Is business as usual costing you thousands of dollars a year in the welding operation on your construction jobsite? Are outdated technologies unnecessarily costing you hundreds of hours of productive time?
Think about some of the main issues that impact productivity on your jobsite. How many times a day do your welding operators walk back to the power source to make parameter adjustments? When they make this trip even four times a day — with each walk taking an average of 15 minutes — this wastes 250 hours per welding operator every year.
This lost time adds up, totaling significant labor costs that could be better spent on value-added tasks. This productivity loss is especially painful for operations that already struggle to find skilled labor.
If you’re paying welding operators $45 per hour, for five days a week and 50 weeks per year, this wasted time costs you $11,250 per welding operator — every year.
And it’s not just productivity that takes a hit when welding operators have to stop welding and walk to the power source to make adjustments. These interruptions can also impact weld quality and increase the risk of operator injuries through slips, trips and falls if they need to traverse the jobsite to get to their welding power source.
Finding ways to waste less time while producing high-quality welds is key to keeping your operation competitive. The right solutions can help you meet important timelines, produce quality work and secure more bids.
Maybe it’s time to make a change in your welding operation to prevent these losses. By supplying your workers with the right technology and offering the necessary training, you can use the most productive welding processes for the job — so you can be more competitive and complete jobs faster without sacrificing quality or safety.
Don’t walk — weld
Remote control welding technology is a solution that minimizes the non-value-added time spent walking to and from the power source — and maximizes arc-on time, weld quality and jobsite safety. With the right solution, it’s possible to save up to two hours per day per welding operator and reduce rework thanks to improved weld quality.
Technology that provides complete control at the weld joint — without the need for a control cable — saves significant time and lets operators easily adjust parameters at the spot of the weld, so they can do less walking and more welding. In addition, new solutions on the market allow parameter adjustments without stopping the arc — for more responsive and accurate performance — as well as automatically adjusting voltage to compensate for the voltage drop in weld cables.
When welding operators on your jobsite can minimize the downtime spent making adjustments — and they can take control of their machine upon setup at the start of each shift — it improves the bottom line while also making the job easier and safer for operators.
The new XMT® 350 FieldPro™ welding systems with ArcReach® technology from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. make it easier for welding operators to accurately adjust parameters at the weld joint, so they can do their best work — with more productivity, efficiency and safety.
With ArcReach, operators can make adjustments at the weld joint using the wire feeder or the remote without the need for a control cord, so they don’t have to walk to the power source to make changes. On some jobsites, this trip could be a distance of 200 to 300 feet or more across a cluttered jobsite, perhaps down ladders or flights of stairs. On urban jobsites, it could mean walking several blocks on surface streets to get to another location on the jobsite. Eliminating these trips improves jobsite productivity and efficiency as well as operator safety.
Because ArcReach technology provides remote control capabilities without the need for a control cord, you also save time and money in cable setup, maintenance and repair. XMT 350 FieldPro systems with ArcReach use the weld cables to send information between the wire feeder or the remote and the power source — which automatically start communicating with each other after they are connected. In addition, the feeder or remote will show and select the proper welding process based on the polarity, another innovation that contributes to time savings and high weld quality each time.
This remote control technology is available in several feeder and remote options for MIG, TIG, stick, flux-cored, pulsed MIG and Regulated Metal Deposition (RMD®) welding processes. Those accessories can be paired with a range of power sources, including engine-driven welder/generators — also without the need for a control cord. These various options provide flexibility in fleet expansion and compatibility, so you have the versatility to meet changing jobsite needs now and in the future.
Automatic voltage adjustment
One new technology makes proper setup of welding parameters faster and easier by automatically adjusting to compensate for the voltage drop in weld cables. Cable Length Compensation (CLC™) ensures that the voltage welding operators set is the voltage they get — even hundreds of feet away from the power source.
With traditional machines, the welding operator must manually make adjustments for the voltage drop that occurs with the resistance in weld cables by setting the voltage higher than necessary at the power source to ensure they get the voltage they want at the feeder. This process is often a guessing game, requiring the operator to set a certain voltage, weld for a bit, then either radio another worker on the site or return to the power source to adjust voltage again before walking back to weld more. This back and forth may happen several times before the operator dials in the right level to compensate for the voltage loss that occurs in weld cables — a loss that varies based on cable length and setup.
