Stainless steel pipe welding contractors are not all created equal.
Lately I have been trying to find welding businesses and welders that do exceptional work.
Seeing the right way to do something is always useful.
Sometimes it even helps to see the wrong way. But we all see enough of that without having to look very hard.
This page is about getting it done the right way..with
Bryan Milam and B&K Construction .
The other day, I had the opportunity to check out a nearby job site where a stainless piping job was installed recently.
I had been hearing a friend talk about a guy he knew that did awesome work on small diameter stainless steel pipe. So when he asked me if I wanted to check out one of his jobs, I jumped on it.
When I drove up to the job site, Bryan was wearing a round rimmed hardhat (like an ironworker) but he also wears lots of other hats…
like owner — welder – fitter – electrician – designer - job estimator - and maintenance technician…just to name a few.
Often times, when someone tries to be good at too many things, they are not very good at anything.
But Bryan is an exception.
It seems like he is good at everything he touches.
Every aspect of the job I visited was done professionally. From the stainless steel pipe welds, to the pumping stations, to the control panels and work platforms, this was a job done right… a pleasure to see.
So what exactly was the job site?
A washing bay for tanker trucks that haul milk, chocolate, corn syrup and most every other food product under the sun.. this particular wash bay was being upgraded to meet food grade requirements.
That means that all the old piping and pump stations had to be yanked out and replaced with stainless steel butt welded pipe.
All welds have to smooth and free from oxidation on the inside root pass otherwise bacteria will have crevices in which to grow. That requires a good purge on the inside which means waiting a little while for the argon to displace the air inside the pipe before welding begins.
Since this is supposed to be a welding article I was interested in taking a few pics of good welds, but guess what?
All the welds were polished so well that I couldn’t even tell where exactly where they were…another example of being willing to go the extra mile and build quality into a product.
Not that polished welds necessarily always add quality but what they do accomplish is this:Whether it’s 1, 5, or 10 years down the road No food inspector will ever see a reason to doubt the quality of the welding.
Think about that for a minute.
Bryan is just plain smart as hell to polish the welds. No one made him do it, the code does not require it.
He just did it.
Good call Bryan.
If for no other reason than polishing your welds sets you miles apart from all the other hacks out there.
I did get a shot of one weld. The root pass of a stainless steel reducer fitting… part of a high pressure nozzle is fit into the port on top of the tanker and high pressure /high temp detergents are sprayed inside the tanker to ensure no food products remain that could cause bacteria to grow.
See what I mean? Awesome.
Anyway back to some of the details of the food service bay upgrade…
Periodically, after the bay is in service, swab tests are done on the system and on the tankers to check for bacteria…
And if the inspections fail, that’s bad.
The company that owns the wash station loses wash contracts and Bryan loses work too.
That’s why Bryan insists on the job being done right.
He knows that in the long run, it means less headaches, less reworks, more repeat business and more maintenance agreements from the companies that recognize the added value he puts into his work.
So if you know someone who is putting a pipe welding job out to bid and needs to be sure a quality job is done,