The north woods of Wisconsin are a beautiful area of the world, in a northern sort of way – an area of wide, clean skies, gently rolling hills, forest of birch and pine, and views over the broad blue waters of Lake Superior.
It is also a very rural area, still lacking some of the amenities found in more southern climes, and it was for this reason that Niels Miller created a small, lightweight alternating-current arc welder in northeast Wisconsin during the latter part of the 1920 s.
Mr. Miller’s budding arc welder business was incorporated in 1935, and went on develop the high frequency stabilized AC welding machine for industrial use.
World War II was a boon for the growing business, since nearly every factory in the United States was overwhelmed with armaments production work and Miller welding machines were ordered by the thousand to meet these demands.
The postwar bust was survived thanks to the company inventor, Albert Mulder, who created a portable spot welder which is the direct ancestor of today’s spot welders and resembles them almost exactly.
Survival through further innovation
The Miller welding machine company continued to thrive during the next decade thanks not only to its small, portable, tong spot welders, but also because of a mid-50’s innovation in another area of welding machine design.
The firm branched into direct current (DC) arc welders, which had been plagued by mechanical failures until that time. The Miller engineers managed to improve the converter design to the point where the failure rate fell to 0.25% or less, which created an immense demand for the smooth-welding Miller machines and another financial windfall.
Although Niels Miller died in the early 1960 s, the company went on to take advantage of the MIG welding advances of the next decade. Once again, the firm made its bundle by adding a new feature to the existing MIG welding machines – a built-in wire feeder to keep the electrode wire moving between rollers.
In the subsequent years, Miller came to focus on inverters, and retains this focus to this day, including many inverters that can be used in any country to sell to the global market.
The current Miller welding machine line
Miller is still one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of welding machines, and their product range covers nearly every type and welding need imaginable. welding machines of all kinds are made by Miller, as are various welding accessories as well.
The company’s MIG (metal inert gas) welding machines, where a continuous-feed wire from a spool is simultaneously the electrode and the filler metal source, come in various sizes, from those suitable for the garage, the farm, the workshop, or light fabrication, to mid-sized models that are suitable for light manufacturing, to powerful 3-Phase welders that can be used for any manufacturing job.
The TIG welders feature a similarly various line-up, ranging from the Diversion series that is meant for personal users such as auto enthusiasts and sport aviators, to the Dynasty and Maxstar series that are suitable for construction, manufacturing, and heavy-duty repair.
True to its traditions, Miller still produces the small, hand-held, tong-type spot welders that made the company’s fortune in the years immediately following the cataclysm of World War II.
The tongs come in several different configurations for different users.
The company also makes stick welders, engine-driven welders, multiprocess welders, submerged arc welders, automated welders, and multioperator welders.
The company also offers welding guns, helmets and protective gear, welding tables, fume extractors, and even mugs, baseball caps, and clocks – letting the customer choose the equipment they need from a well-rounded supply and immerse themselves in the latest creations of a historic and innovative welding machine firm.
PVC Welding Machine
Welding is a process that fastens two pieces of material together by actually making them part of one another – melting some of both items so that their edges, or a spot on their surfaces, merges and hardens into a single workpiece.
There are many different methods to do this, depending on whether the material is metal or plastic, and by the exact characteristics of the metal or the plastic involved.
Many people do not think of plastics as substances which are welded – when one thinks of fastening plastic together, a glue or cement is the first thing that springs to mind. Nevertheless, plastic welding has existed for fifty years now, and is commonly used for many kinds of assembly – making everything from IV bags to the dashboards of cars.
PVC welding machines are welding devices designed specifically to handle fastening pieces of PVC together. Welding PVC, rather than gluing it together, has a number of major advantages.
A weld is generally much more durable than even the most well-formulated glues or cements, since it directly combines material from both pieces rather than simply gripping the outside of them.
Indeed, it is often easier to break the individual pieces than it is to break a good weld.
Welding is also much cleaner for many applications. Glue used in medical equipment could potentially contaminate medicines or crucial samples and cause injuries, misdiagnoses, and the like.
A weld is also less physically messy – there will be no beads of glue along the joint, leading to a smoother workpiece.
When the workpiece is going to be used as a component in a larger construction, the smoothness of joins can make it fit much better into the space meant for it.
Modern PVC welding machines
Even though they are still welding equipment, PVC welding machines are very different from the dramatic arc welders that are used for metal, with their showers of electric sparks and their intense, potentially blinding glare and heat.
In a PVC welding machine, the welding action comes from ultrasonic vibration rather than an electric current or other source of intense heat.
