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Airgas Exec Says Argon Shortage and Praxair Exec Says Helium Shortage - Will Continue!!


Our Patented Products Can Cut Your Shielding Gas Use in Half While Improving Weld Quality By Eliminating Waste.

If Using Argon or Helium Shielding Gas, They Are a Smart Choice!
Carbon Dioxide Prices Have Increased and Our Patented Gas Saver System Improves Weld Start Quality.

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This is what the Airgas CEO (at the time) had to say about Argon, when announcing a 15% increase for November 2014 on top of a 25% increase announced for July 1, 2014.
"In recent years, there has been limited investment in new argon capacity in the U.S., and overall argon production has not been keeping pace with demand at a time when increasing activity in energy and infrastructure construction is driving up demand for the product. As a result, our costs to secure and distribute argon from where we receive it to where it is needed by our customers are increasing,” said Airgas Chief Executive Officer Michael L. Molinini. “We continue to invest in production capacity and infrastructure to serve our customers as efficiently as possible and further ensure the reliability of our supply chain, but increasing demand for argon is likely to result in continued pressure on product and distribution costs for the foreseeable future.”

One of the leading producers and marketers of industrial gases, Air Products, purchased over 200 of our patented Gas Saver Systems (GSS) to save gas!  They use an Argon Helium gas mixture to weld aluminum in the manufacture of cryogenic tanks.  They found the GSS custom extruded hose also had a significant additional benefit because of it's unique design.  It has much less moisture permeability!  Result - no hydrogen related problems due to moisture in humid weather!  Want more details?

Email Jerry_Uttrachi@NetWelding.com

At an annual convention of the industrial gas distributors and producers, Ricardo Malfitano, Praxair Executive Vice President, (Note Praxir was purchsed by Linde AG from Germany) defined reasons for shortages in Argon and Helium in North America.  He stated the top three suppliers of Helium had 77% of the market, all with similar shares.  He also told those in attendance not to expect much relief in the current Worldwide shortage of this very limited supply gas!


Unlike Argon which is ~ 0.9% of the air, Helium is a limited world wide resource.  Most of the Helium in the "Universe" was created during the "Big Bang" with a small amount generated in stars!   It is also generated by radioactive decay, as occurs in some of the elements in granite for example.  This radioactive decay source causes a small amount of Helium to be mixed in some natural gas deposits.  The Helium purchased is obtained as a byproduct in natural gas production sites where it is available in quantities to be economically extracted.   Why not extract it from the air where all that is used ultimately goes?  Because it is so light it escapes the earth’s atmosphere and goes into outer space! 

Shortages and allocation are predicted to continue.  If you’re using any amount of Helium for welding the payback for our shielding gas saving products fits a “Just Do It” scenario!  Payback for our Gas Saver System (GSS) or our Flow Rate Limiter can be measured in weeks.  One large aluminum fabricator with 93 MIG welders uses an Argon Helium shielding gas mixture and reports a 40% savings just by replacing their gas delivery hose with our Gas Saver System .  Click this link for purchase details.


If you’re utilizing Helium gas mixtures, be sure you're using the proper flow meter.  If it is not calibrated for Helium gas or high Helium gas mixtures you're reading a flow rate far lower than your using.  For example the flowmeter at left has a square flow tube calibrated for different gases on each of the four sides.  The following table shows what this flowmeter has on two of its flow scales.  Look at the comparison!

That’s correct.  If you’re using a flowmeter designed and calibrated for a 75% Argon / 25% CO2 gas mixture and reading 30 CFH your actually flowing 80 CFH of Helium or a high percentage Helium mixture!! 

     If The Reading On A Flowmeter Calibrated for 75% Argon/ 25% CO2      (or Argon) Flow Gauge Is:

You're Actually Flowing

Helium At A Rate Of:

15 CFH

35 CFH

20 CFH

50 CFH

30 CFH

80 CFH

35 CFH

100 CFH

40 CFH

120 CFH

If you have drafts then use a small windbreak!  It’s far less expensive than excess flow rates! You’ll never counter significant drafts with higher flows of Helium!  The flows will get sufficiently high that you’ll pull air into a turbulent gas stream making the shielding situation worse!  A small sheet metal wind deflector works winders.

One other factor to consider; if you’re on bulk gas and using a flowmeter, be sure it is designed to read accurately near the pipeline pressure.  The one in the photo above is designed and calibrated at 50 psi, but it is also expensive.  We have seen many fabricators use less expensive flowmeters designed to read accurately at 25 psi.  When reading 35 CFH on a  flowmeter designed to read accurately at 25 psi while connected to a 50 psi pipeline your actually flowing 45 CFH!  These devices can not be recalibrated, it is the size of the taper in the flow tube that defines what pressure where they will operate accurately. 

Now if your using a flowmeter designed to operate at 25 psi for 75% Argon/ 25% CO2 on a 50 psi pipeline and using Helium gas; when your reading 30 CFH your actually flowing 80 CFH (from above table) X 1.28 (compensating for pressure error) = 102 CFH!!


Assuming you have set the desired flow and are reading it accurately, we offer two products that can save 50% more shielding gas!

Our patented Gas Saver System (GSS, See Overview)  will reduce the gas surge at the weld start and give improved weld start quality.   A fabricator using Helium based gases welding heavy aluminum structures tested our Gas Saver System.  They found a 40% shielding gas savings just by replacing their gas delivery hose.  The GSS also limited the peak surge flow (which we measured at over 300 CFH with their normal gas hose!) and improved their weld start quality.  After their tests were completed they purchased 93 systems. Check out this fabricators test data. 

If you’re using a spool gun with a gas valve in the torch we can save even more.  When you start welding all the excess shielding gas in the hose from the gas source to your spool gun exists very rapidly.  We have measured very high peak gas flows in these instances!  We even have a special fitting that fits some popular spool guns, making installation of a GSS very neat.  Check out this fabricators example.


If you’re using the flowmeter and reading accurately we can still help with our Flow Rate Limiter and Lock (WAT-FRLL).  Unfortunately welders often mistakenly believe that; "If some gas is good, more must be better!"  This not only wastes gas but pulls air into the turbulent gas stream high flow creates!  You can simply place out WAT-FRLL over the flow control knob and lock in the flow setting!  It fits most flowgauges.

An emergency vehicle manufacturer welds heavy aluminum and uses both Argon and Helium based shielding gases.  They have installed our WAT-FRLL’s on all their welders.  Also check out this testimonial regarding this simple to apply product.  Texas Hydraulics saved 35% by installing these on all welders.

With Helium shielding gases these products have a payback measured in a few weeks!



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