Low-hy Rods - Baked Not Fried!

by Rapid Welding 5. September 2012 12:44

 When a welding electrode is removed from its factory container, the coating is vulnerable to absorbing moisture from the air. Moisture contamination in an electrode releases hydrogen into the metal during the welding process, which can cause the weld to crack and become brittle. 

Low Hydrogen, or low-hy rods, are used to create stronger welds than higher hydrogen electrodes. With added alloys to improve strength, low-hy rods are often favoured in the construction of ships, bridges, oil rigs and high rise buildings. Substandard equipment and improper usage could therefore result in unmentionable catastrophes. 




Two Ways To  Keep Rods Dry

Firstly, use within a certain time after unsealing the packaging, to prevent the rods absorbing moisture from the environment. The time frame will depend on the conditions and level of humidity being worked in. 

Secondly, it is possible to condition the rods in a rod oven, storing them at high temperatures for several hours. This effectively prevents the rod from absorbing moisture from the air and reduces the risk of damaging the weld.

 As with anything, it is always wise to adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines and low-hy rods are no exception. The rods are manufactured to be suitable for different welds and have acceptable moisture limits consistant with the types of covering and strength of the weld metal.

The main points to take into account are the desired weld quality, the environment, and the welding set-up, i.e. amperage, range and rod size.


Rapid have a range of rod ovens for sale online. Check out the website: http://www.rapidwelding.com/dynamic/TextSearch.aspx?t=2&cd=1&s=low%20hydrogen%20electrodes&sor=3



or call Andy on 02392 214214 for a more detailed discussion of your needs.



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On Your Arcs ...Get Set ...Weld!

by Rapid Welding 22. August 2012 09:59

Still Suffering from those Pesky Post-Olympic Blues? Have no fear. The Games are far from over, even for Welders!


All hail the fabulous sport of Wheelchair Rugby. 


Did you know Wheelchair Rugby was invented in 1977 - which apparently makes it quite young in terms of sporting activities - and premiered at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. This year it is said to be one of the most hotly anticipated sports in the Para-Olympics in London, with GB fielding a formidable team.

Wheelchair Rugby isn't particularly well publicised as a sport, but those in the know liken it to a mix of ice hockey, basketball and Rugby. From what I've seen it's fairly full on; making contact with the other players is to be expected, and although bodily contact is banned, players can and do use their wheelchairs to forcefully gain possession. The main objective is to dodge- or ram into - members of the opposing team in order to carry the ball across the goal line.  

Arcs at the ready!

As with any contact sport, injuries are part and parcel of the game, and not just to the players. While teams of Physio's line up ready to jump into action if a player is injured, joining them on the sidelines will be scores of...wait for it..... Welders! Yes, Welders will be there, primed and ready to fix broken equipment and get the players back in the game.


 A Welder Makes On-Site Repairs.


So come on all you professional and hobbyist welders, and the masses suffering from post-Olympic blues, let's get behind our Team - and our Teams support Team - one more time!

Wheelchair Rugby is running from September 5th - September 9th in the Olympic Park

For more information on this great sport and for player profiles, visit: http://www.itv.com/news/2012-08-21/murderball-medal-hopes-for-gb-in-wheelchair-rugby/

To anyone wanting to get involved, here's a link to the main governing body website: http://www.gbwr.org.uk/main/index.php



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Flashback Arrestors for Welding and Cutting Applications

by Rapid Welding 15. August 2012 12:34

Did you know that approximately 80% of all incidents are related to human error? 

With statistics like this there's no question that processes within the welding and cutting industry should be carried out by fully trained personel. Working with Acetylene, Propane or Hydrogen is a relatively safe process if handled correctly, but it can lead to dangerous situations very quickly if not.


When things go Wrong

The term 'Flashback' describes a condition which occurs when a flame returns into the supply system of a gas fuel. The causes of this vary, but may include: 

  • Wrong gas sequence during start-up
  • Blocked, worn, undersized or overheated blowpipe tip
  • Blocked section in the blowpipe, cutting attachment or heating attachment
  • Hose run over by vehicle during welding
  • Kinked or restricted hoses
  • Hoses of incorrect diameter
  • Wrong gas pressures - gauge should be in sight of operator
  • Gas hose too long causing pressure loss
  • Old gas hoses becoming still or brittle
  • Carbon or slag deposits blocking tip
  • Flame held too close to work surface
  • Hot metal falling on or burning through hose
  • Faulty equipment
  • Wrong equipment for the job

 Aviva - Risk Management Solutions


If an application results in a Flashback then a number of outcomes can occur:  The gas hose could burst, a flame could be located at the pressure regulator, or worse still, there is an explosion of the pressurized gas cylinder as the flame races through the hose at an impossible speed.

