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General Equipment for

Welding Shops

Companies that do welded fabrication make use of a Chapter Objectives

variety of equipment. Some of this equipment is used
in carrying out the welding operation. Other types are
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
used for the related processes such as metal forming,
cutting, and finishing that are necessary in fabricating 26-1 Describe the function and use of work-holding devices
welded structures. It is important for you, as a welding that position the work for the most advantageous
student, to learn how to use the tools and equipment welding position.
presented in this chapter so that you will be able to 26-2 Describe the function and use of devices that move
perform these processes on the job. the welding process along a fixed workpiece.
26-3 Describe clamping and support operations required in
a complete welding shop.
Screens and Booths 26-4 Describe the function and use of various work cutting
Whenever welding is done in a shop where others are and shaping devices.
doing other jobs, these workers must be protected from
the effects of arc rays, the spatter of molten metal, and
sparks. In areas dedicated to the welding of small parts,
permanent booths are erected. They are made of sheet
metal or heavy canvas, and they are painted with a special
protective paint. The booths are often equipped with ex-
haust fans for removing fumes and ducts for introducing
fresh air.
A portable screen is used to shield large work when the
welding equipment must be taken to the job. A semitrans-
parent curtain constitutes the near-ideal welding curtain,
exhibiting good visibility, minimizing the arc glare, and

Fig. 26-1  Spectra Orange See-Thru vinyl and movable frame
system.  © Wilson Industries, Inc.

reflecting usable light back into the work area. There are
a variety of colors available:
• Spectra orange
• Yellow
• Green
• Gray Fig. 26-2  Portable source capture system, which recirculates the air
• Blue directly back into the shop. Note the flexible hood can be equipped with
a light for added convenience.  © Donaldson Company, Inc.
One of the best semitransparent curtain colors is Spec-
tra orange. No other transparent welding curtain material
manipulates light waves like the Spectra orange curtain.
With its special patented polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for- mist contaminants. They can be source capture, Fig. 26-2,
mula, Spectra orange absorbs, scatters, and filters the or large central systems consisting of hoods and ductwork,
light spectrum to create a safer working environment and are used on heavy production applications, Fig. 26-3
for the welder and surrounding coworkers. This type of (p. 834).
curtain is available in 14-mil and 40-mil thicknesses for
the manufacture of screen panels or curtain applications, Work-Holding Devices
Fig. 26-1. The green color can be had in extra dark to Weld Fixtures
stop all ultraviolet rays and blue light. This dark color
is recommended for PAC and other bright welding ap- Once parts for a weldment are accurately produced, they
plications. Where visibility is not an issue, the opaque must be held in position for welding. This is done with de-
Rip-Stop vinyl laminated polyester design provides for vices called fixtures, jigs, or tooling, each of which has es-
added durability and strength. Rip-Stop is formulated to sentially the same meaning. Their function is to hold parts
withstand abrasion and abuse, while resisting oil, water, in proper alignment during the assembly of a weldment.
and most acids, and is often used in combination with Fixtures promote good fitup tolerances, resulting in consis-
See-Thru vinyl to create a specialty curtain or partition. tently high quality weldments. Manual or semiautomatic
Special ventilation systems are required to remove welding may tolerate fixture inadequacy; however, for au-
smoke, fumes, and particulate matter from the breathing tomatic and robotic applications, fixtures need to be very
zone. Welding fumes should not be randomly discharged accurate and easily accessible by the welding torch or gun.
into the atmosphere and need to be filtered. The cost of A fixture may be used to hold parts for assembly and tack-
cooling or heating a fabrication area dictates the need to ing, or in some cases they must be built heavy enough to
recirculate filtered clean air and not discharge it outdoors. support the weldment during the entire welding operation.
A clean, safe environment is critical to protecting people The following advantages of fixtures should be consid-
and resources. Various electrostatic and dry cartridge type ered. They
air-cleaning systems are available. These products are avail- 1. Improve fitup of parts to achieve tighter tolerances
able for in-plant air filtration and pollution control systems. 2. Locate and orient parts for easier loading of parts by
These systems help eliminate dangerous dust, fumes, and the operator

