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THERE WILL BE LESS CONCERNS WITH MIG & FLUX CORED WELD QUALITY, PRODUCTIVITY, REWORK, REJECTS, RECALLS AND LIABILITY ISSUES, WHEN THE MANUAL AND ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROLS & BEST WELD PRACTICES AVAILABLE AT THIS WEB SITE ARE IMPLEMENTED.
Ed's MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process Control - Best Weld Practice
Self Teaching - Training Resources
are used by companies in 27 countries.
When weld personnel "play around" with their six decade old MIG weld controls, or weld decision makers have to turn to a "salesman" for MIG / FCA weld advice, this is an
indication that someone in the front office is not doing their job?
Most MIG or flux cored welders with minimum experience can make an acceptable weld. However when a company employs a team of welders, to produce Uniform, Optimum, Consistent Weld Quality, always at the lowest possible weld costs, that company requires that all their weld personnel (including the front office) should understand the required Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices,
GLOBAL WELD SHOPS AND COMMON DENOMINATORS:
The MIG and Gas Shielded Flux Cored process have for decades accounted for approx. 80% of the daily, global welds produced, yet It's common to find the following in global weld shops that utilize these important processes;
 PLAY AROUND INDUSTRY: Experienced manual weld personnel that frequently will "play around" with MIG or Flux Cored weld controls that have hardly changed in decades.
 NEGATIVE SALES INFLUENCE: Managers, engineers and supervisors that have to rely on "weld sales advice" for their weld issue resolutions. Sales influence has had an extensive negative / costly impact for many weld shops. Every day costly Pulsed MIG equipment, cored wires and three part MIG gas mixes are being purchased, yet it takes only a few minutes to prove that these products typically bring minimal value to most weld shops.
 LACK OF WELD PROCESS OPTIMIZATION: Weld decision makers who are not familiar with the manual or robot MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process Controls
and the Best Weld Practices that enable consistent, optimum, weld quality and productivity at the lowest costs.
 WELD COST CONFUSION: Weld decision makers who often focus on their weld consumable costs which typically account for less than 20% of weld costs, and yet, are not aware of the weld deposition rate potential or arc on time potentials that will influence over 75% of their hourly weld costs.
Note: In the hundreds of companies that I visited in 13 countries, I never talked to a single weld decision maker who knew the real weld costs of the common daily welds they produced.
It's unfortunate that the majority of global weld shop do not place focuss on the extensive weld quality improvements and dramatic weld cost reduction benefits, that can be attained from MIG and Flux Cored weld
Best Weld Practices & Weld Process Control Expertise.
Throughout the weld industry, every day hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to manual and robot weld issues, the majority of which don't start on the weld shop
they commence from the lack of Weld Process Control & Best Weld Practice Expertise that typically prevails in the front office.
Ed Craig, Oct.2015.
In the industrialized nations, throughout the weld industry, you will often hear complaints about competing lower labor costs from numerous countries. However rarely will you hear discussions on the expertise and the ability of the key weld decision makers. In your organization how many managers, engineers, supervisors, technicians and weld educators can you point to that can provide the weld process control - best practice expertise thats necessary for their work force to consistently produce optimum, manual, automated & robot weld quality and productivity always at the lowest possible costs.
In companies in which mfg.. management, supervision or engineers lack the ability to control and optimize the results from their primary mfg. equipment, the reality is you have an organization in which the key decision makers are not taking ownership, responsibility and accountability for what goes on in their facilities. I believe this is one of the prime root causes for many of the mfg. quality - productivity issues that are generated in all countries.
IN 2014, 60 MILLION VEHICLES WERE RECALLED IN THE USA, THIS IS A STAGGERING FIGURE FOR A COUNTRY THATYPICALLY PRODUCES AN AVERAGE 11 TO 14 MILLION VEHICLES PER-YEAR, A COUNTRY THAT USED TO PRIDE ITSELF ON IT'S MFG. AND ENGINEERING EXPERTISE,
Most of the defects that will occur in a manufactured product will typically be the result of a poor decision made by a designer, a manager, engineer, supervisor or technician. It's anticipated that the latest vehicle recall costs for the auto is industry, and the resulting long term law suites that will likely result, could be some where between 15 - 30 billion dollars.
