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Get Racing Car Performance at a Family Sedan Price

K-TIG Race Image-OCT18-V1A (1)

For Continuous Welding Application Efficiency, Get Racing Car Performance at a Family Sedan Price

Assuming the switching cost is reasonable, what if replacing the welding system you’re using could singlehandedly increase your productivity by 20% or more? You can do it by increasing CAPEX a few percentage points to get a higher percentage of improvement in OPEX. It’s almost like adding a shift, every day, for a one-time investment. Would you make the switch? That’s what one of our customers, Primus Pipe & Tube (Primus) in Wildwood, Florida, did, and they’re happy with their decision.

Primus, located 50 miles northwest of Orlando, specializes in making stainless steel pipes for customers in oil refining, food processing, and other industries. These pipes range from 2”-60” in diameter with a thickness up to 3”.

For small to medium size pipes, Primus uses a continuous forming, welding, heat treating, cooling, and cutting process as illustrated below:

Blog Post & Illustration color - OCT 17-V2 WITH SHADED PIPE (1)In Step 1, stainless steel coils are fed at one end of the machine that, in Step 2, progressively shapes the metal sheet into a pipe shape using a series of roll dies to achieve the desired specifications. In Step 3, the formed pipe enters an integrated seamer that uses K-TIG (Keyhole Tungsten Inert Gas) technology to weld the material in a single pass with full penetration. After the weld station, the pipe continues its journey, automatically, into heat treatment and cooling stations (Steps 4 and 5) before being cut to desired length (Step 6) and sent to inspection (Step 7) before we ship the finished product to the customer (Step 8).

Notably, in large part due to the K-TIG technology and its effective integration into the line, there are almost no rejects as pipes pass the x-ray test 100% of the time, day after day.

“The keyhole technology is amazing,” says Henry, a batch supervisor at Primus. “It eliminates having to double-weld the sheet when we’re done, and also it saves us on helium usage and man-hours per ton usage. K-TIG’s weld quality is excellent. We can get orders out 25% faster. My operators and I love the system’s touchscreen feature and it’s just a very good platform.”

Watch K-TIG in action at Primus >

 

Although a K-TIG system may be more expensive than the next-best alternative, it’s an investment in your company’s long-term future that allows you to weld almost on autopilot, with limited supervision, allowing welders to focus on more rewarding jobs.

That benefit alone can give you a significant competitive advantage. In effect, you can add an extra shift to your production schedule every day (OPEX) for what most likely is only a small percentage increase in your one-time machinery acquisition/integration cost (CAPEX).

The distinction between capital and operational expenses is significant in this situation because a K-TIG system is something you can use over the long term as opposed to a day-to-day expense necessary for keeping your business going, such as utilities or office supplies.

Does investing in a new welding system when the one you’re using is “perfectly good” make sense? It depends: For spot welding or complex shapes, probably not. For continuous welding of common shapes, probably yes.

Going back to our car analogy, using a race car to get you from your home to the grocery store is probably fun, but excessive. Likewise, taking a family sedan to win at the racetrack is not going to work, no matter how good the driver is. Considering K-TIG and integrating it with other automated machinery should allow you to use resources most wisely, especially in these inflationary times.

At the risk of sounding too “nerdy,” consider figuring out the net present value (NPV) delta between the welding method you’re using and investing in a technology that can help you immediately improve productivity by 20%-30% or more. You don’t need a Ph.D. or an MBA to determine what the better choice is.

If you’d like a demo, or assistance with running the numbers, we’re here to help.

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