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MIG Equipment and Weld Consumables.
Wriiten by Ed Craig www.weldreality.com.
Please press refresh as updates are frequent.
You can pay
a $1000 or $12000 for a MIG power source
and produce similar
MIG weld quality and productivity.
time you consider paying $6000 to $12000 for that
source, keep in mind that sound MIG welds
could be made with two car batteries and a wire feed gun.
Wire Facts Without Sales Advice:The
E70S-6 wires and high energy argon CO2 mixes can benefit spray welds on plate
with mill scale. Mill
scale has a higher melting
temperature than the steel and
if enough scale is present, sluggish welds
result, impacting weld
porosity. A high
energy gas mix helps to reduce the sluggishness.
in the S6 MIG wire not
only provides increased deoxidizers the
silicon also provides
an increase in the weld fluidity which can be a benefit or detrimental possibly creating undercut. If the mill
weld issues, consider eliminating the scale
with grinding or shot blast before welding. The
E70S-6 wires also benefit MIG spray welds on plate with excess rust, as 70S-6
wires have additional
de-oxidizers = oxide
howeve keep in mind that
gas shielded, flux cored wires are preferred
for applications that provide
rust or other contaminates.
Weld Fact: On plate which has the weld area ground clean, plate that is sand blasted and cold rolled steels, irrespective of what your
friendly sales rep informs you, the E70S - 2 - 4 and E70S-6 wires
provide no weld
E70S - 2 - 4 - 6 typically can result in weld
defects such as slag islands and undercut.
welding clean materials
with mill scale or rust, or welding any multi-pass welds,
MIG wire choice is the
E70S-3 wire as it provides
superior weld pool control and will produce less porosity.
NOTE; THE NUMBER ONE WIRE CHOICE IN THE AUTO - TRUCK INDUSTRY IS THE E70S-6 WIRE,
THIS HAS ALWAYS
THE INCORRECT MIG WELD WIRE CHOICE.
manual or robot welding colled rolled steel parts < 3/16, or welded any parts that suffer
from excess weld heat,
benefit of the E70S-3
wire (less fluidity) is this wire will have less
propensity for weld burn through or
weld undercut, than that
be attained with
the commonly used E70S-6 wires.
manual or robot welding on clean parts with "multi-pass welds", the
weld heat build up and its influence
on the weld fluidity needs
The use of the E70S-3 wire for these welds limits the silicon and
manganese build up in the multi-weld
desired weld mechanical properties. Using
E70S-3 wire also
helps in keeping the inter-pass weld slag to a minimum. Best results for multi-pass
steel welds comes from argon 8-10 CO2 and E70S-3 wire. If
welding on galvanized or aluminized, or any coated carbon steels use E70S-3. Avoid
higher silicon wires
E70S-6 wires as the silicon / zinc oxide reactions
can cause hot micro-cracking in the welds.
concerned about the weld surface from a paint perspective, keep the weld slag
formation on the
to a minimum
by using the E70S-3 rather
than the E70S-6.
LINCOLN & IT'S NONE USA MANUFACTURED MIG WIRE ISSUES.
I was assisting a large weld manufacturing plant in S. Dakota. This company
was a large
user of Lincoln L50 and L56 wires, two wires
which I typically recommend for MIG
While at the plant,
the manuafacturing manager who like many inexperienced
on weld consumable costs instead of weld deposition
and arc on
times. The manager asked if I would
(lower cost) new
wires they were evaluating from Lincoln.
One wire was the Lincoln Easy
wire and the other the Lincoln Super Arc wire.
When I tested
the new Lincoln Easy Feed wire on the robot, I noted that in
contrast to the
L50 - L56
wires, the Easy Feed wire was very "voltage sensitive".
To maintain spray
arc stability with the Easy Feed
wire, I noted the weld
the Lincoln power source had to be constantly
and fine tuned.
This voltage adjustment was on a robot application in which the wire
stick and arc length out was
voltage (arc stability) sensitivity
noted using short circuit transfer
with the Easy
When wires are voltage sensitive it typically means inconsistent or poor wire chemistry
it means you simply
cannot trust the weld wire manufacturer.
Also notable with the Easy Feed wire was the spray transfer weld plasma generated with this
narrower than normal
and favored the center of the 6 mm fillet weld puddle with less control on the weld
pool edges. The Easy Feed
performance was a
real contrast to the superior L50-56 wires which
a wider plasma
coverage of the weld. A wider plasma provides
greater coverage and control of the
weld puddle surface. The narrower plasma
resulting from the Easy
wetting of the weld edges, resulting sometimes
in convex weld beads with
This factor increases potential for lack of weld fusion issues
on specific applications.
IF THE CARBON STEEL MIG WIRE IS NOT MADE IN AMERICA DONT BUY IT. IF THE WELD WIRE DOES
PROVIDE YOU THE STABLE WELD RESULTS YOU DESIRE,
ASK FOR A REFUND AND THEN
THE SUPPLIER FOR TREATING YOU WITH NO RESPECT. I
found that the Lincoln Easy Feed wires also were inconsistent in the slag island
clean plate (ground
with no mill scale) the Easy Feed S3 would
produce much more surface
the Easy Feed S6.
This slag result,
was a surprise as there is supposed to be
producers in the S6 wire.
THE EXCESS SLAG IS THE E70S-3 WIRE WAS A DEAD GIVE AWAY THAT SOMEONE DOES
NOT UNDERSTAND OR GIVE A DAM ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY LIMITS THAT SHOULD HAVE
BEEN APPLIED TO MAKING THE WIRE.
By the way I carried out the Lincoln MIG wire test welds manually and
with a robot. All the welds
on ground clean
plate using optimum weld parameters
with fixed wire stick out in
As to the
so called Linoln "Super Arc wire. I found nothing super about it. When I tested the Super
weld traits to the Easy
Feed wire. Both these wires were far inferior to the USA
L50 - L56 wires.
SOMEONE MIGHT ASK WHY DOES LINCOLN WANT TO PALM OFF INFERIOR PRODUCTS OFF
TO THE IT'S NORTH AMERICAN CUSTOMERS. IF YOU CANNOT FIGURE THAT OUT GIVE ME A CALL.
questions that could come out of this Lincoln MIG weld wire test.
Was the Easy Feed and the Super Arc the same wire in two different packages?
 Where were these poor MIG wire made and what was the Easy Feed wire and the Super Arc
before it was
given the new Lincoln brand names?
 If a company has asked the weld
distributor for a traditional Lincoln L50 or L56 wire, and that
with the Easy Feed Lincoln product or any weld wire product that
provides weld issues or is outside the AWS MIG wire specs, that weld shop has a perfect right to
be upset and should consider legal action against both the wire supplier
and wire manufacturer.
 Was Lincoln concerned about the inconsistencies or the consequences of the wire chemistry and the
content of the wires under discussion?
 I have tested MIG weld wire for approx. 40 years. The once completely
American made Lincoln
L50 - 56 wires were for decades
the best and most consistent
MIG wires in North America and I am aware
that the US plant that made these wires was often stretched to it's wire production limit. If you examine the side of the Lincoln MIG wire
boxes or drums you are using, you may note that the MIG wires may
have been produced
in many third world locations around the globe. As a company that holds a
monopoly position in the weld consumable market, it's obvious that Lincoln was not insisting of uniform
global MIG wire manufacturing
standards that were comparable with the L50 - L56 MIG wires it produced
in the USA.
 In times when Mc Donalds gets sued because its coffee is too hot, should Lincoln customers who have more serious weld liability
consequences and concerns expect the highest MIG wire quality standards
Lincoln, standards that at least are identical
L50 - L56 products?
 Is the reality that Lincoln believes that the average MIG weld wire purchaser is simply not qualified to
analyses MIG wire welding
differences, so they can get away with selling chicken wire quality instead of
 Should any weld shop have to waste time and money testing MIG weld wires that are causing weld issues?
The company had to
pay me for the day I spent testing the Lincoln MIG wires that did not perform in the
the company expected wires from a reputable
USA wire producer. There was also the costs associated
through the loss of robot weld production and the resulting weld clean up and repair issues.
Note. One of the great benefits
of using a robot or automation with optimum MIG weld data, is the
automation will quickly show
of a poor quality MIG wire.
who makes the best carbon steel MIG wires in North America and why?
have tested and used numerous MIG wires from all over the world, and the Cleveland
made Lincoln copper coated L50 (E70S-3) and L56 (E70S-6) wires that have been
decades, are MIG weld consumables that can be considered
In North America. I also like ESAB (Linde products) for carbon stl wires, and Sanvik for alloys.
When you order a MIG wire from Lincoln, if you use pulsed
or spray transfer and want their best
don't order an E70S-3 or
wire or one of their special Super BS wire deals, be specific, ask
or the L56 wire; and while this industry likes to be guided by weld salesmen, don't let that sales
rep sell you
As for the wire size. Irrespective of what a sales rep informs you, the best MIG wire
short circuit and spray welds on parts 0.060 to 3/16 (1.6 to 5 mm)
is the wire I have been recommending
since the nineteen eighties, the 0.040" wire. If you cannot
get the 0.040 wire the second choice is the 0.035
wire. For all pulsed welds use the 0.045 wires. And for all welds on parts over 1/4,
and single pass fillets to
5/16, the first choice is the 0.045 wire. For large single pass horizontal 3/8 fillets with robots I would use a
1/16 metal cored wire.
If you are
having problems with inconsistent welds at high speed > 30 IPM, and you have determined
not caused by that
inconsistent pulsed MIG equipment you just purchased, try a
Lincoln L50 wire
against the wire you are using for comparison.
Fishing for weld solutions. Salesmanship & MIG wires.
If you don't know how to control a MIG weld, its likely you will be looking for a weld crutch such as a unique MIG wire or magic three part gas mix.
If you read or hear or read BS like this;.
our new "Super MIG Arc Copper Coated wire"
Try our new "Super MIG Glide Bare Wire" (free of Copper coating).
Try our new "Micro Finish Premium MIG wire."
Try our new "P MIG wire" developed for your sophisticated pulsed equipment.
Try our new M3 wire. The MIG 3 wire was developed for three part gas mixes.
