Being the best specialty welding company in the industry has been our goal since we started ARC Services in 2010. The idea was to take everything we learned throughout our careers, both good and bad, and apply it to current industry standards and product applications. Although many are content with a combination of GTAW and SMAW, we do not feel that is enough. We wanted to be able to work with the newest and most exotic metals known in the industry, and in order to do so, we needed to be willing to perform the research and development on the front end.
We knew that with this vision we would have to be willing to perform lots of research and development to get a level of knowledge and understanding unknown to most specialty welding companies. After ten years in the business, we are proud of the research and development investment we have made. We are confident that you will see why ARC Services is the best specialty welding company in the business.
Improving the Life Cycle of your Asset
It became apparent that the industry was at a turning point with the emergence of new alloys and gas mixtures, and we wanted to capitalize on that so that our customers could enjoy improved life cycles for their assets. We also knew that with different alloys in certain applications, you could reduce the wall thickness specifications in some cases by half.
When given the opportunity to work on different exotic metals, we performed many tests along the way to validate our findings using both manual and automatic processes in an effort to achieve the best fit while staying within the metal’s parameters. We learned a great deal after each evolution and became leading experts in that specific material. We joined several organizations and innovators in the field along the way to stay abreast of best practices and the most up to date information about innovation and failure analyses. Some of our partners include: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) , ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Committee Member, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Committee Member on Creep Strength, Enhanced Ferritic Steels, American Welding Society D10 Committee on Pipe and Tubing Standards, SME Panel Member for the American Welding Society US/EU Welding Standards Harmonization Effort, ASNT Member, US Dept. of Energy/Energy Facilities Contractors Group (EFCOG) Welding Task Group Member, and AWS D 18 Committee on Hygienic Stainless Steel Welding.
Once we built a solid foundation of knowledge from testing and practice, we shifted our attention to the process of automation. Our goals were simple; to build or modify equipment in an effort to think outside the box. We look at every situation with a new lens, but we ensure that the primary goal is to provide clients with solutions to their most difficult problems. More importantly, we provide a product and services that are tried and true. We constantly strive to provide safety and quality the first time. For example, we recently performing automatic welding in nuclear plants with high dose rates using a video system. Doing so allowed us to make the welds from a distance using fiber optics and video systems to minimize dose rates for the project.
Working with exotic metals or new welding techniques can be confusing and daunting, and those feelings can be amplified when working under a timeline. Using our expertise, we can eliminate most of the trial and error for a client. The depth and breadth of our knowledge will help you save money and time.
The Safety of Welding Exotic Metals
A recent study conducted by the Engineering Control Technology Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Boilermaker's National Apprenticeship Training School in Kansas City, KS, found that fumes produced by welding stainless steels contain a variety of toxic constituents. The study focused on the types of fumes generated and the effectiveness of fume-abatement equipment to protect welders. The analysis showed that welding stainless steel exposes workers to arsenic, nickel, chromium, hexavalent chromium, manganese, and iron, most of which are considered to be carcinogenic by NIOSH. Further, case studies link excessive exposure to welding emissions with a higher incidence of acute and chronic respiratory ailments. Workers who do not wear proper respiratory devices can put themselves at risk for a variety of health problems. According to the study, "Welder respiratory ailments can include occupational asthma, chronic bronchitis, fibrosis of the lung, and lung cancer.” Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) hazard communication standard, employers are responsible for identifying and informing workers of hazards they face in the workplace. Furthermore, OSHA requires employers to train workers about hazards they may be exposed to and provide them with proper protection and safeguards. Therefore, welders, as well as their supervisors, must learn about the nature of hazardous fumes created during the welding process. This education goes beyond training and should include an accurate description of the materials with which they work. If welders work with a variety of metals, they should receive specific instructions for each type of metal.
Using a Three-tiered Approach
One of the best approaches to safety in any workplace is a three-tiered method in which you:
Eliminate the hazard, if possible
Contain, reduce exposure to, or render the hazard harmless
Provide the worker with protective devices
Welding fumes from stainless steels and other exotic metals cannot be eliminated, so a combination of the second and third tiers may be the best approach. At the second tier, certain methods can render the fumes harmless to protect the welder. If the welding is performed inside a shop, a local or workstation-specific exhaust system can evacuate the fumes from the work site. The evacuation system's capacity must be sufficient to remove welding fumes from the vicinity of the welder and maintain toxic fume concentration below the lower threshold limits (LTL) of the contaminants. Using exhaust systems also means that outside air is needed to replenish the exhausted air, which is a primary concern in cold weather. Additionally, the fume collection equipment must be close to the source of the welding fumes to be effective in mitigating the hazard. The system should conform to OSHA requirements and be consistent with NIOSH methodology. Also, it is important to remember that one analytical test of the fume evacuation system is worth a thousand expert opinions. Outside welding is more complex. Fume collection systems are at the mercy of the weather. Temperature, humidity, and wind can render them ineffective. The physical position of the welder, which often depends on the job, is another contributing factor to the fume collection system's effectiveness. Also, the type of welding performed impacts exposure levels. Overhead welding subjects welders to fewer toxins than welding in a flat position. Often the most practical approach is to blow the fumes away from the welder by directing a flow of air in front of the welder with a fan or blower. A lightweight, compressed air-powered horn that creates vacuum pressure can dissipate fumes. Care should be taken to direct the flow of air between the worker and the equipment, not between the equipment and the piece being welded, so that shielding gases used will not be displaced with the fumes. The third tier wearing protective devices may be the best approach when other methods cannot ensure adequate protection. Depending on the toxicity and volume of the welding fumes, welders can wear properly rated air purifying respirators under welding masks, or masks can be fitted with an integral clean air supply that continuously provides the welder with a fresh, uncontaminated source of air.
Industry Reject Rates Explained
An industry survey on repair rates was carried out by TWI in 2011 with the following conclusions:
Repair rates for specific sectors and material grades are reported in the table below.
Average repair rates for the Oil & Gas and Power sectors range from 1 to 3%, with peak rates up to 25% in specific locations and exceptional values up to 55%.
Peak repair rates are typically observed in root runs, fillet welds, and areas with limited access.
The major factors perceived to affect repair rates are welder’s skills, location or accessibility of welds, and poor fit-up prior to welding (see figure below).
ARC Services is Your Innovative Solution:
We at ARC Services truly consider the whole picture when looking at the welding industry. We realize that being normal in an abnormal space is not affective. Coming up with innovative ways to help our clients is what we do best. Safety, quality, production, and risk management are things to consider when beginning a new project.
ARC Services is small yet mighty. We have the knowledge and skills to get any job done quickly, safely, and cost effectively.