Pillars of Support

Oculus train hub – photograph by duo Hufton + Crow

Gullco’s KAT weld oscillator carriage has recently been selected and put to work on the Oculus subway project in New York. The PATH train station which was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks, has been rebuilt and the weld oscillation carriage is being put to good use on a very pivotal part of the structure. Part of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s design includes bomb proof pillars which has resulted in a very substantial weld necessary to produce these reinforced pillars. These welds are being produced by our KAT oscillator not just because of its high weld quality but because it has a unique feature for weld carriages of this nature. Our weld oscillator head is independent of our carriage which allows for it to be maneuvered into a variety of different positions and can tackle even the deepest weld grooves. This benefit is very important on the Oculus project because of the immense material thickness and large bevel groove necessary to provide a pillar which can withstand an explosive impact.

KAT weld oscillator in operation at the Oculus project in New York

The independent head was not the only necessary benefit in this instance as the project has been consistently set back, taking 12 years to complete and has been extremely over budget to the tune of billions. Weld automation equipment is often selected when a project is falling behind deadlines or welds are becoming increasingly costly to produce and in this instance it is no different. Welding is often one of the largest overhead costs in any large scale construction project and by automating the process you remove many of the unnecessary pitfalls inherent in manual welding. Stops and starts are eliminated, welder fatigue is removed and accurate weld deposition is achieved. On a weld as thick as this even a small amount of over-welding on each pass can result in tens of thousands of dollars. By deploying a welding automation solution such as the weld oscillator extremely precise control over the welding procedure is achieved and eliminates costly over-welding and rework pays back the investment in a short amount of production time. Part of Gullco’s implementation strategy is to provide on site training for any equipment which has been purchased. This ensures quality results and sets both the end user and the equipment up for success. Once trained the operators at the site of the Oculus project were capable of completing these extremely important pillar welds, putting this part of the project back on schedule.

6 responses to “Pillars of Support”

  1. I wonder why this project was set back for 12 years!? It seems like it was something important that should have been done a lot quicker. The weld oscillator looks pretty cool and it should save a lot of money in the long term.

    • Thanks for the comment Bob, our understanding of the delay is that it was mostly due to the ambitious engineering which went into the design of the Oculus and executing that in busy downtown New York. Glad you think the oscillator looks cool. Check out our YouTube page if you want to see it in action.

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