Prior Situation

A large steel fabricator facing strict deadlines and a shrinking labor pool turned to General Air for advice. Their current system of welding 1/4” plate, butt joints, consists of welding with an 0.045” diameter flux-cored wire and 100% CO2 weld shielding gas. The weld operator would then weld butt joints on 12 ft sections of steel from one side at 14 ipm travel speed.

When complete, the operator would flip the material, back gouge the weld (to remove impurities), clean it up, and then weld the backside with the same procedure as the front. However, This whole process costs valuable time and money.

butt joints
Welding 1/4″ plate with the FCAW process at 14 ipm travel speed

PE Solution

In an effort to meet the strict deadlines, General Air’s Productivity Enhancement team went right to work. As a result, General Air implemented an automation system utilizing a tractor and the submerged arc process. A 5/32” diameter solid wire was then used to accommodate a travel speed of over 50 ipm.

The new welding process eliminated the need for back gouging the first weld—freeing up valuable time to then help meet the delivery demands of the customer. In addition, welding fume was virtually eliminated. And, once the procedures were set, less skilled operators were able to produce exceptional quality welds resulting in less rework than ever before.

butt joints
Welding 1/4″ plate with the subarc process at travel speeds in excess of 50 ipm

Success Highlights: Over $30,000 in Annual Savings

  • 380% increase in weld travel speed
  • Nearly eliminated welding fume
  • Eliminated back gouging

Author: Steve Duren