Alongside well trained staff and the correct maintenance of equipment, a Flashback Arrestor can protect against the risk of serious injury or damage. The level of protection offered will vary depending on the application being carried out, and it is always recommended tho seek advice on which product to ultimately go with.




Main Safety Elements of a Flashback Arrestor:

  • Non Return Valve - Stops the possibility of reverse gas flow, preventing two gases from creating a highly explosive mixture.
  • Flame Arrestor - A hollow cylindrical filter made of sintered stainless steel at the centre of this component effectively stops the Flashback by causing the flames flowing through the cylinder to lose energy and cool down.
  • Thermal Cut-Off Valve - Before dangerous temperatures are reached, an integrated plastic seal melts and activates a spring-loaded valve which cuts off the gas supply.

Rapid Stock a wide variety of Flashback Arrestors to suit your needs. Give Andy a call or follow the link to visit our website:





The Importance of Dry Air when Plasma Cutting

by Rapid Welding 7. August 2012 13:50

When operating a Plasma Cutter you need to have dry air. Dry air is important because if moisture is present in the line it will travel with the air and exit the end of the torch. Although not necessarily dangerous, water will change the gas mixture inside the torch and reduce the life of your consumables. Simply put, the arc will follow the moisture in all directions, damaging the electrode and nozzle and affecting the quality of the cut.


Says Rapid’s online expert: “I recently used a compressor with an air dryer and filter and was shocked that the consumables were hardly worn after 4 hours cutting. I would have normally expected to have changed consumables after 2 hours. 


So how does an air compressor actually work?

Firstly, the air we breathe is already compressed to around 14.7 PSI from pressure generated at sea level by the weight of the air above. PSI is a measure of force meaning Pounds per Square Inch.  An Air Compressor takes in this air through an intake port, via a mechanised system, pushing it into a smaller area - usually the air tank on the compressor. As more air is pushed inside, so the pressure too begins to increase.

The air is heated during this process, but once inside the tank it begins to cool and the moisture that is present in the air separates and pools at the bottom of the tank. The system is ongoing: as air exits the tank, so more air is pushed in and more water collects.

Plasma cutting requires a lot of air – unless the cuts made are very short – and so the tank capacity needs to be such that it is able to supply the appropriate CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute). Small compressors won’t have the tank capacity or longer duty cycle of the larger models, and running them continuously will greatly reduce their operating life. 


There are a number of Dryer/Filters on the market designed to keep the air moisture free and clean. Climate and humidity also play a vital part.

·         In very dry conditions there will be little or no moisture to separate from the air so a weekly manual draining will often suffice.

·         In low to medium humidity conditions, or where there is a low level of use, a coalescing or absorbing filter might be installed, such as the Eliminizer, which allows the compressed air to cool slightly as it passes down the line, separating or absorbing the water from the air. Reports on Filter Systems that use a paper filtration medium haven't been so good; the paper can break down, clogging the machine internally and contaminating the stream.  In these humidity conditions it is recommended to manually drain the tank once a day.

·         In high humidity conditions you may want to consider installing an automatic drainer on your compressor or consider – especially during levels of high production – a refrigerated air-dryer.


The bottom line is it all comes down to the amount of work you're doing and the conditions you’re working in. There are many products out there to supplement your requirements, but as machinery doesn’t come cheap it pays to do the research and protect your investment. It is also worth checking the operators manual on your current compressor to check what filters are already installed.

At Rapid, there is a large selection of dryers and filters to view online, and if you are in any doubt as to which is the right product for you, then feel free to contact the team or ask Andy.




A new Era in Welding Training - Launch of the Welding & Fabrication eLearning DVD

by Rapid Welding 2. August 2012 11:45


Within hours of launching the Welding & Fabrication E-Learning DVD Package, Rapid took its first order! 


 Learners can carry out training in a safe environment before entering the workplace.




Rapid Welding is proud to announce the launch of an innovative and modern instruction package from Weldability Sif, consisting of a Welding and Fabrication eLearning DVD which gives learners the opportunity to develop a theoretical understanding of modern welding and cutting processes. This new software – aligned to the National Occupational Standards (NSO), provides a firm foundation from which to progress into further practical learning of welding, cutting and brazing processes, can be used as a support tool whilst taking any number of welding progression pathways,or as a return-to-work memoire.


This exciting new eLearning package is more than just a simple welder training DVD. It provides a comprehensive introduction to all associated skills supporting the welding process.