This, in turn, means that many of the unpleasant byproducts of metal welding – potentially dangerous argon gas used to shield the weld, intense heat, fumes, retina-damaging light, and so on – are absent from PVC welding.
A typical PVC welding machine is a large, box-like device that stands on the floor and forms a complete workstation for welding.
It is made tough enough to withstand the pressure that is needed to hold the PVC together until it is successfully welded, and features a large shelf at the front as the “anvil” – the surface on which the parts to be joined are placed.
An overhanging arm houses the sonotrode, which is the “hammer” to the welding machine’s “anvil.”
The sonotrode is clamped onto the upper surface of the topmost part, and then emits a vertical pulse of ultrasound into the two pieces of PVC.
This ultrasound is intense enough to cause a spot of each piece of PVC to become molten momentarily, using heat caused by the vibration of the ultrasound pulse and the friction of the two parts against each other.
These briefly-molten areas mix together and create a strong, permanent bond.
Modern PVC welding machines are convenient to use, with the sonotrode activated by a foot pedal, and the wiring arranged so that both domestic and industrial power sources can be used to power them.
This flexibility means that they can be used for a huge range of different applications by a variety of different users.
Pipe Welding Machine
Pipes are an essential, if often invisible, part of the modern home, factory, vehicle, and storage unit, doing their part to keep devices functioning and moving needed substances from one place to another.
Some pipes are small, such as the water pipes and heating pipes in an individual house.
Others are gigantic, such as the oil pipelines that snake across the landscape of Alaska, Venezuela, Iraq, and Kazakhstan, or those which carry processed food, oil, gas, grain, and a thousand other substances from one part of a factory to another.
Pipes, like all other metal objects, have joints where one piece meets another, and these joins are usually sealed and strengthened by welding. Small pipes in the house may simply be soldered, but any more ‘serious’ pipe is certain to be welded wherever one section meets another.
Welding pipes is a unique challenge because of their round cross-section, because a continuous weld must be made around their entire circumference with enough precision to make all points of the weld equally strong under pressure (or the contents will inevitably seek out the path of least resistance and possibly burst the weld at the weak point), and because the pipes are usually welded in the place where they are installed, without being rotated, meaning that a means must be found of welding all sides of the pipe – even when some sides are inaccessible to a human welder because they are a few inches from a wall or high up near the ceiling.
To circumvent this problem, pipe welding machines operate on the “orbital welding machine” principle
In an orbital welding machine, a circular track is attached around the pipe, with the welding gun or torch mounted on this track.
The hoses connect the ring and welding gun to the main body of the welding machine, as well as a control panel or even a computer used to program the welding job.
Once programmed and activated, the welding gun “orbits” in a steady loop around the pipe, welding all sides in a complete circle as it goes, and forming a thorough, complete, solid weld with far more precision than even the most skillful human hands could ever hope to achieve.
Full size pipe welding machines
Many pipe welding machines are large, able to handle pipes that may be larger in diameter than the height of a human being, and certain able to weld pipes of a few feet in diameter.
These pipe welding machines are meant for the many large-scale pipe welds that are needed in the modern world.
Offshore oil platforms, oil tankers, water pipes supplying drinking water to millions of people in a city, pipes at food processing plants, sewage systems, and many other pipes are all welded by means of orbital welders – although oil pipelines are actually an exception to this rule.
An orbital welding machine of this size usually has an intricate control computer to allow great precision in welding.
These welding jobs are huge, but they also have very exacting requirements because pipes of this size generally see massive daily use and are subjected to constant weight and pressure.
For this reason, the orbital welder must be programmed by a skillful, experienced operator who will be able to set the welder up to obtain the best possible weld.
Portable pipe welding machines
Thanks to the miniaturizing technology of the modern era, portable pipe welding machines no larger than ordinary portable welding machines are also available.
These pipe welders use an orbital welding arrangement as well, so that they can weld pipes that are fixed in place and cannot be rotated for welding.
These small, lightweight pipe welding machines put orbital pipe welding not only within the reach of employees of major corporations and government agencies, but individual welders, independent plumbers, and other people interested in welding pipes.
Such portables as the PipeMaster can handle pipes as small as 1” in diameter, as well as those several inches larger.
Pipe welding is one of the more difficult welding tasks that may confront the worker in steel and aluminum, but human ingenuity has devised the tools necessary to handle pipe welding tasks large and small with efficiency, effectiveness, and a good deal of precision.
Pipe Welding Machines
Pipes run through the modern world like veins, carrying water, fuel, and occasionally other substances from one place to another, feeding the massive urban conglomerations that house an increasing percentage of the planetary population.
