In an increasingly competitive market, contractors must find ways to save time and complete jobs faster without sacrificing weld quality or safety. Outdated welding technologies can cost an operation hundreds of hours – and thousands of dollars – in lost time every year on job sites.
When welders must walk back to the power source every time they need to make parameter adjustments, this lost time adds up. Making the trip even four times a day, with each walk averaging 15 min., wastes 250 hours per welder every year. This lost time is especially painful for contractors that already struggle to find skilled labor.
And it’s not just productivity that’s impacted. When welders stop welding to go to the power source, these interruptions can impact weld quality and increase the risk of operator slips, trips and falls. This is especially true on larger job sites that may require them to climb ladders or scaffolding to reach the power source.
Fortunately, there are methods to keep welders from having to constantly walk back and forth. Rather than sticking with outdated technologies and conducting business as usual, investing in the right solutions can help contractors produce quality work, meet deadlines and win more bids.
Control at the weld
It’s possible to save up to two hours per day per welder on the job site with remote control welding technology. This technology can eliminate the need to walk to and from the power source to make changes.
As an example, ArcReach technology from Miller Electric Mfg. LLC provides complete control at the weld joint – without a control cable. When welders can easily adjust parameters at the weld, they do less walking and more welding. This maximizes arc-on time and job site safety while also helping reduce rework because welders can set the right parameters to do their best work.
ArcReach technology uses the weld cable to send information between the wire feeder or remote control and the power source, eliminating the need for a control cable. Unsurprisingly, this also saves time and money in cable setup, maintenance and repair.
Furthermore, when welders can quickly make parameter adjustments right where they’re working, it contributes to better weld quality. Welders are less likely to make do with less-than-optimal settings when they don’t have to walk to the power source to make changes – helping them produce high-quality welds.
To eliminate mistakes that could occur if parameters are incorrectly or accidentally changed, some systems ensure that adjustments can be made only at the wire feeder or remote control once the power source and accessory are paired. Any changes to the weld process, voltage or amperage at the power source are locked out.
Auto voltage adjustments
In addition, some inverter solutions include more advanced capabilities that help improve productivity, efficiency and weld quality. Cable Length Compensation (CLC) technology automatically compensates for the voltage drop caused by the resistance in the weld cable – a loss that varies based on cable length and setup.
With traditional machines that don’t have this technology, welders must manually adjust for the voltage drop by setting the voltage higher than necessary at the power source to ensure they get the voltage they want at the wire feeder. This process can be a guessing game, requiring several trips to the power source for adjustments before the welder dials in the right level to compensate for the voltage loss in the welding circuit.
With CLC technology, the machine measures the resistance in the weld circuit and then calculates the voltage drop in the leads, allowing the system to automatically make the necessary adjustments in a matter of seconds once the welder sets the voltage.
Eliminating the need for manual adjustments saves time and ensures that the voltage welders set at the power source is the voltage they get at the wire feeder or remote control – even hundreds of feet away.
On large job sites, such as infrastructure, construction and shipyard projects, the time-saving benefits of this technology can be especially substantial because it simplifies the interaction between the welder and quality control inspector. When the welder must manually accommodate for the voltage drop in the circuit, the power source may be set to a voltage level that exceeds the maximum voltage in the weld procedure. This could result in extra time and hassle for the welder if he has to explain the higher voltage to the quality control inspector.
No arc stoppage
Another new Miller technology available in remote control welding systems allows for parameter adjustments even while welding – for more responsive and accurate performance.
Adjust While Welding (AWW) technology, available in some ArcReach systems, allows welders or others to adjust voltage, amperage or wire feed speed at the feeder or remote without stopping the arc. With this capability, welders can compensate for what they’re seeing in the weld in real time to address issues such as heat buildup, variations in part fit-up or changes in weld position.
Preventing numerous stops and starts for parameter adjustments saves time and helps improve weld quality because each stop and start of the arc introduces the risk of quality issues or imperfections that may require time-consuming grinding between weld passes.
Reconsidering the status quo and adopting new technologies can yield big results in a welding operation. On some job sites, remote control welding solutions can save hours every day, increasing arc-on time and delivering substantial labor savings.
Equipment that provides complete control at the wire feeder or remote – and makes parameter adjustments faster and easier – maximizes productivity and contributes to improved weld quality and welder safety.