Welding has been around since the Bronze Age. In the Middle Ages, it was practiced primarily by blacksmiths, who welded by hammering. In the 19th century, smiths began to use open flame to weld metals and changed the industry forever.
Welding carts soon became part of the tool set, making large gas cylinders more portable. However, these two-wheeled dolly-style carts were unstable at best and the loose-fitting chains that held the cylinders in place did not guarantee their security. A fallen, damaged cylinder could quickly become a jet-powered missile.
Dell Barritt, director of the Training Device Design and Engineering Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, wanted to make the welding operations in his facility as safe as possible. His first step was to re-design the welding cart. He gave it four heavy-duty wheels, a self-coiling reel for the hose, and a secure enclosure for the gas cylinders.
Barritt needed a partner to produce the new carts and he teamed up with a small company out of Montana, Spika Design & Manufacturing.
The new welding cart design resulting from the partnership is a prime example of Air Force technology transfer benefiting the U.S. defense mission and the American public.
Cleared 01 Jun 2017, PAO, 30th Space Wing