The extraordinary loss of potential profit for the USA auto industry should be difficult to grasp in a manufacturing industry that's supposed to be top heavy with university educated managers and engineers, an industry that has also in the last few decades spent billions of dollars implementing a variety of Quality Control Programs, training programs and mfg. standards.
IN THE AUTO - TRUCK INDUSTRY, WELD ISSUES WILL
OFTEN START IN THE FRONT OR CORPORATE OFFICE:
In the auto
- truck industry, and in other large industries that have multi-plant manufacturing facilities, you will frequently find corporate, manufacturing executives that operate in front of their computors sitting behind their air conditioned glass walls. Unforunately few of these individuals will fully comprehend the technical expertise required for both their plants and for their plant managers, engineers, technicians and supervisors.
JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THE COMMON POOR JOB DESCRIPTIONS: The expertise of any manager will quickly be evident through how well the job description are defined for every person in the organization. With robot welds, most of the job descriptions I viewd in hundreds of plants, typically indicated that the responsible managers and their peers, did not comprehend the technical and Robot Weld Process Control and Best Practices expertise thats required by the plant engineers, technicians supervisors and maintenance personnel. For example,
it's the norm in many auto - truck plants, for managers to order new robot weld cells, while from a MIG - Resistance weld quality - productivity perspective, the robots in their plants are typically under utilized as a result of the lack of robot weld process control - best practice expertise that prevails in the plant.
A few of the reasons for the global, common poor robot MIG weld results are;
Thecommon lack of management - engineer and supervision awareness of the real robot MIG weld productivity potential.
[b] The management ignorance about the importance of weld process controls and best weld practices that are necessary to attain consistent, optimum, uniform weld quality.
The lack of expertise in the root causes of unnecessary robot down time.
[d] The too common poor engineering - mfg. practices with the parts produced for the robot cells.
[e] The frequent poor design of robot welded parts
[f] Poor fixtures and poor robot cell maintenance.
COMMON GLOBAL, WELD SHOP ISSUES.
Lets face it, if you have worked in more than one weld department that utilized the MIG or Flux Cored process, you will have likely experienced the common weld shop reliance and consequences from accepting weld sales advice. Also you may have had to daily listen to confused weld discussions that were usually based more on weld myths than weld reality.
For those of you that have walked through more than one weld shop, you may have wondered, why the wide variety and lack of uniformity with the MIG weld equipment, the weld guns, weld wires and gas mixes utilized. Or perhaps you simply wondered why no one ever in the weld shop had a discussion on how to control the real costs associated with the daily welds. Or perhaps you simply wondered why there was no evidence of the implementation of highly cost effective, Best Weld Practices.
In the majority of global weld shops, you will find that the front office personnel do not take full ownership and responsibility for the MIG equipment, consumables and processes utilized on the weld shop floor. In these facilities you will find weld personnel that play around with their weld controls. In these weld shops one job the management will do well, is they will ensure that their welders do not run out of the never ending grinding discs that are required when the MIG and Flux Cored weld processes are not optimized.
THE BAD NEWS: A LACK OF AWARENESS ON THE REQUIREMENTS TO ATTAIN THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE MANUAL - ROBOT WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTION, ALONG WITH LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ON CONTROLLING WELD COSTS WILL BE FOUND IN THE FRONT OFFICE OF MOST OF THE GLOBAL WELD SHOPS THAT USE THE MIG AND FLUX CORED PROCESS.
THE GOOD NEWS: AS A RESULT OF THE ABOVE
, WITH OME OF MY EASY TO TEACH TRAINING PROGRAMS, TYPICALLY THERE IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR WELD QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS WITH EXTENSIVE WELD COST REDUCTIONS FOR REDUCED WELD LIABILITY CONCERNS AND INCREASED COMPANY PROFITS.
In most weld shops, the management focus on weld costs will often be on the costs of the welding consumables such as wires, gas mixes and grinding wheels. In North America, weld consumables typically account for less than 20% of the actual weld costs. If management is not focussed or knowledgable about the requirements of weld process optimization, it's impossible for them to control their weld costs, and therefore it's impossible for them to optimize the companies weld profits.
