How to Reduce Welding Troubleshooting With Suitcase Wire Feeder Technology
With advancements in wire feeding, welding operations can spend less time and money troubleshooting problems like bird-nesting.
Avoiding wire feeder problems
Smooth and consistent wire feeding is key to producing quality welds and boosting productivity when using semi-automatic continuous wire feeding welding processes on the jobsite.
Today’s suitcase wire feeders provide greater reliability and consistency when feeding wire thanks to technology advancements and improved design. These improvements help operations minimize poor wire feeding problems such as bird-nesting and erratic wire feed speed. These issues that cause unplanned downtime and cost money.
So, what technologies should you look for when you choose a durable suitcase wire feeder for the jobsite?
Whether the job involves flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) or gas metal arc welding (GMAW, or MIG), properly feeding the wire through the system and into the weld pool requires paying attention to several factors. It’s important to choose a high-quality welding gun and use the right liner. Further, make sure the liner is correctly trimmed and kept free of debris.
To further improve smoothness and consistency in wire feeding, choose a wire feeder designed to reduce drag in the system. ArcReach® SuitCase wire feeders from Miller use an offset goalpost-style design for the inlet guides, which help direct the wire coming off the spool and into the gun.
This design eliminates the wear that occurs in a tube-style guide design, which can cause drag in the system. A tube-style inlet guide can easily become notched or grooved, especially when using harder wires or wires with high tensile strength. As that groove gets deeper, it increases the amount of resistance and drag in the system, causing wire feeder problems.
The goalpost-style inlet guides are plated with a titanium nitride, providing a hard surface for the wire to slide between. The guides are also offset from each other, resulting in a much smoother trip from the spool to the gun.
Choosing a wire feeder with a tachometer on the motor is another way to ensure better wire feeding. A tachometer measures the motor’s rpm, allowing the system to adjust speed as necessary and providing greater accuracy in wire feed speed.
Without a tachometer, the wire feeder may come programmed for wire feed speed of 200 inches per minute, but you may not actually achieve that exact speed depending on motor temperature and other factors. All wire feeder motors are not created equal, and motors can change loads as they heat and cool. For example, you may start the day with a cold wire feeder motor and set the wire feed speed at 200 inches per minute. After a few hours, you may have to adjust the speed because the motor has warmed up and is running slower. Then, after your lunch break, you may have to adjust wire feed speed again after the motor has cooled.
A tachometer eliminates these manual adjustments. The tachometer constantly measures motor speed. This allows the system to regulate wire feed speed as necessary — so you get exactly the speed you set.
This consistency promotes smooth wire feeding out of the gun — and ultimately better weld quality.
A durable system
Investing in wire feeders with these technologies will help avoid wire feeder problems on the jobsite. A suitcase feeder designed for maximum portability and durability provides you the greatest versatility — even on the most demanding jobsites.
Some wire feeders also offer simplified setup, allowing users to change the wire and drive roll in a matter of minutes. A wire feeder with ArcReach technology from Miller eliminates control cables for remote voltage adjustment. This saves significant setup time and reducing trip and fall hazards on the jobsite. Because proper wire feeding requires attention to the entire system, it’s important to pair your wire feeder with a high-quality welding power source and welding gun to produce the best results.
Today’s suitcase wire feeders have improved technology to provide smooth and predictable wire feeding — so you can spend less downtime troubleshooting and more time welding.