ARC Specialties Inc  

1730 Stebbins Dr
Houston,  TX  77043-2807

United States
  • Booth: B35047

ARC Specialties was founded in 1983 by Dan Allford to provide welding services and weld automation to industry. Since then, ARC Specialties has grown to a 60+ person company occupying a campus with over 75,000 sq ft. These buildings house all the components for a vertically integrated manufacturing solution provider: research, design, manufacturing, assembly and testing at a single location. ARC Specialties has built machines for companies in 21 countries and a variety of industries. The staff includes project managers, mechanical and electrical designers as well as welders, electricians and assembly technicians.

A typical project for ARC Specialties begins when a customer goes to the company with a manufacturing problem. In some cases, ARC needs to prototype the system before a complete proposal is possible. In the ARC research facility, a full testing and technical setup allows the technology services staff to work with tools from stereo lithography welding systems to racecar camshaft welds. Frequently, this ability to develop a process before a full-blown manufacturing system is built will allow ARC to improve the final machine and shorten the delivery time.

 Press Releases

  • In early October, the Spring Branch-based manufacturing and robotics company ARC Specialties made news for donating a $150,000 Kuka welding robot to the Texas State Technical College in Waco. It was just the latest act of generosity from the 33-year-old business, which has also donated equipment to LeTourneau University and Texas A&M. Dan Allford, who founded the company in his Houston garage in 1983, said he feels a special obligation to help keep manufacturing alive in the United States.

    “We’re one of the last manufacturers of large robots in America,” he said during a recent tour of the company’s headquarters on Stebbins Drive. “They’re now being built in Germany, Austria, Sweden, China, and Japan. It’s terrible—we’re systematically destroying our industry in America. And we feel so strongly about it that we donate equipment to schools.”

    ARC Specialities has became a world-renowned manufacturer of custom robotics and machinery, having installed its products in 20 countries across every continent except Antarctica. “In the last year we’ve installed robots in Romania, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada,” Allford said. “I wouldn’t be working in places like Russia and China if we had other competitors who do what we do. I have friends all over the world.” He showed me a corkboard covered with currency notes from the many countries where he’s done business.

    Allford has degrees from the University of Houston and Texas State Technical College, and worked at Baker Hughes before leaving to start his own company. He was a programmer who had always been fascinated with robotics, and thanks to his technical degree at TSTC he was also an expert welder. “There are very few programming geeks who can weld,” he explained. One of his new company’s first contracts was to build and install a hot-tap cone for the smokestack of a plutonium plant in Idaho. “I had to work inside a pipe, so it was a confined space. It was radioactive—it was great,” Allford said with a laugh. “I was 24 at the time, and I remember thinking that if the government knew a 24-year-old had built this part in his garage, they might have reconsidered.”

    Although he grew up in Austin, Allford knew the right place to open a manufacturing business in Texas was Houston, and the right place in Houston was close to the Energy Corridor in Spring Branch. Until recently, ARC Specialties has gotten most of its work from the oil and gas industry. The recent oil slump has compelled them to broaden their client base, however. “The oil crash has encouraged us to diversify, so we’re doing more defense, plastics, aerospace, and space.”

    Because America has lost so many manufacturers, ARC Specialties now has to custom-build many of its own tools, like specialized welding equipment, that used to be mass-produced. That’s another reason Allford thinks it’s so important to help American technical colleges stay up to date with the latest technology. “Personally, I believe that the only three sectors of the economy that actually create wealth are manufacturing, mining, and agriculture—everything else just redistributes wealth,” he said. “So I’m proud to be part of one of the segments that produces wealth.”

  • Texas State Technical College in Waco’s Welding Technology program received a Kuka welding robot valued at $150,000 from ARC Specialties in the Spring Branch area of northwest Houston. ARC Specialties designs and builds automated machinery for welding, pipeline manufacturing, and the oil and gas industries.

    “It’s important that the students get access to the newer technology,” said Jim Walker, a welding technologist and certified welding inspector at ARC Specialties. “It doesn’t do any good if they don’t ever touch the equipment and have to learn about it once in the industry.”

    Mark Watson, a TSTC welding technology instructor, said the robot will give students a way to learn technology they may encounter in the industry. He said a robot like the one from the company can be used in the automotive industry on assembly lines.

    “I want them to be able to operate it,” Watson said. “You also have to learn how to program and repair it.”

    Robots typically perform about 10 percent of tasks across the manufacturing spectrum, but this is expected to increase to 25 percent worldwide by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group, a private global management consulting firm specializing in business strategy.

    “It’s taking over the skill level of your welders,” Watson said. “Nowadays, it’s hard to find the skilled welders. Students need to be on the global playing field with technology.”

    Walker, along with Dan Allford, the company’s owner, and Randy Ellington, project manager and process specialist, all have associate degrees in welding technology from TSTC in Waco.

    “We all enjoyed going through the program at TSTC,” Walker said.

    “We are still involved in welding and deal with welding on a daily basis. It’s been something all three of us have loved to do,” Walker said.

    ARC Specialties is also represented in the Welding Technology program’s Advisory Board. Watson envisions securing more technology through partnerships with other companies in the future so students can be more competitive for jobs.


