Available Technology

Advanced Welding Torch

In order to more easily join the huge sections of the Space Shuttle external tank, Marshall Space Flight Center initiated development of the existing concept of Variable Polarity Plasma Arc (VPPA) welding. VPPA welding employs a variable current waveform that allows the system to operate for preset time increments in either of two polarity modes for effective joining of light alloys. Marshall awarded the torch contract to B & B Precision Machine, which produced a torch for the Shuttle, then automated the system, and eventually delivered a small torch used by companies such as Whirlpool for sheet metal welding of appliance parts and other applications. The dependability of the torch offers cost and time advantages.
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