Many of you that are involved with MIG and Flux Cored weld costs, will be aware of the complexity that can surround this important topic. You will be pleased to know that my training materials, simplify this subject.
ANY TECH INDUSTRY IN WHICH THE MAJORITY OF MANAGERS AND ENGINEERS RELY ON SALESMAN FOR GUIDANCE, WILL LIKELY BE AN INDUSTRY SATURATED WITH Useless Bells & Whistles, AN INDUSTRY THAT DAILY HAS EXTENSIVE COST REPERCUSSIONS. AN INDUSTRY THAT SUFFERS FROM LIABILTY CONSEQUENCES..
When MIG or Flux Cored manual or robot weld issues occur, many weld managers, engineers, supervisors or technicians will not think twice about getting 'weld advice from the local weld sales rep. The rep is often an individual who has never run a weld shop, a person who is more likely to have a degree in History, English or the Arts. Lets face it, if a weld shop wants to attain maximum weld profits, that shop should be run by individuals who understand the requirements of weld process controls and best weld practices and the importance of weld process ownership.
ANY GLOBAL WELD DECISION MAKER WORTH
A PINCH OF SALT, WOULD ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.
'Why do we daily have so many weld issues and why do our so called experienced weld personnel play around with their MIG and flux cored weld controls. After all the MIG and FCA process control have hardly changed in decades?
The answer is a simple one. The global weld industry and majority of weld education facilities, have simply never focussed or understood, the MIG - Flux Cored Process Controls & Best Weld Practice requirements for both manual and robot welds.
Why would any weld shop mgr. engineer or supervisor allow themselves or their employees to "play around" with
MIG - Flux Cored weld controls,
when with a few hundred dollars they could have every one trainied in MIG - Flux Cored;
Many weld decision makers and welders are surprised to find that weld skills are only a small part of MIG and flux cored weld process optimization.
To create substantial weld cost savings in the weld shop is usually not to difficult if the person given the task has Weld Process Control Expertise and Best Weld Practice Knowledge, and of course the shop is open to training and has a willingness to change.
Perhaps you are a manager, engineer, supervisor, technician, or any weld person that believes your career weld prospects will improve with Weld Process Control knowledge? Or perhaps you are a manufacturing engineer or manager that wants to optimize your companies manual or robot, MIG - FCA weld quality and productivity. If so please take a moment to review my MIG and - Flux Cord Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Resources.
What you will find at this weldreality.com, home page.
 MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WASTED DAILY: You may want to know the reasons the global weld industry annually wastes hundreds of millions of dollars on the purchase of
useless, three part gas mixes, costly cored wires, and costly pulsed MIG equipment that's mostly loaded with useless, electronic bells and whistles.
 WHAT SKILLED WELDER SHORTAGE?: In the fifty years i have been in this business, I have trained > 5000 personnel to optimize MIG - flux cored welds. Myself or the trainers I trained, could take an individual who has never welded and using my training resources, in approx. 40 hrs, have them pass any MIG - Flux Cored, code weld qualification requirements. With this in mind you cannot pick up an engineering magazine in the last decade, and find some inexperienced weld shop decision maker complaining about their concerns for finding skilled MIG or Flux Cored welders.
Note: TIG (GTAW) welder training is dramatically simplified, if TIP TIG, the UNIQUE process that Ed bought to the USA is utilized.
WHEN WELD COSTS ARE NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD, HOW CAN THE WELD SHOP MAXIMIZE ITS WELD PROFITS?:
If the weld decision is not optimizing a process to attain its full quality - productivity potential, they simply cannot be in control of their weld costs. In the majority of weld shops, you may not want to go looking for anyone in weld supervision or management that could in two minutes work out the real cost of their most common MIG or flux cored welds. Now anyone should be able to figure out if weld costs are not fully understood, (solution here), weld profits can neve be maximized?
 IN MOST GLOBAL PLANTS, INSPECTION PERSONNEL ARE TRAINED TO FIND DEFECTS, IT WOULD BE MUCH MORE LOGICAL TO PROVIDE THESE PERSONNEL WITH PROCESS CONTROL TRAINING SO THEY WILL FULLY UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES THEY DAILY CRITIZISE, AND BE AWARE OF HOW TO PREVENT THE COSTLY WELD DEFECTS?