And you buy into the above crap, I would suggest you look to another industry for employment, possibly you should consider a career with McDonalds.
you want to pay an unnecessary MIG wire premium, the marketing and sales teams
from the MIG wire manufacturers and the never ending weld distributor sales reps will be glad to reel you in.
Always remember with a length of chicken fence wire, a two part gas mix and two batteries, you can make a weld that's just as good quality as most stick welds.
As a weld pro, you should be less concerned with the advertising
marketing adjectives that describes the new wonder steel MIG wires and three part gas mixes. When evaluation that wire, examine the arc stability and consistency with a MIG spray weld. If it's consistent with spray you know its consistent with pulsed. By the way its difficult to test a MIG wire in the pulsed MIG mode as the majority of pulsed MIG equipment does not provide stable - consistent pulsed droplet transfer.
Once you like the MIG weld transfer characteristic with the wire you use, keep your eye on the weld wire cast / helix with each batch of wires delivered, also check the way the wire is
wound, the wire surface cleanliness and the quality of the spool (avoid wire spools as the damage to easy) the wire is wound on.
first choice stainless MIG wires, Sandvik products.
My two choices for steel MIG wires, Lincoln L50
/ ESAB E70S-3.
My first choice aluminum MIG wires Alotec.
MIG wires I would rather not have to work with are products from National Standard
and Hobart. With the Hobart wires I frequently found inconsistent wire chemistry
(inconsistent arcs), excess helix. From NS. I did not like the excess weld fluidity
in the spray welds due to the high level of deoxidizers they use even in the S3 wire, or the poor
winding and poor wire weld splices.
If you ever have to use self shielding flux cored wires from Lincoln or Hobart, its time you shut the weld shop and opened a burger stand.
Transfer & MIG Wire Burn Backs to the Gun Tip.
I work at Monroe, we are one of the largest producers in North America of auto
- truck Shocks. Each of our many robots weld on average 200 to 400 parts per-shift. At some
plants we average 2 to 5 burn backs per robot per shift. The burn backs requires
that we replace the MIG gun contact tips. As the robot down time and time required
to rectify the problem takes on average 5 - 10 minutes per burn back, you can imagine the
weld production consequences. What is the primary cause of this common robot problem?
Also why does this not happen as frequently with our manual welders?
The most common reasons for carbon - stainless MIG
wire burn-backs to the contact tip:
Wire burn backs
due to the use of oversized MIG wires in which the weld current cannot be used
in the spray mode, so the welds are made in the "globular mode". The
excessive weld spatter globs block the contact tip orifice and restrict the wire.
burn backs caused by the use of globular weld data at the robot weld start or
weld end data.Wire
burn backs caused at the robot " weld starts". At a weld start the wire
may not have enough forward feed momentum caused by any number of causes.
burn backs " during the weld". One common cause of burn-back during
a weld is when the MIG wire is restricted in the liner, or the tip or from lack
of sufficient wire tension from the drive rolls. Restricted gun liners or a robot
axis issues in which the gun cable is twisted are a frequent robot causes for
wire restriction. These problems frequently result in a wire burn back which can
melt the end of the contact tip. These problems can occur at the arc start or
during the a weld.
Issue. When welding with a robot especially when using an 0.035 (1mm) wire, sometimes
the robot arm over twists the gun cable restricting the wire. This is noted more
with the small wire diameters and specifically when the burn back consistently
occurs at a single weld location.
Why the common wire burn-back problem occurs.
Many factors other than wire feed issues can influence a
wire burn back.
stick out length too long and the wire almost touches the part at the start. A
wire burn back variable that can be adjusted on most equipment.
program, poor arc start data. Programmers will benefit from the data found in
or insufficient shielding gas at the weld starts.
feed restrictions in liner, cables or tip.
set in the globular mode.
following weld data and much more is found in my books & training programs. Click here:
Stick-Out (ESO) influence on burn-backs.
As the robot starts an arc, the robot control sends a signal to the power source
to open the contactor to energize the wire. When the wire makes contact with the
work, the wire feed should be feeding forward with full inertia. In all instances
the electronics work quicker than the mechanical feed and the high start current
available during the wire short circuit can melt the MIG weld wire before it can
be fed forward at it's full speed.
robot personnel are not aware of the influence of their wire burn back data on
weld start issues. They may set the "wire burn back" data in the weld
program so the wire stick out is approximately 12 to 15 mm at the weld completion.
As this long wire extension makes contact with the grounded work at the next weld,
before the wire has a chance to be fed forward the weld current and voltage is
delivered creating an explosive short circuit. The wire short circuit depending
on the start voltage utilized can produce very high current causing the weld wire
to disintegrate or melt back to the contact tip.
The MIG wire stick
out at a weld completion is controlled by the "wire burn-back control data".
The wire stick out at the weld completion should always be kept as short as possible.
The wire burn back should be set so the wire stick out is approx. 5 - 6mm from
the end of the nozzle. A normal nozzle to work distance should 1/2 to 3/4 (12
- 18 mm) depending on the welding circumstances. With spray transfer, the contact
tip should be recessed inside the nozzle 2 to 4 mm.
At a weld start there should be sufficient Wire to Work Distance, at least 3 - 6 mm
to ensure the wire is feeding forward before the wire makes contact with the work.
Tips Stick-Out. A few years ago thanks to the MIG process ignorance by MIG gun manufacturers, the standard
robot MIG gun produced in North America had the contact tips located either flush
with the end of the nozzle, or "sticking outside the nozzle"
BOTH OF THESE CONTACT TIP POSITIONS CAUSED
NUMEROUS ROBOT WELD ISSUES.
The major MIG gun manufactures who delivered their robot guns with the contact tip sticking
outside the gun nozzles simply did not know better, then again I suppose we should
not expect MIG gun manufacturers to be aware of the fundamental weld process requirements,
after all they still classify their automated MIG guns for use with straight CO2
when less than one percent of robot MIG welds are carried out with straight CO2.
Lets face it when it comes to MIG gun manufactures and process expertise
they are no different than the companies who make MIG equipment, the robots and weld consumables.
At most of the plants I visited that were using spray transfer on parts > 1/8, >3
mm, the robot MIG guns would be welding with the contact tip stuck outside the
nozzle creating short wire stick outs and numerous contact tip issues would occur during the shifts. As the company rarely had shorter tips available, I would tell the people
on the floor to cut 3 to 6 mm of the contact tips.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you stick a
MIG gun contact tip too close to that spray weld, that requires high weld parameters and produces high
weld heat and spatter, you will increase the potential for contact tip issues. As for
that pulsed weld, if the contact tip extends outside that nozzle that typically
means less wire to work distance is available to create that unnecessary,y small weld
drop and allow it to transfer across an arc gap without being in contact with
both the wire tip and work.
factors influence arc start with robots, "electronic time" has extensive
influence. All MIG robot programmers should be aware of the factors that effect
arc starts, and aware of optimum start welding parameters of each available mode
of transfer, for each wire diameter used. This data is in my books and robot process control training resources.
many companies are aware that pulsed welding is much more prone to wire burn back
then traditional MIG weld spray transfer.
The primary reason there is a contact tip concern
with pulsed welding and robots, is with the pulsed process there is a time factor
and arc length concern required to create and transfer the pulsed weld drop that
provides no steel weld benefits. For a spatter free weld transfer the pulsed weld
droplet has to keep to a minimum size, then cascade across an arc gap into the
weld without contacting the wire tip and weld at the same time. If the pulsed
weld drop makes contact with the work and wire at the same time an explosive short
circuit in the pulsed weld drop will occur. The pulsed drop short circuit explosion
will cause spatter and disrupting the controlled formation of the next weld drop
which can effect the weld and fusion consistency. The pulsed mode requires a longer
arc gap than that is necessary for spray transfer, two to three times the length.
The longer arc gap means a shorter wire stick out from the end of the contact
tip. The shorter wire stick out increases the potential for wire burn backs. Want
a 100 pages of why pulsed can cause weld issues you won't get this data from Lincoln,
Miller or ESAB, you will get it from my 600 page "Managers and Engineers Guide to MIG book"
can not control a MIG weld with a
contact tip bore like this.
many manufacturing companies do you think will daily manual - robot MIG weld with contact tips
in which the tip bore diameter is worn to twice the diameter of the MIG weld wire?This condition is typical and the solution is simple, start each day with a new TIP and if using high wire feed rates and long weld cycle times, start each shift with a new contact tip.
Robot Weld Travel Rates:
robot or automated weld speed rates for fillet welds are obviously first determined by the weld size
which influences the utilized weld deposition rate. Another restriction is the
weld fusion requirements. Travel too fast with that robot and irrespective of
the weld current or weld mode utilized you will have a weld fusion issue. The
weld surface condition, the weld length and the shape of the steel (round components
are more sensitive to lack of fusion than plate), will also influence the weld
speed and weld fusion.
How fast does a manual welder weld? Typically manual
MIG welds are made in the 8 to 30 in./min speed range.
fast does a robot weld? In contrast single wire robot MIG welds are made at typical
weld travel rates from
10 to 60 ipm.
Note using my extended WSO techniques in My Management Engineers Guide To MIG book, I have attained robot weld speeds of over 80 inch/min.
Lets hope your Shock welds are OK.
years ago Monroe a major USA shock manufacturer requested my assistance as they
could not get their robot spray welds on their shock bracket welds to qualify
for a Chrysler weld - shock load test specification.
Chrysler engineers required the
bracket welds on the shocks absorb at least a 13,000 lb test
load. After robot welding the steel brackets with 5 mm fillet welds on shocks
that were only 2 to 3mm thick, Monroe found that the shocks bracket welds would
fail prematurely, typically in the 7000 to 9000
Chrysler weld spec for the shock bracket welds required that the welded brackets
should pass a test load of 13,000 lbs. It took me
less than two days of manual welding and testing on the shock bracket welds to
reveal that any test load of less than 19,000 lbs indicated lack of weld fusion in one of the four bracket welds.
There were three reasons the Monroe shocks could not
meet the minimum shock weld test load requirements.
The robot spray
transfer welds were made on cold rolled round parts.
The robot weld speeds were set too high.
 The robot weld
lengths on the brackets "were to small.
After I figured out
the weld problems, I changed the weld wire size to a smaller wire which increased
the weld current density. I reset the spray parameters, extended the shock bracket
weld length by another 3 mm. The shocks bracket weld than average a load test
of 21,000 lbs.
