Learn how to identify and fix MIG welding problems that slow your production line and drain your profit.
Step 1. Measure Efficiencies
Production managers routinely measure production efficiencies; including Speed, Volume and Cost; and use the information gathered to make decisions associated with MIG welding, and other, assembly line processes.
If you're manufacturing a great product, and have orders to fill, you care about keeping the production line running smoothly.
Speed, Volume & Cost play a key role in determining the market price of the product, and also a manufacturer’s profit. Therefore, identifying and improving inefficient processes is critical to maintaining a smooth running operation.
Step 2. Create A Strategy
The pie chart shows how Labor, Filler Material, Power, Shielding Gas and Consumables all contribute to the total Cost of MIG welding processes. However, making changes to one of these items could often effect the others and potentially increase your Total Welding Cost.
For example, changing from heavy-duty consumables to standard consumables will decrease Consumables cost, but it could also result in weld defects that require repair, thereby increasing the Labor cost.
Use our Arc Time Cost Calculator to test and analyze various "What if?" scenarios. Calculate the amount of time saved, or lost, when you change production processes.
What would I save per month, if I can eliminate one contact tip change out per day?
What's the annual cost of making 2 extra nozzle change-outs per week?
Build your custom scenario here, no sign in required.
Step 3. Take Action
So where do you start? When we assist production managers in troubleshooting their MIG welding processes, we look first at the equipment set-up. Most problems result from ignoring one of the following maxims:
A) Use the correct size gun.
Incorrect gun amperage rating can lead to unnecessary cost for purchasing and replacing this equipment. Welding operators rarely spend the entire shift continuously welding. For that reason it may be possible to use a lower amperage MIG gun, or one with a lesser duty cycle, e.g. using a lighter and smaller 300 amp MIG gun instead of a 400 amp MIG gun can provide welding operators with greater maneuverability in tight places and reduce downtime from fatigue.
B) Practice preventative maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is a frequently overlooked part of the welding operation that is critical to preventing unscheduled downtime and unnecessary repair costs.
Develop a regular timetable to inspect your power sources, wire feeders and MIG guns during a scheduled downtime in production. Between shifts is also a good time to perform routine inspections.
C) Consider the gun consumables.
Don’t overlook the importance of the MIG gun consumables. This can lead to a host of problems including unscheduled downtime for changeover and re-work of weld defects caused by poorly performing contact tips, nozzles, or liners.
D) Train equipment operators.
Investing time and money in training can yield significant long term benefits for manufacturing companies. Proper training will promote teamwork among your employees and give you an edge against your competition.
Use the information above to increase productivity and reduce costs, prevent unscheduled down-time for equipment repair, and reduce weld re-work and clean-up.
If you need help troubleshooting and optimizing your MIG welding systems call 800-342-8477 and ask for our MIG Technical Specialist.
Tony Ragle, MIG Technical Specialist
American Torch Tip
Tony has over 30 years experience visiting manufacturers, in various industries, and helping managers improve the efficiency of their MIG equipment.