Airgas Announces Letter of Intent to Acquire Industrial Products Division of LaRoche Industries

RADNOR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 26, 2005--Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG) today announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire the Atlanta-based Industrial Products Division of LaRoche Industries, a leading distributor of anhydrous ammonia and related services in the U.S. The companies expect to sign a definitive asset purchase agreement shortly and close the transaction at the end of May, subject to customary closing conditions.
The acquisition would include a nationwide distribution system of 24 locations and more than 100 delivery vehicles. The business to be acquired generated about $65 million in revenues in 2004 and employs more than 130 people. The acquisition is expected to be accretive in the first year.

"This operation is a good strategic fit with our distribution infrastructure and would greatly strengthen our process chemicals platform acquired from Air Products in 2002," said Airgas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter McCausland. "The LaRoche assets would broaden our infrastructure to include railcar distribution, which could be used for transportation of other products in our portfolio. Its primary customer base in the utility industry also fits well with a key industrial market for us."

The acquired operations and related personnel would become a new business unit, Airgas Specialty Products, within Airgas' Gas Operations Division and accounted for with the All Other Operations segment in its financial results. The Gas Operations Division also includes Airgas Carbonic and Dry Ice, Airgas Nitrous Oxide, and Air Separation Unit operations.
"Upon a successful closing, the people of the Industrial Products Division of LaRoche can look forward to a stable and prosperous future as a member of the Airgas family," said Michel Rapoport, president of LaRoche Industries. "Our organization looks forward to working with Airgas on a smooth transition for our customers, who should see continued great service for their ammonia and related needs."

About Airgas, Inc.
Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG) is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding, safety and related products. Its integrated network of about 900 locations includes branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.


Welding Encyclopedia online from Welder's Corner

We've recently added a Welding Encyclopedia to the Welder's Corner. It's based on the great, free online resource, the Wikipedia. The encyclopedia breakes welding down into its core components and explains everything in detail.

The Wikipedia, a "user created" common pool of knowledge, is a terrific resource for topics of all kinds. It's created by people with an interest in the topic, and you can add, edit,. or change categories. It's communal knowledge of the best kind for just about any topic.

Check it out:


From the "some welding jobs are more important than others" file...


One-armed man learning to live again - by welding

What an inspiration...

Brandon Whatley lost his arm in a car accident, but he's working hard to learn the welding trades. Here's to his future. Welding is hard enough with two arms.

Asbestos, Mesothelioma, and Welders

Since asbestos was used in so many ways, for so many years, in so many places, welders have been among those most affected by its ill effects, including mesothelioma, commonly known as asbestos cancer.

Most construction or fabrication workers were involved with asbestos at some time or another, even those of the unlikeliest professions. Asbestos was used in shipyards, petrochemical plants, paper mills, factories, steel mills, building construction, and the telephone industry. Asbestos was used so widely that virtually all that was involved with construction or design, of any kind, had exposure to asbestos in one form or another.

In particular, welders who work on renovation projects are at risk, and if you do, you should be aware of the dangers.

According to AsbestosResource.com, "building engineers, building material products manufacturers, cement plant production workers, construction workers (including insulators, boilermakers, laborers, steel/ironworkers, plumbers, steam fitters, plasterers, drywallers, cement and masonry workers, roofers, tile/linoleum installers, carpenters, HVAC mechanics and welders) all used asbestos in many products that they worked with. Asbestos was used in the flight industry, so aerospace and missile production workers, aircraft manufacturing production workers, and aircraft mechanics are all at risk. Basically all trades of construction workers are at risk."

What does this mean to welders working today? For the most part, we're safe, as companies are cognizant of the dangers of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. But do you really want to leave your safety to someone else? If you are working in an old facility, where there might be some possibility of asbestos being present, don't be afraid to ask questions.

It's your health, after all.


Production Monitoring Software from Lincoln Electric Enables Remote Weld Data Review

This is a press release from Lincoln Electric.

Cleveland, Ohio - Whether on the road or in the office above the factory floor, new Production Monitoring™ Software from The Lincoln Electric Company enables key personnel to monitor weld data for any networked Power Wave® power source at the touch of a button. Allowing engineers and executives to stay connected with the shop floor from anywhere in the world helps to ensure welding systems are working properly and identifies problems as they arise.

In addition to monitoring weld data, the Production Monitoring Software allows for storing and sharing files, monitoring production tasks, setting weld limits and tolerances, and tracking consumable inventory. With Lincoln's new software, welding machine faults can also be logged and emailed, while diagnostic troubleshooting can be performed from a remote location.

By integrating digital technology to network welding equipment, key personnel will be able to perform the following functions from anywhere in the world:

• Easily set welding limits based on sampling with the Installation/Set-up Wizard.

• View the status of multiple networked Power Wave welding power sources at the push of button.

• Collect and store long and short term weld history.

• Execute actions or develop communication alerts when out of limit.

• Pinpoint work shift problems and evaluate production cycle and output using work shift timers and production reports.

• Manage and set tolerance data for each of 32 unique weld profiles.

• Email data to multiple users to provide information on specific events, potential or real-time problems.

• Automatic wire usage tracking and notification to minimize downtime for consumable replacement.

• Generate power source performance reports.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc-welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment.


Mig welding and auto body work - when to use MIG, Hammer Welding, or Tig Welding

Do you use MIG welding for auto body work? (Full credit: See this article for more info)

It’s been called a “bad idea fostered on us amateurs by our ignorance.” This is because using MIG on auto body work is akin to using a sledge hammer to hammer in finishing nails—it’s too rough for the work.

