Last week we delivered the first OMCA ART 910 strip back machine to a customer in Oklahoma. The customer has been searching decades for a machine to ease the burden of stripping back clad material from carbon-steel plates for use in vessel and tank fabrications. In this particular case, the clad material was 304 Stainless and the base material was low carbon steel. The customer needed to remove the 1/8″ thick stainless from the 1″ thick carbon steel plate, so the required cut was 1/8″ deep and 1/2″ wide along the full perimeter of the 30′ long x 15′ wide steel plate.
Traditionally this work is done with an air-arc torch and finished with a hand grinder. Using the traditional methods, preparing a plate for welding by ‘stripping back’ the clad material would take anywhere from 12 to 14 labor-hours to complete. With the OMCA Strip Back machine this same scope of work can be completed in 2 to 3 hours. This dramatic time savings is not the only benefit. First, I should point out the ergonomic benefits. Anyone who has ever worked with, or around, an air-arc torch will agree that it must be among the most hated tools in the tool box. An air-arc torch can generate skull shattering 120 dBa noise levels (not far from a Jet Engine). An air-arc torch literally melts and then blows molten metal into the air with a compressed-air stream … so to say “it makes a lot of sparks” doesn’t come close to describing what’s happening here.
Along with the airborne stream of molten metal comes great volumes of black smoke, making it necessary for the torch operator to wear breathing protection. From an ergonomic perspective, air-arc gouging is a slow, inaccurate, extraordinarily noisy, and dirty process that everyone in the building will thank you for never using again. If lower labor cost, happier, and healthier employees are not beneficial enough to justify the purchase of an OMCA strip back machine, you can look to the welders and the weld repair station for the rest of the justification. The milled surface left by the OMCA ART 910 is consistent from end-to-end and far superior than what’s possible with an air-arc torch and grinder. Consistent weld prep results in consistent welds and fewer weld defects. Bottom line: an investment in an OMCA Art.910 strip back machine will pay back in labor dollars, employee health & safety, improved ‘first time’ weld quality, and fewer weld repairs.