E-mail Question: Ed, my company is Hayes Lemmerz. Hayes is a global supplier of car and truck wheels. Since we introduced Pulsed MIG, Miller Maxtrons and Miller Invisions to our automated, high weld speed, production lines we have had extensive, automated weld production and rework issues which are eroding our profit margins.
Typical the wheel weld problems that we have experienced with the Miller pulsed MIG automated weld equipment when welding the steel wheels have been;
 welds skipping resulting in weld areas that contain unacceptable thin welds,
 missed welds,
 welds with inconsistent weld penetration and crater cracks,
 weld globs,
 unexplained weld porosity,
 Inconsistent weld surface appearance,
 inconsistent weld undercut,
 numerous arc start, crater and weld tie in issues,
 numerous wire burn back issues,
 extensive weld equipment break downs.
Ed's reply. In any weld shop,a priority has to be that managers, engineers or technicians have the ability to select and evaluate weld equipment and weld transfer modes that are critical for their daily production.
I visited this wheel company around 2000 and evaluated the weld issues and the Miller pulsed MIG equipment. The MIG equipment was a disgrace, it's hard to understand how the corporate executives at Miller would have let these erratic power sources ever leave the factory. The weld solution was simple. I switched the pulsed modes off and switched the spray modes on. I then provided an actual demonstration of the superiority of the more consistent CV spray transfer at the high wire feed rates required. I followed up with an extensive report on the root causes of the wheel weld issues and solutions and training requirements to get the required weld productivity and quality.
Unfortunately your management had no one who would take ownership of this major weld problem. They could have changed the equipment, they could have sued Miller. This wheel company declared bankruptcy within 36 months of this question, what a coincidence.
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE INCOMPETENT MANAGEMENT AT THE WHEEL COMPANY SHOULD HAVE SUED THE INCOMPETENT MANAGEMENT AT MILLER FOR SELLING THEM THE INCOMPETENT WELD EQUIPMENT THAT HAD DRAMATIC COST CONSEQUENCES TO THEIR INCOMPETENT ORGANIZATION.
LETS GET BACK TO WELD REALITY, TO SUE MILLER OR ANY WELD EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER, THE MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT WOULD FIRST NEED THE FUNDAMENTAL ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE ROOT CAUSE OF THEIR MANUFACTURING ISSUES. OF COURSE ONCE THEY REALIZED THE WELD EQUIPMENT WAS THE ROOT CAUSE AND THEY WERE RESPONSIBLE IN THE PURCHASE OF THAT EQUIPMENT, IT'S GOT TO BE DIFFICULT TO WIN A LAW SUITE WITH THIS TYPE OF INCOMPETENCE.
2005 PULSED REALITY: This is my weld reality. In the last twenty plus years during the pathetically slow pulsed MIG equipment evolution, I had plenty of time to check out the European, Japanese and American pulsed equipment. I found out that irrespective of who made this equipment the pulsed MIG process provided weld energy benefits for heat sensitive thin aluminum components, yet rarely found practical evidence that this process had the capability to provide any real world weld benefits for common steel and stainless welds on;
 HIGH SPEED ROBOT APPLICATIONS >3 mm.
 MANUAL OR ROBOT WELD APPLICATIONS, in which the requirements are consistent / optimum weld fusion with welds on parts over 3 mm.
FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT THINK I AM AN OLD FART STUCK IN AN 1980 MIG EQUIPMENT TIME WARP. YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT IN OCT 2005 I AM THE CONSULTING WELD MANAGER OF A COMPANY THAT EACH YEAR USES MORE THAN A MILLION POUNDS OF WELD WIRE ON DIFFICULT PULSED MIG OVERLAY APPLICATIONS. THESE APPLICATIONS STILL SUFFER FROM ERRATIC PULSED ARCS YET PROVIDE THE REAL WORLD OVERLAY BENEFIT OF LOWER OPEN ARC ENERGY THAN THAT PROVIDED WITH TRADITIONAL SPRAY TRANSFER.
I WROTE MY FIRST PULSED MIG ARTICLE 22 YEARS AGO. DURING THE LAST THREE DECADES I HAVE WRITTEN MORE THAN 30 PROCESS CONTROL ARTICLES. I WAS THE MARKETING OR TRAINING MANAGER FOR FOUR OF THE WORLD'S TOP SIX WELD EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLE SUPPLIERS. I KNOW THIS PROCESS. WITH IMPROVING WELD QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY IN OVER 1000 COMPANIES IN TEN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, I KNOW MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT. I KNOW THE MAJOR EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLE MANUFACTURERS AND I KNOW BS WHEN IT COMES OUT OF THE MOUTH OF A SALESMAN OR IN THE FORMAT OF A GLOSSY BROCHURE ABOUT A POWER SOURCE.
THE PRIMARY ISSUE WITH PULSED MIG IS NOT WITH THE UNIQUE PULSED WELD TRANSFER MODE. THE ISSUE FOR TWO DECADES HAS BEEN THE INABILITY OF THE PULSED EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURES TO BUILD PULSED EQUIPMENT THAT CAN PROVIDE HIGH DEPOSITION WELDS IN A CONSISTENT CONTROLLED MANNER. PLUS IT DID NOT HELP THAT THE PULSED EQUIPMENT RARELY LASTED A FEW MONTH LONGER THAN IT'S WARRANTY BEFORE COSTLY EQUIPMENT REPAIRS WERE REQUIRED.