  • ARC-11S CNC Sand Control Screen Winder
    The ARC-11 S CNC Sand Screen Winder is a turnkey wire wrap screen system that uses resistance welding to produce over one hundred welds per second....

  • The ARC-11 S CNC Sand Screen Winder is a turnkey wire wrap screen system that uses resistance welding to produce over one hundred welds per second. CNC motion control and ARC Specialties controls ensure precision with each weld, making the system well known for manufacturing some of the highest quality sand control products available on the market. 

    • Continuous production of screens up to 40 feet
    • High-resolution encoder feedback on motors
    • Patented zero stiction air bladder weld pressure delivery system with closed loop feedback
    • Force feedback & monitoring constant force control by ARC patented design
    • Production and process data logging
    • Touch Panel Operator Interface with intuitive screens
    • Real-time weld parameter control and override
    • High inertia motors for accurate velocity control
    • Linear scale for high-accuracy position feedback and control
    • Head & Tailstock synchronization by electronic gearing
  • ARC-05HVTe Horizontal, Vertical and Tilt Cladding
    The ARC-05HVTe is an automated system that has the capability to weld in the horizontal or vertical position or at any angle between the 0 and 90 degree positions on the ID and OD of cylindrical parts....

  • The ARC-05HVTe is an automated system that has the capability to weld in the horizontal or vertical position or at any angle between the 0 and 90 degree positions on the ID and OD of cylindrical parts. The ability to position part improves bead shape, weld chemistry and improves overall ease of operation and usability of welding process at high deposition rates. ARC Specialties’ elbow cladding technology performs on-the fly adjustments of the weld parameters, torch position and torch oscillation as the cross-sectional geometry of the elbow changes throughout the course of the welding process. The system’s software enables operators to simply touch off on two points of the elbow’s ID to generate an automated weld path. The PLC control system has parameter feedback and overrides for automatic welding.

    The operator pendant is a touch screen with graphical user interface for ease of operation. The control system includes the ability to save weld schedules to prevent unnecessary parameter input from part to part. The system is skid mounted for ease of portability. The slide package and rotary table is integrated into an L-Arm configuration with a tilting axis to orientate from horizontal to vertical and any angle in between. The control cabinet and welding equipment are mounted to the base. The rotary table has a 25” 3-Jaw chuck for part holding. This automated welding system provides improved production rates while maintaining a small manufacturing footprint. There are optimized deposition rates available for different applications.

    The ARC-05HVTe switches between multiple weld schedules while welding, uses a high-speed turntable to achieve high travel speeds required, and is capable of adjusting to different welding positions. ARC Specialties can assist with Welding Procedure Qualifications, including the high-deposition capabilities that are available with this machine.

  • RoboCell 2P
    The RoboCell 2P by ARC Specialties maximizes efficiency and throughput by configuring 1 robot to constantly work between two workstations....

  • The RoboCell 2P by ARC Specialties maximizes efficiency and throughput by configuring 1 robot to constantly work between two workstations. Each workstation is equipped with an ARC Specialties servo robotic, high precision 2-axis positioner, which coordinates tilt & rotate motion with the robot to create a turnkey 10-axis robotic solution. This specially designed 2-axis positioner tilts 270 degrees,  allowing for easy part loading/unloading and preheating processes outside the cell before rotating back into the robotic work area. The 2-axis positioners provide a physical barrier between the operator and robot. This design, coupled with a divider wall between each workstation, a safety monitoring circuit, and rolling weld shield walls allow for the operator to safely and constantly interact with the system for high productivity. The entire system is fixed on a skid base for easy installation and moving.

  • Robotic Material Handling, Marking, & Palletizing
    The robotic system grabs pieces of pipe from the buyer’s existing saw’s outfeed conveyor using a magnetic gripper. The system then presents the pipe to the deburring station....

  • The robotic system grabs pieces of pipe from the buyer's existing saw's outfeed conveyor
    using a magnetic gripper. The system then presents the pipe to the deburring station, which is a rotary grinding brush on a skid based stand. A chip collecting tray is provided for maintenance. Next, the robot moves the pipe to an air knife station to remove any residual chads and saw lubricant. Next, the robot presents the pipe to an ink jet marking system. Finally, the robot stacks the pipe on a pallet on a 40' outfeed driven pallet conveyor. The pallet conveyor is automatically fed by a pallet dispenser. The entire system is controlled by the operator using the touchscreen HMI. The operator enters pipe dimensions such as OD, length, wall thickness. The part dimensions are used by the system to control the deburring station and air knife time and sequence.  The marking station is also integrated to and controlled by the HMI.  Palletizing stacking pattern and pallet size are also entered by the operator.  Once a pallet is completely stacked, the system pushes pallets to accumulate at the end of the conveyor for manual fork lift unloading.  The system also includes a safety package with fencing and light curtains.  

  • Collaborative Robot Welding Package
    The Collaborative Robot Welding Package is a low cost system for simple GMAW applications. It is the perfect solution for low volume / high mix fabrication shops....

  • The Collaborative Robot Welding Package is a low-cost system for simple GMAW applications. It is the perfect solution for low volume / high mix fabrication shops. Robotic programming is reduced from hours to minutes by simply hand guiding the robot to determine the path it should take. The ARC Specialties software provided has a user-friendly welding interface through the Universal Robots pendant. The operator can easily manage robot programs and welding parameters. 

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