Airbus to Implement Friction Stir Welding?

Speednews is reporting that Airbus will become the first big-airplane manufacturer to adopt friction stir welding production. The friction stir technique welds aluminum without melting it and eliminates the need for rivets. Airbus said it was planning on using friction stir welding on A350 assembly. This is a cool method for joining metals.

If you're into the technology side, check out The TWI World Centre for Materials Joining Technology site. Tons of links there.

Quick summation here:

In friction stir welding, a cylindrical, shouldered tool with a profiled probe is rotated and slowly plunged into the joint line between two butted-together pieces of sheet or plate material. The parts have to be clamped onto a backing bar in a manner that prevents the abutting joint faces from being forced apart. Frictional heat is generated between the wear resistant welding tool and the material of the workpieces. This heat causes the latter to soften without reaching the melting point and allows traversing of the tool along the weld line. The plasticised material is transferred from the leading edge of the tool to the trailing edge of the tool probe and is forged by the intimate contact of the tool shoulder and the pin profile. It leaves a solid phase bond between the two pieces. The process can be regarded as a solid phase keyhole welding technique since a hole to accommodate the probe is generated, then filled during the welding sequence.

Katrina, the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans...

During the last hurricane, there were news stories about welders and welding distributors donating generators to help with the situation. What they're facing in Missisipi, Louisiana and Alabama is such an unspeakable disaster that I don't think anyone knows how to proceed yet. It's one of those problems so huge that you can't start to get your mind around it-- any step seems pointless given the destruction.

Yet, a few generators can maybe make a positive difference for some people. Welders were generous for Andrew. Let's hope we can be so for this unimaginable disaster.

Speaking of that, Northern Tool has established a hotline for generator users during hurrican season. For those who might need assistance on their generators, it's a good place to start. Call (800) 214-8921 toll-free if you need it.


American Welding Society introduces Certified Welding Supervisor Program

Claiming that it will reduce welding costs and increase profitability, the American Welding Society rolls out its Certified Welding Supervisor Program. The program is designed to give managers, engineers designers and foremen the ability to enhance profitability and reduce welding costs. I don't know if anyone's interested in it, but for the right company, it might be a good thing.

Just for the fact that it gives you a consolidated body of information to draw from, I'd think it would be interesting to get involved with. I agree with the AWS that too often managers and supervisors are too ignorant of welding processes and procedures, and that if they can bring up that knowledge base, it's good for everyone in the business.

Check all of out AWS's certs programs here: http://www.aws.org/certification. They have tons. The Supervisor certification can be found at http://www.aws.org/certification/CWS.


Valley National Gases buying Reynolds welding supply...

A bit of welding business related news here...these guys are acquiring quite a collection of welding companies.

From PRWIRE: Valley National Gases Incorporated today announced that it entered into a formal agreement to acquire Reynolds Welding Supply Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Welders Supply Company, Inc. and Twin City Oxygen Company, Inc. The Companies are industrial gases and welding supply distributors, with a total of six operating locations, five in South Central Minnesota and one in Southeastern South Dakota. Aggregate annual sales, for all three companies, is approximately $20 million. Valley National Gases' Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William A. Indelicato commented, "We are pleased to have the associates of Reynolds Welding, Welder's Supply and Twin City Oxygen join our Valley family. The Reynolds Companies provide us with the opportunity to participate, with a strong presence, in the states of Minnesota and South Dakota. Although these businesses are not contiguous with Valley's current operations, we believe the size and quality of all three companies provide us with an excellent new base of operations in the upper Midwest."

Portsmouth taken off base closing list

Just a quickie update - the welders and other guys at Portsmouth can breathe a sigh of relief. They were removed from the Pentagon's base closure list. Other sites are on the line, and other welding guys are on the line as well. More on this later...


BRAC votes today - 600 bases at stake...

Just a quick follow up to yesterday's post on the welders at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and its peril due to the base closings process. Today's the day the BRAC votes for final recommendations that'll be sent to the President. My guess? The initial bases will all be closed. That's been the history of base closings. It's a brutal thing, and all these guys deserve better, but we can't keep bases we don't need.

Keep an eye open, and think good things if you're at one of the affected facilities.


