Introduction: The significance of contract manufacturing
Each benefit to working with a longtime, reliable contract manufacturer applies to aspects of your business’ day-to-day operations and resource management. A partnership with a contractor often leads to growth and successes without having to add regular staff or increase work space and in-house materials.
A dependable contract manufacturer works closely with your team to document required work procedures for a project, solidifying inventory requirements and packaging needs, etc.
You’re able to re-allocate your team and your production space to focus on higher-margin elements of your business. But you still dictate quality standards. A solid contract manufacturer follows strict procedures as specified to deliver high-quality products. Plus, a competent contract manufacturer also helps you identify potential problem areas in the product and spot potential risks during the process.
Contract welding defined
With contract welding, a manufacturer hires an outside partner for welding production on components or welds on final products based on the hiring manufacturer’s design and specifications.
The purpose of contract welding often is increasing the hiring manufacturer’s production capabilities and improving the life of their process equipment. Partnering with a welding expert helps build and deliver a consistent process control solution for the hiring manufacturer.
Benefits of using contract welding services:
- Increased in-house efficiency
- Faster company growth
- Added profitability
Contract welding solutions with metal
It’s important to partner with welding technicians who are highly experienced in metal welding services such as orbital welding and TIG welding, both of which are considered high-purity welding processes. A solid partner performs high-purity welding services in a cleanroom environment ensuring durable and clean welds are produced when joining metals. That way, you’re delivered a product free of contaminants.
TIG welding stands for tungsten inert gas, also known as tungsten arc welding (GTAW). In TIG welding, two metals join together by heat from an arc created by a non-consumable tungsten electrode and a base metal. A high-purity shielding gas, such as argon, protects welds against oxidation.
Manufacturers in industries where high-purity components are essential prefer TIG welding to other welding procedures, as it’s known for the best refinement, repeatability and accuracy of weldments.
Stainless steel is common for TIG welding because of its corrosion-resistance and its ability to maintain its structure even after long-term exposure to a variety of environments.
Orbital welding is a highly pure, contaminant-free and extremely-efficient contract welding solution. It is used in many industries for joining quantities of tubes, pipes, joints and more. An orbital welding machine performs the same weld time and again, flawlessly.
For example, a gas cabinet – or a project that requires multiple gas cabinets – may require many of the same welds; it’s best to use an orbital welding machine in this case.
Orbital welding is ideal in contract welding situations where it is not feasible or practical to rotate a piece of stainless steel tubing. Orbital welding is also helpful in situations where welding must be completed in tight spaces that may not be possible with manual welding.
Orbital welding benefits
- Producing consistent and clean welds makes the entire welding process more efficient.
- Computerized orbital welding can make the process even more efficient, as the whole process can be scheduled ahead of time and documented, decreasing production time and overall costs.
- Orbital welding is a more productive use of labor, as the machinery is doing the majority of the work.
- Orbital welds using the ideal equipment and settings always results in a better quality weld.
Autogenous welding is ideal for carbon and stainless steels due to their low heat conductivity and is used for relatively small welds. This type of welding fuses two surfaces without using any filler metal.
Freehand welding is relatively easy to perform and is usually used to create flat, square, and small welds. Creating consistency with this method, however, can be difficult.
Cup walking is an ideal welding method for larger diameter piping, but is difficult to master. The welds created using this method are consistent, and this technique works well in tee-shaped welds.
Plastic welding solutions
Some engineers automatically think of metal when it comes to welding, but plastic welding grows in popularity every year. Manufacturers regularly make the switch from metal to plastic welding to take advantage of a simplified system that delivers a consistent, highly-repeatable performance. It also provides the flexibility of easily adding thermoplastic sub-systems that facilitate multiple flow rates and pressures.
Plastic welding uses in manufacturing
Many industries currently require the use of volatile chemicals, including alternative energy, chemical manufacturing, life science, semiconductor and medical device manufacturers. One of the biggest challenges they face is creating complex components with miniature segments through which liquids and gasses can easily pass.
Plastic welding is a top solution for manufacturing those components for safety purposes and to ensure a longer lifespan of the product. Plastic welding is used to construct patient-monitoring devices, diagnostic instruments and machinery used in life-saving operations.
Benefits of contract welding with plastics
- Plastic welds have a strong resistance to acids, alkalis, greases and solvents, hydrogen peroxide, demineralized water and hot steam.
- Plastic welds offer a minimal release of gas under vacuum, which helps maintain a sterile environment.
- Plastic welds have a strong plasma resistance reducing the possibility of corrosion.
- Plastic welds resist thermal degradation and maintain a high operating strength and rigidity in high temperatures.
- Plastic welds offer the benefits of good creep and chemical resistance, minimal thermal expansion and good wear resistance.
Weld testing is crucial
A weld flaw may initiate a catastrophic series of events that leads to damage to or complete failure of a larger system. There are several non-destructive weld testing methods to ensure welds are free from any leaks or damage points.
Weld testing to detect potential leaks is a vital step in contract welding for keeping costs under control, as man hours are saved when damage-free components are in place. Plus the cost of materials is controlled by not having to re-purchase them once a leak has caused damage to the system.
Visual weld inspection
Visual weld inspection remains an important method of inspecting for potential leaks, as well as an opportunity to audit welds for consistency. Visual inspections often pair with other forms of non-destructive weld testing.
Helium is used to detect cracks in welds because it is a safe, inert gas. Helium atoms are tiny and also have low viscosity, so the little atoms can travel quickly. Pressure testing and vacuum testing are two forms of helium leak testing used to ensure components are free of weld defects. Helium leak tests are often performed on components that will be used to transport liquids or gasses.
Conclusion: Cost factor to consider
Welding can be a time-consuming process, no matter how experienced the welder. Time, therefore, is often the most expensive factor to consider. Of course, a more experienced and skilled welder will be faster by default, and will be more likely to find efficient ways to save time, which will ultimately affect the overall cost.