Afrox Gas Reach with Miller ArcReach: A 360° construction site solution

Johann Pieterse of Afrox talks about welding solutions for safely and reliably getting gas, power and welding applications to multiple welders working at height or in difficult to reach locations on construction sites.

On-site welding solutions for petrochemical plants

Afrox’s Multi-User Pressure Panel (MUPP) was developed in response to welding at height constraints during general overhauls on boilers. The key problem was the need to lift argon gas cylinders up into the boiler to give welders access to the shielding gas needed for weld repair procedures.

“Initially for TIG welding, our MUPP solution is obviously ideal for any gas shielded welding process, be it TIG, MIG/MAG, flux-cored or metal-cored welding. And not only for working at height, either it is equally useful for plant work where a single gas supply can be piped from an easy to access central location to multiple welders working in different places,” notes Pieterse.

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In a separate development using metal-cored wire for pipe welding, Miller’s RMD (Regulated Metal Deposition) has been successfully used for the pipe root welding, with the ProPulse feature being used for fill and capping runs. A procedure using this solution has now been successfully qualified and used for boiler pipe repairs, offering per meter welding cost savings of up to 80% compared to traditional TIG-root and MMA/stick capping procedures.

Miller ArcReach technology, for which Afrox is the exclusive agency, is an ideal parallel solution. Just as a cylinder pack and an MUPP keeps gas cylinders out of the way, ArcReach enables the power sources used by all of the welders to be sited near to the mains supply and far away from where welding is happening. The technology extends the distance between welders and welding power sources to up to 100 m. And it does while completely eliminating the need for a control cable, using the far more robust welding power cables as the conduit for communication signals.

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Multiple uses on construction sites

If at height welding a TIG root with an MMA/stick and capping run, the welder first plugs the TIG torch into a small remote control box connected to a power source on the ground via the power cables. Once the root run has been completed, the welder removes the torch from the remote and plugs in a stick electrode holder, instead. The system automatically senses the process change and switches from TIG mode to MMA mode, and all of the voltage and amperage controls are immediately available on the remote.

If process calls for a TIG root and a flux-cored capping run. The welder can then switch the power cables from the remote over to a portable suitcase wire feeder loaded with the wire needed. Again, the settings are all immediately available to the welder in the remote location, while the multi-process power source and gas supply is sitting well out of the way.

And at a level above, ArcReach technology can also be applied to advanced GMAW pipe welding using RMD and ProPulse, as discussed above. Here the welder uses a compact smart feeder, but the communication principle and the power source required is exactly the same. So the welder has total control while working far away from the power source. This enables the advanced features and benefits of Miller RMD and ProPulse welding procedures to also be accessible in difficult to reach places, where people have tended to believe only MMA or TIG welding was possible.

‘Don’t walk, weld’ is the key Miller phase used to describe the benefits of ArcReach. This points to the time saving and safety advantages that result from removing the need for welders to regularly walk to and fro between the power source and his or her welding station.

“Combing ArcReach with our MUPP solution means that a welder no longer needs to have heavy gas cylinders or large welding machines inside the boiler or the construction site. Nor does the welder need to walk any distance to adjust the welding parameters or replace an empty gas cylinder.

It also means that there is no longer a need for long and delicate gas hoses or multiple control cables to hook up every welder. Instead, we can have a few high pressure reinforced hoses connecting to bulk cylinder packs on the ground and an easily accessible MUPP close to each welder, while each welder has his own set of remotes, torches and wire feeders to access and adjust the welding parameters.

“Our Afrox MUPP GasReach solution completes the Miller ArcReach package of advantages for site welding. ArcReach means nothing if a welder still has to haul cylinders up and down. Our MUPP GasReachtechnology takes away the last of the time wasting and safety concerns that routinely afflict site welding contractors,” Pieterse concludes.

Improve quality, improve productivity while reducing costs.  The Afrox solution! 

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