Supporting Students’ Interest in Welding Through Friendly Competition

For years now, the United States has been battling the effects of the skills gap in trade professions. Baby boomers are entering retirement, and not enough young people are interested in pursuing blue collar work.

To combat the skills gap, more and more schools, municipalities, and manufacturers are coming together in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) training programs for students. By introducing technical concepts and applications to children while they’re young, there’s a hope of getting more of them interested in these types of hands-on careers when they’re older.

High School Welding Competition
Student Participants at AWS’ Welding Competition

Recently, we donated products and prizes for Sequoyah High School’s 8th Annual Welding Competition, hosted by the American Welding Society’s Chattanooga Section. The event took place Saturday, February 18th and brought together 15-20 instructors along with dozens of eager students. The projects involved working with steel pipe and steel plates.

Sequoyah High School’s welding program teaches students numerous processes, including oxyfuel cutting, plasma arc cutting, shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, and more. They also learn about safe practices and how to blueprint and layout their projects before beginning.

It was extremely heartening to see so many students who were not only interested in STEM, and welding in particular, but who already

Surface Finishing
Student Welder Showing His Skills

show such promising talent and skill.

Local industry leaders were also invited to attend the Welding Competition to further impress upon students the importance and value of this profession, while discussing career paths. Programs like this are so important in preparing the next generation to enter the workforce, and encourage them to improve their skills in the spirit of competition.

As a leading manufacturer of premium metalworking and surface finishing tools, PFERD was proud to donate materials and to have staff onsite to help make the event a success. We look forward to helping these students find their professions, and close the skills gap together.

Back to Basics: Lessons from a 200+ Year-Old Manufacturing Company

In today’s international economy, technology evolves rapidly, and trends are always changing. When a global company has employees spread out over six continents, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page and up to date. So how does such an established company such as PFERD keep our workers across the globe in the loop?

PFERD Headquarters
PFERD Headquarters in Marienheide, Germany

To begin with, even though we can trace our roots back to our founding in 1799, we have continually evolved throughout the years. We are focused on the future, with the intent of creating a legacy of success. By constantly changing with the times, we don’t have to make massive leaps forward every few years, only to fall behind by getting comfortable. We are regularly updating processes, innovate with new products and solutions, and so much more to keep our place as a leading abrasives and brush manufacturer.

Of course, even with the advent of technology such as e-mail, video chat, and conference

Training Session
PFERD Employees Attend a Training Session

calling, there’s little that can replace face-to-face meetings and training. Which is why every year around February, PFERD brings its team members from around the world to our international headquarters in Marienheide, Germany for training, brainstorming, sharing best practices and getting to spend time with peers from our diverse markets. These multi-day training sessions help keep our team up to date on:

  • Training on new product development
  • New regulations introduced in global markets
  • The latest innovations, internal and external, that can be used to improve business practices
  • New marketing communications materials including catalogues, sales tools, and display programs
  • Discussing and developing trade show strategies
  • Addressing different market needs and advancing the company strategy
  • Best practices for use in daily business

By having this face time with our global colleagues, we can tell them what has worked for us, and just as importantly, we can learn what has worked for them, and incorporate it into our own processes. We recently had some of our team members head to Germany for trainings, and are excited to share what we learned with the rest of our North American division.

Keep connected with us here at PFERD for the latest in grinding, cutting, surface finishing, and other metalworking solutions. You can see what we are doing through our Twitter account, connect with us via LinkedIn, and keep up on all of our latest news. You can also learn more about our company by watching our corporate video on YouTube. We are proud to have grown so much in our 200+ year history, and look forward to continuing our success long into the future.

Seeing is Believing – POLIFAN®-CURVE Flap Discs Offer Unmatched Grinding Precision

A fillet weld, the joining of two perpendicular pieces of metal, often presents a difficult challenge.