General Equipment for Welding Shops   Chapter 26  833

Fig. 26-4  Modular tooling being used to hold an irregular shape
for welding.  © Bluco Corporation
Fig. 26-3  Central collections systems are highly efficient and
recirculate the air directly back into the shop.  © Donaldson Company, Inc.
orientation, work connection, magnetic properties,
3. Help identify parts that are out of tolerance and inspection need to be understood and worked
4. Help control weld distortion into the design concept.
5. Reduce labor cost to produce a weldment 4. Consider the operator from ergonomic issues,
6. Provide more consistent quality safety, and part-handling issues and continue design
7. Reduce production errors by having fixtures accu- concepts.
rately identified 5. The design concept should be reviewed to make the
most economical, simplest fixture per weldment as
Fixture design is crucial for proper use. The fixture possible.
must be easy to load and unload. It must be capable of
withstanding the tremendous expansion and contraction Modular Tooling
forces as the weldment goes through its thermal cycle.
By using modular tooling in the form of platens, locators,
They need to be as simple and inexpensive as possible yet
bracing, and various clamping devices, much greater flex-
meet intended purposes. The following sequence should
ibility is permitted than when custom-built fixtures in-
be used for fixture design:
tended for a single weldment are used. The platen has a
1. The weldment form, fit, and function need to be precision hole pattern, which allows the location of various
fully understood to develop initial design ideas. devices. This type of product is accurate, rigid, and easy
2. Heat transfer, the work connection, capabilities, di- to set up and use. Modular tooling can be used for the re-
rection of part loading, accessibility, part flow, part peatable or one-of-a-kind location of parts to be welded,
staging, wear, and maintenance are important oper- tacked, or held in position for subsequent operations,
ating criteria that need to be considered in the initial Figs. 26-4 and 26-5.
design stage. It is obvious that modular tooling must be designed for
3. The welding process, weld area accessibility the intended task. A fixture to hold parts that are only
weldment orientation, clamp and holding device going to be tack welded together need not be ­designed to

834  Chapter 26 General Equipment for Welding Shops

the angle of tilt, the whole table may be rotated through
a complete circle. Rotation allows all joints to be welded
in the flat position without resetting or handling the weld-
ment. Positioners can be used in conjunction with various
other devices. The intent of these devices is to make weld-
ing as easy as possible. The easier the welding, the more
productive and efficient it will be, Fig. 26-7 (p. 836).
Since welding positioners enable average welders to do
quality work, their use is timely with an increase in pro-
duction with a reduced workforce.
Turning Rolls
Welding fabricators who do a great deal of tank fabrication
depend on turning rolls to make circumferential seams in
the flat position without interruption in the travel. Turn-
ing rolls, Fig. 26-8 (p. 836), support the workpiece on its
Fig. 26-5  Modular tooling system available for small parts fixturing. outside diameter and rotate it.
Adaptors are available to allow use of the small systems on the larger There are two main types of turning rolls: those with steel
systems as shown in Fig. 26-4.  © Bluco Corporation or rubber-tired rolls and those with roller chain slings.

take the heat and thermal stresses that will be 45°

imparted into a fixture used for welding.

Welding Positioners
Welding positioners, Figs. 26-6 and 26-7, permit
the placing of weldment joints in a flat position
for optimum welding. They have plane table areas
that can be tilted and rotated in any direction. On
the smaller positioners the table is moved by hand- With the positioner table at 0°, a
horizontal fillet weld could be made
Set the positioner at 135° or 45° from
vertical so the flange can be welded in
wheels or gears; and on the larger positioners, by around the base, while an overhead the more advantageous, flat position.
electric gear drives. Parts are to be welded, and in fillet weld could be made around the
top flange. Neither of these would
some cases, production jigging is secured to the be in the optimum position.
plane table of the positioner. A C
The use of positioners to enable welding in the
flat position has increased production, reduced 45°
costs, improved quality, and promoted safety in
both production and repair welding. Flat posi-
tion welding permits the use of larger electrodes,
higher currents, fewer passes, and better control
of the weld pool. A vertical-up weld takes almost
three times as long to do as the same weld done in
the flat position.
Weldments vary in size and weight. For this Adjustable Roller Stand
reason welding positioners are available in a wide
The positioner is set at 45° for a flat A positioner with an adjustable roller
range of sizes. Standard capacities run from 100 position fillet weld on the base. This stand can support longer cylinder-type
to 60,000 pounds. Some positioners have a ca- would be a better position for both
quality and productivity.

pacity of 200,000 pounds. The positioning table

may be rotated or tilted as desired, Fig. 26-6. It
permits welding on the sides, top, and bottom Fig. 26-6  This positioner can rotate the part as well as be set at an angle
of a job. The table may be tilted through 135° that makes the welding position optimal. Flat position welds are noted by the
(45° beyond the vertical position). Regardless of arrows.  Source: The Welding Encyclopedia

