Afrox has concluded a R41 million Lindoflamm® and bulk gases deal with Secunda-based welding, fabrication and maintenance specialists Hydra-Arc.

This milestone deal followed successful intensive pre-heating trials that incorporated Lindoflamm® heating burners into the company’s Ashlock refurbishing and pressure vessel fabrication processes during 2011/2012.

Lindoflamm®, developed by Afrox’s parent company, The Linde Group, offers manufacturers and fabricators innovative preheating, flame straightening and heat treatment solutions. These special torches and burners provide optimal heat transfer to the work piece, reducing gas consumption, improving productivity and quality and reducing total cost — as well as enhancing safety on the factory floor.

The introduction of Lindoflamm® special torches and burners is being hailed as one of the most innovative developments to take its place in the South African welding and cutting industry for some time.

Lindoflamm® trials at Hydra-Arc achieved significant cost savings compared to the customer’s existing LPG heating application. The trials also indicated that production could be increased, based on the fact that preheating time was reduced from the existing four hours, to just over 45 minutes on the Ashlock refurbishing.  The pressure vessel pre-heating temperature and time was 7 hours heating up to 70 degrees.  With Lindoflamm® burners, the pre-heating time was reduced to 1 hour reaching a pre-heating temperature of 250 degrees.

Afrox’s Johan Pieterse, Business Manager, Manufacturing Industries explains that pre-heating is a critical requirement in the fabrication industry and plays a very important role in the integrity of the weld.

“Pre-heating prevents failures such as hydrogen induced cracking, as well as common failures in the heat-affected zone,” he says. “An increasing number of fine-grained structural steels are being used to build structures, apparatus and equipment and this intensifies the importance of pre-heating prior to welding”.

Based on the beyond-expectation trial results at Hydra-Arc, the company contracted with Afrox to introduce Lindoflamm® pre-heating solutions in all their critical applications.  The offer includes the supply of bulk oxygen, dissolved acetylene, argon and nitrogen to support TIG welding, hand-cutting, heating, plasma and laser-cutting applications.

Afrox will continue with further trials on different Lindoflamm® pre-heating applications to ensure that Hydra-Arc benefits from the various solutions that the process offers.

Sheldon Nel, GM of Hydra-Arc says, “As our company moves into major fabrication for heavy industry, Lindoflamm® has presented an ideal way forward. We had been concerned about the extended time frame needed for pre-heating using LPG torches, as well as excessive amount of gas required for this process.  The Afrox solution has effectively addressed both these issues.”