Money talks. In almost all companies, costs and expenses are critical components in decision-making, and the king is the one who achieves the highest quality at the lowest total cost. In the world of welding, not only the purchase price of welding equipment is significant, but also the price of frequently replaced welding consumables. Wouldn’t you also like to achieve significant cost savings in consumables?
In MIG/MAG welding, welding guns consist of several different consumables such as nozzles and wire liners. The unit price of these small parts may not be very significant, but if Company Ltd. employs, for example, 50 welders and each of them changes a contact tip twice a week for a year, this already means more than 5,000 contact tips per year. There are cheap imitations on the market, but the real savings lie in the lifetime and durability of consumables. Good quality consumables last longer, and when consumables are replaced less frequently, the welder’s effective working time is also increased, and no time is spent searching for new parts and replacing them.
Here are five easy tips to extend the life of your consumables while saving on overall costs.
1. Use properly, maintain well
A professional welder can change a gas nozzle even with his eyes closed. However, in the rush of work, proper maintenance may be forgotten, or it is not considered important enough. A properly installed and cleaned welding gun is, however, significantly more durable when it comes to consumables. The gun’s user manual provides the best quick tips for proper installation and cleaning. The weld head can be easily cleaned by removing spatters with pliers, for example. By using an anti-spatter agent, the largest spatters can also be avoided.
Whenever you change the wire spool, it is a good idea to clean the wire liner by blowing compressed air through it; this way you can avoid blockages and wasting time in opening them. These benefits have also been noticed at a Finnish shipyard.
2. Choose the right one
The better the welding gun is chosen according to the application, the longer it will last. Important selection criteria include the base material to be welded, the welding parameters, the length of the welds, the reach, and the power. Due to its good duty cycle, a water-cooled welding gun is better in long welds and more durable, but on the other hand, it is slightly more expensive and requires more maintenance than a gas-cooled one. Similarly, smaller models are less expensive but cannot withstand a high power supply. Sometimes, however, there are situations and spaces for which only a small welding gun is suitable.
The idea of “I’ll just quickly weld a bit with this” will soon turn out to be fatal for a contact tip if it is not suitable for the intended use. Contact tips and wire liners should be selected according to the base material. You can find the recommendation table for contact tip clearances by base materials here and in our Flexlite catalogue:
The proper wire feed rolls and their optimal tightness also affect the smoothness of welding and thus the durability of the consumables.
3. Invest in quality
A cheap price tag can be attractive but has a long-term impact on costs; high-quality, original consumables are more durable than cheap copies. Longer service life and less frequent replacement bring savings, and at the same time, you can be confident that the product will suit your needs.
Original consumables selected for Kemppi’s Flexlite GX welding guns may be more expensive than their distant cousins but correspondingly last much longer. In addition, they come with a responsible manufacturer’s product support for any problems or frequently asked questions the user might have. High-quality consumables increase productivity and lower overall costs.
4. Keep your distance
Too short stick-out, i.e. the distance between a workpiece and a contact tip, is a common problem in welding, as a welder gets better support when leaning the gas nozzle on the workpiece and is therefore happy to do so. However, this increases heat input, and heating consumables are short-lived. One solution is a longer gas nozzle.
Always follow the recommended welding parameters that your company has specified for welding. You can also find the recommended values, tested and approved by Kemppi, in the Flexlite GX manual. Note, however, that with too short stick-out, these values no longer apply.
5. Treat it as if it was your own
What if all welders of Company Ltd. had their own personal welding gun? From the versatile Flexlite range, not only can everyone pick the model they like best and find most suitable, but it is also a well-known fact that one takes better care of his own equipment. However, as the employees often change work stations and work in shifts, it is common that each welding station has its own welding gun. Good quality control encourages taking better care of shared tools too.
The user manual exists likewise for you and the welders of Company Ltd., and from there you will find up-to-date information on the use and suitability of the various Flexlite models. In addition, for Billy the Buyer, you can remind that the new Flexlite models have fewer consumables, which are compatible with more different models than before – ease of use and comfort for the welders, as well as fewer lines in a purchase order.