Push vs. Pull MIG Welding: Understanding the Dynamics in Welding Techniques

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is a popular welding technique widely used in various industries, including automotive, construction, and manufacturing. One of the crucial aspects that significantly impacts the quality and efficiency of MIG welding is the method used—whether it’s the push or pull technique. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the dynamics, advantages, and applications of both the push and pull methods in MIG welding.

Understanding MIG Welding

Before diving into the specifics of push and pull MIG welding, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of MIG welding. This technique involves the use of a continuous solid wire electrode, which is fed through a welding gun. Simultaneously, an inert gas, often a combination of argon, carbon dioxide, or a mix of both, is released to shield the welding area from atmospheric contamination. The arc, created between the wire electrode and the base material, generates the heat necessary to melt and fuse the metals together.

Push Technique in MIG Welding

The push technique, also known as the forehand technique, involves pushing the welding torch away from the weld pool. In this method, the torch is inclined at an angle of 5 to 15 degrees away from the direction of welding. When employing the push technique, the arc’s leading edge faces the direction of travel, meaning that the weld pool is pushed along with the torch.

Advantages of the Push Technique

Reduced Spatter: Pushing the torch away from the weld pool helps reduce spatter formation, providing a cleaner weld and minimizing post-weld cleanup.

Better Visibility: The torch being ahead allows for better visibility of the weld pool and the joint, enabling welders to maintain better control and produce higher-quality welds.

Enhanced Penetration: The push technique often results in better penetration, particularly on thicker materials, due to the arc’s leading edge.

Applications of the Push Technique

The push method is commonly preferred in various applications, such as welding thicker materials, structural fabrication, and scenarios where reduced spatter and increased visibility are crucial for high-quality welds.

Pull Technique in MIG Welding

Conversely, the pull technique, or backhand technique, involves pulling the welding torch toward the weld pool. The torch is inclined at an angle of 5 to 15 degrees towards the direction of welding. In this method, the trailing edge of the arc faces the direction of travel, which means the weld pool trails behind the torch.

Advantages of the Pull Technique

Increased Control: The pull technique allows for better control and manipulation of the weld pool, especially on thinner materials, leading to improved precision.

Reduced Heat Build-up: Pulling the torch helps in reducing the heat input into the base material, which is advantageous when working with thinner metals or in situations where heat control is critical.

Enhanced Directional Stability: The pull technique can provide better directional stability, making it suitable for vertical and overhead welding positions.

Applications of the Pull Technique

The pull method finds its applications in scenarios where precise control and reduced heat input are essential, such as welding thinner materials, sheet metal fabrication, and positional welding.

Choosing the Right Technique

The choice between the push and pull techniques in MIG welding depends on various factors, including material thickness, joint design, and the desired weld quality. Understanding the specific requirements of the welding project is crucial in selecting the appropriate technique.

Material Thickness: For thicker materials, the push technique might be preferred due to its better penetration, while the pull technique is often suitable for thinner materials to avoid excessive heat input.

Joint Design: Certain joint configurations might favor one technique over the other. For instance, a fillet weld might be better achieved using the push technique, whereas a lap joint could benefit from the pull technique.

Welding Position: Consideration of the welding position, whether flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead, is crucial in determining which technique provides the best results.

Conclusion

Both the push and pull techniques in MIG welding offer distinct advantages, making them suitable for different applications and welding scenarios. Understanding the dynamics and nuances of each technique allows welders to adapt and choose the most appropriate method based on the specific requirements of the welding project. Whether it’s increased penetration, reduced spatter, better control, or improved precision, the choice between push and pull in MIG welding significantly influences the quality and efficiency of the weld.

In summary, the key to successful MIG welding lies not just in the equipment or materials used but also in the skillful application of the push and pull techniques, providing welders with the versatility needed to deliver high-quality welds across a wide range of applications.

By grasping the intricacies of these techniques, welders can enhance their welding expertise and produce exceptional results, meeting the demands of diverse welding projects with confidence and precision.

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A Comprehensive Comparison GMAW vs FCAW Welding

In the dynamic field of welding, professionals are continually faced with the choice of selecting the most suitable welding process for their specific applications. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) are two popular methods that have their unique characteristics and advantages. In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the intricacies of GMAW and FCAW welding, exploring their differences, applications, and considerations for optimal use.

Understanding GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding):

Gas Metal Arc Welding, commonly known as MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding, is a versatile and widely used welding process. GMAW utilizes a consumable wire electrode and a shielding gas, typically a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide, to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. This process is known for its efficiency, high deposition rates, and ease of use.

Advantages of GMAW:

1. High Productivity: GMAW is renowned for its high deposition rates, making it suitable for applications where speed is crucial. The continuous wire feeding mechanism allows for long welds without frequent stops.

2. Clean Welds: The shielding gas used in GMAW provides excellent protection against atmospheric contaminants, resulting in clean and aesthetically pleasing welds.

3. Versatility: GMAW can be used on a wide range of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel, making it a versatile choice for various applications.

Considerations for GMAW:

1. Indoor Application: GMAW is well-suited for indoor welding projects where wind and atmospheric conditions are controlled. Outdoor applications may require additional shielding to protect the weld from the elements.

2. Skill Level: While GMAW is considered relatively easy to learn, achieving optimal results requires a certain level of skill and precision.

Understanding FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding):

Flux-Cored Arc Welding is another popular welding process that shares some similarities with GMAW but has distinct characteristics. FCAW utilizes a tubular wire filled with flux as the electrode, eliminating the need for an external shielding gas. This process is often chosen for its deep penetration and suitability for outdoor welding.

Advantages of FCAW:

1. High Penetration: FCAW is known for its ability to achieve deep penetration, making it suitable for welding thick materials.

2. Outdoor Versatility: The absence of an external shielding gas makes FCAW well-suited for outdoor applications, where wind and atmospheric conditions can impact the welding process.

3. Less Equipment Dependency: FCAW requires fewer equipment components compared to GMAW, simplifying the setup process.

Considerations for FCAW:

1. Potential for Slag Inclusions: The flux in the FCAW electrode produces slag, which must be carefully managed to avoid inclusions in the weld. Proper technique and parameter control are essential.