How fast, or slow should a robot go?
Many robots today are either welding too fast
or too slow. It's not just the lack of weld process expertise or lack of information
on robot weld speed potential that proliferates throughout this industry, a common
problem is that the MIG wire size may be wrong, or maybe it's because pulsed,
globular or short circuit is being utilized when spray would be superior. Maybe
the weld issue is the part design, joint type, part thickness or ridiculous gaps
many auto / truck companies present to the robot weld cell. Optimum weld speeds
for all applications and weld compensation data for potential weld issues are
covered in my books.
WHY PAY A PREMIUM FOR MIG EQUIPMENT?:
equipment can be simple or complex and the low cost simple equipment can provide the same or superior weld results than the more costly complex equipment.
A complete 350 - 450 amp Pulsed MIG equipment package including the
wire feed control is available in North America in the typical price
range of $6000 to $12000. Where as a conventional CV unit in the same amp range would be approx $4000. What do you get for that $8000
difference? When selecting MIG equipment for the
weld shop, the weld shop decision maker has many opportunities
to throw good money out of the weld shop window and in the last three decades, thanks to process ignorance, hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on unnecessary, costly bells and whistles..
<2010: Pulsed MIG equipment
has in the past two decades caused tremendous issues for shops
that robot weld common carbon steel and stainless
applications. For approx. 40 years I have been evaluating MIG equipment and after years of painful, slow pulsed
I have found two pulsed MIG power sources (mentioned later)
that while they are not necessary for steel and stainless welds, however they can provide "limited" application weld benefits for some specific applications.
Note Pulsed MIG has always benefited the heat sensitive aluminum applications.
of the pulsed weld issues that are provided at this site are
not with the logical pulsed mode of weld transfer. The pulsed
issues are with the pulsed weld equipment manufactures who were
responsible the following.
[a] Two decades of unqualified, exaggerated pulsed weld process
hype that added to the global weld shop confusion.
[b] Providing faulty pulsed equipment to the welding market and
providing no pulsed product recalls. The bottom line is numerous, global weld shops were left with
erratic performing equipment that in many instances negatively
affected both the weld quality and productivity.
[c] Weld equipment manufacturers who produced pulsed MIG
equipment that is extremely costly to repair, equipment that
rarely made it through it's product warranty period.
WHEN WE LEARN FROM THE
WELDING PAST, WE CAN AVOID THE WELD MISTAKES AND
CONSEQUENCES THAT WILL OCCUR IN THE FUTURE.
MILLER WELDERS - PULSED EQUIPMENT. THE GLOBAL BS THAT STARTED IN THE 1980s.
1980s. MILLER ELECTRIC. THE INTRODUCTION
OF THE MILLER PULSEDSTARMIG WELDING
EQUIPMENT AND THE NORTH AMERICAN BIRTH PLACE OF PULSED
BOVINE FECAL MATTER.
In the nineteen eighties, the largest technical college in
Vancouver Canada purchased Miller's first pulsed MIG power
source, the Miller "PulsedStar". This pulsed equipment cost the
college approx. 400% more than a traditional CV. MIG power
The Vancouver technical college was exited about it's
investment in new weld technology. For many weeks the
instructors at the college tried to get the Miller pulsed power
source to produce a simple vertical up fillet weld with an
0.045 (1.2mm) MIG steel wire on a 6 mm steel plate. All
position MIG weld capability was one of the prime features
touted by the pulsed MIG equipment manufacturers. (Note: Vertical up welds were not attainable from regular MIG
equipment using spray transfer).
As the weld process control training manager for Linde,
(Union Carbide - PraxAir) Western Canada, I was considered an expert on the MIG
process, I was also a strong advocate of Miller welding
equipment. The Vancouver college asked if I would visit and see
what I could do with their costly pulsed MIG package. I was
exited to work with the so called new pulsed technology and
scheduled a day to weld with the Miller PulsedStar. I set that PulsedStar power source at every possible wire feed,
voltage and pulsed frequency combination possible. The
PulseStar simply could not provide a suitable wire feed /
pulsed parameter combination to MIG weld a common "vertical up
fillet"and to add insult to injury, the pulsed welds made in
the flat and horizontal weld positions were vastly inferior to
those made when the pulsed mode was switched off and the
traditional spray transfer was utilized.
For many years after my introduction to the Pulsed Star I went
around North America turning the pulsed mode off and teaching
the disgruntled Miller customers how to set traditional spray
and short circuit with this equipment.
It's important for the reader to note, that in the
nineteen eighties, up to the development of pulsed MIG
equipment, that without question Miller built some of the
world's best MIG equipment.
Delta Weld product line, was for decades and still is my first
choice for customers who want the world's best performing,
traditional, CV, MIG equipment.
AFTER THE USELESS MILLER PULSEDSTAR,
MILLER FOLLOWED WITH THE PULSED MAXTRON and
this unstable pulsed MIG power
source does not deserve one positive line in this web site.
WHO COULD ENVISION THE
PROBLEMS WITH THE NEXT
PULSED POWER SOURCE FROM MILLER, THE
INADEQUATE MILLER INVISION:
After the Miller Maxtron which provided no cost or quality weld
benefits for carbon steels or stainless welds, steel welds,
Miller provided the pulsed Invision. This power source went
through more E-Prom changes than I have had pints of
And then the Miller Accupulse. If
you used this equipment on robot steel / stainless applications
using pulsed and the adaptive arc mode and you had the weld
process expertise necessary to evaluate a weld arc / transfer,
you may have noticed the arc instability, arc ignition issues,
crater problems, arc outages or wire burn back issues to the contact
Note: Many of the pulsed adaptive arc issues that Miller had on
their <2004 equipment were similar issues they had on their
pulsed equipment made a decade earlier.
July 30-2004. E Mail. Ed. Your pulsed MIG description of arc
sensitivity with high speed welds is is exactly what I am
experiencing with our robots and the new Miller Accu-Pulse
process / Auto Axcess. Our new auto bumpers are thin gage, 1/16
1.6mm HSLA and martensite. I tried to weld above 40 IPM with
the Accu-Pulse and could not do the weld due to weld skipping and arc
instability. We went to an .035 1 mm wire and could not get the
travel speeds. We changed to .045 1.2mm wire and had to run the
pulsed arc with the arc length buried in the part, this
resulted in extensive weld spatter also the part could not
handle the pulsed weld heat and we would have holes all over
the place. With the disappointing pulsed weld results we now
use high end short circuit CV with the 045 wires and are
attaining 40 IPM travel rates. I have no spatter on the part and
have no arc stability problems with the short circuit. I hate
to admit it but this is is another pulsed failure in my book and I wished we had read your book before purchasing this weld equipment. I
could get these short circuit weld results from a CV power
source for half the costs..
Regards G S.
2007 From Ed: Keep in mind
for the last two decades, pulsed MIG equipment was typically
sold to weld shops where traditional, low cost, none pulsed CV
MIG equipment was utilized. The approx. $2000 - $3000 CV equipment
provided great MIG and FCAW application potential, good arc
stability and for many weld shops the CV equipment lasted ten
to twenty years.
It's logical to wonder why the MIG equipment manufactures you
are loyal to, do not seem to thoroughly test their pulsed MIG welding
equipment before selling it their customers.
For those weld shops that purchased pulsed MIG equipment before
2005 and noted arc instability, weld end crater issues and wire burn back issues (especially on robot welds) and welds with short weld lengths, the MIG equipment manufacturers are not likely
to compensate you for their poor performing, over priced MIG
weld equipment. Rather than listening to a sales rep, It's beneficial that all weld decision makers
be aware of the potential short falls and idiosyncrasies of the
pulsed equipment purchased.
2003: MILLER - WHEELS AND PULSED MIG WELD DILEMMA.
A USA tier one wheel
supplier, asked that I analyze it's numerous automated MIG weld
process issues. The management had purchased over 100 Miller
Invision 11, Pulsed MIG units. The MIG weld equipment was
required for the companies new robot lines and manual weld
repair stations. After three months in production the shop
found it had become impossible to produce consistent, MIG weld
quality. There was welding chaos at the plant and the daily
automated weld repair rate was over 60%.
The plant management and engineering team had no doubt what the cause of the
welding problem was, they had placed the
responsibility for their weld issues on the shoulders of their shop floor
After evaluating the numerous weld issues, in my report I
spelled out that the majority of weld faults were not caused by
the automated equipment or by the workers. The weld issues predominately were
caused by the Miller weld equipment.
It's a pity this tier one company management and engineers had
minimal expertise in the equipment vital to their manufacturing These managers lacked MIG weld process control expertise. and did not
understand the meaning of equipment ownership.
If the management had purchased Miller or Lincoln's "none
pulsed" lower cost, more durable, CV MIG equipment, they would
have saved the plant approx. $600,000,00 on the MIG equipment
purchase and with a little MIG weld process expertise found in my process control training resources, the management could have got
their daily weld repair rates to less than 5%.
2005: MILLER AND MORE PULSED MIG ISSUES. In February 2005, I was asked to assist a Canadian, tier
one, auto supplier with it's automated steel weld issues.
The welds were made with the latest Miller Accupulse MIG
equipment. Each part required two simple yet critical welds
that were only 20 to 25 mm in length. When I examined the
small welds two things stood out.
 Over 70% of the Accupulse "weld length" was a concave
smooth surface resembling a crater rather than a weld.
 In the middle of each weld crater was a large pore and with many of the crater pores you could see without
magnification one or two cracks propagating into the
The large weld crater and weld pore was strictly a
result of the Accupulse equipment. Irrespective of what
weld data I placed into the ridiculous Miller palm pilot weld
control, the results were the same, "a large crater with a
I worked for more than 10 hours to get rid of the crater
and pore issues however it was hopeless. Also there was no
control for the MIG wire burn back and this function was
automatically controlled by the power source. At the end of the day, I believe
that the Accupulse power source delivered an excessive high voltage
for the wire burn back and this voltage resulted in the
The Miller Accupulse crater defects had gone on for months.
