HG Coded Welding Blogs

Forklift Trucks Welding Modifications

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
by Hugh Gibson

Forklift Trucks- Welding Modifications

Somebody has asked me to write a blog about welding on forklift trucks so here goes.

Reputed to have been invented in 1917 by a transmission manufacturer to handle their product, Clark Materials. Handling had the first forklift as an actual machine for sale in 1918. Although similar is concept to today's fork trucks, the modern day machine is vastly different and uses electronics and "fly by wire"controls to provide precise levels of movement.

When I first got involved with the welding repairs and fabrication of attachments back in the 80's you could pretty much modify and make up various bits as you liked.

Any attachments had to be SWL (safe working load) tested to the correct load but as far as design, it was up to the individual engineer to make sure that the product was fit for purpose.   These days all that has changed.

If you want to make up a special lifting attachment to go on your own truck or a customers truck you need to be able to "CE" mark it with a special manufacturers label.

This control has come into force to protect people from accidents happening whereby a badly designed and made attachment fails and injures someone.

There should be a paper trial with documents such as design drawings and calculations.

Also SWL considerations. It is quite expensive to travel down this route and you often find that is not economical to pursue for a one off job. Anyway I've digressed enough already.

Welding repairs to forklift trucks these days is tightly controlled, usually by the manufacturer.

When they supply a new forklift truck, they will have gone down the route of all the designs and calculations and invested a considerable sum in their product. It will have all the regional safety approvals and have a "CE" mark. The last thing they need is someone coming along and modifying a particular part of the truck as this will make their product fall outside of the very scheme that they have strived to adhere to. It will also play havoc with any quality scheme such as BS 9001.

Just imagine that you are a local welder and you are asked by a manager of a business to modify an overhead guard on his fork truck so that he can get it in underneath a low headroom door. You are a perfectly competant welder so you work out that if you chop a section of the guard out and re weld the bits back together, it will fit under the doorway. Off you go and carry out a first class job! Well done!

Now, six months later there is an accident involving the forklift truck where a stack of pallets containing some heavy items has toppled over and struck the truck on the top side of the overhead guard. The guard held together ok but the driver was injured. Now the "HSE" (health and safety executive) are called in as this kind of accident is  notifiable in the UK. The first thing they are going to ask to see is the record of periodic maintenance for the truck.
Assuming this is all ok the next thing they will notice is that the guard has been modified. Who do you think they will be wanting to interview because the truck is now no longer covered by the manufacturers original specification?


All I will say is be very careful if you carry out any modifications to forklift trucks.

The best way forward is to get official written permission to carry out a modification from the manufacturer first. This often takes the form of an official notice of modification. They have to know that what you are proposing to do will not affect the safe operation of their equipment. It will probably involve so engineering drawings and notes carefully explaining the modification. If it is anything to do with an overhead guard they will probably say no.

Welding Secrets Look After Yourself, Your Body, Your Health & Safety!

Sunday, March 24, 2013
by Hugh Gibson

Welding Secrets: Look After Yourself, Your Body, Your Health & Safety!

Have you noticed that us "old welders" all tend to have something wrong with either our knees or our åears?

I'm in my 50's now and I wish I had listened to the older generation when I was young and I thought I knew it all.
"Don't kneel on that cold floor " they would say. "Where are your safety glasses?"  Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing so if there is anybody out there who has the sense to listen to the voice of experience...? Listen!

