How Can a Total Welding Solution Improve Productivity? | MillerWelds

How Can a Total Welding Solution Improve Productivity?

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Learn the benefits of choosing welding equipment and consumables that are optimized to work together.
Illustration showing a welding power source, wire feeder and welding gun as components in a system

Integrated welding solutions

Have you ever wondered if the equipment in your welding operation is really integrated?

A mixed and matched welding system can introduce variables that often require more troubleshooting since the pieces are not designed to work together optimally. This can result in operators spending more of their time on problems — and less time welding.

When implemented properly, an integrated, whole-solution approach to welding equipment, consumables and filler metals can deliver consistent performance, productivity, quality and cost savings in your operation.

How is the whole-solution approach different?

There are many variables in the welding operation and many choices when it comes to selecting equipment, consumables and processes. A whole-solution approach refers to a robust, harmonized system where all the components are optimized to work together. These include the power source, arc waveform, welding gun, filler metal and consumables.

This approach can deliver improved performance and efficiency and result in better support for service and dependable operation after purchase. In addition, whole welding solutions are often nearly turnkey. Operations can install them and be confident in their performance from the start. Also, manufacturing operations with several facilities can standardize and optimize equipment across facilities with a whole-solution approach.

In contrast, when components aren’t optimized to work together it can disrupt the process and keep the system from operating smoothly. In these cases, troubleshooting can add significant time and costs. 
Consider how each of these components in the welding operation can benefit from a whole-solution approach:

  • Contact tips: Excess spatter is a common weld quality issue for many manufacturers. Using cheap contact tips that aren’t optimized to work in quality welding systems or with a pulsed MIG waveform can increase spatter and weld defects and affect overall weld quality. Choose higher-quality contact tips optimized to work with other parts of your system. This enhances the characteristics of the waveform and the filler metal — helping improve your productivity.
  • Welding gun: Low-quality guns can cause many weld issues, from wire feeding problems to poor weld bead appearance. An arc built for pulsed welding is optimized for high-quality welding guns and filler metals. Using a substandard, aftermarket gun can degrade performance and reduce consumable life. A high-quality gun optimized to work with other components of the system can deliver longer life and proper weld performance.
  • Weld cable: Voltage drops in the weld circuit can cause arc length problems. Voltage drops can occur due to poor cable connections as well as weld cables that are undersized or too long. Voltage drops can also be caused by bad ground clamps; poorly maintained rotary grounds with inadequate continuity; and daisy chaining weld fixtures with steel rather than copper. Make sure weld cables are the right size for the job and the power needs. Also, always make sure cable connections are secure to get the best performance.
  • Filler metals: Certain filler metals are optimized to deliver performance and long life when used with specific welding guns and power sources. Using low-cost filler metals can result in excess spatter or poor weld bead appearance: both common weld quality issues. Operations are often trying to save money with less expensive consumables. However, this can significantly increase costs in the long run when less than ideal weld performance causes troubleshooting or rework, since labor is a much larger operational cost than consumables. Filler metal chemical compositions must meet American Welding Society (AWS) standards for classification. However, each classification has ranges on chemical compositions, and differences in these compositions can affect how consistently and cleanly a wire burns. Also, the manufacturing operation employed for making the filler metal has a significant effect on the product’s welding performance. Stick with premium filler metal manufacturers to minimize the effects of the production process on your welding operation.
  • Welding power source: Quality welding systems — especially when you’re using pulsed MIG or advanced wave forms — deliver greater arc control and performance. Synergic weld control on a welding system helps reduce weld parameter setting problems. Once an operator sets arc length it will remain consistent through the wire speed range of the welding program. This reduces the need to readjust the voltage every time a wire speed change is made, since equipment capable of synergic control will make the adjustments automatically.
  • Other consumables: Consumables such as gun liners and drive rolls are also important for a smooth welding process. Poor-quality or improperly installed consumables can be a source of wire feeding issues, especially when working with aluminum. Be sure the liner is the right size and length and use appropriate drive rolls for the wire type. A total welding solution designed specifically for aluminum includes an optimized gun and drive rolls with rear drive motors synced to the front drive motors. 

Service and support

Another factor to consider with an integrated, whole-solution approach is the service and support you get after purchase. Look for a welding manufacturer that not only offers total welding solutions, but also has teams dedicated to optimizing and integrating those solutions for customers. This helps you streamline installation and quickly troubleshoot issues that may arise. 

Optimized total welding solutions

Don’t piecemeal a welding system together. Instead, invest in quality products optimized to perform together. A whole-solution approach can increase productivity, reduce costs and improve your results. Learn other best practices for improving quality and throughput in your welding operation.