Miller's response to the engineers at the auto company was
that the equipment was still in the "Beta phase" (they seem
to provide the Beta excuse for just about most MIG
electronic power source they had built between 1980 and
2000). The Miller solution to the serious weld defects was
at the end of the weld re-strike the arc. However due to
limitations in the automated equipment and PLC controls
there was no way to re-strike the arc. For 4 years, this
Canadian auto company produced parts in which the small
length welds had more crater than weld and the majority of
the welds had cracks. Many of the parts welded would
eventually lead to failure, however as they were only
American car parts, nobody seemed to give a dam.
There could have been grave liability cost consequences for the weld issues
generated at the plant. The apathetic weld management at
the plant could have readily sued Miller. However to sue a
company over weld issues, you need management and engineers
who understand and can prove the root cause for their daily
weld issues, and lets face it, you won't find many managers
or engineers in the auto / truck industry that have this
fundamental weld process expertise.
Just to show you how long this BS has been going on take note of this email in 2013.
Jan 2103: Ed. We have had arc end weld issues with 2 Miller Auto Axcess 450 D.I's in a dual arm Motoman cell since the insallation. It seems the Auto-Axcess Sharp-Start routine is causing small explosions at the weld ends. These explosions can be heard and seen as little balls of molten metal shoot out of the cell at the arc ends and some times cause micro crater cracks little "snowman" looking eruptions that have to be ground off and manually repaired. We needed assistance se we called in the Miller rep.
When the regional Miller rep came to our plant he first blamed the weld wire. Then he blamed the gas mix, the gas flow rate, the weld voltage, wire feed speed and the wire stick-out. He then blamed the raw materials we were welding and then followed with we should change all the weld schedules from DC Spray Mig to AccuPulse. With nothing working for this joker, he finally he decided that thee smooth drive rolls on the metal-cored wire was the problem. More to the point, I asked repeatedly if he could turn off the Sharp-Start and auto burnback "features" he said we would have to talk with the Miller Engineer responsible for the Auto Axcess line.
Do you know what we need to do to disable these "special features" so I can use normal crater fill and burnback techniques? By the way we weld only 3/4" Hot-Rolled plate and its a railroad application. All the robot welds are in the 2F position, 3/8" single pass fillet.
The gas and voltage lets us burn through the mill scale pretty well and we have used these parameters for years in manual welding with regular CV equipment.
Thanks In Advance. Jeff Christensen.
Progress Rail Services.
2003 - 2004. Ford (Quality is Job 1) F-150 Truck
A Condensed Weld Report on Ford F 150 trucks from
It's the intention of this report to deal with the root
causes of the numerous robot / manual weld issues found on
the Ford F-150 Frame truck robot line.
At this time your
robot frame weld productivity is only 50% of your goal and
your weld repair personnel report that the majority of the
MIG welded robot frames require rework. Of the 140 robot
welds on the frame typically 60 to 80 of these welds
require manual weld rework. Of the sectioned critical welds
that daily require macro examination of the weld fusion, an
average of 20 to 30% of the welds revealed lack of weld
fusion. As the photo below indicates, many of the robot /
manual weld repairs are poor quality. The numerous manual
weld repairs are providing a patched product which provide
both poor weld integrity and a poor visual weld appearance.
The general Ford management / engineering lack of weld process
control expertise at the plant along with the poor selection of the
Miller Invision equipment and innapropriate size weld consumables are daily negatively impacting your robot weld
productivity and quality potential. To find out the rest of the Frame Weld
story click here
HOW POOR PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT INFLUENCED MY
IN DEALING WITH STEEL MIG WELD
APPLICATIONS, I MUST HAVE SPENT ALMOST THREE DECADES GOING
FROM ONE WELD SHOP TO ANOTHER, TURNING OFF THE USELESS,
ERRATIC PULSED PARAMETERS THAT WERE IMPOSED ON THE STEEL
WELDS AND SWITCHING THE EQUIPMENT BACK TO THE TRADITIONAL,
CV, STABLE SHORT CIRCUIT OR SPRAY MODES.
Its 2010 and I am still switching Miller / Panasonic
pulsed equipment and Lincoln Power Waves back to the CV
modes to improve the customers weld performance
SO HOW IS THE MIG EQUIPMENT IN YOUR
 Are your weld equipment purchases influenced by
inexperienced purchasing managers, sales advice or by the unqualified weld shop
personal preferences, rather than by weld application
considerations and weld transfer mode and process
 Did you purchase Japanese MIG welding equipment on the
belief that the Japanese can produce excellent electronic
equipment. When the weld reality was the designers of the
Japanese pulsed MIG equipment obviously knew little about weld
requirements, arc characteristics, weld transfer modes and
weld application requirements.
 Is your weld shop immersed in a culture and weld shop
myths that restrict the ability to make rational weld
 Do your weld decision makers look regulary to a biased weld
salesmen and respond to glossy, weld equipment brochure
promises that rarely deliver.
 Does your weld shop have eight different MIG weld power
sources, seven different MIG and flux cored wire types and
and six different gas mixes. This is always an indication
of lack of weld process expertise?
 Are you still wondering why you paid three hundred
percent more for that pulsed equipment and the weld
improvements achieved are marginal?
Welding equipment. Why pay more than you have to?
I have been evaluating MIG equipment for approx. four decades.
I have established optimum MIG welds in more than a
thousand companies in a dozen countries. I have never had a
problem attaining optimum manual or automated weld quality
and productivity with traditional, low cost, CV MIG equipment utilized on
carbon steel and stainless welds.
Before 1990, the best, traditional CV MIG welding equipment
in the world was manufactured and built in the USA by three
 Linde. (Union Carbide).
For those of you that think I forgot Lincoln, some of the pre
1990 Lincoln MIG equipment that I evaluated, I believe was
on par with the substandard MIG equipment you would typically
find today, manufactured in some third world country.
Welding Steel Plate and Rational Weld Equipment Selection:
Was at this time approx. $11000 WITH THE WIRE
LOOKING FOR THAT MIG
EQUIPMENT SUITED TO PIPE WELDS?
If you weld pipe you know that sometimes you will want to
weld with SMAW, MIG, FCAW, and GTAW. Miller states that when it comes to pipe welds, the
PipePro does it all. The real question, is the PipePro
necessary and doest it consisitently provide 5G code quality welds on any wall thickness and with all commom pipe alloys?.
MILLER PipePro Plus: The PipePro is a multi-purpose MIG power
source that offers RMD (Regulated Metal Deposition). The
RMD mode is the only unique transfer mode on this costly
package. RMD is a modified short circuit process. The
bottom line is the RMD process lowers the short circuit
current (lowers short circuits per second) available for a given
short circuit wire feed rate, and RMD also offers dynamic puddle control which provides dubious real world weld benefits.
MILLER RMD ROOT WELD Note: If you rotate your pipe joints there are no
advantages from the RMD process in contrast to traditional
short circuit transfer attained from much lower cost CV MIG equipment.
The RMD mode is primarily advantageous welding in the 5G
position especially at the in the the 5 to 7 o'clock over head
position. However in contrast to TIG and TIP TIG the RMD process cannot handle many of the root and pipe alignment changes that are common in pipe shops.
MILLER PIPEPRO PULSED MIG FOR PIPE FILL PASSES . The PipePro has a MIG pulsed program
that is supposed to be suited to all position pipe fill
passes, however be aware that the pulsed mode of weld
transfer will with specific applications and alloys (sluggish) provide lack of weld fusion and porosity issues. The bottom line, with the majority of pipe applications, the pulsed MIG mode has always delivered a poor ratio of weld energy to the weld mass delivered and the weld speeds that result. On most code quality pipe welds, the pulsed MIG process will never compete with the TIP TIG process
2007: MILLER PIPEPRO NEGATIVE: ELECTRONIC
INSTABILITY AND MILLER'S INABILITY TO TEST IT'S PRODUCTS
BEFORE BRINGING THEM TO THE WELDING
When testing the PIPEPRO on 5G fill passes I did see some pulsed arc
instability and there were soft ware problems on the unit I
tested which ironically was at a Miller product center in Atlanta. Miller has been consistent in bringing electronic
equipment to weld shops without adequate, controlled field
weld tests. In 2011 and many pipe shops have tested this equipments and after x-rays lack confidence in the pulsed mode.
If you are using pulsed MIG on specific 5G welds with wall thickness > 8mm and welding with specific (common sluggish alloys)
there will be concern for lack of fusion and if you rotate your pipe you dont need RMD, regular short circuit for the root can be just as effective with spray for the fill passes.
ANOTHER PIPEPRO NEGATIVE THE PALM PILOT: The
equipment I tested, had soft ware issues and we did not
have a ridiculous palm pilot to view or change the weld
data. When I did get to try the palm pilot I found it a
complete waste of my time. I believe this type of
useless electronics has no place in a weld shop, however I can understand how bells and whistles like this make more profits for Miller.
PIPEPRO POSITIVE: SIMPLE TO SET: High marks to Miller for
simple operation and actually focussing on the pipe weld
applications. The PipePro also provided pipe settings for both
Argon - 2% CO2- and argon - 15%CO2 gas mixes and for the 0.040 steel MIG
Note to Miller: While at AGA and Airgas I developed and introduced the argon 2% and 15% CO2 MIG gas mixes for the
North American market over 20 years ago. As for the 0.040 wire, I am
the only person in north America that has AGGRESSIVELY
promoted this wire size since the 1980s. Well done Miller
management for using my suggestions. Its a pity you did not send me a
Hallmark card of thanks with a small renumeration enclosed.
2011 CODE QUALITY WELDS: THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO ENSURE NO WELD REWORK WHEN
WELDING IN ANY WELD POSITION, ANY ALLOY, ANY WALL THICKNESS, USE TIP TIG
TIP TIG in contrast to TIG is a process that enables much higher wire feed rates and increased weld current that result in faster weld speeds & much lower weld heat input.
IP TIG has a unique patented wire feeder that agitates the weld pool improving weld fusion (especially beneficial for sluggish duplex and stainless alloys) and dramatically reduces weld pore defects.
This TIP TIG pipe weld was made by a Westinghouse. The weld is being made with TIG wire feed rates 250 - 280 inch/min with deposition rates on par with flux cored and pulsed MIG. On this weld the welder achieved a wire feed 250 - 300 % greater than any manual TIG welder could achieve, with a weld quality higher than that attained by any regular TIG welder.
Note: Companies such as Exon, Westinghouse and WSI (Aquilex) lead the way in the USA developing 5G, TIP TIG pipe procedures with manual wire feed rates 250 - 300 % greater than that attained by regular manual TIG welders.
CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE OF A SO CALLED
"MULTI-PROCESS" MIG POWER SOURCE?
As MIG and FCAW account for approx. 85% of the welds carried out in weld shops, is it logical to pay an unnecessary high price for CC/CV
Are you considering a none pulsed or pulsed, multi-process MIG unit that
enables MIG / SMAW / TIG / FCAW / ARC GOUGING.The majority
of these power sources are used by companies who's MIG
welders rarely utilize the multi-process capability.
Please note, In
contrast to traditional CV MIG equipment you can pay
approx. $1000 to $2500 extra for the multi-process
equipment that typically provides poor to mediocre MIG / FCAW performance.
A logical approach for a weld
shop that is looking to purchase a number of multi-process
MIG CC/CV units is to purchase the lower cost, standard CV
350 - 450 amp equipment. Then purchase a single CC unit capable of TIG /
SMAW / Arc gouging. The CC unit can be mounted on wheels
and readily transported around the shop when neede. Remember when your
welders are welding with the regular TIG and SMAW process, your
company typically is not producing cost affective
For those of you interested in
MIG / FCAW weld process optimization, you may want to note
that the typical slope output from a multi-process, CC/CV
power source is typically steeper, (for a given wire feed rate delivers less current less fusion)
than the slope output of a traditional of a regular CV
The bottom line with many CC/CV machines. For a given wire
feed rate, you simply don't get the typical amount of weld
current delivered by a good CV unit, and with these wire stick out sensitive processe you can end up
with LESS WELD FUSION and more porosity especially on steels and alloy steel applications
> 5 mm thick.
 Are you having robot or manual weld issues that affect
your weld quality productivity or down time?
 Are you ready to purchase weld equipment, gases or
consumables and would rather not waste your money?,
 Do you want the best method or procedure for a specific
MIG / FCAW / SAW / PLASMA / GTAW application?
Check out my best weld practices and process control resources at this site and for TIP TIG info visit www.tiptigusa.com.
ED'S MANUAL AND ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROL RESOURCES.
ED OPTIMIZED ROBOT WELDS FOR HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES.
A FEW OF HIS PROJECTS,
FORD F 150 FRAMES -
VOLVO CABS - CORVETTE FRAMES-
HARLEY BIKE FRAMES - NEW BEETLE CAR SEATS
THE ROBOT WELDS ON THE
WORLD'S LARGEST CATERPILLAR TRUCKS.
Ed's weld resources solved weld issues on these products.
The pulsed charactersitic were good on this new power source, it
made me wonder where Miller got the pulsed electronic technology from.
MILLERMATIC 350P: Update Dec 2008: After comparing this power source with
other pulsed equipment, this power source unlike the other pulsed equipment developed by MILLER actually provides good
pulsed characteristics for none pipe welds, and also its good for short circuit and spray welds on carbon steels, stainless. However when it was introduced, it provided poor to mediocre pulsed MIG
weld transfer characteristics for aluminum welds.
Note:Most of this
power source pulsed weld benefits are minor and typically derived on gage steel /
stainless parts < 4 mm.
THIS IS THE OTC-DAIHEN PULSED MIG POWER SOURCE: IT HAS BEEN MY FIRST CHOICE FOR ROBOT
PULSED WELDS AND FOR MANUAL (NONE CODE) MIG STAINLESS AND ALLOY WELDS:
PURCHASING A PULSED POWER SOURCE FOR NONE CODE WELDS & MY CRITERIA WAS:
[a] "CONSISTENT" PULSED TRANSFER FOR THE DATA PROVIDED.
[c] THE NEED TO MAKE PULSED PARAMETER ADJUSTMENTS FOR
UNIQUE WELD APPLICATIONS SUCH HEAT SENSITIVE PARTS AND
CLADDING WITH HIGH ALLOY WELD WIRES SUCH STAINLESS OR
[d] THE NEED FOR "DURABLE PULSED MIG
1980- 2010: UNDERSTANDING THREE
DECADES OF SO CALLED MIG EQUIPMENT EVOLUTION:
< 2010. The worst MIG equipment found in the industrial
world was typically found in Japan and Europe.
Thanks to companies like Miller, Linde and Hobart, for decades
the USA could claim the world's best CV MIG equipment.
However during the last decade, thanks to the common
process ignorance found throughout the North American auto
/ truck industry, Japanese MIG equipment became common with
too many Big Three and Tier suppliers.
While Japan can claim the world's best cars, from a welding
perspective, Japan's claim to welding fame during the last
two decades was that it produced most of the world's "worst
quality MIG welds".
BEST MANUFACTURING PRACTICES RARELY INCLUDED MIG WELDING,
THIS WAS TRUE IN 1983, IT'S STILL TRUE IN MOST JAPANESE
AUTO / TRUCK PLANTS TODAY 2013.
One reason for the bad
welds in Japan. In contrast to North America, Japan had few
industrial air separation plants. Without access to
reasonably priced argon and argon mixes, Japan was stuck with
CO2 as it's primary MIG welding gas.
The CO2 would of course not produce spray transfer. This weld
gas also provides a limited short circuit weld parameter
range. If you want to weld parts with traditional MIG
equipment and those parts are > 1.8 mm, the 180 plus amps
with straight CO2 produces erratic "globular transfer."
For decades in Japan you carried out this practice. First
you MIG weld the parts, then you grind off the poor weld
profiles and excessive weld spatter. Hopefully you are all
aware of the negative aspects of the "globular weld transfer"
from the highly reactive CO2 MIG process.
The CO2 weld transfer mode at weld currents above 180 amps
produces erratic weld transfer, fusion concerns and extensive
weld spatter. Globular transfer can also occur with argon
mixes and poor weld parameters.
As MIG weld robots evolved in Japan in the 1980s
and the British did development work on the pulsed process,
the Japanese weld industry had minimal experience with the
world's most popular spray transfer weld mode. Japan with
it's domination in robotics addressed the lack of argon gas
in it's country and it's poor CO2 MIG weld quality by
developing sophisticated electronics for its manual and robot
MIG welding equipment. The weld results from this equipment
in the eighties and in 2007, were and still are rarely
The ironic logic. When the USA MIG
equipment manufacturers saw the Japanese robots and erratic
Japanese pulsed power sources selling well to the Japanese
auto manufactures in North America, many US companies who
lacked "weld process fundamentals expertise
and believed that anything to
do with manufacturing from Japan must be first class, quickly
got on the weld train and purchased from Panasonic and Motoman, erratic, poor
performing, sensitive, costly MIG equipment .
Note: Many auto/ truck plants in North America daily weld
with erratic globular weld transfer, the reason has nothing
to do with the weld equipment, the reasons are the general
management and engineering lack of weld process expertise,
incorrect wire size selection, and inappropriate weld
Panasonic weld equipment
and common lack of weld process expertise:
Ed. The company I visited
welds 6xxx series, extruded aluminum, thin gage parts. They
had purchased a Panasonic VR OOGAL 11robot, with a Panasonic
350 amp Panastar RA 350 pulsed power source. For the welds
they used an 0.046, 4043 wire and argon. The MIG wire spool
was mounted on top of the robot, and they used a regular
four-drive roll feeder with a water-cooled gun.
The problem robot welds were short
lengths, 5/8 to ¾ long. The robot welds are made on
aluminum square tubes 0.070 thick. The 6xxx tubes are welded
to a thicker alum part 3/16 thick. Since they purchased the
robot the completed welds never look consistent over their
short lengths. All the thin tube welds were made with the
same weld data, yet in the same locations on the parts, some
welds look fluid while other welds look cold. Most of the
welds ended up with a black and dirty appearance yet the push
gun angle is correct. These welds caused so many issues the
company was ready to give up the robot and go back to manual
TIG. For the rest of the story, click here.
2007. ARTIFICIAL INTELIGENCE MIG POWER SOURCEs TYPICALLY MEANS ARTIFICIAL STUPID EQUIPMENT. I cringe every time I am asked
to resolve Panasonic MIG weld equipment issues and that request
comes too often. I cringe because the problems are often
with the equipment and unless you
change the equipment you don't completely resolve the issues.
Typically the individuals who purchased and use weld equipment from companies like Panasonic and Motoman simply lack the weld process expertise necessary to make a judgment on the weld
equipment . It's my belief that the Panasonic
MIG equipment I had to work with was likely developed by electronic engineers
who may have had more expertise in designing CD players or TVs than
with the development of MIG welding equipment. Its hopeful that in 2011 improvements have been made then again then again maybe not.
THE WELD INDUSTRY BOTTOM LINE. OVER PRICED,
MEDIOCRE PRODUCTS THAT PROVIDE LESS THAN OPTIMUM WELD
PERFORMANCE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A PLACE WITH WELDING CONSUMERS
THAT LACK WELD PROCESS AND APPLICATION
In the one hand, we have had North American
manufacturing envy for DUBIOUS Japanese weld manufacturing
practices and an unbridled admiration for any Japanese
In the other hand, we have the North American weld
equipment manufactures realization that the electronic chips,
bells and whistles in MIG welding equipment create a gravy train in
which they can charge ridiculous prices for pulsed MIG weld
equipment. Combine both hands with an apathetic weld industry
that is too frequently attached by an umbilical cord to a
weld equipment supplier and you can understand why many
companies end up with overpriced weld equipment that causes
many weld issues
BEFORE YOU WASTE YOUR DOLLARS ON PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT FOR
WELDING CARBON STEELS TAKE A LOOK AT THE NEXT PICTURE:
MIG welding 1/4 (6 mm) fillet welds at a weld deposition
rate of 13 lb/hr. On the left we have a pulsed weld made with
a $12.000 pulsed power source. On the right, a spray transfer
weld made with $3000 traditional CV power source. Both welds
were made with the same 0.045 1.2 mm wire feed rate, using an
argon - 10% CO2 gas.
Carefully examine these two welds,
you know which is the
It's understandable that a global industry that lacks
fundamental weld process control expertise could be
influenced to purchase useless, costly, inconsistent pulsed
MIG equipment for it's steel / stainless robot weld
applications. What is difficult to understand is when you see
companies like John Deere and Caterpillar buying into the
same useless electronic bells and whistles.