1. Please do not kneel down without some sort of pad when you are welding.
I know it's a nuisance to keep finding that pad, but when you get into your 50's and you want to play tennis or football with the grandchildren,your knees won't be worn out with arthritis like so many of us.Trust me please. It will happen if you abuse your body.
2. Always take the time to put on a pair of safety glasses before you go grinding or cutting.
I've been to out patients more times than I care to admit to have a "foreign body" removed from an eye. The staff at the hospital knew me by my first name and were always professional but disapproving. The sparks are often hot and will stick to your eyeball. You will know when you have something stuck in there!
Try not to rub your eyes in case you push the piece further into your eye. Look in a mirror and you will probably see a spec stuck onto the eye.
It may come out by itself overnight but the longer you leave it, the sorer it will become. Admit defeat early and popalong to outpatients to see a doctor. He or she will get you to lay on a bed while they put eye dye and anesthetic drops into your eye. Then they will ask you to keep your eye open and try not to blink while they use a needle to try to scrape the debris off the surface of your eye. My tip here is to look past them at an object across the room. By doing this, the needle will remain out of focus and won't worry you....Of course it's always better to avoid allthis and wear safety glasses or a full face visor screen in the first place?
3. Try to use ear plugs or ear muffs when you are grinding or doing something loud with power tools.
I have limited hearing already due to knowing better and I know of 2 collegues who suffer from "Tinitus"
(ringing in the ear constantly day and night). That would drive me mad so think about it!
It is so easy to damage your hearing! Wear ear defenders!

4. Tacking up weld joints- it's all too easy to turn your head or screw up your face and shut your eyes when tacking up multiple joints on a production job.
Please take the time to bother to wear a welding head shield.
You've seen the old men in the photos of rural Greece with all the wrinkles in their faces. That is what your face will look like long before it should due to the damage the UV light will do to your skin, let alone  the risk of developing skin cancer on your face so look after yourself! Wear a mask!

5. Wear the proper safety boots when welding or gas cutting.
I have a bad burn scar on the top of my foot due tothinking I knew better and wearing a pair of trainers while welding something in the overhead position. A lump of molten steel dropped onto the top of the trainer and lodged in the lace hole before burning it's way through the top of the shoe and into my sock and foot. I was hopping around trying to get my trainer off but it was too late. Very painful so wear the correct footwear!
I now wear steel toe capped (dealer type) boots that are slip on and have no laces or ledges where sparks can lodge.

Well, that's enough of me ranting about safety.  It's up to you now! Please take the care to look after yourself and you might reach mid life in pretty good shape  

Plasma Cutting Danger!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
by Hugh Gibson

Plasma Cutting Using A Hand held Machine.

This article assumes that the user is familiar with how to use a Plasma cutter.

The Plasma cutter is without doubt a very useful addition to a welding & fabrication
workshop. Various models are available from a small sheet metal version right up to
a monster that can handle 25mm thick and more.

I've been in the welding trade all of my working life and used plenty of plasma cutters.

As I have got older and hopefully wiser, I have come to believe that using a plasma cutter
the wrong way is probably very dangerous to your health. Most people I have observed
are usually cutting either steel plate,Stainless sheet or Aluminium plate and aren't bothered
about wearing any PPE. By this I mean that they are not wearing any eye protection or wearing any fume protection." I've been there and got several T shirts".  Not anymore!

The minimum recommended eye shade that I would now use is a grade 5 green (similar to a
welding mask only not so dark). You can quite easily get arc eye from the plasma arc so be
really careful and don't burn out your eyes. Obviously it would be a good idea to wear a pair of gloves as well.

The next big warning is the fumes that envelope your head as you lean over the work piece.
Now the fumes from mild steel are not great but Stainless steel will have lots of nasty bits in it.
The main one being Chromium. This is not good for you at all. Try to use a powerful fume extractor or at the very least, a good quality face mask that is designed to keep out welding fumes. Don't bother with the ones that are really light and flimsy with a strip of Aluminium over the bridge of the nose that you are supposed to bend to suit your nose shape. Go instead for the type that have the  inflated rubber cushion around the rim that seals against your face and also that have the rubberflap in the middle that acts as a one way air valve. Moldex do a good one of these although there are different grades of filter so read the packet.

Now we have talked about mild steel and stainless steel but the real danger in my opinion is
Aluminium. If you watch someone who is cutting Aluminium with a plasma cutter, just look at how much Aluminium Oxide fumes are coming off the job.      It will scare you!

Several years ago in Cornwall, UK, a water treatment plant was contaminated accidentally with Aluminium oxide being added to drinking water. Many people who drank the water have developed all kinds of illnesses and many of them seem to be linked to the brain and dimentia.

I am a firm believer that breathing in clouds of Aluminium oxide is a real danger so please make sure you and other workers are protected with fume masks.