2. Wire Selection: Choosing the right flux-cored wire for the specific application is crucial. Factors such as material type, thickness, and welding position must be considered.

Comparison and Applications:

1. Weld Quality: Both GMAW and FCAW are capable of producing high-quality welds when used correctly. The choice between the two often depends on the specific requirements of the project.

2. Material Compatibility: GMAW is preferred for welding non-ferrous materials like aluminum, while FCAW excels in applications involving thick sections of ferrous materials.

3. Cost Considerations: GMAW typically requires a shielding gas, adding to the overall cost. FCAW, on the other hand, can be more cost-effective due to the absence of an external gas source.

Conclusion:

In the ever-evolving landscape of welding, the choice between GMAW and FCAW ultimately depends on the specific needs of the project. Both processes offer distinct advantages, and a thorough understanding of their characteristics is essential for making an informed decision. Whether it’s the clean and efficient GMAW or the deep-penetrating FCAW, welding professionals in Bradenton, Florida, can leverage these techniques to deliver high-quality results in their diverse applications in the welding industry.

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Navigating the Challenges of an Aging Workforce: Embracing Experience in the Welding Industry

In the realm of industries like welding, a significant transformation is occurring: the workforce is aging. With this evolution comes a host of challenges and opportunities. As seasoned professionals retire and the demand for skilled workers grows, the welding industry finds itself at a crossroads, navigating a landscape where experience meets innovation.

Understanding the Shift in the Workforce

The face of the workforce is changing. Traditionally, industries like welding have been dominated by experienced professionals who have spent decades honing their craft. However, a demographic shift is underway. The baby boomer generation, who largely built these industries, is approaching retirement age. As a result, a considerable wealth of experience is departing the workforce.

This change raises critical questions and challenges for the welding industry and other blue-collar sectors. How can companies retain the knowledge and expertise of these retiring workers? How can they attract and train the next generation of welders? And, perhaps most crucially, how can they maintain productivity and ensure high-quality work during this transitional phase?

Embracing the Value of Experience

Experience is invaluable in blue-collar industries. Seasoned workers in welding bring a depth of knowledge that comes only with years of practice. They understand nuances, possess problem-solving skills, and can navigate complex projects with confidence. These individuals are the custodians of industry secrets and best practices.

Companies must recognize the immeasurable value of this experience. Developing strategies to retain this knowledge and transfer it to the younger workforce is critical. Mentorship programs, knowledge-sharing initiatives, and on-the-job training are effective ways to ensure that valuable expertise doesn’t disappear with retiring workers.

Bridging the Generational Gap

The emergence of younger workers in blue-collar industries presents a unique opportunity to blend experience with fresh perspectives. Millennials and Gen Z individuals entering the welding workforce bring technological savvy, new ideas, and a different approach to problem-solving. Integrating these innovative mindsets with the wisdom of experienced welders can lead to incredible advancements in the field.

To bridge the generational gap, companies must foster an environment of mutual respect and learning. Younger workers should be encouraged to seek guidance from their experienced counterparts, while seasoned professionals should remain open to new methodologies and technological advancements. Creating a culture that values collaboration between generations is key to driving progress in the welding industry.

Addressing the Skills Gap

One of the biggest challenges faced by the welding industry today is the widening skills gap. As experienced welders retire, there’s a pressing need to fill their shoes with skilled, knowledgeable individuals. However, attracting and training new talent isn’t as simple as it might seem.

To address this, proactive steps must be taken. This includes investing in comprehensive training programs, partnering with educational institutions to promote vocational training, and offering incentives to attract new talent. Companies can also explore innovative recruitment strategies and apprenticeship programs to groom the next generation of welders.

Embracing Technological Advancements

The welding industry is not impervious to technological advancements. Automation, robotics, and new welding techniques are rapidly reshaping the landscape. Embracing these advancements is crucial for the industry’s growth and competitiveness.

By integrating new technologies, companies can enhance productivity, streamline processes, and even make the work environment safer. However, this transition also demands a willingness to adapt and learn. Offering training on new technologies to existing and incoming workers is fundamental to staying ahead in the ever-evolving welding field.

The Importance of Workforce Diversity

Diversity in the workforce is crucial for innovation and adaptability. Encouraging a diverse workforce, including women and individuals from different cultural backgrounds, brings a range of perspectives and experiences to the table. Inclusivity in hiring and promoting an environment that respects and values diversity can significantly benefit the welding industry.

Conclusion

The aging blue-collar workforce in industries like welding presents challenges, but it also offers unique opportunities. To thrive in this evolving landscape, companies must prioritize knowledge transfer, bridge the generational gap, address the skills shortage, embrace technological advancements, and foster a diverse workforce.

By combining the wisdom of experienced welders with the fresh perspectives of younger generations, the welding industry can not only navigate the challenges posed by an aging workforce but also emerge stronger, more innovative, and well-prepared for the future.

In the end, it’s not just about welding metal together; it’s about welding the past with the future to create a stronger and more resilient industry.

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Choosing the Right Welding Process: A Comprehensive Guide for Welders

Welding, the process of joining materials using high heat and, often, a filler material, is a fundamental skill in the metalworking industry. It’s a craft that demands skill, precision, and the right choice of welding process. Each welding method offers unique advantages and is best suited for particular applications. Deciding which welding process to use requires a solid understanding of the available options and consideration of various factors like the material, thickness, project specifications, and environmental conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various welding processes, their applications, and the factors that influence the choice, empowering welders to make informed decisions.

Understanding the Main Welding Processes

Welder at work using MIG welding equipment

1. MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding – GMAW)

MIG welding is one of the most commonly used welding processes. It involves feeding a consumable wire electrode and an inert gas through a welding gun. The gas shields the weld from atmospheric contamination, providing a clean and strong weld. It’s versatile, ideal for a wide range of materials, including steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. This method is fast, efficient, and produces high-quality welds, making it suitable for industries like automotive, manufacturing, and construction.

