Category Archive: News

Why Welding May Need to Lighten Up on Helium

How will helium prices affect the welding industry?

“helium” by Michael Pereckas, used under CC / edited from original

For being the second most abundant element in the Universehelium is becoming harder and harder to obtain.  Helium is widely utilized in industry and is used in MRI scanners, nuclear power plants, the Large Hadron Collider, and, of course, welding.

Helium has remained popular in the welding world as a shielding gas due to its high thermal conductivity.  Though widely used, there has been 50% increase in price of helium since the year 2000, a spike which has been fueled by a helium shortage.  With the prices of helium in a constant flux, the welding industry is looking for alternatives.


How It All Happened

Traditionally, the United States has been the leading supplier of helium worldwide but production has declined heavily in the last 20 years.  The U.S. Helium Federal Reserve, which provides 35% of the world’s helium, is set to close in September 2021. The closure will decrease helium production and it is predicted to increase the strain on the helium market.  

The US government has tried to privatize the helium gas supply by closing the reservoir but due to the lack of response from private companies, it only succeeded in contributing to the shortage.  When coupled with the fact that there simply aren’t many helium sources left in the world, a dire shortage is looming.

Even with a recent massive helium reservoir recently discovered in Tanzania last month, at the current consumption levels of helium (which is expected to remain on the rise), the supply is expected to run out in 7 years. The dwindling supply and the competition of other industries means that the welding industry must find alternatives

How Does this Affect the Welding Industry?

It’s evident that the industry must adapt to the shortage of helium but in many cases, the gas is hard to replace.  For example, hydrogen can be used quite well for welding stainless steel but underperforms when welding aluminum.  

A common solution is creating blends that have a lower percentage of helium or eliminate the gas altogether by combining two different gases like argon and nitrogen for the same effect. These mixed gases could mean the difference in a future with no helium. If the use of helium is unavoidable, it is best to use high quality equipment to ensure that the helium is used in the most efficient way.

At Sutton Garten, we strive to satisfy the needs of our customers.  Whether those needs include helium, helium gas alternatives, or the latest in high-quality welding equipment and technology, we have it covered.

Welding Jobs: How to Stay Cool This Summer

In most parts of the United States the temperatures are rising, and it’s only going to get warmer. Although welding is typically performed indoors, the heat can still take a toll on workers. Welders are usually required to work for long periods of time in heavy protective gear and equipment that can add to the risk of heat-related health problems, including the following:

  • Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails. Body temperature can then rise to critical levels of over 104°F.  
  • Heat exhaustion is the next most serious heat-related health problem. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating and a body temperature greater than 100.4°F.
  • Heat cramps are caused by a loss of body salts and fluids from sweating and can result in muscle pain.
  • Heat rash is a very common problem for those who work in hot environments. It is caused by sweating and leads to a breakout on the skin.

Heat-related illnesses can affect the health and productivity of workers. Whether you are a manager or employee, be sure to be proactive by keeping indoor areas cool and ventilated. OSHA also recommends other methods to reduce indoor temperatures such as the use of reflective shields to redirect heat, as well as using fans to increase air speed. The CDC also has tips for employers and workers on how to stay cool and prevent heat stress.

Sutton-Garten is here to fulfill the needs of our customers. We must provide them with the best products, and back them up with the technical knowledge and service capabilities to solve their problems.

Double Checking Your Safety In The Workplace

Staying safe at the workplace can be very different to many people depending on their occupation, field, and level of expertise. At Sutton-Garten, we specialize in helping all within the manufacturing fields, especially welders, remain safe during their work days.

By now you have noticed that June is Safety Awareness Month, and you have given thought on safeguarding you and your workers. But what can be done to ensure safety is a number one priority that has not already been in place?

A good idea is to examine the different areas necessary to keep safe and review if safety measures are in place for each of them. Check the following:

  • Body: In most welding applications it is critical to have all exposed skin covered to prevent burns. Aprons or sleeves that are flame resistant and durable are best fits. Duck and leather options are highly recommended.
  • Hands: Hand protection with protective gloves. An important factor when choosing a welding glove is its grade of leather that will provide protection against heat, spark and abrasions but also able to allow nimbleness while welding. Leading manufacturers of welding gloves include Revco, Tillman, comfort, Steiner, and Weldmark
  • Respiratory protection: The most popular amongst our offerings is the Miller Respirator which defends against the most demanding welding environments. If you are looking for a specific style or requirements just give us a call and we’ll be happy to find it for you.
  • Proper eyewear for eye protection: There are a variety of different approaches to protecting your eyesight including visors, helmets, or googles/glasses. Luckily Sutton-Garten carries all variations.
  • Hearing safety: First best practice is to have an on-site noise check conducted. After noise checks are established a nice add-on safety tip is to use ear plugs for extra hearing protection.
  • Fall prevention by reviewing proper use of harnesses, lanyards, and self-retracting lifelines.

