As competition continues to tighten, finding some extra margin in any element of your business becomes ever more important. One approach is to rethink your processes. Could something used for one purpose bring benefits in other ways?

For example, look at your shielding gases. Yes, their primary purpose is to protect the weldpool from atmospheric contamination. But developments now mean they can also significantly improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of your welding.

Is it time you changed your shielding gases? What are the arguments for and against?

‘We’ve used the same mix of gas for years and it’s produced good results. Why change it?’

Because what’s been ‘good enough’ for years may not be now, particularly against rivals who are utilising every tool available to improve their processes. By using a range of shielding gases, you can ensure the mix is tailor-made for each job, improving productivity and quality and so reducing your reject rate.

For example, BOC’s Argoshield Heavy gives excellent weld quality on thicker section material but welds on thinner sections would be too hot due to its higher CO2 content. Here BOC’s Argoshield Light would be preferable.

‘I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant a wholesale change.’

On it’s own, maybe not. But adopting a more flexible and bespoke approach to your shielding gases choice can also increase deposition rates, weld integrity, penetration and fusion while reducing spatter.

‘But using these new gases will be too expensive and will increase my costs.’

Your welders may need time to adjust to new gas mixes. But the good news is that, once established, productivity will be increased which means less gas is used and expensive labour costs are reduced thereby cutting, rather than increasing, your costs.

‘And who will retrain my team?’

Don’t forget you have a large pool of experience and talent within your own company. There are a number of steps you can take to introduce training gradually and without disruption to your existing work. In addition, make use of any support offered by gas suppliers. BOC can guide you in the safe use of your shielding gases. Safety training courses can be delivered at a customer’s site or at open workshops, as well as a regular check of your gas-supply system, to ensure its safe operation and, if required, to maintain and repair it. In addition, professional analysis of gas in the lab or on site can be provided to guarantee high and consistent quality in your processes.

Are you looking to develop the skills your business needs to remain competitive? The Welders’ Toolkit provides practical advice and guidance on skills, process efficiencies and technologies to make your welding business more profitable. Download it here.