Category Archive: Welding Industry

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.

Size of the job? That doesn’t matter, but quality and service do.

At Sutton-Garten, we understand that the size of the welding  job doesn’t matter. That’s why we not only sell equipment and gases to companies, but we also sell to individuals. Besides offering a wide array of products to our larger customers, we also offer training for a variety of certifications and welding techniques. Our training can be customized to help upgrade skills for welders at your company. In addition, we also offer training to fulfill AWS and ASME certifications, at your place or ours, for up to 6 welders at once in stick, mig, or tig welding.

And for the hobbyist? At Sutton-Garten, we also offer an introductory welding class. With this training, even the hobbyist will be able to put down a good weld for everything from home repairs to original creations. Our classes are located in a 2000 square foot training facility with welding booths and an air-conditioned classroom. Approximately 90% of the time is spent welding in the lab, so you will get plenty of hands-on training. Contact us now for more information.

So back to jobs big and small. Here is a story about an interesting last-minute request at a custom metal fabricating shop in North Carolina proving that you just never know when and how and for what, welding expertise will be needed…

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.

Build Savings with Sutton-Garten

When it comes to welding equipment, at Sutton-Garten, we have spent the past 90 years ensuring our customers have access to the very best. On top of supplying them with the highest quality equipment, this also means getting them the best prices, often at steep discounts—prices not found anywhere else.

This means working tirelessly with suppliers to get access to equipment and savings. One of our most popular and reliable relationships is with Miller, and their Build with Blue™ program. The program allows customers to build Miller equipment to order, and then receive free rebates from them.

There is a range of equipment choices available for the Build with Blue program. They include MIG welders, TIG welders, plasma cutters, multi-process welders, and welder/generators.

Once you have chosen and purchased the qualifying Miller machine through Sutton-Garten, you simply submit a rebate form. You’ll then receive your rebate via email, for a total of up to $500 in savings. It’s that simple.

What this means is that through our relationship with Miller—and their unique Build with Blue rebate program—you get the machine you want, built for you, but at a much lower cost than you normally would. You get the same service and quality, for less money.

We’re proud to work with such top-of-the-line suppliers as Miller, and we’re very happy to be able to pass savings along directly to our customers. With almost a century in business, it’s just one of the many advantages we’re able to provide.

New Millermatic Welders 141 and 190 replacing 140 and 180

Since our company was started in the early 1900s, we’ve been focused on welding supplies and services. We currently over a wide variety of welding equipment and a vast selection of gases, safety, and other related equipment. One of the most popular welding companies, Miller Electric, manufactures welding and cutting equipment for use in the manufacturing, fabrication, construction, aviation, motorsports, education, agriculture, and marine industries. Two of their popular welders, the Millermatic® 140 Auto-Set™and the Millermatic® 180 Auto-Set™ will soon be replaced by the more advanced and innovative Millermatic® 141 and Millermatic® 190. Both the Millermatic 140 and Millermatic 180 are standard and basic everyday welders that industry professionals know and trust for their ease of use and dependability.

The new Millermatic 141 is an all-in-one wire welder that welds 24 gauge – 3/16 in. mild steel using 120V input power. A variety of new and exciting features set this model apart from similarly priced welders. An auto-set feature allows you to automatically control and set your welder to the exact specifications. It also offers all-in-one MIG so that you don’t have to find the parameters. The 141 also has manual mode so that you can easily set your own parameters, an angled all aluminum drive system for consistent feeding and ease of use, quick select drive roll for differenced sized sold wire and flux-cored wire, along with a smooth-start start, an auto Spoolgun detect and thermal overload and ‘tip saver’ short circuit protection.

