Weld My World - Welding News

Baker’s Gas and Welding Offers Alternatives During Acetylene Shortage

Propane tanks

Tragedy struck the welding community when an explosion occurred in the Louisville, KY plant of Carbide Industries LLC (CI), the leading supplier of the calcium carbide. Two workers perished in the explosion and the plant will remain idle for the immediate future, with plans for reopening uncertain and contingent upon inspecting the damage. 

In addition to the loss of life and temporary loss of jobs for those at the plant, welders who rely on calcium carbide, a raw material used for generating acetylene gas, will face a fuel shortage as current acelytene supplies will soon fall short of demand.

Bakers is committed to helping our customers stay on the job and meet their deadlines and is therefore offering an acetylene alternative in HGX Propane. Welders will need to make a few changes to their current welding set up, but by switching to HGX Propane, they will find an alternative that is less expensive, cuts faster, and provides more heat than acetylene.


HGX is an LPG (Propane) based fuel gas.

Advantages of Using HGX Propane as an Acetylene Substitute

A Low-Cost Fuel
A 100 lb. cylinder of HGX® Propane Fuel provides over five times the BTUs of a standard #5 acetylene cylinder while costing less. HGX® is the new standard of economy, performance, and safety for gases used in cutting, heating, and brazing operations.

Faster Preheating and Piercing Rates For Cutting
The piercing flame temperature of HGX® Fuel Gas exceeds the flame temperature of most cutting fuels. It starts the cut as rapidly as acetylene and preheats and pierces faster than other combined cutting fuels at a lower cost.

Faster Heat Transfer for Brazing, Heating, Bending, Cambering, Straightening, Hardening, and Melting Operations
Whether you are using an HGX/oxygen mixture or an HGX/air mixture, the superior heating value allows for faster heat transfer to the metal. This means faster brazing, heating, and metal working operations.

Faster Cutting Travel Speeds
HGX® Fuel Gas is capable of cutting travel speeds equal to acetylene while using lower quantities of oxygen than acetylene during cuts of up to 15” thick. HGX Fuel Gas has greater practical value than any other cutting fuel.

What Needs to Change for HGX Propane

If you’re considering the switch to HGX Propane, you’ll need to make a few equipment changes. Here are some factors you’ll need to keep in mind for the switch, with information below on where to find each item:

Cylinder: Alternative Fuels are stored in different cylinders than acetylene including different sizes, wall construction and valves. Please check with your local store for these cylinders

Regulators: Alternative Fuel gas regulators have different pressure ranges and are marked specifically for the type of gas they service. These regulators will allow you to deliver the Alternative Fuel at higher pressures than Acetylene which will facilitate the heating process.

Hose: While Grade "R" and "RM" hose are acceptable for acetylene (although CGA recommends the exclusive use of Grade T hose), Grade "T" must be used for Alternative Fuels. If you cannot identify the type of hose you have, please consider purchasing a new grade “T” hose to ensure there aren't problems. (Note: grade “R” hose will deteriorate when exposed to any alternative fuel and, over time, will disintegrate).

Cutting & Heating Tips: Cutting and heating tips are designed for use with the related gases in order to allow for the proper level of gas flow. Accordingly, tips designed specifically for Alternative Fuel gases are available.

Complete Equipment Solution: Finally, you may wish to consider investing in a complete Alternative Fuel torch outfit.

Where to Find HGX Propane Equipment

Reach out to our support team or one of our locations if you are local to Baker's! 

Ed C.


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