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MIG Welding

While one of the most widely used and accessible methods of welding, gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is actually a balancing act of many important variables that greatly affect the quality of the weld. Commonly known as MIG welding (short for “metal inert gas”), this method utilizes a consumable metal as an electrode like shielded metal arc welding in the form of a wire. The wire is fed semi-automatically or automatically through a gun that supplies the shielding gas necessary for protecting the weld pool from exposure to the atmosphere.

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TIG Welding: Precision and Preparation

When a welding job requires precision, the obvious method to use is TIG welding. Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is a welding method using tungsten as an electrode and argon or helium gas as a shielding agent. When GTAW was first introduced in 1941, it used exclusively helium as the shielding gas. This gave it its original name: Heli arc welding. It is now referred to as tungsten inert gas welding, or TIG for short. It is a slow and difficult method to master, but a trained welder can use TIG welding to produce very high quality welds. But what makes TIG welding so precision oriented? And why do TIG welders have to feed the wire by hand?

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From the Floor: Weld Institute Expansion

AT&F is an industry leader in welding capabilities, with in-house robotic welding, and a Weld Institute that teaches students the fundamentals of welding—as well as advanced techniques—courtesy of our highly skilled welding engineers. Our Weld Institute, formed in (2015), is currently undergoing repositioning and expansion to accommodate larger classes and cover more welding types.

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Safety When Welding

Welding, like any job in a fabricating facility, comes with risks. Some risks are inherent to the craft, and some are factors of the environment, but all risks can be assessed and mitigated, if not completely eliminated, by following procedures. Safety has been a pillar for AT&F since our creation in 1940. The priorities that drive our business are “Safety, Quality, and Productivity,” in that order, and welding is no exception. Our in-house Weld Institute starts every course with an overview of safety to set the standard as soon as our welders begin learning. With 90% of all injuries in the workplace occurring due to operator error, preventing accidents like these begins with proper procedures.

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The History of Welding

For millennia, metals have been manipulated to man’s wants and needs. But from primitive hammers and anvils to high-tech robotic lasers, man’s methods of manipulation have changed and evolved drastically over time. The impact of advancements in welding has built skyscrapers, automobiles, and even nuclear reactors, but the genesis of welding looked nothing like the advanced technology we have at our disposal today. Paving the way for modern structures and safer machines, welding plays a crucial role in our daily lives.

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How Welding Works

Welding is a ubiquitous method of metalworking that joins two pieces of metal together to form a strong bond. But what exactly happens when the two metals join together? By definition, welding joins two pieces of metal by fusion. In order to properly fuse together, the base metal must melt and flow together. Older welding methods would employ an oxyfuel blowtorch to heat pieces of metal until the base metals reached melting temperature, but newer methods now use an electric arc to generate the heat necessary to melt the metal. The arc is created when an electric charge is passed from an electrode to the workpieces. The electrode is usually consumable and charged either negatively or positively depending on the desired character of the weld. A proper weld often creates a bond between workpieces that is stronger than the original strength of the workpieces themselves.

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Fabricating vs Forging

Metalworking is not limited to fabricating. Forging is another form by which metal is manipulated. Both forging and fabricating have their strengths and weaknesses, and one method may be better suited for your needs than the other. Let’s break down the differences between the two methods.

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From the Floor - Coal Mining Cable Reel


AT&F continues to push the limits of size, scope, and scale while retaining custom versatility in our manufacturing process. Coal mining relies on high-strength components and cable reels are no exception. This particular cable reel is exceptional due to its size and thickness. Hot rolled at 5 ½ inches thick and over 5 feet wide, this cable reel is among the biggest in the industry, designed for some of the most massive machines in production. A custom item, AT&F is the supplier of these parts and has handled these orders for years.
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Boom Welding Innovation - Using Hybrid Laser


The first modern mobile cranes appeared in the 1830’s and were able to lift their own weight. Through design innovation and advancement in high strength steel, cranes today are able to lift 10 times their own weight. New innovations are the result of advanced manufacturing technology. Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) has been the standard process used in the welded crane boom industry for decades. Although submerged arc welding is a proven and time tested method for fabricating booms, it leaves room for improvement.

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From the Floor - Heavy Cylinder Processing

BevelingWhen it comes to thick plate rolling, AT&F has you covered. If you've been following the blog, you'll remember a while ago when we posted photos of thick wall cylinder rolling. This is another one in the set of cylinders being prepared to ship to the customer to assemble a huge pressure vessel to produce low-calorie sweetener. This cylinder is unique because it is mostly comprised of standard carbon steel with a 1/4″ thick layer of 304 Stainless Steel cladding. Due to weight, the customer chose to ship the large cylinders one at a time and weld them in the field.

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