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Outsourcing deaerator vessels

Outsourcing Feedwater Deaerator Shells Can Alleviate Workforce Pressures for Boiler Fabricators

As an industrial boiler manufacturer, you want to remain focused on building the best boilers ever.


The changing workforce, supply chain issues, and economic challenges are vying for attention. A big issue right now is the chase for the right talent. Hiring and retaining the right employees, especially welders, is a major challenge without quick resolution.

person welding

The American Welding Society (AWS) projects that 78,500 welding jobs will need to be filled annually through 2024 as the result of unfilled openings, newly created opportunities, and attrition due to retirement and career changes.


If your welding team is at its maximum capacity, spreading that talent between building boilers and building deaerator shells just makes it more challenging to deliver boilers to your customers on-time. Outsourcing deaerator shells could alleviate some of those hard choices and allow your team to focus on your core business.


Finding Deaerator Shell Fabrication Partners

Because you’re likely ASME-certified, you are familiar with ASME codes and certifications. Make their certification list your first stop in your search for an outsourcing partner. You know the ASME certification requirements and understand the effort and skills required to obtain certification. Be sure to require that same quality from partners.

(Image: screen shot of ASME certification search page: )


Also look for a company whose welders are AWS certified. These welders have gone through rigorous training and testing to earn certification.



ASME and AWS certifications not only provide extra assurance of each company’s quality processes and products, it also demonstrates a willingness to invest in their people. Each certification must be renewed on a regular basis. These certifications also indicate that the shops are keeping up to date on the latest technology and processes within fabrication for boilers and in welding.


In addition to certification and membership lists, ask around. Check with suppliers about shops they know consistently deliver great work. You likely share suppliers and they could have a great deal of information about these companies.


Check local, regional and state manufacturing associations. Not only will you be looking at partners in your area, you will help strengthen your area’s economy. Outsourcing can be local.


While there are plenty of resources for finding potential deaerator vessel outsourcing partners, due diligence in this situation requires asking questions outside of your typical business review process.


Thoroughly Research Deaerator Shell Partners

Due diligence for a partner to address a workforce issue looks different than a regular supplier check. Remember, you are looking for a partner who can address tight workforce issues, so don’t trade your workforce issue for theirs.


Culture is a big reason for employees leaving a company.


An analysis of 500 companies employing approximately 25 percent of the U.S. for-profit workforce published by MIT Sloan Management Review in January 2022 found culture was a more accurate predictor of employee resignation than salary. Even within a single industry, companies tabbed as more “innovative” and “fast-paced” had higher turnover rates than peer companies in the same industry. In fact, the study found culture was more than 10 times more powerful in predicting attrition.


So how can you avoid partnering with a toxic culture company? Do some online research and ask questions of people who are familiar with potential deaerator shell suppliers. Additionally, you need to have open conversations with potential outsourcing partners. Be honest about what you’re looking for in a partner.


Some positive cultural points to look for:

  • Cross-training programs that allow production to continue even when key employees are away.
  • Companies that offer advancement programs.
  • Fabricators that participate in mentoring and apprenticeship programs.
  • Professional development opportunities for every employee.
  • An environment where every employee is encouraged to provide feedback and empowered to address challenges.


You also can search company reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. While no company is immune from negative reviews, watch for recurring themes. Keep in mind that the reviews may not be the most current, so reach out to people who are familiar with the company to verify your research.

person looking at a computer

Review potential partners’ media coverage to peek inside their operations and to hear how they talk about their work. Especially look for any local coverage of the company and their leaders. If you can access industry publications or local chamber newsletters, you can read any profiles. Do those companies project excitement about their work? Do they celebrate their teams?


Once you’ve found your partner, it’s time to get to work.


Bringing a Partnership to Life

For a partnership to succeed, everyone involved needs to use the same playbook. Be sure to outline roles and responsibilities of each party. Document shared processes, such as shipping and receiving. Establish trigger points for communication so no one has to guess when to alert anyone else. With input shortages and shipping delays plentiful, establish regular communication to keep each other informed about emerging challenges as much as possible.

If possible, bring the contacts from each company together and give them a chance to know one another better. People with relationships will help solidify your companies’ partnership.


Proven Quality, Proven History

Rexarc is ready to be your deaerator shell partner. With nearly a century of experience in steel tank excellence, the company provides custom fabrication to meet the needs of the feedwater, research-and-development, and custom ASME and non-coded pressure vessel industries. We are dedicated to building partnerships and working with companies instead of merely being a supplier.


We deliver on client expectations because of the positive culture we have built. All team members are engaged in our continuous improvement efforts. Every employee is empowered to raise up issues and work together to find solutions. New technology is introduced purposefully with thorough input. Every team member at Rexarc in invested in delivering the best products to each customer partner on time, every time.


Having started in the 1920s manufacturing sight-feed generators, Rexarc has adapted to customer needs over four generations. Those sight-feed generators were turned into floodlamps for ally airstrips during World War II. Later, the company gained a global reputation for building and commissioning acetylene plants. (You can read more about Rexarc’s amazing history in Tim Heston’s The Fabricator profile of Rexarc.) Rexarc knows about fabricating for challenging conditions.


Summary – Feedwater deaerators are key to a boiler’s function, but a requirement of all boiler systems. Boiler manufacturers, like many industrial metalworkers, are challenged by hiring and retaining key workers. Welders are in especially high demand and as more than 20% of welders prepare to retire, the need for quality workers will continue to grow. Outsourcing deaerators to a pressure vessel fabricator, like Rexarc, can help alleviate the workforce pressures in a boiler shop.



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