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Why combine hand welding and tube bending?

by Last updated Dec 6, 2023 | Published on Feb 23, 2021Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Multiple industries that move gases from one location to another – or mix different gases – utilize gas cabinets. Depending on the complexity of the gas transportation system, a combination of orbital welding, hand welding and tube bending helps construct a gas cabinet for the delivery system.

Gas cabinets house the subsystems that control the flow of the gas. While machines help construct the components that make up a gas cabinet, there are times when an orbital welding machine and a tube bending machine cannot “think” through a solution. Fusing two pieces of steel tubing together or deciphering how a bend finishes on a piece of stainless steel are challenges that machines cannot handle. Machines only deliver perfect results under the circumstances in which they are designed and programmed.

That’s why a combination of manufacturing techniques is sometimes used on a complex product, such as constructing a gas cabinet that performs multiple functions. Our hand welders come in whenever a solution cannot be found by using a tube bending or orbital welding machine.

Adept at every skill on the floor

Our technicians are cross trained in every skill on our shop floor, ensuring that production requiring a variety of manufacturing skills is of the highest achievable quality. Generally they begin their time with Axenics in the buffing room. They learn how we buff and why we buff to keep the particles out of the tubes. They go to the tube cutting area to see how we cut, to ensure they know why we dry cut and why we square back the tubes. We keep training records for each department. New technicians train in every department until they can successfully perform the jobs within that department. We can then place them in each department when a need arises there.

Axenics’ hand welders come to us with a skill level where they do not need training in each department. But we introduce them to each department, so they can understand how each department works. Generally, hand welders can do any job on the floor without training, except bending. Like hand welding, bending is also a very specialized process with very few technicians qualified to bend.

Axenics’ hand welders also have deep knowledge in:

Hand welding versus the machines

A skilled TIG hand welder will outmaneuver a machine when it comes to solving unusual metal weld challenges. Orbital welding and tube bending machines can’t handle the unknown.

For example, augmented joints or joints that are located in difficult-to-reach placements can often be TIG welded by hand by our team of in-house experts. There may also be a situation requiring a socket weld – where a pipe inserts into a recessed area of a fitting – and TIG hand welding is the optimal solution. Hand welding is also used when a thicker metal welds to a thinner metal.

Benefits of an orbital welding machine

For straightforward welds, an orbital welding machine is generally used since it is both highly repeatable and high purity. If a gas cabinet – or a project that requires multiple gas cabinets – requires the same exact welds, it’s best to use the machine that produces an identical weld. Our hand welders often operate the orbital welding machine.

Tube bending for gas cabinets

Gas leaks are a concern whenever any piece of equipment is moving potentially harmful chemicals from one place to another. The fewer fittings a gas cabinet uses, the less opportunity there is for leaks. A tube bending machine – such as Axenics’ Horn Metric CNC Tube Bender – bends metal tubing into practically any diameter, which then fits like a glove into the space allotted. Our tube bending team is consistently improving skills to be able to handle the next bending challenge that arises.

A tube bending machine creates seamless bends into tight tolerances for nearly any size gas cabinet. Tube bending helps to reduce costs while also saving on space — two factors that engineers constantly face when challenged with how to move gasses.

Our quality control team tests and ensures each manufacturing skill, be it hand welding, orbital welding or tube bending, reaches the optimal degree of completion. Safely moving caustic gases within a manufacturing system is serious business. We use all of our skill sets to ensure that a gas cabinet easily installs into your existing set up flawlessly.

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