AT&F Blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

Heavy Cylinder Cutting

A few months ago we showcased our rolling and processing capabilities for heavy cylinders, and now we want to share our expert cutting capabilities. When it comes to providing the most value to customers under one roof, AT&F is second to none. With expert flame cutting, tight tolerances for rolling and forming, and unmatched welding capabilities, our commitment to customer success shines through in all aspects of our craft. Watch our most recent video showcasing our thick plate cutting abilities to see our expertise in action.

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.

From the Floor: Depressed Transition Pieces

AT&F is big in the railcar industry. For train cars to maximize the load size, cars will be fitted with s-shaped plates that drop the load between the wheels. The depressed railcar transition pieces are made from 2 ½ inch A514 steel, a very strong grade of steel that is difficult to form. AT&F proved its ability to form the heavy pieces to tight tolerances and added value in keeping the job domestic. The strength of the part is maximized due to the properties of arches, which lends itself to bigger loads. These larger loads benefit from the depressed seating in that height is shaved off the load, allowing for heavy loaded trains to easily pass through tunnels. AT&F takes pride in pushing the limits of size and scale and delivering quality parts where other fabricators fall short.

AT&F Advanced Metals Completes 1000th National Board Certified Vessel

AT&F Advanced Metals, located in Orrville, Ohio, has completed its 1000th vessel certified by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI). AT&F Advanced Metals is a division of the world class steel fabricating enterprise, AT&F, specializing in corrosion resistant materials for a variety of industries. A specialty fabricating shop with a dedication to high quality, AT&F Advanced Metals manufactures for some of the most physically demanding markets in the world today.

From the Floor: Aluminum Railcar Siding

A Canadian transportation company has entered into a two year contract with AT&F supplying aluminum siding for high-speed railcars to be cut to precise measurements. The siding is 3/16” aluminum supplied directly from the customer. Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel and is meant to be painted, as per our customer intentions. Our precision processing team orients the siding on the cutting table and uses our laser cutter to burn out holes to the customer’s specifications. The siding will then be welded together length-wise by our welding teams and shipped to the customer.

From the Floor: Turbine Compressor Segments

AT&F manufactures for some of the most physically demanding markets. Inside a gas turbine engine, pressure and heat are built in a compressor to achieve maximum efficiency. The efficiency of the engine relies on the quality of the compressor; the more heat and pressure the compressor can handle, the more efficient the engine will be. AT&F has taken on the manufacture of segments of these compressors. Crimped, rolled, and burned from one piece of A36 carbon steel, the six-inch cylinder was then cut in half and blasted in our blasting room.