Weekly Welding News Roundup
Automotive companies have long sought how to weld steel and aluminum together rather than relying on riveting and glue. Lightweight aluminum has long been ruled out as a partner for steel by engineers. However, Austrian welder Alois Leitner claims to have solved a riddle that could one day revolutionize the way cars are made.
Image Source: WSJ
Leitner, who works for Voestalpine AG, the third-largest steelmaker in Europe, says that the process is not yet ready for mass-production, even if it is successful in joining the two metals. According to an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
Voestalpine’s process is neither easy nor cheap. The company uses a special solder and torches just hot enough to melt aluminum but not steel. The process, called cold metal transfer, employs an argon gas to avoid oxidation. Finally, the steel is coated with zinc to bind the steel, solder and aluminum.
While Leitner’s discovery may not make it into most automotive shops for years to come, there are plenty of other exciting innovations going on in the world of welding right now:
Indiana Training Center Is Small Business of the Year: The United States will need an estimated 200,000 welders, as the current generation continues to retire. Since 2009, the Calumet Welding Center in Griffith has been trying to plug that hole.
The welding center, at 1947 N. Griffith Blvd., works with local employers to ensure they have enough trained welders to work as pipefitters, boilermakers, ironworkers, and sheet metal workers, as well as in a variety of other positions. Calumet Welding Center offers two-and-a-half-month to seven-and-a-half-month programs that fuse a lot of hands-on shop training with technical classroom instruction.
New Laser-Touch Sensing Promises Stronger Welds: An upgrade from conventional touch sensing, the laser touch sensing process improves the overall speed, efficiency and quality of the robotic welding process.
“With conventional touch sensing, a series of physical touches is required to determine the part orientation before the robotics can confirm any misalignment,” said Tim Baber, department chair of the College of the Canyons welding technology program.
South Dakota Schools Can’t Keep Up with Demand: According to Jeff Holcomb, president of Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls: His school graduates welders who start at $20 an hour. They work with equipment that’s much more advanced than it was 25 years ago. And they work in environments — at Marmen Energy, at Egger and Sioux Steel, at Raven Industries that are clean and nice and much more modernized, he says.
All four technical institutes in the state have welding programs. “The issue,” Holcomb says, “is we couldn’t turn out enough of them to fill the need even if we quadrupled the space in our programs.”
High School Students in Cincinnati Take Up Welding for Secure Jobs: High school junior Megan Thompson readies for her next class lesson by stepping into a tiny, cemented booth and lighting a white-hot, 6,000-degree torch.
The torch’s dangerous sparks reflect brightly in the protective, darkened visor of her welder’s helmet, which she has proudly decorated in bright feminine colors. The 17-year-old Fairfield girl’s work future in welding is nearly as bright as the blinding torch she deftly wields.
Kentucky Community College Upgrades Welding Lab: A local college is expanding by breaking ground on a brand new welding center. Henderson Community College officially begins construction on a $1.4 million project with a dirt turning ceremony.
The building will sit on the college’s Henderson campus. It will offer 20 welding stations and a technology-enabled classroom.
High School Students Run Their Own Welding Business: Tucked into the downstairs of the main Great Falls High School building, Bison Welding Works is making a big impact on the students.
Senior Asher Payne is the head engineer and one of the founding members of the group. He says, “I do most of the designing of any of the special orders that people have.”
Now in its 6th Year, the IBSC remains the premier event for the brazing and soldering community. For years, the IBSC has provided professionals, scientists and engineers involved in the research, development and application of brazing and soldering, a unique networking and idea-exchange forum. This three-day conference provides cutting-edge education and technical programming for the brazing and soldering community, as well as peer-networking and a full exhibit program, showcasing the latest trends, products, processes and techniques available in the industry.
Welding Gone Wrong
New Jersey Welding Supply Employee Burned: An explosion at a Clifton welding factory severely burned an employee early Friday and injured two others, a fire official said at the scene.
The initial explosion occurred as three employees were filling cylinders with oxygen from a larger reservoir of the gas at AGL Welding Supply, said Clifton fire Chief Vincent Colavitti Jr. One of the employees suffered severe burns to his upper body in the explosion, and was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, Colavatti said.
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