Pipes are used in everything from food processing, where massive agribusiness factories churn out endless rivers of cheap cookie dough and processed milk, to pipelines which carry oil for hundreds or even thousands of miles and transfer it to the fuel tankers that will bear it around the world.
Ships, power stations, chemical plants – all make use of massive piping systems, and all are crucial to the survival of the modern infrastructure.
Smaller pipes are just as important, carrying clean water to and waste away from human dwellings.
However, most pipe welding machines are large and automated, designed to join large pipes together or repair their joints while the pipes are still in place.
The proper name for these pipe welding machines is “orbital welding machines,” because the huge pipes they usually weld remain immovable in the place where they are meant to stay, and the welding machine’s arc is rotated completely around the circumference of the pipe.
Characteristics of pipe welding machines
An orbital welding machine contains largely the same basic components as most other welding machines.
There is a main body that houses the power equipment and controls, as well as spools of wire to use as filler metal. This is connected to a welding head that “orbits” the pipe that is being welding, generally moving on a ring-like track.
The welding head, like all welding heads, emits an inert gas to shield the welding pool from oxygen – an absolutely crucial factor in welding pipes, where the slightest contamination weakening of the weld can potentially cause a massive, dangerous rupture.
Manual welding is basically impossible when welding pipes, because even a tiny flaw can lead to a rupture in the future. Pipe welding jobs are often in inaccessible areas, also, making manual welding even more difficult. Instead, the orbital welding machine operates both automatically and with the supervision of a human welder.
The machine is pre-programmed with great care, so that all the parameters for the size, thickness, metal type, intended purpose, usual operating temperature, and so on of the pipe will be met in the weld that is applied.
Everything from the pulse frequency of the arc to the welding speed must be calibrated exactly.The pipe welding machine is then turned on and begins to operate.
The human welder watches the progress of the welding closely and makes any adjustments needed to ensure the job turns out correctly, based on his observations.
Almost all pipe welding machines are TIG (tungsten inert gas) welders – one of the few exceptions to the general rule that TIG machines are mostly used for manual welding.
The TIG welding method makes the welding more precise.
Orbital welding machines are not commonly encountered even by most welders, since they are almost exclusively used for specialized projects, but their effects are felt indirectly by most people every day.
Oil rigs are built and maintained with orbital welding machines, and in the contemporary petroleum-powered society, this means that they are ultimately the single most important tool in keeping the fabric of modern life from unraveling.
Pipeline Welding Machine
Snaking across the landscape for hundreds of miles like the arteries of the internal combustion engine society, oil pipelines are among the most dramatic welded objects visible in the everyday world.
The subject of controversy and debate, the root of many economic and technological processes, these immense pipes need to be welded together to extremely high standards.
Millions of gallons of extremely heavy oil will flow through each pipeline in a given month, putting the welds that hold the innumerable sections together under great stress.
With these characteristics, and with the rugged outdoor working conditions under which pipelines must be assembled far from the level, well-lighted confines of a factory floor, special pipeline welding machines are used for the welding process.
Surprisingly, much of pipeline welding – unlike other welding involving large pipes – is carried out by hand rather than with orbital welding machines.
Each weld is made by a team of highly skilled welders, and requires five passes, using a shielded metal arc machine with DC reverse polarity.
The joint is prepared by being preheated to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit with propane torches.
The shielded metal arc process, otherwise known as MMA welding or stick welding, involves using consumable electrode rods with a heavy flux coating that vaporizes during welding to produce a cloud of shielding gas around the weld point.
Stick welding is especially good for outdoor operations and is used for this reason, as well as its ease and slight cost savings.
When the weld is complete, it is inspected both visually and with x-rays to ensure that it has been made properly and will not rupture when the oil is pumped through the pipeline.
The welders, in the meantime, have moved on to the next joint in the pipe, keeping up their assembly-line welding procedure.
Special Design Features of Pipeline welding machines
Since a pipeline welding machine is inevitably used in the field, rather than in a factory or workshop, it has several differences from the machines manufactured for use in these controlled environments.
The first design feature that is likely to be noticed by an observer is that pipeline welding machines are equipped with a diesel engine.
Typically a four-cylinder, water-cooled engine, this is necessary because there is simply nowhere to plug in the pipeline welding machine, so it must generate its own power.
Placing the generator inside the machine rather than in a separate device means that there are less pieces of equipment to handle, no problems with connecting the generator to the welding machine, and less maintenance to be carried out.
Fuel tanks of up to fifteen gallons are included to ensure that frequent refueling will not be necessary.