Rick Montoya, president of Valencia Welding, Inc., has worked at Santa Clarita Valley’s Industrial Park for almost 30 years and has done welding with a variety of metals during that time span, from steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and even titanium alloys in aerospace applications. Unbeknown to me, a non-welding techie, it turns out that there are many, many ways to stick two pieces of metal together. I won’t give you the earful that Rick gave me, but a small primer about what holds your copper pipes together as well as the titanium tubes in the B-2 Bomber, is forthcoming.
Welding has come a long way in a very short time span. Even as recently as the end of the 1800s, welding consisted of one process alone: forge welding, the process in which blacksmiths joined metals together by heating and hammering them. However, by the start of World War I, a demand for reliable and inexpensive joining methods brought forth new arc welding and related processes. The Space Age in the 1950s demanded precision, giving birth to laser beam and electron beam welding. By the turn of the 21st century, the industry had a wide array of welding processes at their disposal.
I alluded to a specific type of welding, but generally speaking, what is welding? It is a fabrication process that joins materials, such as metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence and is usually done by melting the parts with a filler material, forming a pool of molten material that, when cool, becomes a strong joint, depending on the metals used. On the other hand, the titanium welds that Rick has performed were done in a Spacetron Vacuum Chamber at Spacetron Metal Bellows, a provider of complex, titanium bellows and precision-welded titanium structures for the aerospace industry, where Rick is Chief Operating Officer (COO).
If I didn’t drink so much coffee, I’d have the steady welder’s hand that he has.