The new CLC technology automatically compensates for this voltage drop in the welding circuit. The machine sends a current pulse to measure resistance in the weld circuit. It uses this resistance measurement to calculate the voltage drop in the weld leads and makes the necessary adjustments. This process happens in a matter of seconds once the operator sets the voltage and before the initial arc strike.
This allows greater accuracy and easier control of weld quality for the operator. It also saves time the operator would spend walking back and forth to the power source to dial in the voltage to meet welding specifications.
Additional time savings can be gained on large jobsites, such as shipyards and infrastructure projects. Without this technology, the quality control inspector may notice that a power source is set to 35 volts when the weld procedure specifies a maximum of 30 volts. The welding operator would then have to explain why the power source is set higher than allowed, and the quality control inspector would need to verify weld voltage at the weld joint with an external meter. CLC technology saves this time and simplifies the interaction between the welding operator and the quality control inspector.
The ArcReach Smart Feeder from Miller has always had this voltage adjusting capability to compensate for cable length by using a power modulator in the feeder. Now, CLC technology makes that same benefit available in the suitcase feeder and the stick/TIG remote, though the technology is more relevant to constant voltage welding processes such as MIG and flux-cored welding.
Greater operator control — even while welding
Another new technology in enhanced ArcReach systems allows for parameter changes while the operator is welding. Adjust While Welding (AWW™) technology allows for parameter changes and precise adjustments at the wire feeder or remote while the arc is on — so operators can make adjustments during welding to compensate for heat buildup, changes in weld position or variations in part fit-up.
In pipeline or process pipe applications, for example, an operator may want to tweak welding parameters as they progress around the pipe. In infrastructure applications, the operator may want to change parameters during welding to adjust to less-than-ideal part fit-up. With AWW technology, this can be done without breaking the arc. The operator can signal to another worker to adjust voltage, amperage or wire feed speed to make these needed adjustments. This saves time and prevents numerous stops and starts for adjustments. This also reduces the time wasted on grinding between passes, since numerous stops and starts typically require more grinding.
This not only saves time, it also contributes to improved weld quality, since each stop and start of the arc introduces the potential for discontinuities or quality issues that often require time-consuming grinding between passes.
The new CLC and AWW technologies are only available when both the power source and the accessory are equipped with enhanced ArcReach technology.
Get exceptional weld quality
Because the ability to make fast and easy adjustments at the weld joint with remote control technology eliminates the long walk to the power source, there is no need for welding operators to “make do” with less-than-optimal settings. This helps operators produce high-quality welds.
In addition, pairing an ArcReach wire feeder with an ArcReach power source locks out any changes to the weld process, voltage or amperage at the power source — only the welding operator can make adjustments at the feeder or remote. This eliminates mistakes that can occur if parameters are incorrectly or accidentally changed.
There’s also less chance of an incorrect weld process being used because the technology automatically sets the power source to the correct weld process based on the polarity applied to the ArcReach accessory. One model, the XMT 350 FieldPro with Polarity Reversing, automatically selects the proper polarity based on the welding process selected by the operator — so there’s no need to walk to the power source and switch weld cables. This saves significant time in applications that use welding processes with differing polarities for different weld passes.
A system that produces stable, consistent arcs also helps welding operators maximize weld quality and minimize weld defects — so you can reduce training time in your operation. As the welding workforce changes, less experienced welding operators may require more frequent parameters changes. A system that makes parameter changes easier and faster helps save labor time and costs and improve productivity.
Are you doing all you can to maximize productivity?
Sometimes, changing how things have always been done can yield big results. Investing in new welding innovations and adopting remote control technology can potentially save hours every day — for a substantial impact on the bottom line.
When operators have complete control at the feeder or remote — even hundreds of feet away from the power source — it minimizes downtime and maximizes productivity, while also improving operator safety and contributing to the high weld quality you expect.
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