For Instance, the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) module covers:

  • Health and Safety
  • PPE
  • Safety Signs
  • Control of Hazardous Substances
  • Working at Height
  • Basic First Aid
  • Manual Handling
  • Risk Assessments
  • Fire Protection
  • Electrical Safety
  • Working as a Team
  • Communicating Technical Information



Other modules include Engineering Materials, Metal Fabrication and Cutting and Quality Control, and each module is summarised by an overview and short knowledge test. Once the modules are complete you can apply your newly gained knowledge in a fully interactive 3D workshop where you are given a set of realistic scenarios to experience each welding process.


To view a demo and for more information click: http://www.rapidwelding.com/dynamic/DisplayItem.aspx?c=E-LEARNING&zl=1







Tips On Staying Cool At Work

by Rapid Welding 25. July 2012 16:03


So it's hot, finally, and despite our grumblings that the Great British summer was never going to arrive I'm sure there are a few of us - namely those operating heated welding tools under the blue, cloudless sky whilst shrouded in PPE - who wish it would cool down just a tad.

Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone and in some cases can lead to heat stroke. According to the NHS, symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Feeling flushed
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Mental confusion
  • Extreme tierdness
  • Urinating less often/ darker coloured urine  



So for those of you who don't have the luxury of an air conditioned work space to take sanctury in, here are a few tips to help you keep your cool!  

  • Work as early or as late as possible to avoid the mid-day heat.
  • Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Water isn't the most exciting of drinks, but caffine will have the opposite effect to what you want. Try adding concentrated juice to water to make it more enjoyable.
  • Fact is, you're going to get hot and sweaty and tierd, so eat plenty to keep energy levels up. Try to eat cold foods like salads and foods with a high water content such as fruit.
  • If you are working indoors, try turning off electrical equipment not required for use as these can generate additional heat.
  • Advise workers on heat stress, especially new or young employees.
  • Even when you're not working, take care to avoid sun burn. Use sun cream or cover up and wear a hat.

A person with heat exhaustion should be moved quickly to somewhere cool and given fluids (preferably water) to drink. It is always advisable to seek medical attention.

For more information visit:  http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/heatstress/index.htm 





Slow Burner or bright Spark - Common Causes of Ignition Associated with Welding

by Rapid Welding 24. July 2012 13:53

I came across this article regarding a recent fire thought to be related to the storage of welding equipment. Fire crews involved believe a welding tool set light to flammable materials and caused a large blaze in a hangar at a former airfield in Lincolnshire. Six fire engines was sent to Manby showground, near Louth, at about 17:00 BST on Monday 9th July. At the height of the blaze the thick plumes of black smoke were tackled by ten fire engines. Police said there had been "small explosions" as a result of the flames, and it is thought there were gas canisters inside the hangar.

   Did stored welding equipment do this?


Combustible materials kept where welding processes are being carried out can give sufficient exposure to heat and oxygen to burn. It’s a warning to professional and hobbyist welders alike to know about potential fire hazards and safe practices, to examine work areas, welding equipment and consumables for hazards, and take appropriate measures to ensure safety.

Common Causes of Ignition Associated with Welding:

·         Slag – droplets of melted metal from a welding operation.

·         Heat conducted through the metal being welded.

·         Welding sparks – have been known to travel as much as 35 feet!

·         The flame or welding arc. E.g. if the torch is dropped or it malfunctions.

The Warren Group

In the case of the fire at Manby, it was reported that the hanger in question was used to store machinery such as old buses and forklifts. Flammable materials like wood, paper, plastics, chemicals, gas and liquids, lint, dust, old rags, even building floors, partitions and ceilings may pose a risk where hot work is being carried out.


Fires can ignite suddenly and violently, but they can also smolder away undetected for hours before flaring up. A clean work area is a must, devoid of clutter, holes, openings etc, where droplets of hot metal can burn away slowly.



"One of the most important fire prevention activities is maintaining a high standard of cleanliness and order." Aviva


Welding on tanks or pipes that have contained flammable liquids or gases - tanks or pipes should be emptied and thoroughly cleaned, then tested for flammable residue before welding begins.


Welding with Acetylene is extremely flammable and hazardous due to its unstable nature – Hampshire Fire & Rescue recommends correct storage of cylinders, testing equipment, and staff training.




Un-serviced, faulty or leaking equipment is a known fire risk.


Lack of training to staff in safety practices during use and when equipment is left unattended, for example, failing to turn all power switches off after use or report defective equipment to supervisors.



You could have nightmares about this sort of thing, but when you read about it in the papers it brings the very real risk home to us all. The bottom line is fire can cause uninsured damage, significant harm and loss of life.

Detailed advice should be sought regarding all aspects of Health and Safety.


Rapid Welding is a highly respected sales and service company and our own service engineers have full factory training. Should you have any queries regarding your products, please contact Rapid via the website or on 02392 214214.






