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There are many industries in the United Arab Emirates especially in Ras Al Khaimah that engage in metal fabrication and other manufacturing activities. As a coursework requirement, Kadris Industries FZE was visited, and a report was prepared based on the results of the visit.
The company that was visited is Kadris Industries FZE, which is an engineering company located in Ras Al Khaimah. The figure below shows workers painting one of the complete pieces outside the warehouse
The company deals with steel fabrication. It is also engaged in the making of metallic products such as doors and gates. It runs a small warehouse in the outskirts of Al Hamra Rakia Free Zone. In terms of workforce, the company employs ten workers to be involved in the production and other roles. The managing director oversees the operations at the company under the assistance of engineers, welders, fitters, and an accounting manager. The warehouse also does repairs and maintenance works to some of its products and other metallic house-building items for its clients.
For the purpose of the report, several methods were used to obtain the required information from the company. The first part was the identification of the most appropriate company to visit, which had to be close to the neighborhood and relevant to the study. The next step was the formulation of the tools that would be used to collect the information from the company to allow the process of gathering more accurate and exhaustive results. A questionnaire was then prepared with the questions to be asked to the employees and the managers. A key informant interview guide was also prepared to allow all the questions to be asked during the interview.
Some of the questions that were asked include the preferred welding methods, the welding equipment available in the warehouse, and the reasons for the choice of equipment. The other activity included finding out the main products of the company at the warehouse and the problems encountered by workers at the place. The environmental considerations were also put into account followed by a detailed assessment of the impact of the warehouse on the environment.
Types of welding equipment used and reasons
Welding is the main activity of the company. As a result, a number of welding equipment are installed and located in the warehouse. The company uses two types of welding: gas welding and arc welding. These methods are applied for the various welding functions at the warehouse with gas welding being applied more. According to Geary, this is the commonest method of welding where a gas flame is used as a heat source (17). The gases used are a mixture of acetylene and oxygen. This method of welding is used because it is cheaper and easily available in the country. Some of the advantages as stated by the workers include the ease of transport of the gas cylinders and the relative safety of the method. It is therefore favored in the warehouse especially where repair works are to be done.
Some of the other uses of gas welding in the warehouse include the cutting of metals and brazing. In addition, it is also used as a means of heat-treating metals of all types. Arch welding is also a common method of welding used in the warehouse. According to Tweeddale, this form of welding uses an electric arc to join the parts to be welded together (23). He goes ahead to state that arch welding has some advantages over gas welding based on the concentration of heat to the area being welded. Gas welding on the other hand has a larger flame, which spreads over a large area during welding. In fact, the flame may distort the metal surface being welded (Tweeddale 26). This method of welding is reported to be more economical (Tweeddale 26). However, gas welding is the most preferred method in the warehouse.
For the purpose of the two types of welding, the respective equipment is available at the warehouse, and these are safely stored while others are in use. For the gas welding, there are gas cylinders in the warehouse some of which are empty as others are full of gas. For safety purposes, the cylinders are stored outside the warehouse. There are approximately seven operational gas-welding machines. The arc welding utilizes five machines all of which are connected to the many electrical outlets within the warehouse. Another reason why the company prefers to use these conventional methods of welding is due to the range of products it produces and the amount of work they handle. Since the company is small, the amount of welding work available is not much. Therefore, the welding methods are adequate for this kind of job.
One of the workers during arc welding with protective items
Gas cylinders used in gas welding at the warehouse
One of the workers during gas welding
The methods are also cheap compared to other methods of welding. The claim is based on the purchasing, operating, and repair of the machines used. Another reason that was given as to why the company preferred to use the methods of welding is the environmental protection policy that it has in place. As Geary confirms, the two methods of welding are relatively environmentally friendly (25). Other equipments in the warehouse include metallic drills, spray painting guns, measuring instruments, hacksaws, and other instruments used for straightening and holding metals.
Items at the warehouse
|Item||Number of items|
|Band Saw Semi-automatic Ø550mm||1|
|TIG welding Set||3|
|Cut-off Grinders 14”||3|
|Radial Drilling M/c Ø55mm||1|
|Pipe Bending M/c 80NB||1|
|Hand Cutting Torch||3|
|Measuring Instruments||1 Set|
Source: (Kadris Industries FZE)
Type of work at the site
The company does a variety of works at the warehouse. One of the commonest jobs that the warehouse does is in the making of doors and gates. A number of types are available with the clients selecting from many premade designs. The company also makes gates and doors to suit the needs of each client. The workers here are highly qualified in this field. The most common designs made are the traditional Arabic designs, which have additional fittings to make them attractive to the customers.
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Common simple metallic instruments are also made in the warehouse. They include chisels, wheelbarrows, and metallic chairs. The warehouse also makes a variety of tanks for water storage and repair works for many items. When contracted in construction work, the main job done is the building of frame and truss as evidenced by its roof below.