Miller also recently released the Millermatic 190, an all-in-one welder that weld 24 gauge- 5/16 in. mild steel using 240V input power, enough to handle the most complex project. Weighing only 35 pounds, this unit is extremely portable and easy to maneuver throughout your project area. Additionally, with its angle all aluminum drive system, it creates consistent feeding and easy setup for up to 15-food MIG guns and three groves, two for differenced size solid wire and another for flux-cored wire. Other features such as auto-set, fan-on-demand, and smooth-start make this welder extremely easy to use and clean. It also has a thermal overload and ‘tip saver’ short circuit protection feature to shut down the unit to prevent damage if it overheats.

For a limited time, Miller is offering a free helmet with the purchase of either the Millermatic 141 or the Millermatic 190. These new welders are set to revolutionize the small welder market and are going to be displayed at the upcoming FABTECH show in November. To learn more about Miller’s welders, visit their website.

Welding Tech Education

Since our company was started over 90 years ago, we have been focused on a variety of services, including bulk gas installations, CO2 and nitrogen gas filling, welding equipment repairs, and training and certifying procedures. As welding continues to be a core part of our business, we are constantly collaborating with schools and institutes that offer welding education. We believe that when our staff is properly trained in traditional and new technologies, they can perform the best work for our customers.

In house, we currently train and certify those interested in mig, tig, and stick welding. Our knowledgeable and experienced team has many years of welding expertise to share and can provide custom instruction. Various companies have come to us to train and certify their staffs for safe and proper welding of pipe and plate products using different welding techniques. We can also provide instruction on welding practices for aluminum, steel, and stainless steel materials.

Our staff can organize AWS and ASME welding certification courses either at our facility or at yours for up to six welders. We also offer an introductory course that is aimed at welding for hobbyists. If you have an old auto that needs repairing or are interesting in building something from scratch, this course will teach you safe welding practices and procedures. A small class size and individual time with the course instructor ensure that students learn and get the chance to work on their own projects using our new equipment.Hobart Welding Institute

In addition to our welding instruction courses, we work collaboratively with the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology to offer technical training courses and specialized in-plant programs for companies. Hobart’s hands-on, technical, and safety training is a great program because it is an industry leading institute that has successfully trained over 100,000 students in the past 80 years.

Miller Electric Manufacturing is a welding company that is associated with the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology. We work with Miller Electric to coordinate training on new machinery and equipment. Miller’s trademark blue equipment has been around since 1929 and is primarily composed of affordable welding products. Their extensive history of producing welding products began when they began to manufacture a welder with a built-in wire feeder, the Millermatic 35. In addition to their innovative and advanced products, Miller also complies with a number of different safety and equipment standards.

Another popular welding company is Lincoln Electric. Since the late 1800s, Lincoln has been a leader in the welding technology space. Their traditionally red equipment is available for a number of different operations, including welding, cutting, and automation.  As a leader in the welding arena, Lincoln serves a long list of industries, such as the automotive, offshore, pipeline, nuclear, and thermal energy industries.

If you’re interested in learning more about our welding services or our welding education instruction programs, please contact us for more information.

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.

A Look at the Changing Welding Industry

As a company that works closely with the welding industry, we certainly find it important to keep on top of the latest news and trends within the welding industry. Due to an increase in global commerce and an increase in exports, more and more consolidation is occurring in the industry. In the past few months, we have seen an example of this consolidation, as ESAB has taken over what was known as Victor Technologies.

According to this press release, “the combination of ESAB and Victor creates a comprehensive product portfolio that brings a broader array of solutions to the welding and cutting industry.” With this merge, that means there is now less and less competition in the welding and cutting equipment market. This leaves three major companies –ITW/Miller, Lincoln, and ESAB—as the major welding and cutting equipment players. These companies now all own cutting torch lines that they can offer to their customers, and they are also putting more of an emphasis on safety within their business. We have also seen that the main line of welding equipment being used by professional welding companies is coming from one of these larger equipment manufacturers.

Despite this consolidation, however, the IWDC (Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative) still remains strong. We continue to support the changing welding industry with our products and services, and we are excited to see what else is in store!