Grinding a weld seam
Grinding a fillet weld with a POLIFAN-CURVE flap disc

Anytime two pieces of metal are joined through welding, there’s going to be a resulting seam and excess slag. If fabricators and welders want to create a finished product without obvious seams, they’ll need to grind the surfaces where the two pieces of metal were joined. With fillet welds, this grinding takes place in hard-to-reach angles and corners.

Removal of fillet welds is historically accomplished with a bonded (or “rough”) grinding wheel, which is difficult to control, and leaves a gouged, uneven surface that needs to then be smoothed with a finer secondary operation. With POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs, however, fillet weld seams and slag disappear in seconds, leaving a smooth finish. This also makes it easier to find cracks and inclusions in the fillet if any are present.

Using this disc, welders can grind and finish their work in one step, which saves time while providing a seamless result. The design of POLIFAN®-CURVE is truly what sets it apart from conventional flap discs. While conventional grinding products typically have only one grinding surface, this patented flap disc has three working surfaces – the top face, bottom face, and radial edge –it is not only the secret that allows it to get into tight corners or over odd curves, but it also gives the user a lot more abrasive to work with.

The radius edge of a POLIFAN®-CURVE disc has an additional advantage: Grinding a weld away to a perfect radius is not only a cosmetic advantage, but a structural one as well. A near-perfect radius causes any stress points in the workpiece to be evenly distributed at the weld seam.

Depending on the application, there are several varieties available, ranging in size from 4 ½  to 7 inches diameter, and abrasive options including Zirconia, A/O for

Grinding flap discs
POLIFAN-CURVE Disc Varieties

aluminum and Ceramic Oxide. One example of a project that was completed thanks to the POLIFAN®-CURVE can be seen on YouTube, as Garage Bound, LLC repairs a vintage semi stack holder. We’re always excited to see how customers in real life applications are using our products in their workshops on a daily basis.

More examples of POLIFAN®-CURVE’s grinding and surface finishing capabilities can be found on our YouTube channel. Because this is patented technology,  PFERD and our authorized distributors, along with select retail outlets, are your only source for this one of kind product. For more information, feel free to read through the POLIFAN®-CURVE  product brochure, or give us a call at (800) 342-9015 to discuss your needs. And if you have your own video to share, be sure to give us a shout on Twitter so we can share it in our networks, too!

FABTECH 2016 – A Great Event for the PFERD Team!

Another FABTECH Expo has come and gone, and at PFERD we believe that 2016’s version was a huge success!  FABTECH’s importance in the fabrication, welding and finishing industries is reflected in the strong attendance both in number of attendees and in the vast number of geographical markets around the world visitors represented.  This year’s FABTECH drew attendees from 120 countries with a total of 31,110 visitors over the three day event.

PFERD at FABTECH

FABTECH gives us at PFERD an invaluable opportunity to meet face-to-face with end users.  We had several visitors this year that brought their metalworking challenges directly to our booth.  Not only does this give us an opportunity to use our expertise to solve problems, but it provides us with an opportunity to see some of the unusual applications our customers deal with on a daily basis.

FABTECH is a premier venue for us to highlight the breadth of our portfolio and demonstrate the innovative solutions we bring to users.  Unique, innovative products such as our  CC-GRIND®-SOLID grinding disc, POLIFAN-CURVE® flap disc and DUODISC® cutting and grinding disc were featured in our grinding booth where visitors saw firsthand how these products perform in true applications, and the benefits these products bring to their everyday tasks.

PFERD Grinding Booth at Fabtec

While we are well known for our grinding, cutting and surface finishing applications with hand tools, our brush station gave visitors a first-hand look at our power brush solutions for industrial applications on CNC and robotic machines.  Work pieces and videos highlighted deburring applications with our M-BRAD® composite brush portfolio which focused on overall value through optimization of work processes was a primary focus of our message to visitors.

The PFERDVALUE® program  which highlights how our products and solutions address concerns with operator health and safety, as well as delivering cost savings and productivity increases really resonated with attendees.  A fun and interactive way we were able to demonstrate factors such as noise, vibration, haptics and emissions was with our interactive ERGOCUBE displays.  These displays gave a simulated physical experience of how PFERD’s products improve upon these key areas of concern for operators in the metalworking industry.

