The term “ironclad performance” has its origins in history, but is still relevant in today’s workplace and with similar meaning to the source.
There was a day when countries defended themselves with magnificent wooden warships, tall-masted and bristling with cannons. Impressive projections of political power on the high seas, these ships succumbed to technology when it occurred to nautical visionaries that smaller, more maneuverable ships clad in iron plates might be less susceptible to fire (and much more difficult to sink).
Iron-clad performance became legendary in the Civil War battle of Hampton Roads where two such “ironclad” ships did battle for the first time. The CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor repeatedly tried to ram one another while their shells bounced off each other’s armor. The seminal battle attracted attention worldwide, effectively ending the long reign of the wooden warship.
Is it any wonder the term ironclad would forever define something very rigid or exacting; inflexible orunbreakable?
Today the term has bearing in mechanized welding procedures that clad to reinforce or repair piping systems that are susceptible to physical or corrosive damage.Cladding now replaces the old iron with numerous metals and alloys that contribute superior strength, wear or corrosion resistance.
Sometimes referred to as hard-cladding or hard-facing, the idea is to weld layers of more durable metal over the surface, leaving the original metal structure intact. This is done frequently in industries such as construction where the front edge of a bulldozer blade or the teeth of excavator bucket have cladding metal welded on to sacrificially wear. This can be done initially to ensure increased service life or as a repair method to replace original metal lost to hard use.
Effectively, any orbital welding system, including Tri Tool’s AdaptARC® Multi-process Welding System that can be configured to weld in a straight line can perform cladding operations. Sometimes special fixturing or mounting tracks need to be designed to permit the weld deposition on existing surfaces.
Cladding is not limited to straight, linear welding, however. Successful cladding can be applied on the OD surface of pipe or fitting or the inside bore, particularly when the material flowing in the pipe is of a highly corrosive nature such as ground water in Geo-thermal energy production facilities.
Multi-process automated welding systems have the distinct advantage of being able to select the welding mode best suited for a specific cladding requirement. This versatility means that GTAW, GMAW and FCAW can all be used for dependable cladding with high performance deposition rates.
Cladding is often performed to re-establish original material dimensions. This is extremely important in applications where large bushings or packings have worn large diameter shafts in power turbines. Wear has reduced the shaft diameter to the extent that seals or bearings can not seat properly. This critical problem can be the cause of major plant outages and often, replacements for original turbine shafts were never produced or are not available.
In this situation, the worn-away metal can be replaced by high-deposition weld techniques that build up cladding layers beyond the original dimension. Next, the welding head can be replaced by portable machine tools that precisely cut the clad metal down, re-establishing the original surfaces.
This weld cladding followed by in situ machining approach to power plant maintenance is extremely effective in performing a crucial repair quickly and reliably, and without requiring the removal and transportation (or replacement) of a remarkably expensive shaft.
As you can see, just like when the world transitioned to layering iron plates to make warships more durable, today’s cladding techniques provide a tough wearing, anti corrosion layer to protect or repair important structures.
Contact Tri Tool and we will provide an Ironclad Solutionfor your most demanding industrial or commercial applications.