Titanium is a cool sounding word, and it’s probably because so many companies use the word to describe the high-end of their product line. Their ‘exclusive,’ highest quality product.
Titanium the alloy is quite amazing. First off, it is extremely corrosion resistant. Second, it has the highest strength-to-density radio of any metallic element. Either of these by themselves would be amazing, but together they pack an awesome punch.
Sure Flow has lots of experience with titanium because so many of our customers work in tough conditions. Off shore resource development is just one of those environments, and products that have to work in these conditions really have to deal with just about everything nature throws at you.
Salt water… punishing waves driving that salt water everywhere… brutal cold…heat… snow…
Titanium is an alloy that handles all these conditions reliably, so for many years our customers have asked for our exceptional strainers and other products to be manufactured in titanium.
The challenge with fabricating these products though, is that any contamination in the welding process will ruin the weld. If you are welding regular carbon steel nearby, or using a grinder on carbon steel in the same production facility, you can ruin a titanium weld. In most shops, this creates a challenge.
This is why Sure Flow built their “Clean Welding Room”.
It is separate from the main welding area. It is in its own building, housed inside our 100,000-sq. ft. warehouse and fabrication facility. It has a separate ventilation system, so no contaminants enter the welding area.
This is a bit blurry, because the photo had to be taken through glass from outside the “Clean Welding Room” while welding was in progress.
These 14” Tee Strainers are destined for an offshore drilling platform.
In photographing and putting together this explanation, we got to learn some of the intricacies of welding titanium.
Jamie and Lucas are part of the Sure Flow fabrication team and they were conducting our class on welding titanium today. They love welding, and they are super enthusiastic about welding titanium. People like a challenge and welding titanium is just that.
Since you want to avoid oxidization when welding titanium, you have keep it away from atmospheric air, like oxygen. So you need to have a purging gas. The TIG welder is creating an environment of Argon gas at the weld, and you also require Argon gas on the backside of the weld, otherwise the back side would heat up and once exposed to atmospheric air would oxidize, or turn white.
As shown in the first photo, one team member TIG welds and the other follows along back purging the reverse side of the weld with argon. It’s exacting work but the Sure Flow team is up to the challenge.
Patience and attention to detail are what make a project like this successful, and Jamie and Lucas are prepared to put in the time to do it right. Their enthusiasm for their technique is quite contagious, because welding titanium puts their skills to the test.
Many of us have experimented a bit with welding. We’ve done a bit in the neighbour’s garage, repaired that front strut, or cupboard bracket that were still useable, but just needed a little TLC. So we know about just how challenging it is to control all the elements of a weld. The heat, the gas, how fast the metal is being threaded. Then there’s your human challenge. Getting everything perfect before you snap your welding shield down. Moving at the right speed, not to fast, not too slow, making a good pattern, not spending too much time on one spot and burning through the metal.
Welding is both a science and an art. So we decided to show you a true work of art, a Sure Flow Titanium Weld. It’s beautiful.
It should hang in an art gallery, but the challenge is the only people who would appreciate it are those who have welded, or understand just how challenging it is.
In reality, there is only one critic Sure Flow is anxious to impress, and that’s our customer.
We take our time with our fabrication process. We have exceptional quality control. We test, and test again. And we have a staff of extremely talented, and enthusiastic, team members, who take great pride in their work. This isn’t something that’s mandated. It comes from an individual’s desire to do the best job possible.
Coming soon to an industrial installation near you… a Sure Flow Fabrication Team “Work of Art.” Call now to get your creation in the work queue.