Pipe Pal - a nifty pipe welding template

I ran across The "Pipe Pal" the other day and thought some of you pipe welders might be interested in what appears to be a good pipe template. It works by aligning saddles and 45 degree pipe ends for easy marking. They sell em' in 2" and 2-1/2" diameters. Looks like it'd make a piping, fencing, or handrail job go quicker and match better.

I haven't used one yet, but I'll review it once I have.


American welding society releases ANSI Z49.1:2005 Revision

The ANSI Z49.1:2005 Revision is now available for free download from the American Welding Society. I'll throw out their press release so you can find it if you're so inclined.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (See it over at AWS's site)

Miami, FL-August 17, 2005: The American Welding Society's (AWS) Board of Directors recently authorized free electronic distribution of the current (2005) revision of ANSI Z49.1, Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes.

The Board decided this important voluntary welding safety and health standards document should receive the widest distribution possible and has directed that Z49.1-2005 be made available for free download from the AWS Website http://www.aws.org/technical/facts.

During World War II, the huge demand for war materials production placed on the United States brought a tremendous expansion in the use of welding. In mid-1943 it was recognized that some type of code or standard was needed relating to safe practices for performing welding. Under the auspices of the American Standards Association, the standard was drafted and published in 1944. It was entitled American War Standard Z49.1, Safety in Electric and Gas Welding, and Cutting Operations.

Following the war, the standard was first revised in 1950. Subsequent revisions occurred in 1958, 1967, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1994, and 1999. During the period of these revisions, the American Standards Association has become the American National Standards Institute and War Standard ASA Z49.1-1944 became ANSI Z49.1-2005.


Chip Foose chooses Lincoln Electric as welding source

This is press release fodder, but Foose's choice of Lincoln products will be good marketing for them and probably help their efforts...

"Provocative designs and sleek curves are the hallmarks of legendary hot rod designer and fabricator Chip Foose. His work has already captured three Don Ridler Memorial Awards, one of the most coveted trophies on the show car circuit. As the lead designer and builder of the Discovery Channel series Overhaulin' that airs weekly on TLC, Foose is a household name among those who tune in to see how he and his team of technicians radically transform a car for its unsuspecting owner. Viewers of the show are also familiar with Foose Design, his Huntington Beach, Calif., shop, equipped with only the best tools to translate design ideas into reality.

Recently, after a side-by-side comparison, Foose replaced his former brand of welding equipment to outfit his shop solely with Lincoln Electric MIG, TIG and plasma equipment. Citing a better arc and improved welding performance, Foose and his fabricators are now taking advantage of the Lincoln Power MIG(TM) 350MP and Power MIG 255 MIG welders, Precision(TM) TIG 275 and Invertec® V205-T TIG welders and Pro-Cut® 55 plasma cutter.

"I love Lincoln's Precision TIG with Micro-Start(TM) because you can get right in there and see what you're working on before you start melting the metal," said Foose. "It has a much lower heat input, which gives you more control and just an overall beautiful weld. All of our craftsmen love them. Our Lincoln plasma cutter is great too. You can get into tight places with no problem."

Read the rest over at Yahoo...


A site I recommend on welding history

Just a quick link for you here on welding history. Even the wikipedia doesn't have the depth that Mark Sapp has put together for his website, weldinghistory.org. It's got the roots of welding from as early as 6000 B.C. and stretching to modern times. Fascinating stuff, if you're a welder or otherwise interested in metalworking.

Design News details Titanium welding advances

One of my favorite sites is Design News, so when they have something about welding, I always make a point to give it a shout-out. This time they're going in depth about a highly anticipated welding code to help engineers and increase titanium use in industrial and military areas. That code, the D1.9 Structural Welding Code for Titanium seems to be on its way toward final approval.

The code's in its ninth stage of revision, and was submitted to the American Welding Society for approval in May 2005. According to the AWS website, it's going to be approved by mid-2006.


Herrmann Ultrasonics unveils FDA compliant ultrasonic welder

I don't normally get into plastics welding, but it is a part of this business so I thought I'd cover it. It's an expanding field and very different from the metalworking, but still related.