PFERDVALUE® program

As PFERD is committed to being an innovative, solutions-oriented manufacturer, we look forward to interacting with both current and future end-users at the FABTECH show. It is an annual highlight of the imagination, innovation, and expertise of the PFERD team, and we can’t wait for FABTECH 2017!

PFERDVALUE® Program at FABTECH 2016

FABTECH is the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America.  This year it is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 16-18 and PFERD will be there exhibiting at Booth N2004.  As always we will have a strong presence highlighting our precision products and power tools, with a focus on our PFERDVALUE® program.

grinding booth at fabtech
PFERD Applications Specialist in the grinding booth

The PFERDVALUE® program was launched a few years ago to address increasing concerns regarding operator efficiency, health and safety as well as cost savings and process optimization.  It contains two core elements PFERDERGONOMICS® and PFERDEFFICIENCY®. At FABTECH 2016 we will have interactive demonstrations integrated within the exhibit that will display what the program is.

The two core elements of the PFERDVALUE® program:

PFERDERGONOMICS®: This core element of the program captures how PFERD solutions address the human factor with consideration to the health and safety of the operator and how consumables play a part in supporting the human factor.  We will be demonstrating this through interactive displays that focus on four primary concerns: emissions (such as dust), vibration (“white knuckle syndrome”), haptics (force/effort) and noise.  The focus will be to educate on these critical factors and to show process oriented solutions rather than merely products.

ergocube
Try our ERGOCUBES at FABTECH

PFERDEFFICIENCY®: The other core component focuses on work-in-process to ensure cost savings and productivity increases.  This part of the program relies on four basic tenets:  energy savings, waste savings, time savings and resource savings.  Reducing total cost rather than looking solely at the consumable cost is what this program highlights and is our target for every application.  Our high performance burs and M-BRAD® range of composite brushes in off-hand applications such as automatic cut-off, deburring and surface finishing are prime examples of PFERDEFFICIENCY.

Other innovative products that PFERD is known for including our POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs will be on display and featured in our grinding and finishing booths.  POLIFAN®-CURVE is a  unique product that brings significant advantages to rough and finish grinding applications, and exemplifies several objectives of the PFERDVALUE® program.  With a patented configuration, the POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs has three fully usable working surfaces as opposed to the single surface of conventional flap discs.  This design makes it the perfect tool for grinding fillet welds as well as unusual curves. Come see our live demonstration in the PFERD grinding booth!

Be sure to visit the PFERD team at BOOTH N2004 at FABTECH 2016, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news on our show plans.  If you can’t make the show and want to learn more about the PFERDVALUE®   program contact us here.

PFERD’s Internship Program Brings the Classroom to Life

As we head toward Manufacturing Day–a nationwide celebration of the manufacturing industry taking place on Oct. 7th—we thought you’d like to hear about how PFERD brings the goals of manufacturing day to life. One of the aims of Manufacturing Day is to inspire young people to consider a career in manufacturing.

Through our PFERD Internship Program, current college students are given the opportunity to put their classroom learning to practice. We create an atmosphere within the company that allows interns to truly learn about the career they are studying and their prospective roles. An internship allows them to gain experience and make results happen.

PFERD Interns 2016
L-R: Andrew Oswald, Jake Pallo, Steven Snider

We spoke to our interns about their time here at PFERD. Here’s what they had to say:

Jake Pallo, Quality and Safety Intern, Mechanical Engineering Major, Junior

Role: I have been taking assignments and performing wear testing for products. The data is used to determine the lifespan of products. I have also been helping prepare for the ISO audit coming up in December by filing and restructuring all data and information so that the audit goes smoothly.

Perks for working with PFERD: The size of the company makes it easy to see all parts of the business and the wider industry. I’m happy to have the opportunity to work within a division of a larger company.

