Joining Forces Wales
Like most progressive, successful companies, Geith International Ltd continuously seeks ways of improving its manufacturing efficiency to minimise costs and aid competitiveness. But at Geith, this is never at the expense of product functionality, strength and durability.
Geith is a world leader in the manufacture of attachments for excavators, wheel and track loaders, rough terrain forklifts and backhoe loaders. These heavy-duty welded fabrications are used under punishing conditions in the construction, excavation, demolition and scrap-handling industries.
During a Joining Forces Wales 'Product & Process Review' at Geith's Tredegar facility, TWI welding engineer Gene Mathers was impressed by the company's good control of welding operations, including flame cutting of piece-parts.
He suggested, however, that it may not be necessary to grind the flame-cut edges and surfaces of the 6mm carbon steel plate prior to flux-cored arc welding. This would eliminate a traditional but time-consuming and noisy process which utilises energy and consumables.
Geith has been successfully building attachments for over 50 years and needed to be sure that doing away with grinding would not compromise weld quality. Under Joining Forces Wales, this was investigated at TWI's Granta Park laboratories.
Geith sent two samples to TWI: one welded after grinding, the other welded without prior grinding; these were photographed to record their appearance. Four metallographic sections were then taken from each sample, which were examined using light microscopy and photographed to record weld features.
Both welds were of good quality and defect free. It was concluded that there appeared to be no advantage in grinding prior to welding and the practice could cease without any significant effect on weld quality. A further benefit was that weld spatter was far easier to remove from non-ground surfaces, which should speed-up finishing operations.
Geith estimates that this change in practice could save the company around £50k a year.
Geith International Ltd is at www.geith.com
For more information, please contact us.
Joining Forces Wales is part-financed by the Welsh Assembly Government