Why do most of the companies who employ QA, weld inspection resources, have personnel who are daily focussed on finding weld defects at the weld completion, when the reality is, with a few hours with the training resources at this site, those same personnel could quickly be be trained to provide the expertise necessary to prevent those costly weld defects.
 SHOULD THOSE THAT DESIGN WELDED PARTS, UNDERSTAND THE WELD PROCESS THATS USED ON THEIR PARTS?
When you see some of the ridiculous weld joints and gaps with those thin, <1.4 mm gage auto - truck parts, it would be reasonable for anyone involved in engineering department to ask. "Should a designer or engineer involved with the welded part call themselves a professional if they do not understand the fundamental weld process requirements, the weld benefits and the weld limitations of the weld processes that they have selected to weld their parts"?
 PURCHASING A ROBOT IS EASY, OPTIMIZING A ROBOT MIG WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTIVITY NEEDS PROCESS EXPERTISE THAT UNFORTUNATELY IS RARE:
In most global manufacturing companies that utilize MIG welding robots, especially in the auto - truck industry, it's difficult to find management, engineers, supervisors or technicians who actually have the MIG weld process control expertise, and the best weld practice knowledge necessary to daily attain consistent, optimum weld quality, with maximum weld productivity.
 WHY WOULD ENGINEERS EXPECT OPTIMUM WELD QUALITY ON LARGE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN CHINA, WHEN WE CANNOT ACHIEVE THIS ON MANY LARGE USA PROJECTS:
The sad, apathetic, engineering - weld issues I saw at the construction of the Bejing Olympic Stadium, happens every day on large construction projects and ship yards around the globe. For those that never wondered why the building collapsed during the earth quake at Northridge California, take a time out. click here, and find out how politics can create legal liability diversions and create new FEMA weld specifications
The tremendous, annual consequences
poor flux cored weld quality & productivity
at North American and European SHIP YARDS.
2005: THE MAJORITY OF "GLOBAL" SHIP YARDS HAVE SUFFERED THROUGH DECADES OF LACK OF MIG & FLUX CORED WELD PRACTICES AND WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE. THE ANNUAL COST / LIABILTY CONSEQUENCES OF THE RESULTING POOR SHIP WELD QUALITY CAN ONLY BE MEASURED IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
In the last decade it was reported on the web, that each year approx 300 ships are lost at sea. While many
of the ships go down due to the inclement weather conditions, many others when witnessd simply tear apart, usually at their weld seams.
I would suppose that many in ship yard management and also the ship yard share holders are in reality glad that the evidence of the typical lack of poor ship building weld quality ends up sitting on the ocean floor.
As that USA or Canadian Navy ship heads out in that mission of looking for those elusive terrorists and their well hidden
weapons of mass destruction, if I was a sailor on these ships,
rather than be concerned with the elusive terrorists, I would be more nervous about the quality of the ship's welds, and be especially nervous as to what will happen when that next great ocean wave pounds the ship .
The greatest characters in any industry
will often be found in a ship yard:
You can be sure that MIG - Flux Cored weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices
are not going to be found in most global ship yards.
Thanks to the lack of effective weld management, many ship yards will spend
dollars in weld repairs for each ship built..
was the weld manager in a ship yard and also assisted USA and Canadian ship yards with their weld issues. I also developed and provided process control training programs for the yards. When I worked with the ship yards, I enjoyed the characters that I met, and always thought what
a great place any ship yard would be to do a Reality TV show.
In the ship yards, I worked with
Norwegians, Swedish, Danish, German, Polish, Italian. English, Korean, Japanese,
Yanks, Brits and Canadians. and and lets not forget some of the worlds best ship builders, those tenacious, thick skinned, highly
intelligent, canny, very hairy, often wee, Scottish welders.
