Bad Soden, Germany,

Messer: Service and know-how for welding and cutting

Steel production and sheet metal working methods have been greatly refined over the past few decades. The trend is towards material mixes that really are fit for particular purposes. The advances in welding have also made a major contribution, thanks in no small part to new gas mixtures.

Industrial gases specialist Messer has always played a part in driving forward improvements in welding and cutting processes through targeted research, development and consultancy. The impetus for this comes from the intensive daily interaction we have with the users. And at Messer, service means active problem-solving and process optimisation with a long-term perspective. A large number of specialist suppliers manufacture parts and components for the automotive industry in particular.

Car safety
Staying with the example of the car, in the past an average mid-range car was held together by about 5,000 spot welds and over a hundred welded-on bolts or pins. To improve crash behaviour and corrosion resistance, increasing use is also being made of fusion welding processes such as MAG welding as well as laser welding and soldering. Welding and thermal cutting (dominated by laser and plasma cutting) are highly complex processes in which numerous details need to be considered: How thick is the sheet metal? Are different material combinations involved? Does the material have temporary rust protection or has it been galvanised? What is the direction of welding and from which side is it to take place? What kind of equipment is being used? Are fillers being used or not?

Consideration of influencing factors
“There is a huge number of potential influencing factors, and the sum of possible combinations is not even quantifiable,” says Dr. Bernd Hildebrandt, who is in charge of Technology Management Welding and Cutting Gases at Messer’s Krefeld site. “As a result, there is an almost bewildering variety of possible welding situations, and this is constantly increasing thanks to technical progress. Anyone who wants to keep up with the latest developments needs to have a good grasp of science.” Messer not only has its own laboratories and top-class specialists, it also has a dense network of experts, as Bernd Hildebrandt explains: “Germany is a leader in welding technology thanks to its long tradition in metalworking. Not only is it home to many of the global market leaders in this industry, it also boasts a unique concentration of scientific institutions. We maintain a close working relationship with a considerable number of them and act as an intermediary between research and everyday welding practice.”