Improving safety with high performance welding gases

welding gases

Manufacturers’ Monthly sits down with Air Liquide’s Scott Duncan to find out how its range of welding gases combines safety, quality and production to reduce overall costs.

Arc welding is a metal joining process using mainly Argon or Argon and carbon dioxide mixtures as shielding gases. The job is widely used for the fabrication of a wide range of products and structures such as truck trailer bodies, silos, boats, waste bins and compactors, and steel constructions for warehouse frames.

Scott Duncan, welding expert at Air Liquide says the company’s ARCAL brand is a dedicated welding gas range which can cover 100 per cent of customer’s welding applications.

The five reference products (ARCAL Prime, ARCAL Chrome, ARCAL Speed, ARCAL Force, ARCAL Flux) can cater for any welding application,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what type of wire they use, type of steel, aluminium or transfer mode. There’s nothing a customer isn’t able to do from a welding perspective with those five gases.”

The product’s most common application is for mild or carbon steel, followed by stainless steel and aluminium projects. A more technical range of ten advanced gas mixtures also exists to assist with more specific welding needs.

“It all depends on what the customer wants to achieve,” Duncan explained. “They can focus on different outcomes like faster welding speed, a safer environment, a wider or deeper penetration in which the mixture of different gases will achieve.”

welding gases
The cylinders have been designed with features to improve safety.

These gases are available in cylinders, packs or even in tanks with an integrated mixing unit.  Air Liquide’s mixing unit, Liquid ARCAL™ Mixer, is a solution to produce a highly consistent shielding gas mixture for high volume consumers and is particularly beneficial for welding procedures.

“The mixer requires no electricity,” he said. “And it can cater for a very high flow rate, up to 100 cubic metres per hour or greater if needed. There’s no buffer tank required and the tolerance of the mixture is very accurate. So if a customer has welding procedures or if a customer is a food manufacturer, they can be sure that the mixture itself is very consistent day in day out.”

The cylinders are another feature which contributes to safety, Duncan said. ARCAL cylinders have industry leading safety features such as our innovative SMARTOP, ALTOP and EXELTO.

“Valve protection, certain gauges which read the contents and flow all contribute to it being the safest cylinders on the market,” he said. “Our premium cylinder actually has a dual state regulator which achieves accurate flow and pressure. With a range of features to improve quality, safety, and productivity, businesses can achieve overall cost reduction.”

The range of gases can lower the fume reduction that comes from welding, specifically carbon monoxide, which is a toxic gas. As well as this, ARCAL products are designed to minimise spatter from the welding process.

“When you reduce the amount of tools workers need to use to clean and operate, you mitigate risk,” Duncan noted. “ARCAL has valve protection, so if the cylinder falls off it won’t snap. The levers on the valves function as a safety mechanism.”

Behind the innovation in which Air Liquide prides itself on, is a strong backbone of technical support. To sit customer-side, the company can leverage off its global network to solve problems.

“If customers have any problems, the sales team are readily available. If it becomes more technical, they can contact me. If we need further expertise, we have our technical centre in Japan as well as another couple in France. We have a number of experts in laser cutting, plasma cutting, welding or whatever the nature of the customer’s business.”

From the trials that Duncan has done, Air Liquide saves welder an average of $16,000 per every year. What customers can’t put a price on, he said, is improved safety.

“Sometimes it’s intangible but accidents can be devastating, so it’s so integral to always maintain and improve the safety of a workshop.”

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