Over 50% of all manmade products require welding. These products range from cars, planes, trains, buildings, computers, race cars, bridges, ships, cell phones, medical devices, ocean vessels, and farm equipment. Welding has proven to be an in-demand skill, opening up opportunities in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, robotics, engineering, marine, power, rail, and more. ISO 17846:2004— Welding And Allied Processes – Health And Safety – Wordless Precautionary Labels For Equipment And Consumables Used In Arc Welding And Cutting details specifications for precautionary labels applied to equipment and consumables used in welding and cutting.
Why Is Welding Safety Important?
Welding is a hazardous workplace activity that exposes over half a million workers to health and safety risks each year in the United States alone. If safety measures are ignored, welders can face a variety of hazards, including exposure to harmful fumes and gases, electric shock, fire and explosions, and more. Consequently, to minimize the risk of health and safety injuries from welding, it is critical to adhere to welding safety guidelines like those in ISO 17846:2004.
What Is ISO 17846?
ISO 17846:2004 specifies the format and symbols for wordless precautionary labels placed by manufacturers on their equipment and consumables used in arc welding, plasma arc cutting, and thermal/flame cutting processes. It defines a precautionary label as an “informative marking placed by the manufacturer on a product that calls attention to significant hazards and their consequences to persons or property, indicates how such hazards can be avoided, and may list any other sources of information.”
The standard states that a precautionary label should be placed on power sources, wire feeders, consumables packaging, and other products identified by the manufacturer’s designated competent person. It is important to note that the wordless precautionary labels that ISO 17846:2004 specifies are not intended to replace other mandatory labels or signs (e.g., material safety data sheets) required by certain countries or regions.
The standard addresses neither workplace safety signs (as might be specified by ISO 3864) nor operator training.
What Is Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting Process?
Plasma arc welding is a fusion welding process that uses a non-consumable electrode and an electric plasma arc to weld metals. In other words, an arc forms between the electrode and the workpiece, which is constricted by a fine bore, copper nozzle. This increases the temperature and velocity of the plasma emanating from the nozzle.
When used for cutting, the plasma gas flow is increased so that the deeply penetrating plasma jet cuts through the material and molten material is removed in the efflux plasma. Hence, the plasma process cuts by melting. The process is unique since it achieves precision cutting and welding on both thin and thick metals (maximum thickness of cuts is 150 mm); it is capable of spray coating hardening metals onto other metals.