General Equipment for Welding Shops   Chapter 26  835

Fig. 26-8  Car-mounted tandem power rolls. Each roll has a
90-ton turning capacity and a 30-ton weight capacity. Rolls are driven
by synchronous motors to give a combined rotating capacity of
180 tons for high eccentric loading with a weight capacity of 60 tons.
Fig. 26-7  A weld positioner can be used in conjunction with other The fixed center distance handles workpieces 72 through 120 inches
devices like a roller stand and manipulator.  © Pandjiris in diameter. Manual cars facilitate setup changes for vessels of vari-
ous lengths.  © Pandjiris

The wheel-type turning rolls are more common. They Weld Grippers
come in two varieties: the separate driver-idler type and A weld gripper is a welding work-holding device that has
the unit frame. In the driver-idler type, the driver turns three movable jaws like the jaws of a lathe chuck.  The
the workpiece. The idler is a matching unit that is not workpiece—a tank or pipe section—can be gripped on
powered. Several idlers can be used with a single driver. the inside diameter or the outside diameter. The action is
They range in capacity from 600 to over 1 million pounds.
Unit-frame turning rolls have one
fixed-location driving axle. The other
axle is adjustable for various center
distances that handle diameters from
3 inches to 6 feet or more. Weight ca-
pacities range up to 30,000 pounds; and
frame lengths, up to 12 feet or more.
Models that rotate and tilt are available.
Sling-type turning rolls have a roller
chain sling with rubber or brass feet.
The chain cradles the workpiece so that
large areas of thin-walled cylinders can
be supported. The load capacity is as
high as 27 tons.
Figure 26-9 shows a larger tank
being rotated on a pair of powered rolls.
The submerged arc welding process is
being used to weld a circumferential
seam. The welding wire size is 3⁄32 inch,
and the welding current is 24 volts at
Fig. 26-9  A welding positioner teamed with a manual TIG weld being made on a flange to
300 amperes. The welding speed is large bore heavy wall stainless steel pipe. The all welded positioner and the three jaw gripper is
50 inches per minute on both longitudi- designed specifically for pipe welding shops. Note the two wireless foot pedals to control weld
nal and circumferential seams. output and rotational speed. Also the well-organized tool rack.  © Team Industries, Inc.

836  Chapter 26 General Equipment for Welding Shops

Fig. 26-10  Head and tail stocks with three-jaw grippers. They
are variable speed with brakes and drive components are housed
within the column structure.  © Pandjiris Fig. 26-11  A manipulator teamed with travel cars to expand its
capabilities and reach. The vertical column and ­horizontal slides are
required to accommodate various size weldments.  © Pandjiris

fast. The gripper is mounted on a turntable or weld posi-

tioner for universal movement, Fig. 26-9. Turntable
A turntable provides powerized table rotation in either di-
rection at adjustable speeds. Rotation is controlled by the
Headstock-Tailstock Positioners
operator, Fig. 26-12, and may be set for variable speeds.
Like weld grippers and rollers, headstock-tailstock po- The work is positioned on the turntable and rotates under
sitioners rotate weldments about a horizontal axis and the welding gun.
permit welding in the flat position. They support the Turntables are widely used to move weldments in and
workpiece at each end. These positioners can be used for out of a robotic work cell. The welding operator can un-
angular weldments as well as cylindrical ones. load and load one side of the turntable while the robot is
The headstock is powered and may have a constant or welding components on the other side. Of course, safety
variable speed. The tailstock is not powered. When used curtains and controls must be in place to protect the
in pairs, the headstock and tailstock may have a capac-
ity as high as 160,000 pounds. When used singly, they
can support 80,000 pounds. The positioners shown in
Fig. 26-10 are available with capacities ranging from 100
to 120,000 pounds.