In Schaumburg IL, Herrmann Ultrasonics has unveiled the first (and they say only) FDA-compliant ultrasonic welder. The FDA System is an add-on software package. It meets FDA CFR 21 part 11 standards for login and traceability.

Login in screens let only authorized personnel operate the system. Operators can be defined as an Administrator, Supervisor, Setup, or User(s) and can be enabled or prohibited from changing the different features of the DIALOG touch weld process controller. An Audit Trail (electronic record) is created, showing all changes made and the user that made the changes (electronic signatures).

Herrmann Ultrasonics has been setting industry standards with features such as true Windows®-based touch screen controllers, most rigid machine design, built in calibration, and on-screen weld process graphing capabilities. The FSC software continues the pioneering path of the recognized technology leader in ultrasonic welding.

Read the details over at the Herrmann Ultrasonics website...


Monster Garage: "How to Weld Damn Near Anything" Book

Monster Garage's "How to Weld Anything" Book

This one has been out for a while, and I think it's okay. There are probably better books out there , but this one has that golden brand name. If you're a Monster fan, you may want it for collection purposes. If you're starting to learn to weld, it has some good stuff. But there might be better resources out there, depending on your expertise and situation.

The publisher has this to say: "Want to learn how to weld just like they do on Monster Garage? This invaluable guide to welding covers techniques used for Indy and NASCAR race cars, experimental aircraft, and other applications requiring high-quality welds, including welding 4130 steel, stainless and aluminum, as well as plasma cutting. Learn how to select equipment, set up your welding shop, pre-weld jigging and fitting, and how to choose the right process and fill metal for each project. Includes chapters on the latest technology in filler metals and welding rod."

Give it a look. They have a neat feature that lets you preview pages, so you can get a peek inside.


In Southern California, Welders File Mass Tort Lawsuits

It's heating up on the mass torts front for welders and welding rod fume exposure. I don't know how to interpret this yet. We do need to know how much potential harm there is out there for welders when we are exposed to these fumes.

Yet, part of me has seen the explosion of lawsuits -- especially class action stuff where only the lawyers seem to win -- and wonder about the situation. (Ever read John Grisham's "The King of Torts"? It'll make you wonder.)

According to BusinessWire, 8 Southern California Welders File Mass Tort Lawsuits Against Airco Inc., Caterpillar, Inc., General Electric Company Among More Than 55 Defendants for Injuries Caused by Exposure to Welding Fumes.

Eighteen welding rod workers filed a mass tort lawsuit today in Los Angeles Superior Court against Airco Inc., Caterpillar, Inc., General Electric Company and more than 55 other named defendants claiming that they suffered serious neurological injuries as a consequence of exposure to welding fumes containing manganese, a substance medically recognized as toxic to the human central nervous system. Plaintiffs' complaints for damages allege 15 claims, including negligence, strict products liability, and fraud/deceit by suppression/concealment, involving welding products that were manufactured, sold, distributed, and/or promoted by Defendants. All of the Defendants were, at relevant times, manufacturers and sellers of welding products, large industrial consumers of welding rod products, and members of leading trade organizations, including the American Welding Society and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

The Plaintiffs are jointly represented by the Santa Monica, CA law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler (Bruce C. Fishelman, Timothy J. Wheeler, Geoffrey S. Wells), the Los Angeles, CA law firm of Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP (Brian J. Panish, Kevin R. Boyle), the Los Angeles office of Kirk B. Bernard, and the San Francisco, CA law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP (Robert J. Nelson, Eric B. Fastiff). John John vs. A.O. Smith Corporation, et. al., Case No. BC337178.

I'll keep an eye out on this...


Austin, Texas welder sparks career as steel works artist

Central Texas is filled with wonderful artists. And while each has followed a unique path, Jimmy Harwell, a Hays County artist, got a late start at it -- entirely by accident.

"Of course we had horses and rode a lot and so I always wore spurs," Harwell said of his childhood. "But you know always wore real cheap spurs, then I decided 'well I'll just make some spurs,' and actually I made my first pair when I was 17."

And so began Harwell's artistic career. He just didn't know it at the time.

Eventually, this welder by trade started making the decorative kind of spurs and many other works. His art career officially started decades after those first spurs while enrolled at Austin Community College.

See the rest at Austin's News 8 Website...