My experience with these hard working
ship welders, indicated that many times during each shift the majority would either play around with their weld controls, or in the Canadian Navy yard I visited, the welders would use one poor setting for all their MIG and flux cored welds. I never visited a yard in which the engineers, welders or supervisors had ever received MIG or flux
cored "Weld Process Control Training".
ship yard weld management experiences, increased both my sense of humour and also the thickness of my
already super thick skin. The experiences also taught me to have a great respect for welders who worked
through the summers and winters, mostly in very harsh conditions. It's unfortunate that the ship yard welders and fitters were too often managed by "hands off managers" who usually had an understanding of the SMAW process and knew very little about MIG /FCA. These were the guys who were usually responsible for the typical extensive weld cost repair overruns, and made sure that their yard was stuck in a 1960's weld time warp.
For those ship yard weld managers, engineers, supervisor and trainers that are still stuck in the 1960 - 1970's, please note. MIG
and Flux Cored Weld Process Control and Best Weld Practice Training, has nothing to do with your typical weld skills training programs available to your employees..
Click here for flux cored issues and resolutions found in ship yards and other applications.
Click here for Ed's MIG and Flux Cored Training Programs.
Want to see how Ed recieved a few thousand dollars from Imperial Oil
and he saved them >10 million dollars on there pipe weld projects.
More Common Weld Issues that occur in too many global weld shops:
The following are a few of the reasons why it’s important that every one involved with weld decisions, receive the missing link in most weld shops, MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices Training.
 When given a new part to weld, most experienced weld personnel are not sure of the optimum data, consumables or weld transfer modes, and instead play around with their weld controls?
 In too many weld shops, no matter what application is being welded, many of the welders will set their MIG or flux cored weld controls at one scratch mark on the wire feed control and power source.
 With optimum quality welds, it's the weld deposition rates that drive the weld costs. Yet in most weld shops it's difficult to find any weld personnel that are aware of the deposition rates they are attaining on their common welds, or the weld deposition rate potentials with the weld processes, consumables they daily utilize.
A written MIG test or Flux Cored test is a rare requirement when hiring weld personnel. The problem with this, is when weld questions are asked, you will get many weird answers.
 If you were to ask some of your MIG or flux cored weld personnel to provide more weld heat to improve the weld fusion, some will turn up the wire feed speed, while others will turn up the weld voltage.
 If you were to ask the manager, supervisor or weld technician responsible for the MIG or flux cored weld quality and productivity, to let you know the approx. cost of the common 1/4 (6mm) horizontal fillet weld that is 3 feet (1 meter) in length, you may find that person wants to change the subject.
 A large fab shop could easily spend $150,000 annually on grinding discs and over $500,000 annually with grinding and weld cleanup labor costs for it's MIG or flux cored welds. It's therefore logical that any manager would want to reduce these costs. However in this company, as with many companies, the welders are attached to their grinders with an umbilical cord. The welders are creating unnecessary spatter and weld cleaning from welds that were set with erratic,?globular transfer. The process solution is simple and costs about $300.
 You just started in this weld shop and you ask the weld supervisor to justify why he wants to purchase a costly pulsed MIG power source, metal cored wires, or a three part gas mix. Listen closely to the answers as you will hear the words of a salesman.?
 Any manager or supervisor, would want to know how much their weld personnel understand the MIG process. All it takes is one fundamental MIG weld question. One of the world's most common MIG wires are the 0.035 - 0.045 (1 - 1.2mm),
E70S-3- 6 wires.
You might not want to ask your experienced MIG weld personnel.
With argon 10 - 20% CO2, what's the Spray Transfer start point weld voltage and weld wire feed rate for the common 0.035 - 0.045 wires?
It's easy to dramatically reduce MIG - Flux Cored weld costs, reduce weld rework and minimize any companies liability consequences from a future weld failure, that is, once the management and engineers are aware that they should provide weld Process Control and Best Weld Practices Training for those on the weld shop floor and those in the front office.
What's NEW with Aluminum Welds?.
WHILE THE USE OF ALUMIUM PROVIDES SOLUTIONS FOR THE AUTO - TRUCK INDUSTRY IN THAT IT ALLOWS VEHICAL WEIGHT REDUCTION, THE PROLIFIC ALUMINUM BODY USE THATS NOW PROMOTED BY FORD AND OTHER COMPANIES FOR THEIR FUTURE VEHICLES WILL IM'N SURE END UP AS AN ULCER EPIDEMIC FOR THE PLANT MANUFACTURING PERSONNEL INVOLVED.
