Bollinger overhauled its entire aluminum welding facility to include a new bulk gas delivery system, wall-mounted booms for wire feeders, and new AlumaFeed™ synergic aluminum welding systems from Miller Electric Mfg. Co.

  • Video
  • Video
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo
  • Photo

Bollinger overhauled its entire aluminum welding facility to include a new bulk gas delivery system, wall-mounted booms for wire feeders, and new AlumaFeed™ synergic aluminum welding systems from Miller Electric Mfg. Co.

Bollinger Shipyards presents an overview of the USCG FRC project and discusses the aluminum welding challenges associated with it.

The aluminum welding performed in the Lockport yard (Bollinger has 12 facilities throughout Louisiana and Texas) ranges from a semi-automated Pulsed MIG process on long sections of aluminum deck to manual MIG and Pulsed MIG throughout the superstructure and pilot house. 

“Distortion was a big factor for us,” says Johnny Boudreaux, inspector – quality assurance, Bollinger. “Our previous MIG process caused distortion and it created rework. We moved to Pulsed MIG because of the distortion control and the speed."

Bollinger now relies on the Pulsed MIG capabilities of the AlumaFeed System to provide the proper mix of speed, quality and appearance. The key benefit of Pulsed MIG welding in this application is the balance between providing sufficient energy to ensure good fusion yet controlling heat input to prevent warping or burn through. 

One task that stood out as inefficient was when the welder would leave his work area and walk all the way back to the power source to adjust his parameters. Depending on how often the welder changes parameters, this could add minutes, if not hours, to daily welding activities.

Between the simplified operator interface, the one-knob control of the synergic welding function, the aesthetics of the Pro-Pulse process, and the quality and operational benefits achieved by the AlumaFeed system, Bollinger has implemented a solution that addresses the main pain points of aluminum welding while also simplifying the welding process for the guys out in the yard. 

Bollinger employees at the Lockport, La. aluminum welding facility. 

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutter (FRC) is a 154-foot-long, 25-foot-wide patrol boat built out of a combination of steel and aluminum. The hull and deck are steel, while the superstructure and the pilot house are constructed entirely of aluminum (mostly grade 5456) ranging in thickness from 3/16 to 1/4 inch. 

Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La.