Feb. 15 Supplier Connections

Supplier Connections

What’s hot in the 2018 marketplace? What new products and services have GAWDA suppliers and manufacturers got to help gases and welding supplies distributors boost 2018 business levels?

Check out the new products and initiatives GAWDA suppliers and manufacturers have this year, and read how their newest offerings can give distributors a leg up on revenues. It might be just the business booster you can use!

You can reference earlier listings and product and service offerings as published in the January 1, January 15 and February 1 GAWDA Connection newsletters, too.

Who: Norton

James O’Connor

director, national distribution

What: New displays

Why: Attractive simplified merchandising is easy-to-order and will stay looking nice. It’s made with durable, all-metal construction that will stay looking fresh. Three different versions are available in sizes flexible to meet any distributor’s showroom needs. Displays are available in both Norton and Carborundum branding. The versions are: 1) a standard wall unit,  which would replace the traditional gondola;  2) a free-standing, three-sided display that is great for end caps or open floor plans; and 3) a small portable rack that can be positioned anywhere and is great for impulse-buy positioning or any spot having additional space.

Who:   McDantim

Justin Trafton


What: Gas blending technology to enhance offerings to both beverage gas and industrial gas customers.

Why: As we monitor the beverage gas market, we are anticipating more regulatory oversight on beverage gas installations. We are enhancing our offerings to stay ahead of the curve and will include plug-and-play features to allow end users to optimize gas usage by minimizing waste due to leaks. The new beverage gas offering will be on display at the SMC this year.

For industrial gas, consider giving your customer the option to blend process gases on site. This will allow you to stay competitive, especially if premixed cylinder gas pricing puts business with a customer in jeopardy due to the customer’s volume. Giving the option to mix process/shielding gases on site can also allow manpower at the fill plant to focus on other important activities. In addition, McDantim gas blenders can be offered as part of an overall bulk gas supply package that includes leasing the blender to end users. The lease package produces a monthly residual revenue stream. That benefits the distributor and customer by creating the flexibil­ity to upgrade system capacity as customer needs grow without increasing manufacturing and handling costs of premix cylinder bulk packages. We see opportunities for distributing members to increase bulk CO2 sales in 2018 as both breweries and medical marijuana facilities gain popularity.

Who: Magswitch

Chris Chivers


What: Magswitch’s versatile, patented, switchable-magnetic technology.

Why: Magswitch is a unique, powerful, switchable-magnetic technology that controls the magnetic
‘fluxfield’ unlike any product available on the market. Magswitch has integrated this technology into a
variety of disruptive products that can help distributor’s customers to set up welds faster than clamps, de-
stack and move steel onto cutting tables faster and safer and create a new revolution in the emerging
automation / robotics field through powerful handling and fixturing with a “green energy” technology.
Magswitch can help distributors bring new solutions and market differentiation while providing a strong
new revenue and margin stream.

Who:   3M Company

Aryn Vastola

marketing manager/hearing protection and detection solutions

What: Wireless attachment for X-series earmuffs.

Why: The earmuffs are perfect for staying connected while being exposed to loud outside noises up to 95 decibels of sound. Do you have customers that need to communicate while in loud industrial environments? This accessory simply connects to Bluetooth with noise-canceling features to be able to take calls in any environment. This unique product technology offering comes with an attractive price point as a perfect add-on opportunity for all your industrial clients.

Who: ArcOne

Ed Martin


What: 1) Largest auto-darkening lens in the world – the BFF; 2) Respiratory protection for welders; 3) flip-front welding helmet called “the Eagle” with air shield; 4) Air-plus, a purified respirator.

Why: Where quality meets affordability without compromise. 1) The BFF, high-definition lens is
optically superior in both light and dark state, with the largest viewing area in the world coming at a great
price point allowing us to pass the savings on to the end user as well as better margins for
distributors, making them more money. 2) Cooperation with Sundstrom Safety greatly enhances
respiratory offerings with a hardhat flip-up welding helmet as well as a grinding visor with multiple filter
media protecting the lungs of your customers, helping to contribute to a safer, healthier welding industry.
3) In Q2, the Eagle flip-up welding helmet and the Airshield grinding visor, both with integrated air
duct systems, will fill out the program. 4) The existing AirPlus powered air system that purifies the air
costs 30 percent less than comparable products.

Who:  The Harris Products Group

David Nangle, president and chief executive officer

caption: David Nangle

What: We’ve made capital investments in our Ohio and Georgia manufacturing facilities and are focusing on automation IT and infrastructure improvements to better serve customers.

We have consolidated all products into one distribution center and have improved inventory programs for top customers targeting a 48-hour shipment of our best-selling products. Automation and technology investments are allowing us to have better throughput on shipments and help with replenishment to make sure there are no stock-outs.

We’ve expanded our specialty gas line and all products are manufactured in our Gainesville, Ga., facility. New software speeds the product configuration, quotation and availability process. Delivery is exceptional, and that helps distributors gain a competitive edge.

As a result of our acquisition of Air Liquide Welding, we have added some new products. One area is a portfolio of integrated cylinder valves, very common in Europe. These products are now available from Harris to our U.S. distributors.

We’ve expanded our sales force including a larger inside sales and customer fulfillment group. In 2017, we aligned our outside sales people to important customers throughout the U.S. Now, one salesperson has responsibility for all distributor store locations versus covering a geographic territory. In this new program, sales have expanded substantially for both HPG and the distributor.

Why: We have been continuing to invest in our U.S. business and the new federal tax plan actually compliments our strategy very nicely. Being close to the customer has been our strategy for quite some time, and we’ve seen steady growth over the past several years. We had a very good year in 2017. and we’re very optimistic that will continue in 2018. We see the economic opportunity in 2018 as wind at our back; we’ve been waiting for that for some time.

Who:   The Lincoln Electric Company

Michael Mintun, vice president sales and marketing, North America

caption: Michael Mintun

What:  Our number one priority in 2018 is the opening of our Welding Technology Center at our Euclid campus. It is the new home of our welding school that has operated for 100 years. While we will continue to teach people how to weld, its core mission is professional development of welding educators, customers and our distributor partners.

Our other primary focus is integrating the former Air Liquide Welding business into our company. This acquisition is the largest that Lincoln has ever made and doubles our footprint in the European market. We are excited about some of the products and technologies this acquisition allows us to introduce into the North American market in 2018.

We’ve also made a number of strategic acquisitions the last three to five years to really enhance our capabilities in the automation space. Each acquired company has brought a new dimension to our capabilities, and those investments will continue to drive our automation strategy.

Why: With tax reform settled, U.S. corporations are going to feel more confident about making business investments with known lower tax rates and other provisions that make capital investments appealing for things like robots and welding machines.

Two key macroeconomic trends will impact our business. One is the shortage of skilled laborers and welders. With expanding demand levels and low unemployment, businesses will be challenged to find new ways to help them meet the increased demand from customers, forcing them to think differently about how they approach this issue.  We think customers will look toward automating processes, such as welding.

We also believe that as customers continue to improve their products (for example, making them lighter in weight or more corrosion resistant), they will be forced to make them out of higher performing materials. That will continue a migration from mild steel to more high-performance materials: aluminum, stainless and nickel alloys and composites. These materials tend to create more welding challenges versus mild steel. Over the past several years, Lincoln has been building out its alloy portfolio and expertise to meet these demands from our customers.

We’re optimistic about 2018.  After several challenging years for the manufacturing community, we saw improved business each quarter of 2017, supported by improving fundamentals in our key segments such as heavy fab, pipeline and general industries. Combine that with growing business confidence and a defined tax policy, we are optimistic about this year.