"Gold Rush" Mining Crews Save Time With Miller® ArcReach® Welding Technology
September 7, 2018
The Tony Beets and Parker Schnabel mining crews make equipment repairs every day. ArcReach technology helps minimize wasted time.
Improve jobsite productivity and safety
Equipment maintenance and repairs are an everyday fact of life in gold mining. Mining crews use dozens of pieces of large equipment that get pushed to the limit and take a beating. The ability to quickly fix a part is critical to keeping the operation running — and to the bottom line.
“Gold Rush,” the hit Discovery Channel show, spotlights the challenges of gold mining in the Yukon for the Tony Beets and Parker Schnabel teams. Both crews use welding and cutting products from Miller Electric Mfg. LLC to keep their wash plants, sluice boxes, bulldozers, excavators and other critical mining equipment running smoothly.
Among the many welding power sources the crews use on their claims, both the XMT® 350 FieldPro™ multiprocess welders and the Big Blue® 600 Air Pak™ engine-driven welder/generator use ArcReach® technology. This remote-control welding technology minimizes the wasted time that operators spend walking to and from the power source to make parameter adjustments — and maximizes arc-on time, weld quality and jobsite safety.
The solution provides complete control at the weld joint with a wire feeder or stick/TIG remote — without the need for a control cable. This saves significant time and lets operators easily adjust parameters where they are working, so they can finish their projects faster and reduce downtime.
Potentially saving hours and improving safety
When an operator on the Schnabel crew makes repairs on Slucifer, the massive wash plant on a remote part of the claim, they may be 25 feet in the air on the part of the plant that needs work.
“Slucifer is a giant machine. When we're welding on it, the last thing you want to be doing is climbing up and down to make adjustments,” says Mitch Blaschke, lead mechanic for the Schnabel team. “ArcReach has saved us significant time. We can get in position, start welding and do everything right there. Saving anywhere from five to 10 extra trips up and down the wash plant — that’s time and money you’re putting in your pocket.”
Not only can the technology potentially save hours on large welding projects, it also helps improve operator safety on the claims.
“You can see how big and awkward these plants are,” Blaschke says. “And in the winter, this thing turns into a big ice cube.”
Fine-tune the settings
The ability to control welding parameters at the weld joint with the wire feeder or remote also delivers benefits for weld quality. This is especially important when operators need to change settings frequently, like when they are working on a project with varying metal thicknesses or when they need to change welding positions.
And since adjustments can be made easily at the weld joint, operators can set parameters right where they need them for each weld rather than settling for close enough.
“With the XMT and the Big Blue 600, I can have a controller right where I’m welding. That alone just saves so much time, effort and motivation,” says Kevin Beets, a foreman on the Beets mining crew. “I hate having to walk back and adjust, then readjust and readjust again. Having the ability to just be right there and fine-tune — I know I’m going to weld better.”
In addition, new advancements in the technology help save even more time and improve performance and accuracy. New Cable Length Compensation (CLC™) and Adjust While Welding (AWW™) technologies are available by pairing enhanced ArcReach accessories with new XMT 350 FieldPro power source offerings. The two industry-exclusive capabilities provide even more time savings to help lower labor costs, improve productivity and safety on construction jobsites, and provide operators with more control over welding parameters.
CLC technology makes proper setup of welding parameters faster and easier by automatically adjusting to compensate for the voltage drop in weld cables, ensuring that the voltage operators set is the voltage they get — even hundreds of feet away from the power source. 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.
“It’s perfect for this environment,” says Chad Paullus, a welding operator on the Schnabel crew. “If you’re up at the top of the plant and you need to change your heat or settings, you can do that without climbing up and down. It makes my life easier, and it makes shut down on the plants twice as quick.”