After more than four decades of evaluating MIG equipment
and more than two decades of watching failure
after failure of Japanese and European E-proms, micro chips
and circuit boards, I have come to the following conclusion
which I am sure many of you will disagree with.
2007. When MIG welding carbon steel, none pipe
applications > 4 mm, I have yet to find a measurable, practical, cost
effective weld benefit from the over priced Japanese,
European or USA Lincoln / Miller Pulsed MIG equipment. In
reality the pulsed arc plasma profile and stability is
inferior to the traditional MIG spray transfer mode for many
common MIG applications.
It seems that when it comes comes to MIG welding
steels, weld shops from Michigan to Georgia, from Dakota to
Louisiana, from California to Florida are prepared to pay up
to $13,000 for a pulsed MIG power source to weld carbon steel
and common alloy steel applications. The weld reality is that the majority of the
welds produced could be made at the same or superior
quality and productivity with process expertise and a CV power source you could
purchase for $2000 to $3000.
This low cost, single phase, 250 amp, multipurpose (MIG -
TIG - STICK) power supply made by ESAB can when welding steel
applications outperform many sophisticated, electronic MIG
power sources sold by ESAB and other weld equipment
E Mail to Ed 01/ 05.
Ed I have a 220 amp stick welder which I love and am
looking for a a recommended MIG welder (either 220 or 110) to
use in my home shop for steel frames trailers etc. There are
so many products out there and a lot of crap too - but I want
to invest in something durable that gives me good range to
weld various thickness. I'm told that flux-core material
allows me to penetrate a bit thicker but have an Argon tank
and could go that way too.
Any direction you could provide would be appreciated.
Chris, any traditional Lincoln. Miller or ESAB CV power
source AS SHOWN IN THE PICTURE ABOVE will do the job.
Consider either a single or three phase unit as they will
surpass your needs. Try and get a power source that provides
at least 250 amps at 60 % duty cycle. (Spray transfer with an
0.035 (1 mm) steel wire will come in around 180 to 200 amps
and an 0.035 or 0.045 gas shielded flux cored wire can weld
almost any application in the 120 to 250 amp range.
Purchasing a power source with a built in wire feeder is
QUESTION: Ed I believe you need different guide rolls for
different MIG wire types what's recommended.
 For solid hard wires use a "smooth VEE groove" built for
the wire OD.
 For flux core wires use a vee groove with at least on roll
providing a serrated surface to improve the grip. Be careful
you do not apply too much drive roll pressure to these
 For aluminum wires a U groove with smooth surface again
don't use excess drive roll pressure. With aluminum ensure
minimum gaps between the inlet, drive rolls and outlet guides
to avoid buckling.
Irrespective of the weld
quality or code requirements, irrespective of what the weld
sales rep or equipment manufacturers tell the welding
industry, ninety percent of all manual and robot, (none pipe)
carbon steel / MIG welds "do not benefit" from costly,
sophisticated, electronic pulsed MIG equipment.
However ninety percent of all
welding equipment manufacturers and distributors do
appreciate the additional revenue and profits generated from
the sale of the pulsed or electronic MIG is equipment.
I am welding engineer and I live and work in Bulgaria. I want
congratulate on your WEB site. I found it 5 days ago and I
can`t stop reading it, well done.
Practical MIG Gun Advice: Water cooled guns are used for many robot
installations while the weld reality is lower cost, easier to
maintain air cooled MIG guns would work just as well and
reduce both maintenance and down time. If your robot weld
application utilizes < 260 amps, and the weld lengths are
short and the arc on time is moderate, consider a 400 to 600
amp air cooled gun.
Both Tregaskiss and Binzel make excellent robot / manual MIG
guns. I try to avoid Bernard or Lincoln guns even when given
one free with the purchase of a power source.
Weld Gun Contact Tips. I
believe that many of the contact tips sold today in North
America are made in countries that have very low labor costs
and very little concern for maintaining the tip bore
dimensions as provided by the original tip design.
During the last decade, I have seen a dramatic decrease in
the quality of weld consumables. It's very common today to
find 0.035 and 0.045 tips that have undersize bores, add this
issue to the common, poor quality over size weld wire and you
have found another reason why you are having erratic weld
results, burn backs and bird nests at the drive
Pulsed Transfer and Contact Tips. With high weld current applications, ensure
the spray contact tip is recessed 1/8 to 1/4 (3 - 6 mm)
inside the gun nozzle. The higher the current get closer to
the 1/4 recess.
Recessing the contact tip extends the contact tip life as
less spatter and heat will get onto the tip. The recessed tip
provides a longer MIG wire extension which can reduce the
high weld current that will result from high wire feed rates.
The weld current reduction can assist in weld puddle control
and a longer wire stick out reduces wire burn back potential.
Also with spray transfer consider the purchase of heavy duty,
wider nozzles for your guns.
Short Circuit and Contact
Tips. For applications that use less than 180 amps, stick the
contact tip outside the nozzle about 3 mm. The tip outside
the nozzle allows the use of the lowest possible voltages.
Also the benefits of a short wire stick out adds to arc
stability with low current applications. For short circuit or
globular transfer have the contact tip flush with the
CONTACT TIP SIZES:
08/07 E-mail: Hello Ed.
I recently purchased your "A Management and Engineers Guide
to MIG Welding". The book is everything I had hoped it would
be...and then some!
The company I work for has a handful of welding engineers
scattered throughout North America. Over the past few months
I have had a growing number express satisfaction with using
0.030 tips with 0.035 wire. My issue is this, no one has
given me a specific engineering or scientific reason for the
tip change. Simply, "So-and-so told me to try it. It works
for him so I do it to." (I believe the original idea came
from a suggestion from a weld sales rep.) This concerns me. I
foresee a number of problems including increased uneven tip
wear, restricted wire feed, spatter blockage issues, etc.,and
I don't see where current flow would be influenced
Am I missing something?
Ps: Thank-you for having the motivation and courage to make
this kind of information available. I have not yet come
across an opinion that I did not share or a concept I did not
Regards. Fraser Rock. Welding Eng:
Ed's Reply: Fraser:
Thanks for kind words. I have found in many plants that a
common issue like this is usually a distraction or crutch for
plant people who frequently lack the ability to get to the
real root cause of their daily weld issues. Most tip issues
typically result from burn backs, poor start and end data,
incorrect wire stick outs or wire helix issues.
A contact tip needs to be approx. 0.007 to 0.010 larger than
the MAX wire diam. Keep in mind the wire will expand slightly
during welding. When you purchase smaller tips than those
recommended , remember that with today's inconsistent weld
wire quality the weld wire OD is frequently on the plus
If robot operators or weld personnel manually run the wire
through the tip and it snags, the wire is too large or the
tip is too small. If the wire is manually fed through the tip
and makes consistent contact its fine. If the tip bore is not
the correct size, (check with drill gauge), change your tip
manufacturer. If the wire OD is too big, change the wire
manufacturer and for god's sake get rid of weld distributor
that provides you with poor quality products and provides bad
advice. There is the possibility is the tips you purchase are
made in China or Timbuktu. There are many quality issues with
off shore, substandard weld consumables.
Good luck. Ed:
2005: NORTH AMERICAN
MIG Wire Feeders and "Dual Weld Schedules".
Without question one of the greatest benefits derived on manual MIG wire feeder is
the ability of the welder while welding to flick a switch or
trigger on the MIG gun and go back and forth between two
separate weld schedules.
Dual schedule wire feeders have been around for at least two
decades, (Linde DigiMig was one of the first). As with many
other practical weld products, the global weld industry has
been slow to differentiate from the useless bells and
whistles and purchase real world practical equipment such as
dual schedule wire feeders.
Two great tools a welding company can
use to optimize their manual steel or stainless
 Provide employees with effective "weld process control
 Provide the MIG bells and whistles on the "wire feed
controls". such as "two preset, pre-approved" weld schedules.
Today in Ford, GM, Chrysler,
Japanese auto plants and tier one suppliers, we will see
manual weld repairs being made on the robot made welds with
pulsed MIG equipment. The repair welders will typically use
only one weld setting to fill weld burn-through holes or
place welds on top of welds on parts from 1 to 6 mm. The
correct equipment of choice for manual MIG weld repairs is a
low cost 250 - 300 amp CV power source. Use an 0.035 (1mm)
wire for the weld repairs and it's logical to use a dual
schedule MIG wire feeder that with a flick of the switch
would give the repair welder either a low current short
circuit weld and higher current spray setting. Of course if
your company was really on the ball, you would provide those
repair welders with MIG process CONTROL training as found in
my self teaching MIG process control books, click here.
The "dual weld schedule" MIG wire feed control, is one of
the most practical pieces of MIG equipment that has been
available for two decades, that's why the auto industry and
most weld shops have shown little interest in it.
You can spend $8,000 to $12,000 and purchase the worlds
most sophisticated pulsed MIG power source for your shop. You
would then have to invest another $2000 - $4000 for a wire
feed control. However if you really want to get consistent,
optimum MIG quality and productivity, purchase a low cost,
< $3000, 350 - 450 amp Miller, ESAB or Lincoln power
source, then invest another $2500 on a dual schedule wire
WAVE FORMS? WHILE SOME WELD EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS WILL TELL YOU ABOUT THE MILLIONS OF WAVE FORM ADJUSTMENT ON THEIR SO CALLED UNIQUE MIG EQUIPMENT, BE AWAE THAT ALL IT TAKES TO MAKE ANY WELD IS FOUR SIMPLE WELD SETTINGS:
WELD SCHEDULES? WELD EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER MAY WISH TO PROMOTE THEIR COSTLY
MIG POWER SOURCE WITH 90 WELD SCHEDULES. HOWEVER WHEN YOU USE
THE WELD PROCESS INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN ED'S BOOKS, YOU
WILL LEARN THAT ONLY FOUR SIMPLE WIRE FEED AND VOLT SETTINGS
ARE REQUIRED FOR A GIVEN DIAMETER ELECTRODE TO WELD ANY STEEL
/ STAINLESS APPLICATION.