    If you need any items or want to check other options that are better suited for your workers please review our catalogue or give us a call and a member of our team can help assist you with the right solution.

    This June, don’t let Safety Month be something you just read about, take action now to prevent any harm to yourself or others.

A Record Breaking Year for Sutton Garten

We have been bringing welding supplies and gases to Indianapolis and the surrounding areas for over 95 years, and hold the title of being the first distributor for General Electric back in 1923. In addition to being a leading supplier of welding equipment and gases, we believe in teaming up with local schools in an effort to further welding education. On site, we train and certify students in tig, mig, and even stick welding.

 2014 proved to be a record year for us, with sales up in every category, from welding abrasives to plasma cutting equipment. In addition to record sales, the showroom expansion was completed, along with lighting improvements and a new roof. The parking lot was fenced in and even the kitchen area was improved. We also expanded our inventory line and the volume of product in the warehouse.

 Both classrooms and the certifications lab continue to grow at a rapid pace. Opportunity in the welding field looks bright. It’s estimated there are 500,000 welders currently working in the industry, but the majority of those welders are in their 50’s, quickly nearing retirement age. Welding students getting into the field can expect numerous job opportunities and a job placement rate near 100%. Many welding jobs are available due to the amount of infrastructure repair needed in the U.S., especially for railways and mass transit. Mentionable emerging technologies also include wind and nuclear power.

 As more skilled workers in the welding industry are in demand, we plan on continuing to be a leader when it comes to training, educating, and supplying welding equipment, components, and gases.

Safety Products for Welding

We know that our customers rely on us for welding supplies and services. Because of this, we are proud to offer safety products for use in welding applications. Our wide variety of safety products for welding includes gloves, umbrellas, reflective jackets, and other gear specifically developed for workers in the welding industry.

Protection from high temperatures and certain materials are important when performing welding services. Revco Industries offers a wide selection of gloves that will ensure safe handling when welding. Additionally, their technology packed apparel is developed to be used in welding applications as well. Revco also manufacturers gear packs for students, helpful for training and learning about the complex welding industry.

We also offer products such as protective blankets from John Tillman Company and carbon sleeves and from Steiner Industries that are useful for different temperatures and protection during the welding process.  These are just some of the many welding safety products that we have available.

We have a complete line of safety products in stock and ready for pick-up or shipping. We know that safety is your number one priority and that’s why we are constantly on the look-out for new and improved products for you and your welding applications.

Increased Capabilities and Space at Our New Facility

Sutton Garten Showroom Sutton Garten ShowroomAt Sutton Garten, our main goal is fulfilling the needs of our customers. We also focus on providing our customers with the best products, services, and technical knowledge in the welding and gas fields. To continue providing high quality products and services to our customers, we recently made some major renovations to our 8,000 sq. ft. facility.

Our facility renovation included expanding our showroom space, installing flat wall and new tile floors, redoing the foyer, repainting the welding labs, installing new energy efficient lights, adding storage space above the repair shop, constructing new counters and storage cabinets, and, dry blasting the ceiling tiles. Additionally, we installed a new staircase within the facility, as well as electrical conduits on our countertops to streamline our work process.

We ultimately decided to replace and renovate sections of our facility to modernize and provide our customers with the best products and services. For example, some of our lighting fixtures became obsolete, the showroom needed to be upgraded and modernized, and we needed additional showroom and storage space.

The main goal of our recent renovation project was to improve our business so that we can better serve our customers and continue the delivery of high quality products and services. With our major renovation finished, we are looking forward to the future of Sutton Garten and working with our customers.

Our facility renovation is just another way that we will continue to surpass customer expectations for many years to come. Come check out our new and beautiful facility!

U.S. Manufacturing Is Trending Up – Slowly, But Surely

We’re hearing a lot of positive news lately regarding the U.S. manufacturing sector and the economy, in general. It seems as if manufacturing is making a welcome comeback here – slowly, but surely – and a similar recovery trend is happening in other countries around the world. A recent report said, “American producers are leading a global manufacturing recovery that stretches from China to Europe as their economies improve.”

There are several indicators pointing in a positive direction right now:

Other trends positively impacting U.S. manufacturing today include “onshoring” (or “reshoring”) and the increased access to manufacturing-related education and training.

American ManufacturingThe onshoring trend we’re seeing now reflects the fact that more companies are setting up or moving manufacturing operations to the U.S. after they’ve realized that manufacturing overseas is costly and can be unreliable when it comes to quality control. The education/training trend is driven by the fact that more manufacturing jobs are open or they’re being created. Therefore, more people are seeking the training and education they need to fill those jobs. Specific manufacturing-related skills training and education (including welding training) are in demand, and welding education programs are being added to the curriculum of schools and colleges across the country.

Right now, any way you look at manufacturing and the economy, you’ll see positive signs. In a recent USA Today article, one market strategist says, “Overall, the direction of manufacturing continues to be positive.” We share this optimism, and patiently look forward to the upward trend in U.S. manufacturing continuing in the months and years ahead!