Home > BOC announces results of survey on shielding gas productivity measurement

BOC announces results of survey on shielding gas productivity measurement

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A recent survey by BOC has identified that only 18% of users measure the productivity of their gas-shielded welding processes.

According to Nic Bothma, BOC South Pacific Technical Manager for Industrial Products and global expert on shielding gas and the welding industry, this is a cause for great concern for industry.

“It is shocking that the cost-effectiveness of gas-shielded welding processes is hardly being measured at all,” said Nic Bothma.

“The cost-efficiency of welding can be improved by up to 30% if the right gas mixture is used on the right base material using the right process,” said Nic Bothma.

“Tailoring the gas mixture can provide a quicker and higher quality result. The best possible weld is achieved when base material, shielding gas, welding wire and equipment are properly matched.

“The research indicates a low recognition of the opportunities that exist for industry to improve its welding productivity by taking advantage of more advanced, premium gases which are better suited to many types of welds.”

The good news is that 90% of Australian respondents said they would consider changing or trying another type of shielding gas.

Although most global respondents did not believe they could achieve great improvements in productivity by changing shielding gas, 58% said they are likely to use a different shielding gas in the future.

The research is an independent study commissioned by BOC with its parent organisation, The Linde Group, and undertaken in late 2007. It surveyed 284 production and technical staff in organisations that use gas on a regular basis.

Countries researched were Australia (40 respondents), Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and the UK.

The research also found that:

  • Of those that do measure gas shielded welding productivity - 48% said they measure the number of components produced per hour; 24% measure the number of welds per welder; visual weld inspection alone is used by some respondents.
  • Two out of three buy argon-only shielding gas; one in three buy an argon-CO2 mix only; one in four buy CO2 only
  • Around one third of respondents find it difficult to distinguish between different types of shielding gas
  • MIG/GMAW is clearly the most popular form of welding, with over 40% of respondents using this method

Beyond the welding parameters, an important cost consideration is the non-welding costs such as welding preparation and post-weld cleaning.

“These costs are minimised by the application of the right shielding gas,” said Nic Bothma. “Labour is the most significant cost in mild steel and stainless steel welding application. It can contribute over 74% of the cost to produce a weld. The right shielding gas helps lead to greater productivity which reduces costs.”

Using the right shielding gas can:

  • increase welding speed
  • reduce clean up (from spatter minimisation)
  • improve weld quality (leading to reduced weld rejection)
  • reduce inefficient deposition of wire (due to excessive spatter and convex bead shape)
  • enhance operator satisfaction due to increased ease of weld and better results

To get good results and value for money, plant operators should get the advice of a welding gas specialist to audit the welding job and recommend the right gas, equipment and approach for the work.

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