Manipulators are applicable to both the positioned fillet
and the simultaneous double fillet welds. They are also
widely used for circumferential butt joints and other
types. Various automatic processes such as submerged
arc welding units are mounted on the horizontal arm,
Fig.  26-11. The manipulator provides vertical and hori- Fig. 26-12  With options added or as part of a system, turntables
zontal travel and may be rotated through a full 360°. like this can be used in numerous applications: inspection, painting,
flame cutting, and welding. Indexing turntables can meet exacting
Large units may be mounted on a double-rail track for
needs such as robotic applications where up to 40,000 pounds
maximum usage in the shop. On large installations, seat- capacity with a 20’ diameter that can rotate 180° in 15 seconds and
ing is provided for the operator at the welding head. Op- positioned itself within +/- 0.100” on the outside perimeter of the
eration may be remotely controlled. table.  © Pandjiris

General Equipment for Welding Shops   Chapter 26  837

Fig. 26-13  Magnetic welding ground (work) connectors rated for
500 amps and designed to accept 3/0 and 4/0 welding cable. The
rotating work connector on the left covers 12 square inches
giving good stability on rotating weldments. It has 4 inches of
current carrying contact surface. The model shown on the right
is only a magnetic work connection not intended for rotating
­applications.  © Lenco dba NLC, Inc.
Fig. 26-14  Seamers of this type are available for lengths from
24 inches to 10 feet. Some models can clamp materials as thin as
0.005 inch and with linear accuracy of 0.005 inch over 10 feet for high
welding operator from arc flash and the mechanical mo- precision capability.  © ITW Jetline - Cyclomatic
tion of the robot.

Work Connections Clamping of the part being welded is air-operated and

to Rotating Weldments effected by two hoses that actuate the movement of two
When using positioners, turning rolls, head and tailstock, banks of copper-tipped, aluminum clamping fingers. Air
manipulators, or turntables, getting the electrical work regulation is provided to effect a clamping force of up to
connection to the rotating part can be a concern. Typi- 5,000 pounds per foot. This clamping force can clamp
cal work connections will become twisted, resulting in 0.020- to 3⁄8-inch thick parts.
damaged equipment or cabling. This may also result in This equipment is well-suited to semiautomatic and au-
a less than adequate path for the welding current to flow tomatic welding processes. There are two basic types of
through. In some cases, (vessels, tanks, etc.) there will seamers: one permits welding on the inside so that the weld
not be a place to which the normal work clamping de- reinforcement is on the inside of the workpiece, Fig. 26-15;
vice can be attached. Figure 26-13 shows an example of a the other permits the welding on the outside so that the
magnetic work clamp designed for application to rotary- weld reinforcement occurs on the outside, Fig. 26-16.
type weldments.
Side Beam Carriage
Weld Seamers For precision linear travel a side beam carriage is an ef-
Seamers, Fig. 26-14, provide accurate clamping and fective tool. The system can be used to carry any weld-
backup for welding external longitudinal seams of cylin- ing process, Fig. 26-17, page 840. This manufacturer has
ders, cones, boxes, and flat sheets. The system consists of travel lengths up to 20 feet long. The side beam track is
a tabletop mounted on a mainstay that is fixed to the base. mounted on a longitudinal seamer. This is only one of the
The tabletop contains the copper-tipped clamping fingers. applications for this type of side beam carriage. This type
A machined track is mounted on the tabletop; the track is of side beam track is manufactured from a rigid, box-sec-
fitted with hardened and ground roundways. A carriage tion beam that has been stress-relieved prior to precision
rides on bearings on the roundways to provide smooth machining. Two case-hardened roundways are utilized as
movement of the welding equipment over the length of the main part of the track; the carriage has cluster bearings
the seam welder. The carriage is powered by a variable- that ride on these roundways. Linear accuracy of the track
speed motor that is controlled by a microprocessor. Travel is held to +0.005 inch for every 10 feet of travel length. In
movement is linear within +0.015 inch per 10-foot length. addition to the dimensional accuracy of the track, the drive

838  Chapter 26 General Equipment for Welding Shops

Weld Reinforcement Occurs on Inside of Workpiece

Workpiece May Be Any

Shape Not Encroaching
on Minimum Diameter

Adjustable Finger
Weld from Inside Pressure
of Workpiece
Beam Structure Reacts
Against Finger Clamping
Pressure Ideal for Loading with
Overhead Crane Without
Special Fittings; No
Maximum Size Limit

Working Height Is
Independent of Flat Sheet
Maximum Workpiece

Neutral, or Heated Floor Line

Fig. 26-15  Weld seamer procedure for internal welding.  Source: Jetline Engineering Inc.
Weld Reinforcement Occurs on Outside of Workpiece
Weld from Outside of Workpiece

Beam Structure Reacts Against

Finger Clamping Pressure

Adjustable Finger

Flat Sheet

Neutral, or Heated
Working Height
Dependent on
Workpiece Size
Workpiece May Be Any Shape
Not to Exceed Working Height

Floor Line

Fig. 26-16  Weld seamer procedure for external welding.

General Equipment for Welding Shops   Chapter 26  839