New Millermatic 355 welder delivers results
First responders and health care workers rely on ambulances in critical situations — when the durability of their equipment is the last thing they have time to think about. Osage Ambulances understands this and knows it’s crucial to fabricate quality products their customers can count on in life-or-death situations.
Quality and reliability are top of mind through every step in the production process, from fabrication of the chassis and ambulance body all the way through the last coat of paint.
Osage Ambulances in Osage County, Missouri, was established in 1983, building personal-use conversion vans. Through the years, they expanded and are now a custom ambulance manufacturer. The company’s 70,000-square-foot facility offers the capacity to produce 240 custom ambulances per year.
“It’s rare that a department can fit their needs and requirements inside a cookie-cutter box. That’s why at Osage we can customize your vehicle to specific requests,” says Brandi Robinson, Osage marketing specialist. “We build everything in-house and have the staff and equipment to build the truck that’s best for your needs.”
Quality is job one
Producing vehicles that meet consistent high-quality and dependability standards requires an experienced workforce. That's a point that Osage prides itself on. About one in every three workers at Osage Ambulances has been with the company for more than 15 years.
“We are proud to say that our team is dedicated to the work of building life-saving equipment every single day,” says Paul Marshall, regional sales manager. “The people who work at Osage don’t do so just to clock in and out and collect a paycheck. They want to be part of building vehicles that will save lives.”
The equipment that Osage employees use to design and fabricate custom ambulances also plays a key role in ensuring quality. Osage recently started using new Millermatic 355 MIG welders from Miller Electric Mfg. LLC. With that change, they’ve seen an increase in productivity while maintaining high-quality standards.
A new solution for pulsed MIG welding
For several years, Osage Ambulances has used pulsed MIG welding to fabricate ambulance chassis and bodies. The shop had six Millermatic 350P aluminum welders and two 350P welders, one configured for aluminum and one for mild steel.
The move to pulsed MIG was a game changer, allowing Osage to weld at much higher amperages with less distortion in the metal. This allows operators to put less heat in but still be able to weld a very thick metal. Pulsed MIG also provides good weld penetration and bead control.
“It gave us the ability to produce better-quality welds with less cleanup, less grinding, less heat input and a good deal of time saved,” says Jeremy Jenkins, fabrication shop manager.
Through their long-standing relationship with Miller — Osage has been using Miller® welding equipment for more than 20 years — the shop changed to new Millermatic 355 MIG welders. This machine still provides the pulsed MIG process the shop relies on for great results, as well as additional benefits.
“While the new Millermatic 355 provides the same process we are currently using, the technology in the pulse program of this machine is 20-plus years newer,” Jenkins says. “It shows with a cleaner, tighter arc. This improves yet again on post-weld cleanup and additional time saved.”
The pulsed MIG capabilities allow operators to lower heat input so there is less risk of distortion or burn-through on thin metals. It also reduces spatter on all materials — resulting in less time spent on post-weld cleanup.
“Just seeing the difference between the Millermatic 355 and older machines — it has better pulsed control than any pulsed MIG machine that I’ve ever welded with,” says Osage welder Andy Gillford, who has been a welder for about 15 years, including 13 years as a boilermaker. “As long as you can move in a straight line, this machine will run good beads.”