2. TIG Welding (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding – GTAW)

TIG welding utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by an inert gas. TIG welding allows for precise control over the welding process, making it perfect for welding thin materials and exotic metals like magnesium and copper alloys. It produces high-quality, clean welds with no spatter, which is crucial in industries like aerospace, automotive, and artistic applications.

Stick welding on metal beam

3. Stick Welding (Shielded Metal Arc Welding – SMAW)

Stick welding is one of the oldest and most straightforward welding processes. It employs a consumable electrode coated in flux, which produces a shielding gas when burned. This process is highly versatile and can be used in outdoor or windy conditions, making it a popular choice in construction, repair, and maintenance applications. It’s suitable for welding thick materials and works well on rusty or dirty surfaces.

4. Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

Flux-cored welding is similar to MIG welding but utilizes a tubular wire filled with flux instead of a solid wire. It generates its shielding gas, making it suitable for outdoor and windy conditions, similar to stick welding. FCAW is fast and highly productive, making it ideal for thick materials, structural steel, and shipbuilding.

5. Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

Submerged Arc Welding involves feeding a continuous solid or tubular electrode and a layer of granular flux over the weld area. The weld is shielded from atmospheric contamination by the flux, allowing for deep penetration and high welding speeds. It’s primarily used for welding thick materials in industries like shipbuilding, heavy equipment manufacturing, and pressure vessel fabrication.

Factors Influencing the Choice of Welding Process

1. Material Type

Different welding processes are better suited for specific materials. For instance, while MIG welding is versatile and suitable for various materials, TIG welding excels in welding thinner materials and non-ferrous metals. Understanding the material being welded is crucial in selecting the appropriate welding process.

2. Material Thickness

The thickness of the material plays a significant role in the selection of the welding process. Some processes, like TIG and MIG, work well with thinner materials, while stick welding or flux-cored welding might be more suitable for thicker sections due to their ability to provide deeper penetration.

3. Welding Position

Consideration of the welding position, whether it’s flat, vertical, horizontal, or overhead, is crucial. Some processes might be more suitable for specific positions due to their ability to control the weld puddle and prevent slag or spatter from falling into the weld.

4. Joint Design and Project Specifications

The type of joint and the project specifications also influence the welding process choice. Some processes might be more suitable for certain joint designs, such as fillet welds or groove welds. Understanding the project requirements and the desired weld characteristics is essential in making the right selection.

5. Welding Speed and Productivity

Different welding processes vary in their speed and productivity. For high-volume production, a process like MIG or flux-cored welding might be preferred due to their high deposition rates and efficiency. However, for high precision and clean welds, TIG welding might be the preferred choice despite being slower.

Welder makes weld seam on metal frame with TIG welding equipment

6. Environmental Conditions

Consideration of the welding environment is crucial. For outdoor or windy conditions, processes like flux-cored arc welding or stick welding, which are less susceptible to atmospheric interference, might be the better choice.

How to Decide on the Right Welding Process

Step 1: Understand the Project Requirements

Begin by thoroughly understanding the project specifications, including material type, thickness, joint design, and environmental conditions. This is crucial in narrowing down the options.

Step 2: Assess Your Skill Set

Evaluate your proficiency in various welding processes. Choose a process that aligns with your skills and experience, ensuring you can achieve the desired quality and efficiency.

Step 3: Consider Equipment Availability

Assess the availability of equipment and resources. Some processes might require specific machines or accessories that may not be readily accessible.

Step 4: Review Cost and Efficiency

Consider the cost implications and the efficiency of each process concerning the project requirements. Sometimes, a more efficient process might outweigh the initial cost difference.

Step 5: Perform Tests and Trials

If possible, conduct tests or trials on sample materials to evaluate the weld quality, productivity, and adherence to project specifications.

Conclusion

Selecting the right welding process is a critical decision that significantly impacts the quality, efficiency, and success of a project. Understanding the nuances of each welding process, considering various influencing factors, and following a structured decision-making process are crucial in making the right choice. By leveraging this comprehensive guide, welders can confidently assess project requirements and skill sets to decide on the most suitable welding process, ensuring optimal results in their welding projects.

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Welding Safety: Prioritizing a Secure Workplace

Ensuring safety in the welding industry is of paramount importance, not just for compliance with regulations but also to protect the health and well-being of those involved. One crucial standard that guides welding safety is ANSI Z49.1, established by the American Welding Society (AWS). In this article, we will delve into the significance of welding safety, understanding ANSI Z49.1, and the resources offered by the American Welding Society to promote a safer workplace.

The Significance of Welding Safety

Welding, a process vital to the industrial sector, involves the fusion of materials using high heat. While it is an essential part of construction, manufacturing, and repair processes, it carries inherent risks. Without proper safety measures in place, welding can lead to various accidents and health hazards.

Common Risks Associated with Welding

1. Fires and Explosions: The intense heat generated during welding can ignite flammable materials, leading to fires or explosions.

2. Toxic Fumes and Gases: Welding produces harmful fumes and gases that, if inhaled, can cause respiratory issues and other health problems.

Industrial Welder With Torch and Protective Helmet welding metal profiles

3. Electric Shocks: Welding involves electrical equipment, and improper handling can result in serious electric shocks.

4. Eye and Skin Damage: Intense light and radiation during welding can cause severe eye and skin damage if proper protective gear is not used.

5. Noise and Vibration: Prolonged exposure to welding noise and vibration can have adverse effects on hearing and overall well-being.

Understanding ANSI Z49.1

What is ANSI Z49.1?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established the ANSI Z49.1 standard to guide safe welding practices. This standard provides comprehensive guidelines and recommendations for the safe setup, operation, and maintenance of welding and cutting equipment.

Key Elements of ANSI Z49.1

1. Training and Education: ANSI Z49.1 emphasizes the need for proper training and education for all personnel involved in welding operations. Knowledgeable and trained personnel are essential for ensuring safe practices.

2. Hazard Evaluation and Control: The standard emphasizes conducting thorough evaluations of potential hazards associated with welding and implementing suitable control measures to mitigate risks.