Industry Applications for Plasma Cutting Systems

by Rapid Welding 18. July 2012 09:20

Plasma cutting is an efficient and very accurate method of cutting through metals, first developed to improve speed and accuracy in cutting and joining metal components needed for military vehicles and aircraft. Nowadays, plasma cutting - both manual and machine - can be found in a diverse range of military and commercial industries around the world, the purpose being to achieve the best cut possible in the least amount of time, and at an affordable price. Here is a brief overview of some of the applications for each system.

Manual Systems 

This system involves a moderately small power supply using a  hand-held plasma torch to cut different types of metal. Cutting capability is based on the output amperage of the system. The suitability of the hand-held Plasma Cutter depends on the thickness of the material to be cut, the desired cutting speed, and the environment in which it is to be carried out.



Applications: Manual Plasma Cutting Systems are typically seen in farming industries where on-the-spot repair and maintenance to farm equipment, vehicles and buildings is required.

Field-based construction projects such as bridges, towers, high-rise buildings.

Metal art sculptures and decorative structures are becoming increasingly popular, pushing boundaries in scale and complexity. Hand held systems are commonly seen in the creation of signs, furniture, staircases and other decorative projects.

From glass bottomed pleasure boats to submarine and aircraft carriers, an awful lot of components are needed for each build including hull and keel fabrication, steel decking and motorised components to name but a few.

DIY customisation and professional car repair centres - body work, engines etc.

Demolition and scapping. Debris resizing and seperating.

Colleges teach students the latest technologies to ensure they are equipped with up-to-the-minute skills and know about different fabrication processes.


Machine Systems

Research should be done before selecting  a mechanised Plasma Cutting System. Generally they are much larger than manual systems and are used alongside cutting tables. These systems can be incorporated into punch press, laser cutting and robotic cutting systems. Because of the size, machine Plasma Cutters are not easily relocated, so certain areas need to be considered before a purchase is made:

  • Parts needed to be cut e.g. Size, shape and thickness.
  • Speed and production requirements.
  • Quality of the cut.
  • Overall cost and cost of consumables inc. gas, electricity and labour.
  • Layout of facility in which it is to be used.


Applications: Factory based Plasma Cutters are used to create beams, pipes, sheets and other components for the development of high-rise buildings, towers, fly-overs.

From the manufacture of large components used to build wind-turbines to the maintenance and repair of electricity pylons and fleet vehicles, the Energy industry - including gas, oil, nuclear and wind power, use Plasma Cutting Systems in both construction and on-going repair.

The auto industry uses Plasma Systems on cutting tables and robotic arms to fabricate parts, ensure speed, efficiency, and reduce risk to human workers.

Manufacturing of commercial vehicles e.g. ships, rail cars and trucks.

Metal fabricators requiring superior cut quality and production.





Rapid supply a wide range of manual and machine Plasma Cutters. Please follow the link to browse the website, or alternatively for any in-depth enquiries please contact Andy on 02392 214214 or via the live chat on the website.


 Rapid also has provided a series of knowledge manuals available to read online for reference.




Just in case you missed it!

by Rapid Welding 10. July 2012 14:28

For all you F1 fanatics and Kemppi Cohorts out there, I have trawled the internet for evidence of the collaboration at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend - just in case they were going too fast for you to see the logo on the rear wing end plate or the heavy rain blurred your view! Despite the weather it was a great weekend of racing, so a shout out to the Williams team and well done everyone who turned out to watch! We salute you! 


In the Pit Lane: 


The Joy of British Weather - Bruno Senna on a rare dry lap:


First Orders for the Hypertherm Powermax 105

by Rapid Welding 28. June 2012 11:00

We are extremely pleased to announce the first order for the new Hypertherm Powermax 105 has been placed by Guernsey based company, Fusion Engineering.   

The New Powermax 105 from Hypertherm replaced the Powermax 1650 in June 2012. It is 3 phase only and is available in 2 voltage models. 400v and 230-400v auto sensing version. These machines work on any electrical supply within Europe and are CE Marked. Recommended cutting capacity is 32mm. Will severance cut to 50mm.


Benefits of the powerful 105 Amp system include:

  • Maximum power and performance.
  • Superior cut & gouge quality equals less time spent on grinding and edge prep.
  • Duty cycle and reliability for the most demanding cutting/gouging jobs.
  • Fast cutting speeds meaning maximum productivity.
  • Smart sense & SpringStarttechnology.
  • Low operating costs.
  • Low maintenence.
  • Detects electrode end-of-life, automatically turning off power to the torch preventing damage.
  • Wide range of uses and applications in the work place.



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