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How Cutting-Edge Tech Forges Phillips Tube Group Ahead

Marvin Phillips

VP of Manufacturing at Middletown Tube Works

May 11, 2017

You know the cliché: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s true for many manufacturers who have processes and technologies in place because, well, that’s the way it’s always been done.

The thought of introducing change makes even the biggest companies tremble with fear.

But not here. And I’ll give you a perfect example I overheard on the production floor today.

“I wish we had this when I started operating,” said a mill operator who’s been with us for nearly 30 years.

And he’s not alone in his thinking.

Ralph Phillips founded this company with continuous improvement in mind, and he worked hard to instill those values into all of us.

Today, we’re carrying forward his vision by consistently upgrading equipment, investing in new technologies, and improving processes.

Every year, we hold strategic planning sessions to decide which equipment to install, and which procedures to implement to improve the quality of our steel tube, and our tube-making processes.


Weld monitoring technology helps us build better tube – more precisely
A recent example of this is the addition of weld monitoring systems in our tube mills.

Weld monitoring systems take the guesswork out of the welding process by ensuring key measurables stay within tolerances. In the old days, the operator would have to rely on best practices and experience to maintain variables such as mismatch (edge alignment), weld width, deflection, freeze line and roll.

Worst of all? The measurements had to be taken AFTER the finished product rolled off the tube mill. So if the measurements were off, the tubing would have to be scrapped.


Real time weld monitoring. Real ROI.
Weld monitoring systems give the operator control of these critical variables in real time. If any of the measurements stray close to our outside of the parameters for diameter, material thickness and material type being produced, he or she can make adjustments on the fly.

The weld monitoring system integrates with the mill marking system, which allows a weld default from the parameters to be mark instantly.

The bottom line? It’s an extremely valuable piece of technology that helps us ensure a consistent, quality weld seam every time. And, it it improves process efficiency and reduces scrap, which keeps your costs low.

And while we’re excited about its possibilities (we know our weld operators are), we’re already thinking about the next great tech that’ll forge Phillips Tube Group ahead of the pack.