Headphones to protect hearing from noise.

3. Protective Equipment: ANSI Z49.1 provides detailed guidelines on the selection and use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of workers.

Row of protective welding mask helmets.

4. Work Environment Safety: The standard advocates for a safe work environment, emphasizing factors like proper ventilation, adequate lighting, and safe storage of materials.

5. Emergency Planning and Response: ANSI Z49.1 underscores the importance of having a well-defined emergency plan and response procedures in place to address any unforeseen incidents effectively.

Fire extinguisher are used to prevent fire in welding steel work.

Resources Offered by the American Welding Society

The American Welding Society (AWS) is a valuable resource hub for welding professionals, offering a wide range of resources to promote safety and excellence within the industry.

1. Welding Safety and Health Fact Sheets

AWS provides informative fact sheets covering various aspects of welding safety and health. These fact sheets are valuable references for understanding potential hazards and implementing appropriate safety measures.

2. Safety and Health Resources

AWS offers a plethora of resources, including guidelines, manuals, and publications, to support organizations and individuals in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. These resources encompass everything from safety procedures to best practices.

3. Educational Workshops and Seminars

AWS conducts workshops and seminars focused on welding safety and health. These events provide participants with hands-on experience, knowledge sharing, and opportunities to interact with experts in the field.

4. Certification Programs

AWS offers certification programs that validate the skills and knowledge of welding professionals. These certifications ensure that individuals have the necessary expertise to perform their tasks safely and efficiently.

Skillful metal worker working with plasma welding machine in shipyard wearing safety equipment. Repair of a warship damaged in battle.

Conclusion

Welding safety is a critical aspect of the welding industry that cannot be overlooked. The risks associated with welding necessitate a proactive approach towards safety and adherence to industry standards like ANSI Z49.1. The American Welding Society provides an array of resources and support to ensure that welding professionals are well-equipped to maintain a secure work environment. By embracing these safety practices and utilizing the wealth of resources available, we can collectively work towards creating a safer workplace for all involved in the welding industry. Remember, safety should always be the top priority in any welding operation.

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Exploring MIG and TIG Welding: A Comparison of Consumables, Precision, Speed, and Cost

In the realm of welding, two prominent methods often utilized are MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. Both methods have distinct characteristics and are applicable in various industries based on the project’s requirements. In this article, we will delve into a detailed comparison, focusing on consumable parts such as contact tips, diffusers, nozzles for MIG welding, and collets, cups, and electrodes for TIG welding. Additionally, we’ll explore aspects of precision, speed, and cost, shedding light on the major industries that predominantly use each welding technology.

Consumable Parts: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

MIG Welding Consumables:

MIG welding employs consumable components that are integral for its functionality and efficiency. These include:

1. Contact Tips: These small copper or brass parts facilitate the transfer of electric current to the welding wire and help maintain a consistent arc.

2. Diffusers: Diffusers distribute shielding gas evenly and promote a stable welding process.

3. Nozzles: Nozzles control the flow and direction of the shielding gas, optimizing gas coverage and enhancing welding outcomes.

TIG Welding Consumables:

TIG welding involves a distinct set of consumables that are essential for its operation:

1. Collets: Collets hold the tungsten electrode firmly in place and guide its alignment within the welding torch.

2. Cups: Also known as gas cups, these items direct and shape the shielding gas flow, safeguarding the weld area and refining gas coverage.

3. Electrodes: Tungsten electrodes are a key component in TIG welding, as they generate the arc and are available in various compositions suitable for different metals and welding requirements.

Precision: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Precision in MIG Welding:

MIG welding, while efficient and effective, is generally considered less precise compared to TIG welding. The deposition of filler material in MIG welding is quicker and provides good penetration. However, the larger bead and potential spatter can affect the final weld’s precision, making it less suitable for intricate or detailed work.

Precision in TIG Welding:

TIG welding is renowned for its precision. The ability to control heat input and weld puddle size accurately enables welders to achieve fine, intricate welds. The precise control over the arc and filler material deposition makes TIG welding ideal for applications demanding a high level of precision, such as aerospace components and delicate fabrication work.

Speed: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Speed in MIG Welding:

MIG welding is generally faster than TIG welding due to its continuous wire feeding and higher deposition rates. The automation potential further enhances speed, making MIG welding ideal for high-volume production and applications where efficiency and speed are paramount.

Operator welding machine structure by MIG welding

Speed in TIG Welding:

TIG welding is comparatively slower due to the meticulous approach required to maintain precision. The need to dip the filler rod manually and the controlled, precise welding process reduces the speed, making it less suitable for high-speed production. TIG welding finds its niche in applications prioritizing accuracy over speed.

Cost: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Cost of MIG Welding:

MIG welding is often considered more cost-effective, primarily because it’s a faster process and requires less skill and training to operate effectively. The equipment and consumables for MIG welding are generally more affordable, making it a preferred choice for those aiming to balance efficiency with budget constraints.

Cost of TIG Welding:

TIG welding tends to be more expensive due to various factors. The equipment for TIG welding, including the welding machine and accessories, is typically pricier. Moreover, the meticulous nature of TIG welding necessitates a higher level of skill, leading to increased labor costs. The cost of tungsten electrodes and shielding gas further adds to the overall expense.

Major Industries and Applications

Industries Utilizing MIG Welding:

MIG welding finds extensive applications in industries such as:

• Automotive: Body panels, chassis, and exhaust systems.

• Construction: Structural steel, heavy machinery, and pipelines.

• Manufacturing: Sheet metal fabrication and general manufacturing.

• Shipbuilding: Hulls and structural components.

Industries Utilizing TIG Welding:

TIG welding is prevalent in industries where precision is paramount, including:

• Aerospace: Aircraft components, engine parts, and fuel systems.

• Nuclear Power: Pipe and reactor fabrication.

• Food and Beverage: Stainless steel equipment and pipelines.

• Medical: Fabrication of surgical instruments and equipment.

