Take 10 minutes out with Steve Tarrant, Bulk and Specialty Gas Manager at Weldstar, as he discusses the company’s role in the gases industry, observations on emerging markets, and the importance of custom solutions.
Tarrant also explains why continuous training is something the company invests so mucb of its time in.
Thanks for giving gasworld some of your valuable time. For readers who may be unfamiliar with Weldstar, please could you share a bit about the company?
Based in Aurora, Illinois, Weldstar produces industrial and specialty gases, and designs and installs custom gas storage and delivery systems for the chemical, construction, energy, environmental testing, food and beverage, foundry, laboratory, laser cutting, metal fabrication, university and research and automotive sectors.
What are your typical day-to-day duties?
I manage all aspects of the bulk and specialty gas programs at Weldstar, including quality control, compliance, design of gas storage and delivery systems, training programs for outside technical representatives, and project management.
In your role, have you observed any emerging markets?
Whether it’s the development of a new welding shielding gas to aid in providing or maintaining certain mechanical properties of a specific alloy or application, or the development of custom gas standards/applications for the research industry, I have noticed many market opportunities for industrial and specialty gases that are constantly expanding both domestically here in the US and abroad.
Would you say that new custom solution trends are imperative to the progression of the independent distributor?
Yes, one particular trend I have observed is turnkey systems. End-users today are relying more and more on vendors to provide a total solution to a certain application or need. When designing a custom gas system for instance, end-users want a complete package that includes gas storage and delivery equipment, equipment foundations, piping and safety equipment such as gas detection. They also often rely on us to make sure that the gas delivery system correctly meets the specification called for on their equipment.
The second custom solution trend which is helping Weldstar to evolve is compliance. Many end-users today are seeking compliance information for the gases and equipment that the industry supplies. Many safety directors are unaware of the regulations or requirements to store, deliver and monitor the chemicals our industry provides. Offering guidance to comply with standards such as NFPA, OSHA and CGA, is not only an asset our customers appreciate, but something I feel should be considered the responsibility of us as suppliers.
I believe that having the knowledge and personnel to provide custom turnkey gas systems that are in compliance with local and national safety standards, has helped Weldstar to grow both its bulk and specialty gas programs. With end-users doing more with less people, relying on suppliers to provide total solutions is a trend which I believe has never been more important, and one which I’m certain will continue well into the future.
Are you facing any current challenges which you believe could be overcome by a custom solution?
On a daily basis. Even though certain end-users manufacture similar products and have comparable operations, each can be unique and more often than not, present the need for a custom solution. Whether it is a storage, access, compliance, delivery or purity requirement (just to name a few), it seems that no two applications are exactly the same and the need for custom solutions is more prevalent today than ever.
Where is the company investing most of its time and energy at the moment?
Here at Weldstar, we believe in the continuous training of staff and adoption of new technologies and products that not only provide the best solutions and service for our customers, but also which help to improve the efficiency and safety of our own operations, which in turn, help us to provide continued value to our customers. Weldstar’s company motto – “old values, new ideas” – reinforces this statement.