If you look at the available wire for MIG, you don't find anything much softer than S60 or higher wire. In general, the higher the yield strength of metal, the harder it is to work. So the weld bead left by MIG is extremely hard relative to body sheet metal. It’s almost impossible to work in that context. It also cracks very easily even if one tries to anneal the metal in the weld. “In restoring a 1967 Mercury Cougar I finally had to teach myself hammer welding using a welding torch,” said one welder. “The results were better!” This welder taught himself hammer welding using a welding torch. When he did…

  • The seam is the same thickness as the parent sheet metal.
  • The seam is as soft or softer than the parent sheet metal.
  • The seam and the surrounding sheet metal are easily worked to remove any defects caused by the welding process.
Should you want to equal the hammer welding process but with an electric source of heat, TIG welding is the way to go. The filler metal selection is lots wider and the TIG can be run way down to 10 amps or so which would probably let you weld aluminum foil! Most professional welders hold the opinion that a TIG weld is superior to MIG.

So why do professional body shops use MIG? Mostly because it’s necessary for welding high-strength steel used in the structural automobile parts, but not for external sheet metals. External sheet metal—the part of the car we can see—is mild steel It’s too expensive and difficult for car manufacturers to make sheet metal forming dies with high-strength steel. Body shops replace whole panels. They rarely patch one. The high-quality restoration shops use TIG or (usually) a torch and hammer welding.


How to build your own welding table for about $50...(from Lincoln Electric)

A great little resource is available over at Lincoln Electric...how to build your own Welding Table.

A steel welding table is a basic necessity for any welder's workspace, since welding on a wooden surface can present a very real fire hazard. In addition, with a steel table, the welder's work clamp can be attached to it, and parts placed on the table will be electrically connected with the table's surface. This provides the advantage of keeping the work clamp and its cable out of your way while welding. Finally, building your own welding table with allow you to stand upright and place smaller projects at the right height for welding.

Following are instructions for building your own metal welding table. All of the items, with the exception of the metal plates needed for the shelves, can be found readily available at your local home improvement store. The steel plates can be purchased from a local steel supplier easily found in your local yellow pages. Expect to complete this project in less than four hours. The estimated cost for the materials to build this welding table is $50.

Lincoln gives you a lot of information on how to do this welding table project. They have photos, extensive information, and even plans in PDF format. You should check it out; it sounds like a fun project.


Students practice motor skills with Welding

The work is tedious, the hours long, the dirt unending and the pay nonexistent; but for the love of cars, 14 high school students work day in and day out to fulfill every teenager's dream of someday driving a hot rod.

Okay, so maybe they're not all hot rods, but the students in the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Auto Body Paint and Repair course at Paradise High School are working on cars because it's what they love to do.

In the ROP auto class, students learn skills such as welding, painting, sanding and dent removal to prepare them for a job in the automotive repair field, if they so desire, or just for their own, personal knowledge and enjoyment.

Compared to welding under a bridge, this sounds like fun!


Ohio State offers welding engineering course of study - worldwide...

Interested in becoming a welding engineer? It can be done - even if you don't live near a goo d program - with the OSU welding engineering program. The program's designed to train welding engineers to meet the challenges of manufacturing for the 21st century. It's the only ABET accredited undergraduate program in North America

Welding is a critical manufacturing process that has been estimated to impact over 50% of the products manufactured in the U.S. Almost every segment of our economy depends, to some degree, on welding and materials joining. While most may think of welding in terms of a process, it is actually a complex engineering discipline that involves aspects of materials science, design, inspection, mechanical and electronic systems, lasers, and robots.

The Welding Engineering Program at Ohio State University supplies top-notch welding engineers to the worldwide manufacturing community. According to their site, "In order to expand the availability of a Welding Engineering education to a wider audience, the faculty has embarked upon a distance education program to allow students from around the world to access Welding Engineering courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level."

These courses can be taken on either a credit or non-credit basis. The following provides additional information on undergraduate and graduate courses that are being offered via distance education, a schedule for course offerings, and an on-line M.S. Welding Engineering degree program.

Interesting stuff, for sure, and worth checking out if you're interested in advancing your career.


Miller Releases Welding Safety Guides

I like what they're doing. All of these welder's safety guides are in PDF format, so you'll find them easy to print and keep handy.

Miller Welding's Welder's Safety Guides

To help you stay accident free, Miller is giving you a wide variety of welding safety guidelines and resources. These guidelines are based on AWS, ANSI, NEMA, NFPA, and many other organizations that have your best interests in mind. How does a pro use his tools? Safely and carefully - by the book - every day! Use these resources to join the ranks of professional welders whose lives depend on the safe handling and use of welding and cutting equipment.

These safety precautions contain the basic information needed to install, operate, maintain, and repair Miller welding equipment. They are short, direct, clear, and simple. These precautions are the backbone of every welder's Owner's Manual they produce. They cover most hazards you may encounter and explain briefly how to avoid them. Included at the end of each is a list of safety references so you can find more complete information if you need it.

Thanks to Miller for these invaluable guides. They'll make your welding safer and better.


Welcome to Welder's Corner

This is my first post on this blog -- and actually my first post on any blog. So bear with me. I'm here to look at welding, welder's issues, and welding equipment. I'll be looking at what the major welding manufacturers do, how-to guides for everyone from the hobbyist to the industrial career welder, and more...so here we go.