In conclusion, both MIG and TIG welding techniques have their own set of advantages and are better suited for specific applications. MIG welding offers speed and cost-effectiveness, making it ideal for high-volume production in industries like automotive and manufacturing. On the other hand, TIG welding shines in precision and is a preferred choice for applications demanding intricacy and accuracy, such as aerospace and medical industries. Understanding the nuances of each method allows welders and businesses to choose the most suitable approach for their particular projects.

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Arc Welding Equipment and Processes

The end goal for all arc welders is the same – an expertly welded, precision product that’s to standard, sturdy, and even beautiful. Getting there though can be vastly different depending on the type of arc welding process they employ. Today, there are five main welding styles, and each uses its own processes, equipment, and applications.

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Top 5 Causes of Bird Nesting in Welding And How To Fix Them

One of the most frustrating challenges of MIG welding is having your progress come to a screeching halt because of a birds nest. No, we aren’t talking about the type that birds make out of sticks, grass, and leaves. 

So what is bird nesting and how do you fix it so you can get back to work?

What is Bird Nesting in Welding?

Bird nesting is when you are welding and the wire gets all tangled up. It can happen anywhere from the drive roll to the contact tip and brings your productivity to a grinding halt while you cut, remove, re-feed, and re-start.

The good news is that with the proper setup and maintenance, MIG wire kinking can be greatly reduced. But to properly fix it, the first step is to figure out what’s causing it. Here’s our how-to guide for fixing the top five causes of bird nesting in welding.

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Women in Manufacturing: How Women Can Save Manufacturing

The times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan’s famous song from 1964 is still as relevant today as it was during the cultural revolution that represented the largest generational values shift in our history.

In those days, women were celebrating the Equal Pay Act, reading Betty Friedan, and breaking the mold of the stereotypical housewife to begin careers and live beyond the boundaries of domestic life.’

The History of Women in Manufacturing

The first time we saw the first big wave of women entering the workforce was during World War II. Many of the men went to war leaving a gigantic labor shortage and women stepped up.

By 1943 women actually made up 65% of the labor force and “Rosie the Riveter” was the face of the movement.

But as the war came to an end and the men came back needing jobs, women were expected to return to traditional roles.

The Data

women in manufacturing

Today, women are present in every aspect of our society. Instead of taking home economics in high school and becoming housewives shortly thereafter, the majority of women are seeking higher education and entering the workforce. They are waiting much longer to have children, prioritizing careers and self-fulfillment over starting a family.

Women overwhelmingly constitute the majority of:

  • Preschool & Kindergarten Teachers
  • Dental Hygienists & Assistants
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Childcare Workers
  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
  • Medical Records & Health Information Technicians
  • Dietitians & Nutritionists
  • Hairdressers, Stylists, & Cosmetologists
  • Medical Assistants

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women tend to pursue careers that have less strenuous conditions and a lower risk of injury. There are many reasons for this, including societal norms, barriers to entry, unappealing working conditions, and work/life balance.

In contrast, top careers for men include:

  • Software Developers
  • Farmers
  • Construction Workers
  • Financial Analysts
  • Aerospace Engineers
  • Clergy
  • Television, Video, & Motion Picture Camera Operators and Editors
  • Architects
  • Aircraft Pilots & Flight Engineers
  • Firefighters

This data tells us that men are more likely to pursue careers with an increased risk of injury and less desirable working conditions. Some women, however, are completely ignoring the metaphorical “Do Not Enter” signs by entering the trades; and they are succeeding.

So What Does This Mean For Women in Manufacturing?

women in manufacturing

It is estimated that only 5-7% of welders are female. Women represent 47% of the total US labor force. That means there is a pool of over 50 million working-age women who could fill the estimated 400,000 worker shortage in the welding industry by 2024.

With a significantly higher median wage than most traditionally female careers, this represents a win-win for the industry and women who want to boost their earnings, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

Employers overwhelmingly support an influx of women in the trades as it means a larger pool of available labor resources for them to meet their production goals. Tool, clothing, and safety equipment manufacturers are responding with products designed for those of smaller stature.

If the labor market continues to solicit female trade workers and update working conditions and structures to accommodate women, the result will be a boom in construction and manufacturing output we haven’t seen in decades. Simultaneously, higher wages for female earners cannot be ignored, as their purchasing power will have a ripple effect across consumer goods, retail, and other markets where spend dictates what products are offered.

Change is inevitable. If more women are willing to pursue a career in the trades, they can save manufacturing.

Women Currently Making Great Strides

Speaking of change, there are women currently in the manufacturing industry who are bringing attention to the possibilities for women in manufacturing.

For example, Jessi Combs, the “Fastest Woman On Earth.” Jessie was known for being a television and offroad racing star and was a role model for women in the industry.

Since then many more women have become well-known in the manufacturing and welding industry like Barbie the Welder and Samantha Farr.

Supporting Women in Manufacturing

So what can organizations do about the lack of women in welding?

Consider the steps your organization is taking to break down barriers, from creating a culture that is welcoming to changing hiring practices.

Additionally increasing focus on vocational programs, educator training, apprenticeship programs, and scholarships for women can attract them to the welding profession. One amazing resource is Women Who Weld which offers programs and support for women in the industry.

We are already seeing how STEM classes being offered to girls in middle and high school can help open their eyes to opportunities in the welding industry that they may have never considered.

If we can create an environment that not only welcomes but encourages women in welding, we can fill the shortage and save the industry.

Are you a woman in the manufacturing industry? We have high-quality products to help save you money. Whether you’re looking to do business with us or you need assistance, we’re here to help. Let’s chat!

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Multi Process Welder Roundup: Who’s the Best? (Part I)

Top 20 Multi-Process Welder Machines of 2022 Part I

Why spend thousands on multiple machines when one can do it all? In this two-part series, we take a look at the masters of versatility— multi-process welder machines!

Eastwood

Eastwood claims their machines are “Built for The Professional.” We’ll give you the facts, and you can decide for yourself if they live up to that moniker.

