertise, while in-house skilled staff can provide the essential historical data from previous plant shutdowns to set the baseline metrics and benchmarks. These can include:

  • Calculation of labor hours and rates
  • Initial work packages
  • Equipment data records

One example of this client-contractor integration would be a defective pipeline weld requiring repair every few weeks. While a short-term solution by the client would be to weld over the cracks, in due time it will cost more in the long run if failure analysis is not performed by a competent welding engineer. It could be as simple as identifying the root cause, or as complex as examining fractured surfaces under an electron microscope and performing metallurgical tests.

2. Cost Management

Plant shutdowns can be very expensive, as any profits spread over the years can be slashed in a span of weeks to a few months’ time. Whether on a full-scale or segment basis, you need to factor in two direct costs on your estimates: maintenance fees from execution and profit loss.

As plant maintenance incurs costs, scheduled stoppage for plants is often moved from annual to 3-5 years due to upfront investment in quality machinery. However, any lack of routine maintenance on aging equipment can impede the productivity of a plant. Industries that rely heavily on welding can cause major headaches once welding equipment breaks down.

In three words, here’s one way where you can save up on costs: Preventable Cost Efficiency (PCE). Put actual numbers to the problem by dividing the cost of service per hour and the cost of production maintenance per hour. If a plant turnaround service provider charges $50/hour and downtime costs $500/hour, then PCE is 10%. You could pay $10 now for preventative maintenance of your welding equipment or pay $55 later for the repair of hard or soft failures.

3. Schedule Management

aircraft maintenance inspection on small plane

Since plant shutdowns have a direct cost-to-schedule ratio, there’s enormous pressure to finish the turnaround early or on time for potential savings. This requires efficient resource management: planning for risk mitigation, expert plant turnaround services, lead times on material and equipment procurement, labor availability, and duration of work packages. Maintenance systems are grouped into:

  • Routine
  • Predictive
  • Breakdown
  • Preventive

Turnaround managers schedule the scope of work on a critical path method (CPM) – achieving essential objectives in the shortest amount of time. Red-D-Arc provides two value-based solutions to this time-deficit problem: orbital welders produce quality pipe welds and minimize weld time by utilizing a gear-driven track ring system, while multi-process TIG welders combine 4-in-1 solutions (TIG welders, MIG welders, flux core and stick welding) providing a flexible versatile welding solution.

4. Inspection and Execution

For heavy-impact industries reliant on welding, inspection for plant shutdown should be done in an agile process with control points. Prior to procurement, welding engineers should perform material inspection alongside the planning phase to determine on a priority basis what needs removal, replacement, repair, or alteration.

To repair weld, knowing the material specification can’t be overstated. Welding engineers or turnaround managers should cross-reference construction drawings with the maintenance handbook and identify any grade markings that require regulatory compliance such as ASTM and AISI/SAE. Welding aluminum and steel on building structures require different welding procedures under AWS D1.2 and AWS D1.1, respectively.

Even far stricter under ASME B31 Code for Pressure Piping are boilers, vessels, and tanks with ASME marking stamped on nameplates. Stringent regulations impose that only contractors with “R” stamp issued by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors are qualified to perform welding on these components.

For accuracy, cut the weld material for laboratory analysis and identify minimum requirements below:

  • Welding process used
  • Welding electrodes or filler metals to be used
  • Preheating and post-weld heat-treating requirements
  • Heat input control
  • Defect removal
  • Final inspection and non-destructive testing (NDT)

5. Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) and Safety

plasma cutting process


Once plant shutdown is underway, perform safety regulations on-site for welded components per ANSI Z49.1 Safety in Cutting, Welding, and Allied Processes. Anytime a TIG welder enters a confined space for repair, local exhaust ventilation measures such as a downdraft bench and movable hood should be employed.

Existing building steel has external structural loads to be removed before weld repairs so consult AWS D1.7 Guide for Strengthening and Repairing Existing Structures. To minimize hydrogen-induced cracking and restore ductility, induction heaters can be employed for pre-heating and post-weld heat treatment, resulting in efficient weld quality of high-strength and low-alloy steels.

6. Restart

Plant shutdowns won’t be complete without final inspection for testing and commissioning. Once all systems are up and running with normal or improved performance levels, regulatory agencies will give you a green light for the startup. The final report will serve as baseline data for future plant turnarounds.

Welding Aluminum To Steel

05 March, 20 9:25 am · Leave a comment · Tom Masters

How To Weld Aluminum To Steel: Is It Possible? What Are My Options?

Weld Aluminum
If you’re new to welding, you may be wondering if it’s possible for you to weld aluminum to steel. Welding “like-to-like” metals like steel-to-steel and aluminum-to-aluminum is usually very straightforward. However, when you try to weld together two very different metals like aluminum and steel – such as two components manufactured by tube laser cutting – things can get a little bit more complicated. So, is it possible to weld aluminum to steel? What are your options for doing so? Let’s discuss everything you need to know.

Choosing The Right Welder For Building a BBQ Smoker

30 August, 19 3:58 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc

Best welder for building a bar-b-que smoker

There may only be one thing better than eating delicious barbecue cooked slow and low on a smoker, and that is eating some delicious barbecue that you cooked slow and low on the barbecue smoker that you made. Making barbecue smokers has long been a favorite hobby of backyard cooks and professional pitmasters alike.

Multi-Process Welders

27 February, 19 4:53 am · Leave a comment · reddarc

Miller XMT450 Multi-Process Welder

Most people who have been in a technical profession know the constant need for a variety of tools.  One minute you may need a pliers, then a knife, then a file, then a screwdriver, and once the day is all done, a bottle opener.  This is the reason why multi-tools have become so popular; they combine all of these tools into one. In the world of welding, there is something similar to a multi-tool.  It is known as a multi-process welder. Red-D-Arc carries multi-process welders because we know that one minute you might be self-shielded flux core welding some dirty, ½” thick steel and then the next minute be fitting up 18 gauge aluminum that you need to gas tungsten arc weld.


The Importance of Welding Surface Preparation

28 March, 18 2:08 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc

By guest blogger David H.

welding surface preparationHaving worked in shipyards for seven years, I’m familiar with how dirty this type of job site can be. Ship repair worksites and welding surfaces are often filthy with rust, dust and other contaminants. Even in shops and yards where fabrication is ongoing, cleanliness is often lacking. If fabricated or refurbished pieces are being installed onboard, the surface to which the piece will be welded could be rusty, coated with scale, or have other types of corrosion.

AirGas Logo

Airgas, an Air Liquide company, is the nation's leading single-source supplier of gases, welding and safety products. Known locally nationwide, our distribution network serves more than one million customers of all sizes with a broad offering of top-quality products and unmatched expertise.