Weld Mold Co. was presented with the ASM Historical Landmark Award for 2017 earlier this month, a designation made in recognition of the company’s role in developing the flood-welding process for repairing forming dies. The presentation was made on May 17 at the company’s headquarters in Brighton, MI, with city and state officials, company executives and employees, and other guests in attendance as the comemmorative plaque was presented.
“Flood welding,” or Progressive Manual Cast Welding, is a die repair technique involving a stream of molten metal produced by an electric arc, which is laid into a worn steel-alloy die cavity, allowing the die to be restored to its designed state and returned to service.
The first recorded flood-weld repair of a forging die took place in 1952 for Chrysler’s Detroit Forge Plant, a project carried out by Weld Mold Co. in suburban Detroit.
Weld Mold Co. founder Matt Kiilunen (1905-1990) is credited with innovating the process for die repairs, which remains a focus for the company’s products and technologies. His development of the “pack rod” for high-volume deposition welding was the first innovation in the development of flood welding.
The patented Weld Mold Arm, developed in the mid 1950s to allow welders to work with electrodes up 5/8-inch in diameter and up to 30 inches long, significantly improving deposition rates.
“The introduction of Flood Welding to the forging industry has had a significant impact on cost control, productivity, and profitability,” according to the presentation remarks by ASM International president Dr. Frederick Schmidt.
Schmidt continued: “For the forge (shop) that properly applies it, the process and material have …eliminated the need to keep large stocks of new dies steel on hand because dies are no longer scrapped … increased productivity of each cavity by as much as 300% …increased production run time …eliminated or reduced shimming …eliminated the requirement for full face re-sinks …made it possible to repair forging components indefinitely … reduced tooling costs per part by 30-50% … (and benefitted) all forging methods,” by reducing costs and improving productivity.
Other industrial and engineering achiements to be designated ASM Historical Landmarks have included the first Heroult electric melting furnace, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the Eifel Tower. Other companies to have earned the award have included AT&T, Republic Steel, and General Motors.
ASM International is the world’s largest and most established materials information society in the world, providing reference content and data, education courses, international events, and research.
Weld Mold Co. develops welding processes and manufactures welding electrodes, cored wire, and solid wire products for general welding and forge welding.