Elite MP140i

muti process welder - Eastwood

The first multi-process welder machine on our list is The Eastwood Elite MP140i. As one of the least expensive machines on our list, one might expect it to be sorely lacking in features. After all, how much can you expect for something only 1/7 the cost of the most expensive machine on our list?

The MP140i, however, should be considered a serious value contender. It features 140A of output @ 30% duty cycle, 8″ spool capacity, a heavy-duty metal drive motor, IGBT inverter technology, digital display, built-in spot weld timer, and 3/16″ single-pass capacity on mild steel. You’ll also get a 10′ Trafimet ERGOPLUS 15 MIG gun, 10′ WP-17V TIG torch, and 12.5′ electrode holder, all for an MSRP of $499.99!

Elite MP200i

The MP200i is one of the lightest machines in its class at only 34 pounds. It is just as feature-packed as its little brother, just with more muscle. The MP200i is rated for a 20% duty cycle at 200A of output. It will also run on either 120VAC or 240VAC and has a 3/8″ single-pass capacity on mild steel.

The package includes a Trafimet ERGOPLUS 24 MIG torch, WP-17V TIG torch, and electrode holder. It is also spool gun compatible if you want to weld aluminum. Note that Eastwood does not offer a foot pedal for this machine. The MP200i also has a built-in spot weld timer. At $799.99, the MP200i is also one of the most affordable machines on our list.

Elite MP250i

Eastwood really knocked it out of the park with the MP250i. If you need a machine for serious, all-day-long work on steel, put this one on your shortlist. With a 60% duty cycle @ 250A, a 12″ spool capacity, and dual bottle mounts, you’ll have the power to run hot and fast with the MP250i. You’ll also get a Trafimet ERGOPLUS 24 MIG torch, WP-17V TIG torch, foot pedal, and electrode holder. Don’t expect to tote this powerhouse around the job site, however, as the large number of features tips the scale at a whopping 160 pounds (without gas bottles). For the price though, this package is hard to beat at an MSRP of $1,299.99.

Esab

When it comes to multi-process welder machines, Esab brought their A-Game. The machine boasts features across the board, such as a multilingual TFT display, exclusive sMIG technology, and a five-handle “roll cage” chassis.

Rebel EMP 205ic

The EMP 205ic is one of the most feature-packed machines on our list. It is one of four machines capable of AC TIG mode (a must-have for serious aluminum work) and includes a pulse mode for DC TIG as well as high-frequency arc starting! It has a maximum output of 235A. Included in the box are a 180A Tweco Fusion Velocity MIG gun, Heliarc HW-17 TIG torch, foot pedal, and electrode holder.

A Tweco 200A spool gun is available separately, although this is hardly needed with the AC TIG mode built right in. However, these bells and whistles come at a cost, with the EMP205ic being limited to a 25% duty cycle and breaking the bank at $3,499.00.

Rebel EMP 215ic

The EMP 215ic is Esab’s most budget-friendly multi-process offering. It sheds nine pounds of weight versus the EMP 205ic (40lbs vs. 49lbs) and gives a slight boost to maximum output at 240 amps. The EMP 215ic does give up AC TIG mode, pulse capability, and high-frequency arc starting. If you can live without those features, you’ll save quite a bit, with an MSRP of $2,149.00 (significant savings over the EMP 205ic). Included are a 180A Tweco Fusion MIG gun, 17V style TIG torch, foot pedal, and Tweco electrode holder.

Rebel EMP 235ic

muti process welder - Esab

The EMP 235ic is a heavy hitter. With 250A of maximum output and single-pass capacity of ½” mild steel at a reasonable 40% duty cycle, this machine will take the heat and keep on ticking. You’ll change your wireless frequently with this model as well, with a 12″ spool capacity versus 8″ on the smaller models. MSRP is $3,455.00. With this machine, you’ll get a Tweco Spraymaster 250 MIG gun and electrode holder. It does not include a TIG torch (we recommend a 26-series torch).

Everlast

Next up on our list, we have four power-packed multi-process welder machines from Everlast. If you’re not familiar with Everlast, you should be. They are all built on IGBT inverter technology, offer some of the best-in-class machines for the money, and they back all of their machines with an impressive 5-year warranty!

Power MTS 211Si

The MTS 211Si is Everlast’s 210A entry-level multi-process machine and is a serious bang for the buck. It features digital controls with a 9-program memory, high-frequency arc starting for TIG mode, 40% duty cycle, and a robust metal wire feed system. You’ll also get control over start/end amps, up/downslope, pre/post flow, and both 2T and 4T control for TIG mode. The MTS211Si package includes a 10′ 15 series MIG gun, 12.5′ 26 Series TIG torch, 10′ electrode holder assembly, and a foot pedal for precision TIG work. All of this comes with a price tag of $1,199.00.

Power MTS 251Si

As the big brother of the MTS 211Si, this machine is sure to be a fan favorite with its combination of features and price. The MTS251Si has 250A of output, a 12″ wire spool capacity, pulse mode for both MIG and TIG processes, and high-frequency arc start. It has a 40% duty cycle and 3/8″ single-pass capacity on mild steel. So, this machine will be right at home in any fab shop or garage. The MTS251Si package includes a 10’ 24 series MIG gun, 12.5’ 26 series TIG torch, 10’ electrode holder assembly, and a foot pedal for precision TIG work. Add the optional water-cooling unit, and you’ve got a serious TIG rig! MSRP is $1,539.00.

Lightning MTS 225

The Lightning MTS 225 is the lead-in unit for Everlast’s second-generation multi-process machines. This machine features 160A of output @ 35% duty cycle on 240V, a synergistic Power Set function, LCD display, AC TIG mode, 16 slots of memory, pulse mode on both AC and DC TIG, high-frequency start, and square wave AC function. Included in the box are a 10′ 15 series MIG gun, 12.5′ 26 Series TIG torch, 10′ electrode holder assembly, and a foot pedal for precision TIG work. The Lightning MTS 225 is the second of the four machines on our list with AC TIG mode. It is by far the least expensive at $2,000.00.

