Quality through Consistency
Welding processes have become more complex: pulsed arcs, for example, involve more parameters than simply wire speed, current, voltage, gas and gas mix. We now have upslope and downslope and wave shape and other factors to consider. Establishing and maintaining the correct settings requires expertise and experience on the part of the welder.
At the same time, consistency of welding procedures is an ongoing concern. How, for example, does a subcontractor guarantee that the welds have all been done within the parameters specified by the contractor? It’s hard enough with a single welding station, but what if you multiply that by 10 or 100?
Because microprocessors have the ability to store large amounts of data, they can be programmed to control a number of variables and provide optimal welding conditions on a consistent, repeatable basis. Tully Parker, a Miller District Manger who also teaches courses in advanced automatic, microprocessor-controlled and robotic welding techniques and equipment at Belleville Area College in Illinois, points out, “Without microprocessor controls and the ability to lock in the parameters, proof of meeting customer specifications becomes impossible when you have that many stations.”
The price tag for microprocessor welding equipment is sometimes higher than for traditional, manually controlled welding equipment. But Bob Palovcsik, Applications Engineer at Pandjiris, a St. Louis based company with a 50-year track record of designing and manufacturing weld tooling and positioning equipment, says, “I’m seeing the price of microprocessor technology going down and it’s so close to the non-microprocessor technology that people are going that route.”
Bob explains that more of his customers are requesting microprocessor controlled equipment because, “There are so many variables for pulsed MIG or pulsed TIG, microprocessors become ideal for these applications. Some examples are that if you have microprocessor technology you have the capability of storing those variables on a cartridge, disk or in memory instead of having to write them all down and then set them on the potentiometers. If desired, the foreman can give the operator the ability to adjust parameters within a plus or minus range of wire feed speed, voltage or current as determined by the welding engineer or foreman.
“Due to the massive amounts of information required in pulsed programs, operator inflicted errors can be common. If programs are stored on a data card or in memory, these errors can be minimized. With the use of microprocessor technology defective parts can be reduced by preventing incorrect settings or deliberate parameter change.”
Because of this, microprocessor-controlled equipment can not only pay for itself, but save a lot of money in the long run. Easy to Learn, Easy to Use
Mark Anderson, Weld Engineer for A O Smith, a major manufacturer of automotive parts, explains why he recently purchased two Maxtron 450 power supplies with 60M microprocessor-controlled feeders. “One of the reasons I wanted to try out the microprocessor feeders is that we can give the welders a choice of two schedules and they don’t have to go from a real low or high end and then dial in all the settings – the settings are basically coarsely set and all they have to do is fine tune them for their own needs. I am very satisfied with that capability.”
Information courtesy of Miller Electric