Takeaways from being an intern: The real world is completely different from the classroom. I’ve learned how to collect data properly, compile information for future interns to use when performing wear tests, and to use tools like Microsoft Excel. I’ve gained a wider understanding of what quality and safety mean for a company, especially ISO 9000, and terminology used in manufacturing.

Because PFERD has all its functions in one location I feel I like that my work here is really adding value. I have gained more of an engineering mindset by thinking about processes differently, understanding flow charts and diagrams, and sharpening my problem solving skills. The importance of interning is immeasurable.

Internship term: Jun-Dec/Jan

Steven Snider, Manufacturing Engineering Intern, Mechanical Engineering Major

Role: I’ve been working on design projects such as making molds or parts of machines. I’ve also been handling issues pertaining to designs for molds.

Favorite experience: Meeting with other companies about preparing designs for machines in the future. This gives me a better idea that what we do now will have an impact in the future. Seeing new designs and what we hope to accomplish with them.

Perks for working with PFERD: It’s an intimate work environment with the duties of a bigger company. The friendly engineering aspect allows me to interact freely and have conversations with people in different departments. I would recommend this internship to a friend.

Takeaways from being an intern: Real life experience and hands on learning gives me a much better grasp on what I get in the classroom. I now feel like I have a leg up on my career because I am starting out already knowing a lot more about design.

Internship term: Jun-Dec/Jan

Andrew Oswald, Marketing Intern, Marketing Major

Role: I have been helping with the PFERD CRM customer relationship database, which helps connect and build a more personalized relationship with their customers. This way the reach-out for marketing aspects is easier and more personal.

Favorite experience: The company culture. It’s a friendly company and it isn’t overwhelming to have a good relationship with everyone here. I also like the work ethic and the attention paid to the daily details and deadlines.

Takeaways from being an intern: The real world application and work experience is extremely valuable.  Being in an office before a full time position offers a view into the day-to-day functioning of a firm. Being an intern has helped me get a sense of what I’d like to do once I graduate. I would definitely praise to my friends that PFERD offers a terrific internship program. It’s a unique company in a niche industry so it’s a good opportunity to embrace a learning curve.

Do You Know Why Variable Speed is the Best Choice?

A single speed machine is cheaper per unit, but the overall value may not be cost effective at all!

Essentially, the abrasive cutting and grinding processes are a function of physics. With abrasive cutting, more speed means more pressure and friction. And, in some cases, faster isn’t always better. You might choose the fastest tool thinking it will get your job done more quickly, but in most cases the opposite is true.

variable speedPFERD understands the important relationship between rotational speed and efficiency. We have carefully designed our power tools based on understanding this relationship and the physics involved between the tool, the consumable, and the material.

PFERD power tools, used in conjunction with the proper PFERD consumable provide a system that delivers an optimal process rather than just a machine. With the combination of a premium-quality consumable and a power tool designed to run at the proper speed and power output, the performance and effectiveness results in a much more cost-effective overall process for the user.

As with all power tools it’s important to understand the difference between MSFS (“Maximum Safe Free Speed”, commonly expressed as “Max. RPM”) and recommended speed. With the exception of catalog 206, in which the MSFS and recommended speeds are identical , PFERD products are always listed with a recommended RPM in our TOOL MANUAL.

Let’s look at an example:

A fixed-speed angle grinder typically runs at speeds between 9000-11000 RPM.

For grinding and cutoff operations (4-1/2” dia.), this is a perfectly acceptable speed range. However, if you then switch to secondary operation such as brushing or finishing with a coated or non-woven product, the speed of this grinder is typically too high for optimal performance.

Running products at too high of a speed can cause many problems, such as excessive heat, which can lead to problems such as discoloration and warping of the workpiece, overgrinding of the workpiece, and even failure of the product itself. With coated and non-woven products, excessive speed causes glazing of the abrasive grain, and can actually melt the non-woven material rendering it useless and possibly damaging your workpiece. Most of these problems will result in costly reworking operations.

With variable speed power tools, the user has the ability to change speeds to best match the application and provide optimal performance. With better control, time-consuming and expensive rework is eliminated leading to the best value for the end-user.