Lightning MTS 275

According to Everlast, the Lightning MTS 275 “has about everything you need, and nothing that you don’t.” We tend to agree! This machine is the best all-around multi-process unit available today and includes all of the features of its little brother with 250A of output @ 60% duty cycle and a 12” spool capacity. You’ll also get upgraded to a 36 series MIG gun and 18 series TIG torch. All of Everlast’s units are compatible with their TIG torch water coolers and a 20 series torch, but the MTS 275 would see the most benefit due to its higher amperage. With an MSRP of $2,500, this machine tops our list and lands almost $1,000 below comparable units from Esab and Miller!

Stay Up-to-Date With American Torch Tip

For more information and recommendations about welding practices, keep up with American Torch Tips’ blog! And, stay tuned for updates about Part II.

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MIG Welding Wire Feed Issues

Poor Wire Feeding

Poor wire feeding is among the most common challenges that a MIG Welding operator deals with on a daily basis. Wire feed issues can lead to increased downtime, premature wearing of consumables, and an overall weld quality that can be very poor in appearance and strength. There are several different issues that can lead to poor wire feeding. Although the most common assumption can be that the filler metal is the source of the problem, there are many other contributing factors that could also be the cause. Below are some of the most common causes of wire feeding issues in MIG welding.

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Remembering Jessi Combs – The “Fastest Woman on Earth”

History is full of trailblazing women. Many of them endeavored to explore, defy, and innovate in spite of the ridicule, doubt, and general disregard they faced from their peers. Their accomplishments were often ignored, downplayed, or outright stolen from them and credited to others. Nevertheless, without their actions, we would not enjoy the freedoms, equality, and scientific advancements that we have today.

Women in automotive industries often face prejudice, but despite that Jessi Combs made a name for herself and became a role model for women everywhere. To honor her memory and celebrate her life we wanted to talk about her life and amazing accomplishments.

Jessi’s Early Life

Jessi Combs was born in Rockerville, South Dakota July 27th, 1980. She credited her upbringing in the Black Hills as formative in developing her attitude toward life, saying “I think growing up in South Dakota is a huge part of it. Now that I have lived all over, I understand the quality of life we have here and our work ethic. If it needs to get done, we just do it.”

She graduated from Stevens High School in Rapid City in 1998. She had wanted to be an architect growing up but ended up turning down a full-ride scholarship to study interior design and instead did some traveling which eventually led her to Denver, Colorado to try her hand as a professional snowboarder.

When that didn’t pan out, Combs decided to relocate to Laramie to attend the Wyoming Technical Institute (WyoTech), a premier school for automotive technical training at the time. She graduated at the top of her class with a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication. She was one of thirty WyoTech students chosen to assist legendary hot rod designer Chip Foose’s “A-Team” on the Season 1 Episode 6 of Overhaulin’, where she worked on a 1956 Chevy Bel Air.

Her Television Career

Upon graduation, WyoTech’s marketing department enlisted Combs and another student, Ben Bright, to build a ’64 Mercury Cyclone from the ground up in only six months for the automotive industry’s largest annual trade show, SEMA. It featured a custom 3-link suspension, a 402ci engine, and carbon fiber body panels.

Her work on this project was enough to jump-start her television career, landing her an offer from Spike TV to co-host the PowerBlock show Xtreme 4×4 alongside Ian Johnson, where the duo worked together for the show’s first four seasons. She was severely injured in an accident in 2007 when a bandsaw fell on her and decided to leave the show shortly afterward.

women in automotive
SOURCE

By that time, Combs was recognized as a bright up-and-coming personality and the popularity of automotive programming during this time meant a lot of open doors for her career. She made guest appearances on shows like 2 Guys Garage, Truck U, Duplicolor TV, Full Throttle TV, Pirate 4×4 TV Live, and Bosch 125.

In 2009, she accepted an offer from Discovery to fill in for host Kari Byron on the show MythBusters during Byron’s maternity leave. She would appear in nine episodes of the show’s seventh season alongside Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and others.

She also hosted the Autoblog series The List: 1001 Car Things to Do Before You Die with co-host Patrick McIntyre in 2011. The same year, she was chosen to host All Girls Garage on the Velocity network with Cristy Lee and Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner. The show featured an all-female cast and cemented Combs’ position as an industry icon. Later, in 2012, she would also co-host a relaunch of the popular show Overhaulin that she first made her debut on in 2004 during its initial run.

Offroad Racing

women in automotive
SOURCE

At the same time, Combs took up professional offroad racing; competing in Ultra4’s King of the Hammers beginning in 2010. By late 2011, she was racing in the SCORE Baja 1000, where her team finished second in the CLASS 10 category. Two years later, she broke the four-wheel Women’s land speed record as part of the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger team with a top speed of 392.954 MPH, breaking Lee Breedlove’s record of 308.506 MPH set in 1965.

Her team’s ultimate goal was to break the record held by Kitty O’ Neil set in 1976 in the three-wheeled, jet-powered SMI Motivator at 512.710 MPH. She would also go on to participate in the 2015 Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles du Maroc, a grueling all-female offroad rally race held in southern Morocco, as well as being honored as the first woman to compete in the Oilers car club Race of Gentlemen.

 

The Fastest Woman on Earth

Her career and her life came to an abrupt halt on August 27th, 2019 in Alvord desert, Oregon while attempting to break the all-time women’s land speed record. The front wheel assembly of her jet-powered car collapsed at a speed in excess of 500 MPH, causing her to crash. In June of 2020, Guinness World Records officially verified her record top speed of 522.783 MPH, posthumously affirming her title as the “Fastest Woman on Earth”.

Combs was one of four inductees into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2021. Her foundation, the Jessi Combs Foundation, awards scholarships to women seeking to get a formal education in the trades. Their mission is to “educate, inspire and empower the next generation of female trailblazers & stereotype-breakers”.

Learn more about Jessi Combs and her foundation by visiting her site www.thejessicombsfoundation.com. 

 

Are you a woman in automotive? We have high-quality products to help save you money. Whether you’re looking to do business with us or you need technical assistance, we’re here to help. Let’s chat!

