Welding Innovation

Gullco International

Gullco International Limited is a global welding and cutting automation manufacturer founded and still based in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, that’s taking its industry-leading skills around the world.

The company was formed in 1954 by the late Mike Harris after he purchased welding-electrode oven manufacturer The Gully Company. This was a strategic move designed to take advantage of the growth of the welding industry in North America, an industry that had emerged strongly in the years following World War II.

Today, Gullco’s Canadian headquarters has a global reach with established offices across the world in America, Europe, India, Australia, China, Singapore, Germany, and Brazil. It markets its high-quality automated welding machines to many more countries besides through a worldwide distributor network.

Going international
There’s a sense of pride at the company that it’s still family owned, with the grandson of founder Mike Harris, President & COO Rick Drake, at the helm. There’s also pride in the company’s growth, now encompassing hundreds of employees around the world. As they’ve been saying in one way or another at the company for sixty-plus years, it’s dedicated to “providing productivity, cost savings, durability and service” to the welding market and all who can benefit from its products.

Gullco has always defined itself by the services it renders for those in need of automated tools for welding, cutting, and bevelling. Gullco is behind some of the most popular and trusted brands for these purposes such as KAT, KBM, KATBAK, and Moggy.

These tools include everything from welding, bevelling, and cutting carriages and machines, to custom ceramic weld backing, ovens, and various custom products that can satisfy almost every imaginable need of today’s professional welding industry.

Along with quality assurance, Gullco’s global reach and distributor network allows the company to provide customer service with a personal touch – with capability in a myriad languages – so that those in and around the welding industry can stay on top of any potential situation.

An evolving sector
The company is also dedicated to a research and development program focused on bringing revolutionary equipment and systems to a market sector that can change incredibly fast. These efforts in R&D also focus on developing products that can withstand the harsh environment common to most professional welding as well as stand the test of time.

Finally, the company has embraced social media effectively by giving customers a look inside its facilities through its Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and through the product tutorials and demonstrations it hosts on its own YouTube channel. Users at every level can understand, and ultimately, come to use Gullco products to full efficacy.

The company regularly sees its products used in industries like shipbuilding, tank welding, oil & gas, power generation, and general fabrication, among so many others. In working with these industries, Gullco has established partnerships with leading global companies like Swan Hunter Ltd, Bechtel Power Corp, Langfields, and numerous others who depend on the company’s products for challenging and important projects.

Conducting selected case studies, Gullco has been able to determine the relative efficacy of its various products.

For example, the KAT Welding Travel Carriage and Electronic Arc Height Sensor was used by the company IMES in a project to repair mining equipment, and resulting data showed that these products were able to demonstrably increase production in a project of this nature, while reducing the cost of any such undertaking.

The general trend in Gullco’s case studies is that production times when using its products are reduced while the quality of the work remains of the highest. Proof of the pudding is how sought after the company’s products are in this area.

Staying ahead
Even in the throes of a challenging year, the company continues to make important moves. As of 2020, Gullco has entered a partnership with global manufacturer, Netherlands-based Translas BV, in on-torch fume extraction.

This partnership will see Gullco become the global distributor of Translas’ new fume-extraction solutions (the Translas 7XE Semi-Automatic Fume Extraction welding gun, Translas hi-vac units, and so on), which will be designed and engineered for Gullco’s specialty of welding automation.

In recent years, Gullco has also seen its own products used in new and exciting projects. In 2018, work involving the company’s products was completed in Assam, in India, on the Bogibeel Rail-Road Bridge, a double-decker over the Brahmaputra River – featuring two railway lines below and three road lanes on top – stretching nearly 5 kilometres. Not surprisingly, the Bogibeel is India’s longest rail and road bridge.

Gullco’s KAT weld oscillator carriage has also played a big part in the Oculus subway project in New York, an undertaking that was completed in 2016 and is a major part of the transit system in the city.

Poised for more progress
In 2018, in the midst of these important projects, Gullco also introduced the new KAT 300 welding automation carriage, which has improved on its forebears by being smaller and lighter while producing results every bit as good, if not better. Marketing manager Nick Drake says that the company has also managed to add 30,000 square feet to its main facility over the past decade as Gullco continues to push up its output, a constant and increasingly valuable partner in projects throughout the globe.

So how is Gullco International dealing with the challenge of Covid-19? Head-on, and with goals still in mind, seems to be the answer as it surges ahead with its projects.

As has become standard practice, the company is requiring all its employees travelling overseas to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid inadvertent infection. Precautions are scrupulously observed for every Gullco employee on the job (mask-wearing, protective material, sanitizer, etc.). The company reports that, so far, both its plant and raw material supply chain are little affected by coronavirus interruptions with lead times remaining stable – a remarkable achievement for companies still operating in such uncertain times.

Although big events like trade conferences have been mostly curbed in every industry due to global quarantines, Gullco has made several appearances at conventions around the world – from Canada and the USA to Italy, Spain, and Australia, showcasing its status as a globally recognized manufacturer.

With so many different industries focusing intensively on automation, Gullco will maintain its strong and steady progress developing quality automated products – the wave of the future.

An Ounce of Prevention

While no one plans to get physically injured or exposed to dangerous working situations at their place of employment, getting hurt on the job is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries were reported in 2019, as well as 888,220 nonfatal injuries and illnesses causing a private industry worker to miss at least one day of work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Preventing these types of injuries along with time missed — in fact, making a workplace as safe as possible — is imperative for all organizations. Unfortunately, the best of intentions don’t always lead to the best results.

Past Issues

May 15, 2021, 3:42 PM EDT