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Demand for structural steel continues to rise, fuelled by a general increase in construction activity around the world and the obvious benefits of steel as a framing material. It is strong, reliable and predictable with a long service life. It can also be easily recycled, making it a sustainable choice. The steady drop in production-related greenhouse gas emissions adds to its appeal. So compelling are these benefits, in fact, that the global market is expected to expand by as much as 64 percent by 2025.
Rising legislative pressures
However, this sector also faces a number of challenges. New legislation and regulatory changes call for greater quality and traceability in welding operations. These changes affect all players in the industry – whether service centres, fabricators or on-site construction companies.
In 2014, for instance, the EN 1090 standard was introduced to harmonise safety, quality and traceability of welding processes for structural components throughout Europe. This also applies to structural steel importers. Specific requirements include:
- The application of welding procedure specifications (WPSs)
- The appointment of a dedicated person to oversee operations
- The organisation of suitable operator training and
- The introduction of a welding quality management system (QMS).
EN 1090, a growing number of companies would welcome support and guidance from welding and gas partners.
At the same time, competition is rising in the structural steel business. So operators at all stages of design, fabrication and construction are keen to exploit the latest technologies to further increase productivity, improve quality and lower costs. This includes exploring the process optimisation potential offered by gas-enabled technologies during key fabrication steps such as cutting, welding, heat treatment, flame straightening, gouging and grinding.
At Linde, we believe the answer to these challenges lies in connected welding workflows. We have developed an end-to-end, fully integrated portfolio of gases, gas mixtures, consumables, equipment, application technologies and services to support all structural steel fabrication steps. This holistic offering not only helps fabricators meeting rising traceability and quality requirements, it also helps boost productivity and cost efficiency.
Highlights of our connected welding offering
- Fuel, shielding and specialty gases and gas mixtures in a variety of supply modes and purities to suit your specific process, mobility and volume requirements – scaling from portable packages such as GENIE® and MOBI™ through high-volume cylinders like the EVOS™ family to mini-bulk and bulk deliveries.
- Qualified consumables and equipment – personal protective equipment (PPE) included – from leading OEMs so you have one single point of accountability.
- Innovative application technologies such as our LINDOFLAMM® flame solution to optimise the efficiency of pre- and post-heating.
- Welding solutions based on acetylene fuel gas, enabling time and efficiency gains in welding, cutting, heat treatment, pre-heating, flame straightening, brazing, gouging and coating.
- Extended service portfolio spanning maintenance, certification, ACCURA® supply management, safety and process audits, training and support in complying with specific standards such as EN 1090. This includes certificates of compliance and assistance setting up a welding QMS.