These structures are also exhibited at the warehouse with photos of some of the projects they have been involved in. Bridge steelwork is common to work at the warehouse. This work is also exhibited in the archives. For the automotive-related works, the company repairs the chassis and bodies of cars and pickup trucks involved in local work with fittings such as carriers being made.
For general maintenance work, the company is mainly involved in repairs of metallic gates and doors some of which it does for its previous clients. The company also contests maintenance work contracts in the local council. In fact, in the recent past, it repaired a number of council vehicles. The company also does painting works to the products it makes through spray painting. The company has also undertaken various projects in the fabrication and painting of roof cladding structures.
Problems and Opportunities
As stated above, the main types of welding equipment available at the warehouse are those used for gas welding and arc welding. These methods are used here because they are cheap for a firm of this size. They are relatively safe and easy to use. They are also preferred over other methods of welding because the work carried out in the warehouse is relatively easy. Having looked at the methods used for welding in this warehouse, the next section will then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods.
As stated above, the main advantage of using gas welding in the warehouse is the ease of availability in the country and the that it is relatively cheap. The workers also reported that it is easier for them to use during welding and fabrication and that they are adapted to using this method. Though there was no reported safety incidence, the main disadvantage that the workers gave was the likelihood of a gas leak. The acetylene gas is said to have a bad odor. According to Tweeddale, the gas decomposes in an explosive manner when the valve is not working properly (23). The heat generated from the flame is also large. As such, there are risks of burns to the workers and their colleagues.
To prevent any accidents from occurring during the use of gas welding at the warehouse, the building is well ventilated with the employees having to wear protective clothing and items. The management has also put posters on walls with instructions on how the workers are to behave in the case of an emergency. There are fire extinguishers and hoses at designated points in the building. All these gadgets have instructions on how to operate in the case of a fire emergency. The gas cylinders for storage of the oxygen are located far from the welding sites thus preventing exposure from the direct flame.
For the arc welding method, the main problem and disadvantage stated by the workers were the effects on the eyes that it had. Some of them complained of irritation from the gas. However, the use of personal protective items was also remarkable. Protection of the eyes during the welding process was done by the use of filters. The light from the welding is also bright. In fact, it is said to have affected the vision of some of the workers before they started using eye protection. One proposition that was made towards the prevention of the effects of arc welding at the facility is the use of personal protective items such as tinted glasses and aprons. These items should be made of leather to prevent burns. The employees should also have a training seminar organized to promote safety at the workplace.
Some of the other problems faced at the warehouse include the loud noise during welding and fabrication. The noise comes from the actual welding process, the drilling of the metals, the smoothening, and the various electrical appliances at the site. The workers, however, protect their ears by using muffins and other protective items with most of them perfecting the use of sign language during the production process. Arc welding is said to be the method of welding that is noisy. The possible solution is the use of gas welding that is available in the warehouse. The sparks produced during arc welding are dangerous as they could cause burn injuries. According to Geary, the workers should therefore use long-sleeved leatherjackets and eye protection (22).
The equipment used in the welding process requires maintenance on a regular basis with the arc welding equipment requiring more of it. Some of the maintenance works include the replacement of the insulation fluid in the arch welding machine, replacement of the electric wires due to wear and tear, and the making of new rod holders. The welding machines also wear out. As a result, they are replaced with new ones after a period of years. The welding rods are also replaced every day. The welding work available determines the packets used in a day. For gas welding, the main maintenance work done is the replacement of the hoses and valves, which is done regularly after they start leaking. The cylinders are also inspected to rule out any possible leaks. Refilling of the gas is also done every week at the local petrol station, which offers the packaged cylinders for exchange with the empty ones.
The main environmental issue in the warehouse is noise pollution during welding and smoke. The company has managed to minimize the effects of these modes of pollution by the location of the warehouse. The area is sparsely populated with a lower probability of negative effects on the people. There are also sharp parts that are produced as waste materials from the production process. Therefore, they are reduced by collection and sale to a recycling plant located in the neighborhood. The company generates enough profit to pay the workers with the rest being injected into the business. Significant success has been achieved. Besides, there are plans to open other branches. The methods of welding used are said to be convenient to the operations of the company.
In conclusion, welding is an important part of metal fabrication with many methods of doing this business existing. For the purpose of coursework, a local warehouse was visited with the intention of finding out the modes of welding applied at their workplace and the advantages and disadvantages of the use of the methods. The visit established two welding methods at the warehouse: gas welding and arc welding. The challenges with the use of gas welding were minimal. As a result, this was the main method preferred in this warehouse. The disadvantages and advantages of the methods have been listed with the possible solutions provided therein.
Geary, Don. Welding. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.
Kadris Industries FZE. Company Profile and Prequalification Document, n.d. Web.
Tweeddale, James. Welding fabrication. London: Life Books, 1969. Print.