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10 MIG Welder Preventative Maintenance Tips

All trade professionals rely on their tools to make a living. Like any piece of equipment, your MIG welder requires regular preventative maintenance to maintain optimal performance. Below are some tips to keep your equipment in tip-top shape.

mig welder maintenance - keep it covered

10. Keep It Covered When Not In Use

Using a cover is one of the most straightforward steps you can take to maintain your MIG welder and often one of the most overlooked. In most fabrication environments, dust, grime, and metallic particles settle and adhere to almost every surface. Just as these can make you sick, they can seriously impair the proper function of your machine.

Dust buildup on the wire spool may be fed into the liner, causing wire feeding issues. Metallic particles can find their way onto sensitive circuitry and cause expensive and dangerous shorts. Grime may obscure small problems such as a cracked wire guide, often leading to wire feeding issues. To avoid these scenarios, simply cover your machine when you’re not using it. Many machines have optional fitted covers, but a common drop cloth will suffice.

9. Turn Off The Gas and Purge Your System

Purging is a good habit to get into whenever you shut down your machine for the day. Turning off your gas bottle and purging the shielding gas from your machine and MIG gun will extend the life of hoses, fittings, valves, regulators, and solenoids and prevent the loss of costly gas if a leak happens to develop while you are away.

First, turn off the tank valve. Then, with the MIG gun pointed away from you, depress the trigger until the regulator output gauge drops to zero. Your MIG gun will feed a few inches of wire during this time, which you can simply snip off. If you wish to avoid this, relieve the tension on the drive roll prior to depressing the trigger on the MIG gun.

8. Hang It Up!

When you finish working for the day, coil your MIG gun loosely and hang it up off the floor. Not only is this a good general practice for keeping your work area clean, but it will also prevent your MIG gun from becoming damaged when not in use and keep the liner from becoming kinked from being would too tightly.

7. Inspect The Ground Lead and Clamp

It can be easy to take ground leads and clamps for granted. We tend to assume that it’s doing its job if the clamp is touching the workpiece or table. The truth is that your ground lead and clamp serve a critical function in the welding process, and they need a little attention from time to time when doing MIG welder maintenance.

First, inspect the cable for damage. Then, check the tightness of the connections at the machine and at the clamp. Lastly, ensure that the clamp is clean and the contact surfaces are free of buildup.

6. Inspect The Cables

Cable checks are just as crucial for safety as it is for the proper function of your equipment. First, unplug your machine. Then start at the back and inspect the power cord for cuts, burn marks, cracks, and any other damage. Ensure that the plug is installed correctly and fits tightly into the socket.

Then, inspect the MIG gun cable. Look for damage. Ensure the strain relief springs are properly attached. Check to make sure that the power pin and control plug connections are secure. Pay special attention to the front end of the cable. Most cable damage occurs within six feet of the handle. If you find any damage, repair the cable or replace the MIG gun.

mig welder maintenance - check gas

5. Inspect Gas Hoses and Fittings

Ensure the shielding gas tank is properly secured. Turn on the tank valve and set the output flow rate, then shut off the tank. Inspect the tank and valve for visible damage. Do the same for the hoses, regulators, and fittings.
Wait until at least fifteen minutes have elapsed and check the output gauge. If the reading is lower than initially set at, you have a leak. Fill a spray bottle with soapy water and begin spraying your fittings and hoses. You should see bubbles where the leak exists.

Follow these steps depending on the scenario:

  • If the leak is occurring at a fitting, tighten the fitting.
  • If this does not resolve the problem, undo the connection, clean with compressed air, and reconnect.
  • If the leak is stemming from the hose, repair or replace the hose.

Although MIG welding shielding gases are inert, they are not free, and leaks will not only cost you money but can lead to weld defects such as porosity.

4. Clean Your Liner

The liner is the hidden hero of your MIG gun. It keeps wire feeding smoothly from the feeder to the contact tip. Because it’s not visible while installing the MIG gun, we tend to forget about it until we experience a wire feeding issue (which always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time).

A little bit of love goes a long way with your liner. Get in the habit of cleaning it out every time you change your wire spool. To do this, first, unplug your machine. Then open the side panel and loosen the power pin retaining screw. Unplug the control plug as needed. Pull the MIG gun away from the machine and clip the wire in front of the drive roll (if you clip it behind the drive roll and the spool is full, it will unwind itself and make a mess).

Remove the consumables from the front of the MIG gun and pull the wire out. Then, using a cloth to seal, blow out the liner using compressed air. Reassemble the MIG gun and reconnect it to the machine, and it’s ready in less than five minutes.

3. Keep Your Machine Clean

Even if you follow the first tip and keep your machine covered when not in use, eventually, debris will find its way inside. When you notice that there is an accumulation on and inside your machine, dust it off. Compressed air and a clean cloth work very well for this task. A clean machine is a happy machine!

2. Inspect Drive Rolls and Check Tension

Drive rolls are durable; you do not need to replace them very often, but that doesn’t mean they are maintenance-free. Another good habit for MIG welder maintenance to get into, is that when changing wire spools is to remove and inspect the drive rolls for corrosion and debris buildup. Remove any metal shavings, debris, or rust with a small wire brush. When reinstalling, ensure that you have aligned the right groove with the wire type and correctly set the tension.

1. Clean or replace consumables

It may seem like common sense, but your consumables take a lot of heat. If they are getting long in the tooth, hit them with a wire brush or reamer, clean the spatter off, apply a coating of anti-spatter, or replace them. Waiting until your consumables fail to replace them can come back to haunt you in the form of weld defects and lost time. The cost of a contact tip is small compared to the cost and hassle of fixing a burnback failure or chasing porosity due to a clogged nozzle.

For Tougher MIG Welder Maintenance, You May Need To Contact The Supplier

Following these ten easy preventative maintenance tips will keep you and your machine productive and yield better quality welds with fewer headaches. For more in-depth maintenance, consult your machine’s operator manual or your local welding equipment supplier.

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Learn how to identify and fix MIG welding problems that slow your production line and drain your profit.

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