The easy to use MIG process is a prime manufacturing processes in vehicle production, yet the sad weld reality is, that during the last three decades, (since the introduction of robots) the majority of auto - truck companies and their tier suppliers, have employed managers and engineers that lacked the ability to control and optimize this simple two control process when with robot welds on easy to weld carbon steels.
As with most other major companies that utilize large numbers of robots, Ford is a company saturated with engineers and - designers that are not aware of what robot weld process control expertise is, or what benefits they could attain through the implementation of robot best weld practices. The sad reality is apart from the millions of dollars lost daily, in poor MIG (and Spot weld) weld productivity, rejects and rework, the human price paid for robot weld process ignorance in the global auto - truck industry is not just billions of dollars annualy but loss of engineering pride and job satisfaction, loss of sleep, and of course an increase in ulcers for those that try to make weld decisions.
My PULSED MIG Bells and Whistles annual update:
As some of you are aware, over the last twenty five years, in my books, articles and in the MIG equipment - consumable evaluation, and in the pulsed MIG equipment analysis in the weld programs at this website, I have reviewed the pulsed MIG weld application potential, and the pulsed MIG equipment cost justification.
Pulsed MIG equipment can typically cost 100 to 300% more than regular CV, MIG equipment. During In this time period, my conclusions were. I found pulsed MIG provided real world weld benefits on the following, 'very limited
weld - clad applications";
 Pulsed MIG benefits heat sensitive, aluminum parts < 5 mm,
 Pulsed MIG benefits specific heat sensitive alloy clad
 Pulsed MIG benefits specific "automated" pipe applications,
 Pulsed MIG benefits specific alloy applications > 4 mm, in which many welds may be located in a small or restricted areas, and where spray transfer if used, would put in too much weld heat
Pulsed MIG is simply one of a few practical MIG weld transfer modes.
For those of you not aware. I developed a pulsed MIG clad weld patent that has had a dramatic influence on reducing Boiler Water Wall, MIG weld clad costs for the global power industry. This patent also dramatically improved the traditional clad weld quality and dramatically extended the life of the water wall tubes. I have worked with the Pulsed MIG process, for approx. three decades. However my weld reality in 2014 is this. Apart from the above 4 very narrow weld - clad applications, when welding the majority of the common, steels and alloy steels "weld applications", the only persons that that will typically profit from the purchase of the costly, less durable, pulsed MIG equipment, will be the weld distributors who sells these units, and of course, the weld equipment manufacturer that makes the costly pulsed MIG units.
If someone in your organization believes that in contrast to the much lower cost, much more durable CV MIG equipment, that they can justify paying 100 to 300% more for pulsed MIG equipment, I believe they have been influenced by a salesman. The reality is, the purchase of the pulsed MIG equipment for steel or low alloy steel welds, is usually an indication that the weld shop decision makers lack the MIG weld process control expertise necessary to optimize the regular MIG welds from the lower cost CV equipment.
When the inexperienced weld shop decision makers, ask the welders to test weld equipment or consumables, you know a rational weld decision will not be made.
Anyone in the weld industry that has a logical mind, would find it makes little sense to ask the weld personnel that lack process control expertise and "play around" with their MIG or flux cored weld controls, to evaluate new cored wires, different MIG gas mixes, or sophisticated pulsed MIG equipment.
When looking at achieving extensive weld costs reduction, managers will find it's highly cost effective if they would first recognize their companies lack of MIG or Flux Cored weld process control expertise. Then spend a few dollars to educate all those that influence the weld decisions.
For the most comprehensive data on why you may not want to
purchase those costly pulsed MIG units, click here.
There are extensive weld cost reduction opportunities for managers - engineers, supervisors and technicians,
who will take a few hours to learn manual and robot, MIG - Flux Cored, Weld Process Controls, and Best Weld Practices.
It's Jan 2014, I predict that Aluminum will become Ford's
- Vehicle companies "Mfg.. Achilles Heel".
At the Big Three and the Japanese auto and truck corporate offices that I visited, and there were numerous, I found that many of the highly paid, executives that I met that were responsible for the major manufacturing decisions made at their company's plants, typically did not have a clue about the Technical Expertise involving (process controls - best practices) that should have been required by the responsible plant managers, engineers and supervisors and technicians. This is the expertise necessary to optimize the robot MIG weld quality - productivity.
