NASA Center: Marshall Space Flight Center
Public Release Year: 1996
Reference Number: MSFC-SO-141
Category: Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology
Origin: Welding on Space Shuttle External Tank
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.
Page Number in Published book: 106
Manufacturer: B & B Precision Machine, Inc.