Why is there a ZENA™ mobile welding system? And, how was it developed?
These questions come up over and over. In a way, the answer touches on the mission that ZENA, Inc. has adopted for itself, its "tools for remote locations" slogan.
After moving his family to a small farm in Tennessee, ZENA's President, Anthony Blazina, longtime city dweller, pilot, and blue water sailor, discovered farming. In equipping the farm, he, like many small farmers, was forced to make do with used equipment. And, almost immediately, he quickly comes face to face with, what we will call, the first three laws of farm equipment operation:
With an extensive background in manufacturing, engineering, including electronic products and welding equipment design experience, our new farmer was no stranger to equipment maintenance.
Anticipating the ongoing need to repair his "new" used farm equipment, he sets up a repair shop on the farm. However, the building selected for this use is some distance from the road and does not have good electrical service and there is no source of high current 220V AC available for his existing shop welder. He plans to upgrade the electrical service later. To cover immediate welding needs, he purchases a $1,200 engine driven welder at a local farm store.
Our new farmer is, however, new to the real-world logistics of repairing equipment in remote locations. He is also ready for lesson one -- a 5,000 lb. tractor stuck in a meadow on the top of a hill accessible only by foot or 4 wheel drive vehicle. Though it's only a quarter mile (as the crow flies) from the shop -- this is, now, a remote place.
Our hero now comes face to face with the six laws of farm equipment maintenance:
Ever wonder why so many old tractors and bulldozers are rusting in fields? Blazina says, "it's likely that their engines rusted solid while their owners were waiting for a weldor to come out and do a small repair."
Failing to find a weldor, Blazina (with the help of two other farmers and a couple of tractors) drags his broken tractor to his shop. On the same day, he calls the local electrical cooperative to find out how quick he can get 220V power to his shop for his big welder. He is not ready for the four laws of farm electrical power:
Charged by this adversity, equipped with a background in high-tech electronics and a through knowledge of welding technology, he remembers how a mechanic on his aircrew in Vietnam used the plane's alternator to do a quick, crude emergency welding job -- temporarily repairing a radial engine cylinder, allowing the plane to be flown to a safe airfield. The weld is lousy, but it holds. A few years later, he duplicates the feat while sailing a boat in the Pacific.
Things now come together:
After a lot of experimenting, the idea is refined and proven. The inventive process yields a method of electronically controlling and enhancing the performance of a standard high-current alternator to a degree that had not been accomplished before. But that's not all, while working to produce a good general purpose and very low cost mobile welder -- magic happens! The resulting technology is a breakthrough, a new welding system not just a new welder -- capable of producing x-ray quality welds with incredible ease. Performance so good, in fact, that most people just don't believe that is it possible -- until, of course, they have a chance to try it for themselves.
However, the process doesn't stop there. The design is further refined to attain even better welding performance and reliability; the user interface is optimized to meet the defined wishes of professional weldor's; and a larger, ultra-heavy duty, 200A, 100% duty version of the modular power generator is developed. AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE WELDER IS THOROUGHLY FIELD TESTED. The watchwords guiding the no-compromise design process were, and continue to be:
As many satisfied customers have since reported, these goals were accomplished -- and then some!
A farm, a piece of broken equipment, a need to do a job, no satisfactory solution -- an old fashioned recipe for a new technology and a new product.
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