Once the weld decision
maker has purchased that dual schedulewire feed control and
decides on two optimum settings for the manual welders in his
shop, all that is required is to dial the two settings into
the dual schedule wire feed control, turn a key on the
control and the two optimum set of weld parameters are locked
Both Lincoln and Miller offer dual schedule wire feed units
priced $2,000 - $3000. Both these units are a good choice and
are logical with a 300 - 450 amp, traditional CV power
source. From my perspective the dual schedule feeder control
and conventional CV equipment is a much more cost effective
and , practical approach to MIG and flux cored welding,
rather than purchasing a costly poor performing Inverter or a
pulsed power source that offers limited benefits for most
steel and stainless welds.
WARNING: Give careful consideration to the effectiveness,
position and durability of the dual schedule MIG "gun
switches" found on many MIG guns, it appears making a
quality, durable, dual schedule MIG gun switch is a big deal
to many MIG gun manufacturers.
That new, pulsed MIG power
source may provide four million wave ~~forms~~, however
please note, costly "artificial, electronic weld equipment
intelligence" can never compete with human weld process
intelligence. That's the process intelligence that is
available in my MIG weld process control books and Training CDs.
There are only four weld settings for any MIG or flux cored
wire, if you work in the weld industry its beneficial if you
know these settings. do you know those
Weld Equipment Bells and Whistles keep getting more
ridiculous yet weld shops keep buying them.
I was staggered at the AWS weld show to find one MIG weld
equipment manufacture providing a "remote control" for the
MIG power source. The control is similar to the one you use
for your TV.
I can imagine a situation where the weld supervisor asks the
welder why he is hanging around and not welding? The welder
replies,"he cannot find the remote".
For more than a decade, Japanese robot and MIG power
source manufacturers get the first prize for;
[a] unnecessary robot weld program complexity,
[b] poor robot / MIG power source communications,
[c] ridiculous electronic options in weld equipment.
It's a pity North American MIG equipment manufacturers are
working hard too keep up.
Spain 2008. Ed finds out what a stupid waste of time it is to
wave forms with the useless Miller Axcess palm pilot.
BEST CARBON STEEL FLUX CORED WIRES, (ALL POSITION) ARGON /
CO2 MIXES. For the best gas shielded, flux cored wires, I
have always recommended Alloy Rods, "Ultra sold by ESAB" Tri
Mark products sold by Hobart and Kobelco products. I have
never recommended Lincoln Electric gas shielded flux cored
products as I found the ones I tested had many issues.
In contrast to the Alloy rod or Tri Mark wires, the Lincoln
E71T-1 gas shielded wires I tested provide a smaller optimum
weld parameter range, instability with the arc, and too many
worm tracks. The bottom line the Lincoln wires were provided
less weld deposition rate potential and the last time I tried
these wires, the vertical up welds had so much porosity and
worm tracks in the weld it looked like a cheese grate.
BEST CARBON STEEL FLUX CORED WIRES (ALL POSITION) USING
My first choice, Kobelco.
Self shielded flux cored wires. These products do not
belong indoors and so far only the inexperienced auto / truck
industry has pushed their use. Any company that uses these
products for indoor weld applications is not concerned about
weld quality, productivity or the health of their
BEST STEEL MIG WIRE. My first choice of carbon steel MIG
wire is still the Lincoln L- 50 wire manufactured in
Cleveland. However it seems today that some Lincoln MIG wires
are produced in strange places like China or Timbucktwo. If
you purchase Lincoln products that are not Cleveland
manufactured, for robot SPRAY OR PULSED applications you may
find the arc sounds change every few seconds. My second choice of MIG wire is
THE WORST MIG WIRES: While providing process improvements
across the USA and Canada, the carbon steel MIG wires I had
the most robot weld issues with were made by Hobart,
(inconsistent chemistry). I also had extensive problems with
National Standard MIG wires which had too many cast or helix,and silicon
issues, and their E70S-6 wire provided too much weld fluidity
(excess silicon) leading to undercut on some
applications and burn through on thin gage welds.
2004 National Standard MIG WIRES AND THE PULSED MIG WELD BOVINE FECAL MATTER WAS
I was amazed to read an advertisement in the
Nov. 2003 Weld Journal from National Standard for the new N-S
Pulse PLUS steel weld wire. NS claims that with there MIG
wire and the pulsed process you will get less spatter , less
fumes and reduce the need for grinding. NS claims that there
pulsed wire is supposed to have a wider operating
I guess that $12000, useless pulsed power source you just
purchased that's loaded down with electronic bells and
whistles to control the arc now has nothing to do with the
pulsed weldability. This type of ridiculous product
advertising is what adds to the mountains of Bovine fecal
matter that has helped destroy the technical credibility of
toady's welding industry. It's a shame a reputable magazine
like the Weld Journal, a magazine that represents the
American Weld Society allowed this form of advertising.
ED MADE THIS SPRAY 5/16 FILLET
WELD WITH A E70S-3 MIG WIRE, A TWO PART GAS MIX,
POWER SOURCE AND WIRE FEED UNIT THAT SOLD FOR LESS THAN
E Mail Nov 04.
Ed. I spent 33 years with Esab India Ltd, selling MIG, TIG
and Plasma equipment. Your web site is a wonderful
observation of the global weld industry and how the pulsed
MIG weld equipment manufacturers have for decades fooled the
so called weld industry experts.
FroniusTwin Wire 2004:
While the twin MIG wire process claims unique
real world benefits from pipe welding to high speed
automotive. Keep in mind two torches and two robots can also
do what the twin wire process can achieve.
The Fronius Twin process shown above is a "tandem" welding
process. This is one of the most sophisticated twin wire
systems available. With the Fronius equipment there are two
digital pulsed power sources working together. The Fronius
Twin Digital machines produces a separate arc. A
synchronization unit regulates the interplay of the two arcs.
Too see the Fronius Tandem process on pipe, click.
Please note nine years later this process which I critized for its poor performance in 2004 is today in 2013 almost none existant. Thats less useless bells and whistles for this sad industry.
MANAGERS BEFORE YOU CONSIDER
COMPLEX AND SOPHISTICATED WELD EQUIPMENT LIKE THE TWIN WIRE
PROCESS, IT'S FIRST LOGICAL TO OPTIMIZE THE EXISTING
PROCESSES YOU ALREADY OWN.
When using the "single wire" MIG process,
how many managers encourage their weld team members to
evaluate the robot weld program, the process, the
consumables, the parts, the design or the weld fixture to
ensure they have done everything possible to attained the
highest potential weld efficiency and deposition rate from
their existing robots?
Irrespective of the weld equipment purchased, you cannot
optimize robot welds without weld best practice and weld process control expertise.
For those managers, engineers and technicians that are
prepared to read and involve themselves in the MIG process,
please note, there are many things that can be done to
greatly increase the traditional, single MIG wire, robot weld
travel rates. This unique information along with robot weld
process control information is available in my "Management Engineers MIG
ELECTRONIC, WELD DATA MONITORING EQUIPMENT
CAN ONLY REPORT WHAT IT READS.
THE FOLLOWING IS A WELD PARAMETER GRAPH TAKEN FROM A
MONITORING DEVICE USED ON A PANASONIC PULSED POWER SOURCE WHILE WELDING.
THE CURRENT LINE IS BLACK THE VOLTAGE LINE IS RED. THE WIRE
FEED AND WIRE STICKOUT WAS CONSTANT. NOTE THE LARGE CURRENT HIGH AND LOW
SPIKES. NOTE HOW THE VOLTAGE DROPS TO ALMOST ZERO NUMEROUS
TIMES. THIS ERRATIC WELD RESULT WAS ALSO TYPICAL FROM THE
PULSED MODES WITH THE LINCOLN POWER WAVE AND MILLER INVISION.
THE LOWER GRAPH SHOWS THE SAME WELD WIRE AND WIRE FEED
RATE AS USED WITH THE PANASONIC EQUIPMENT SET AT THE SAME
WIRE FEED RATE. THIS WELD PARAMETER GRAPH IS FROM AN
"UNSOPHISTICATED" MILLER DELTA WELD WHICH COSTS CONSIDERABLY
NOTE THE FAR GREATER ARC STABILITY WITH BOTH THE WELD CURRENT
(BLACK) AND VOLTAGE (RED). THIS STABILITY AND SUPERIOR OUT
PUT FOR CONTROL OVER WELD FUSION COMES FROM THE MUCH LOWER
COST, TRADITIONAL NORTH AMERICAN CV POWER SOURCE.
FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT GET FRUSTRATED WITH THE WELD
PERFORMANCE FROM YOUR SOPHISTICATED ELECTRONIC MIG EQUIPMENT,
ESPECIALLY ON HIGH WELD SPEED APPLICATIONS . NOW YOU KNOW
REALITY: FOR MIG AND FLUX CORED WELD STEEL AND STAINLESS
WELDS MADE IN THE FLAT AND HORIZONTAL POSITIONS, A MILLER OR
LINCOLN TRADITIONAL, 300 - 450 AMP CV MIG POWER SOURCE CAN
OUT PERFORM ANY ELECTRONIC POWER SOURCE TODAY SOLD IN NORTH
With the Lincoln power source I found that the best way to
stable, high speed steel
welds was to switch the
pulsed mode off.
The Weld Journal reports on Lincoln Electric F355i
F355i pulsed power source communicates directly to the robot
controller through an "ethernet system". This eliminates some
of the intermediary hardware and software usually required
between the power source and controller and according to
Lincoln, makes the entire system operate faster.
What the Weld Journal does not
report is when I used this equipment I found that the Lincoln
pulsed power source provided high speed pulsed welds that
were extremely arc length sensitive. This sensitivity made
the equipment's pulsed mode unsuitable for many high speed
A few years ago, you could purchase a Miller "electrical
interface" for the robot and power source. With correct
consumables and weld data communication speed was not an
issue. When something went wrong with this electrical
equipment any electrician could quickly identify where the
problem was and then repair it. I could duplicate any weld
made today by the state of the art, Lincoln "ethernet system"
with equipment developed two decades ago. I know I cannot
hold back the tide of fecal matter that is now flowing
through weld shops however I can point out what is BS, and
products that provide no real world weld benefits. If you
have to ask a salesman or weld equipment rep about MIG
equipment, be prepared for product bias and a great amount of
If you don't see through the bovine fecal matter that has
surrounded the pulsed equipment, you may want to start to
teach your weld personnel Latin so they can pronounce the
marketing names that will be describing the future weld
equipment bells and whistles.
The weld process fecal matter continues. The Weld Journal reports.