Only last week at a friends workshop I saw a young lad aged about 20 years old, merrily using a plasma cutter with no eye protection or fume protection. MADNESS!

Most of the CNC plasma cutting machines should have a built in fume extraction system but be wary anyway.

Look after your health!

Classification of Welding Electrodes.

Monday, March 18, 2013
by Hugh Gibson

This is the first blog post on this online business.

Feel free to grab a cup of tea and a cookie, put your feet up and take a look around. You'll find heaps of great content and information about my business, and there's plenty of goodies.

I hope you enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think!

The Classification of Welding Electrodes

"What do all the numbers refer to that are printed on electrodes?"

The Layman might be puzzled by the array of letters and numbers that are printed on the end of welding electrodes.
They are there to classify the type of electrode. Most of the welding rods will use the AWS system which stands for
"American Welding Society".
There are around 4 different types of classification in use today but most manufacturers tend to stick to the AWS

It makes sense that if you are about to weld 2 pieces of metal together then you will need  to know that you are
using the correct welding rod for the job. The wrong one could end in the joint falling apart.

The classification system works like this:

A typical number printed on each rod might be "E7018"

The breakdown of these figures goes like this:

E     indicates that it's an electrode
70    indicates the strength of the welded joint and this is measured in thousands of pounds per square inch
1    indicates the welding position that the rod can be used in (see "Welding Position" below for details)
8    indicates the type of flux coating,the amount of penetration and the type of current that can be used
    (see "Classification Table" below for details)


Class        Minimum Tensile Strength    Minimum Yield Strength

E 60**          62,000 psi              50,000 psi
E 70**          70,000 psi              57,000 psi    
E 80**          80,000 psi              67,000 psi
E 90**          90,000 psi              77,000 psi
E100**        100,000 psi              87,000 psi
E110**        110,000 psi              95,000 psi
E120**        120,000 psi            107,000 psi

It might not be obvious but it is vitally important to match the correct strength of electrode to the type of metal
being welded together. If the rod is too weak the the joint could fail under load. Similary, too strong and there is
a chance that the joint will fail. There are numerous welding table books available from each of the manufacturers
giving all the data for each type of rod that they produce.


E**1*    suitable for use in flat, horizontal, vertical (up) and overhead
E**2*    suitable only for use in the flat and horizontal
E**4*    suitable for use in flat, horizontal,overhead and vertical (down)

The different welding positions are important as the weld pool behaves very differently in a vertical (up) position
compared to a vertical (down) position. Similarly, the same applies to overhead welding.The manufacturer will
have designed a very different rod to do the specific job so make sure you have the correct one.

CLASSIFICATION TABLE   This is usually the last digit in the string. ( The E***8 bit)

Class    Electrode coating(FLUX)        Penetration    Current type (eg, AC, DC+, DC-)    

E***0    Cellulose,Sodium            Deep        DC+        (It does not matter
E***1    Cellulose,Potassium            Deep        AC or DC+    which way around
E***2    Rutile,Sodium            Medium        AC or DC-        the electrode is with
E***3    Rutile,Potassium            Light        AC or DC+ or DC-    AC. With DC you can
E***4    Rutile,Iron Powder            Medium        AC or DC+ or DC-    choose between DC+
E***5    Low Hydrogen,Sodium        Medium        DC+        and DC- by plugging
E***6    Low Hydrogen,Potassium         Medium        AC or DC+    in your leads on the
E***7    Iron Powder,Iron Oxide        Medium        AC or DC-        welding set the opp
E***8    Low Hydrogen,Iron Powder        Medium        AC or DC+    way to how they are
E***9    Iron Oxide,Rutile,Potassium        Medium        AC or DC+ or DC-    marked)


Sometimes there is an extra bit on the end. Eg: E7018 (-1). These are laid out below.

Suffix        Additional Requirement

-1        Increased toughness (impact strength) for E7018 rods. Also increased ductility in E7024 rods
-M        Meets most Military requirements
-X        Indicates that electrode is a low alloy type (There is a whole table of these alloys which I won't
        go into now)