Initially designed for GTAW, Afrox’s MUPP solution has proven effective for any gas shielded welding process, including GTAW, GMAW, FCAW and MCAW. In addition to solving the cylinder clutter problem in power generation boilers, the system provides a much safer solution to cylinder handling in other industries, where welding is often done on suspended platforms with restricted access and cramped workstations.
Now part of the GasReach™ range, this Afrox solution is ideally partnered with Miller’s ArcReach™ technology, says Johann Pieterse, Afrox’s business manager for the Manufacturing Industries. ArcReach™ eliminates the need for control cables between power sources and ancillary equipment, with digital communications being carried down the welding cables: pure and simple.
“This means that we can increase the distance between a welder and a power source up to a hundred metres, further reducing clutter and only needing to take smaller ancillary equipment into hard-to-reach places,” says Pieterse. ArcReach™ completely eliminates the high level of maintenance required by qualified personnel to maintain control cables and torch extensions on site.
ArcReach™ technology can be used with multiple arc welding processes. A welder can use GTAW to weld an open root, and then change directly to SMAW for the fill and cap, by simply unplugging the GTAW torch from the Miller ArcReach™ Stick/TIG remote and plugging in the SMAW electrode holder. The system automatically senses the process change and switches from GTAW mode to SMAW mode. Polarity Reversing technology automatically changes from DCEN to DCEP and the current (amperage) control is done directly on the remote.
Likewise, if the welder needs to switch to GMAW or FCAW, the welding cables can be connected to an ArcReach™ suitcase feeder, while the multi-process power source remains well away from the workstation. The ArcReach™ suitcase feeder is also available in a smaller 8-inch version, which is ideally suitable for use in workspaces with small access openings.
Maximum benefit and cost savings are ultimately realised when the Miller ArcReach™ SmartFeeder is connected to a Miller XMT FieldPro power source, because open-root and the fill-and-cap welding can be done with the same equipment, the same wire and the same shielding gas. This advanced technology enables the welder to use RMD, a pulse-modified short-circuit mode, to deposit a perfect single-run open root much faster than when using the conventional GTAW process. In addition, RMD eliminates the need for a hot pass, with the result that the GTAW process in conventional large bore pipe welding is replaced with a process that is often five times faster than depositing the conventional GTAW root and hot pass.
Once the root has been welded, the welder can immediately switch the wire feeder to GMAW-P mode and start to rapidly fill the weld joint. Capping is done using the same mode.
The process is suitable for welding with solid or metal cored wire, eliminating slag formation and slag inclusions. Using metal cored wires adds even more productivity gains and cost saving benefits, so it is recommended that a metal cored wire is used whenever a suitable consumable is available. Compared to conventional welding, RMD and GMAW-P technology is at least three times faster than conventional GTAW and SMAW, and the resulting cost savings per kg of deposited weld metal are often more than 80%.
‘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 from the power source and their welding station.
The Miller ArcReach™ and Afrox GasReach™ combination now offers new and unique opportunities to improve welding profitability and safety in a wide range of industries, taking modern welding technology to levels and places not previously imagined.
Numerous procedures for this expanded Afrox 360° solution have now been successfully qualified. These include carbon steel, stainless steel and low alloy creep resistant steel applications. These procedures have been successfully applied in large bore boiler pipe repairs, workshop build-up and cladding, as well as in-situ repair welding and replacement welds in power generation boilers and petrochemical gasifier plants.
As well as the onsite safety, handling and time saving advantages, these Afrox 360° solutions all offer considerable direct welding cost savings compared to traditional GTAW and SMAW procedures, Pieterse assures.