"The Panasonic Factory Automation's soon-to-be introduced B1
power source features a "32-bit RISC microcomputer" that
gives it a level of intelligence more sophisticated than most
welding robots and its data will run 125 times faster. The
result is the use of inverter technology for waveform control
of short-circuit GMAW.
Ed's comments. The graph on the RIGHT is taken
from a Panasonic power source made in 2003. This oscilloscope
volt amp graph was taken by a frustrated engineer at a
Canadian automotive weld facility. He wondered why his
costly, electronic MIG equipment provided inconsistent weld
The electronic pulsed MIG equipment may be advertised as
"intelligent", however someone needs to show the MIG
equipment manufactures that weld parameter, (volt-amp)
stability is one of the most important functions of a MIG
power source. After evaluating the so called intelligent
power sources for almost two decades, I have yet to see one
that can provide practical, cost effective, measurable
One could ask why make a power source more intelligent than
the robot? The robot pendant should clearly spell out the
weld data and time commands and the power source should
simply respond. We don't need MIG weld equipment that
"thinks" we need equipment that responds.
The bottom line is weld equipment manufacturers have yet
to figure out the necessary electronic communication
relationship between a robot and a power source. The weld
equipment manufacturers seem do their thing and the robots
manufacturers do theirs. It often all adds up to unnecessary
electronics in the robot cells.
Weld Journal reports. Thermal Arc is shifting from the
use of teach pendants to controlling the power source using a
personal computer as with the Power Master 500P. "We see this
as something we'll be doing more of," Wiseman said. "You can
do more with a PC than with a pendant." To make it easy for
the customer to use, the company made sure there was "nothing
unfamiliar about the software" he said. "It looks like a
normal Windows screen."
Ed's comments. Are these people REAL, for five decades
this industry has struggled with two simple MIG controls, now
they are talking about using a computer. Give a weld decision
maker a conventional MIG power source and with three simple
parameter settings per wire diameter, as shown in my books and training CDs, and
that person will instantly set optimum MIG weld quality and
productivity on any application in North America. The last
thing any weld shop needs is a computer.
Weld Journal reports. ESAB has begun introducing
machines with a special "switching technology" a technology
that produces efficiencies similar to inverters but at a cost
more like conventional power supplies, Fernicola said. In
addition, the company's new Aristo MIG 400 model power source
utilizes a "BUS system" that enables the power source and
wire feeder to communicate in much the same way as an
automobile's computer communicates with the rest of the car's
Ed's comments. Does this mean we can drive it?
You hopefully are now getting the big BS picture about MIG weld equipment. In the
weld equipment game of one up-manship. Each of these weld
equipment manufacturing companies looks like it's dedicated
to adding unnecessary costs and complexity to the welding
E Mail to Ed 02/ 05.
Ed. I absolutely love the website, its fantastic and has a
lot of advanced information that a professional
welder like me loves to read. I have been working at Bobcat
for the last seven years making the excavators and
attachments for the skid steers. My plant in located in
Bismark, North Dakota. This is a multi million dollar plant
that invests heavily in fanuc robots, lasers, and anything
else that is the latest craze. I really took note on your
section about pulsed MIG.
Six years ago, I was working in the cab/canopy cell. We had
three shifts, four jigs and could always stay ahead of the
weld production schedule. There were approximately 10 people
that worked in that cell on all shifts. For a few years we
used the CV Miller Deltaweld 451 machines. One day I came in
and found that half of our Miller power sources were replaced
with small Panasonic Inverter pulsed machines.
The sales rep who bought in the Panasonic equipment told
everybody just starting my shift that these were demo
machines and go ahead and use them and tell him how they
worked out a week later. The first problem was nobody knew
how to set them up to weld. After playing around we figured
them out. Even when set right they would spit and sputter
during the welds, then they would go from a controllable weld
to a weld that was way too hot.
My weld production went from one canopy per hour to 6 in 8
hrs. Try like hell I just could not get back up to the weld
production I had attained with the CV miller equipment. At
the end of the week we had 9 people out of 10 saying take
these S.O.B.'s out. they SUCK! The sales rep response "we
need to train you guys how to set them so we will all have a
class". They never provided the class and we got stuck with
Six months later we get another visit from the
Panasonic salesman, you would think this guy was running the
weld shop. This time the sale rep was pushing the new
Panasonic HM 500. At this time I started to get into the
robot side of Bobcat. I was working in a cell that had a
fanuc RJ2 and Miller 451 power source. It was nice MIG weld
operation, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND LOGICAL with minimum weld
issues, however but it wasn't meant to last.
The engineers in our plant replaced all the robot cell weld
equipment with the Panasonic HM 500's. Because of the way our
robot cells were setup, we had 1000 pound spools of wire on
the outside of the cell and the wire would have to be fed
through 60 feet of conduit to get to the wire feeder. With
the miller equipment in the robot cells there was no
problems, because of how their drive roll setup was designed.
(four interlocking gear meshed rollers). The first thing that
happened with the new Panasonic equipment was extensive burn
back to the tips because of the how their feeder was
designed. (one drive roller and then an idler). Again the
problems generated was "our fault", yet we were told we need
to learn how to use the Panasonic equipment. To get the
Panasonic equipment feeding the wire in a more controlled
manner, we had to reconfigure the cells so the weld wire was
closer to the robots. Once closer to the robots the weld heat
must have affected the Panasonic equipment as on average they
seemed to burn up every 4 months! We actually had one power
source that burnt up within 30 minutes after it was
installed. About the time that Bobcat was ready to pull out,
somebody leaked to our friendly sales rep that we were going
testing both Lincoln and a new Miller model. The rep came
back and told us that we should wait on changing over because
Panasonic was releasing their HM 500 II machine and that they
were much better machines. The salesroom gave the usual BS
and demonstrate a machine to management that had more had
more control than the cock pit in an airplane. There was of
course an extra price to pay for the extra knobs but our
gullible management again bought into the sales pitch.
Bobcat used to like to keep its weld equipment for at least
15 years before they changed them out. We had
the Panasonic equipment for less than 48 months when the
management decided it had to go. I am back to welding with
the Miller 451 and making some pretty sweet weld beads. I
absolutely love welding but when you get people that come in
and they don't know what they are talking about, it makes a
McD's job start to look pretty good. Ed your website is great
and I look forward to soaking up more knowledge from it. Best
regards and thanks for your time to read this novel.
Note from Ed. This e-mail had it all. Lack of process
expertise from both management and engineers. Lack of
equipment ownership from management. The consequences from
weld sales influence. Frustrated weld personnel. Over priced
pulsed MIG equipment and an industry that looks to useless
bells and whistles as a crutch for it's lack of weld process
MIG Contact Tip
MIG weld Question.
Ed MIG contact tip issues is a prime cause of robot down
time at our plant. We make steel auto / truck shock
components. I figure we are loosing over one hour of robot
production per- robot due to the contact tip issues. I have
read about special alloy tips and their influence on tip
longevity and seen different tip profiles. My question is
should we be doing more work on tip evaluation?
Signed. Frustrated robot weld tech.
Thanks to different alloy additions to copper of course some
contact tips will offer different properties that can affect
wear or conductivity. The shape of the tip is rarely
relevant, thicker is typically just a little better than
thinner. The real issue in most weld shops that utilize arc
welding robots is to first recognize the process root cause
of the contact tip failures. The vast majority of contact
tips require replacement due to the following;
[a] Wire burn back due to poor robot weld start / end
[b] Use of oversized MIG wires causing the use of globular
weld transfer. The large globular droplets quickly block the
contact tip bore.
[c] Spatter caused by poor weld parameters.
[d] Wire cast or helix issues.
[e] Tip in wrong position or nozzle to close to weld.
[f] Pulsed or spray parameters that create a short wire stick
The resolutions to eliminating all major contact tip
problems are spelled out in my robot process control training
resources, click here
Contact Tip Facts. Copper has been the material of choice
for many decades, primarily because, after silver, it
displays the second best electrical conductivity amongst all
metals. Due to it's face centered cube crystalline structure,
pure copper is naturally ductile. Copper for contact tips is
strengthened by a number of strengthening mechanisms
including cold work, solid solution, precipitation hardening
and dispersion strengthening.
The most popular and inexpensive copper alloy used in North
America for contact tips is CDA C12200 P deoxidized copper).
Precipitation hardening alloys such as C18100 (Cu-Cr-Zr),
C18200 (Cu-Cr), C17510 (Cu-Be) have been common for high
performing tips since generally they tend to have higher
physical wear performance than C12200. Unfortunately, as most
strengthening mechanisms, precipitation-hardening can
compromise the electrical conductivity of copper. Plant
experience with these alloys has been mixed; however keep in
mind most plants do not correctly analyze the root cause of
the tip problems and even fewer plants will take the logical
process corrective actions. I found good tip data at
www.finn-tips.com/copper-alloy-tips.htm. The bottom line if
you are having contact tip problems the problems are
typically not with the tips.
Dec 2009: E-Mail:
Dear Ed. I read your article on pulsed MIG and multi
- process power sources about 12 months ago and agree with
you entirely that they are far to complex and the
advantages ( if any ) are minimal,
electronics with their inbuilt sensitivities have no place
in a welding shop environment . The company I work
for recently fell for the old sales trick and bought a
Kempii Synergic Mig with all the bells and whistles to go
with it ( tractor, tracks etc ) all costing about
The Kempii power source is rated at 100% at 400 amps
with a water-cooled gun. As far as I'm concerned this weld
equipment is the most cantankerous, unreliable bucket of
crap that ever had electrons shovelled through it .
Although the gun is water - cooled the tips are prone to
overheat and jam . The only way I've been able to overcome
this is to use a 1.2 mm tips with 1 mm wire . The pulse
parameters are so useless they border on farcial, maybe
they were designed by an electronic comittee at Kemmpi,
certainly not by anybody with a bit of basic process
knowledg about welding. This machine will do nothing that
I cannot achieve with 400 amp CV machine and Standard
Tweco gun and tips. I 've been the the game for 35 years
and been doing coded welding for 30 of those years, but I
have never seen such a complete waste of money or resources
. P.S We have a minor political party over
here called the Democrat (no relation to the US guys
) and their motto is " Keep the bastards honest " . Ed I
hope you continue todo what you do for the welding