For decades, many managers and engineers in the auto - truck industry have struggled daily with the attainment of optimum robot MIG weld quality - productivity on their very easy to weld, carbon steel parts.
WHAT MANY OF THE PLANT - MFG ENGINEERING MANAGERS FAILED TO REALIZE WAS, THEIR ROBOT WELD ISSUES WERE NOT TYPICALLY A RESULT OF ROBOT EXPERTISE OF THEIR WORKERS, IN MOST INSTANCES THE MAJORITY OF GLOBAL ROBOT WELD ISSUES ARE DERIVED FROM SOMETHING THAT MOST PERSONNEL DEALING WITH ROBOTS LACKS, ITS CALLED MIG WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE.
At a time when USA vehicle companies recall 60 million vehicles, Ford corporate management make the decision to make their mfg. plants life more difficult and complex, with the use of extensive amounts of Aluminum in the welded structures of their best selling F-150 trucks.
In the 1990s, Ed set the robot MIG welds (above). This was the
world's first successful, multi-unit, robot cell that was used to MIG weld aluminum vehicle frames. The reason this application was a success, even with the erratic 1990s pulsed equipment that I had to use, was I applied my Weld Process - Controls & Best Weld Practice programs to the welds.
Possible Aluminum Forming & Weld Issues
with the Ford F-150 Trucks and other Vehicles.
JAN 10. 2014: I READ THIS WEEK THAT THE SENIOR FORD COMPANY MANAGEMENT ANNOUNCED THAT IT WOULD SOON START TO MAKE IT'S F-150 TRUCK BODIES OUT OF "ALUMINUM" COMPONENTS.
ACCORDING TO THE FORD NEWS RELEASE, THE CHANGE FROM CARBON AND ALLOY STEELS TO THE ALUMINUM ALLOYS, WOULD REDUCE THE F-150 WEIGHT BY APPROX. 700 LBS. THE WEIGHT REDUCTION SHOULD REDUCE GAS COST BY APPROX. 20%.
Why did the January Ford F-150 announcement on aluminum bring a smile to my face? It was quite evident to me in the decades that I assisted the major auto - truck companies with their never ending robot and manual weld issues, that the majority of these companies and their Tier One suppliers have in general employed managers, engineers, supervisors and technicians that lacked the MIG weld process control expertise and best weld practice ability necessary to consistently produce optimum ROBOT MIG weld quality and productivity on their easy to weld carbon steels parts.
Jan 2014: A REASONABLE QUESTION FOR SENIOR FORD MFG. EXECUTIVES WOULD BE,
"IF THE MAJORITY OF YOUR PLANT PERSONNEL HAVE LACKED THE ABILITY TO FULLY OPTIMIZE THE SIMPLE, TWO CONTROL, 60 YEAR OLD MIG PROCESS, OR THE 70 PLUS YEAR OLD RESISTNCE WELD PROCESS ON EASY TO WELD CARBON STEEL PARTS, HOW WILL THE SAME INDIVIDUALS DEAL WITH SOPHISTICATED LASERS, COMPLEX ROBOT JOINT TRACKING TECHNOLOGY ALONG WITH THE HIGHLY HEAT SENSITIVE, COMPLEX ALUMINUN ALLOYS?
Jan 2014: At GM, Ford or any auto company, the daily game is managing high volume production, and the bottom line is, after a few months of either laser spot, seam or stich welds,
when the stamped and laser cut aluminum part fit, tolerances or shapes change,
when the aluminum part cleanliness is questionable,
when the robot & laser has TCP issues,
[d] when the negative robot - laser program changes accumulate and contribute to deceased fusion quality, this typically occurs when procedures / practices are not followed and changes are made by individuals that lack the required programmer / process expertise.
Note: It's to be expected that the COMPLEXITY of the lasers will likely contribute to both ongoing daily weld quality and productivity concerns.
There will be many weld repair questions in the plant and eventually in the body shops on the weld process requirements and the controls necessary to produce optimum "manual weld repairs".
Will the TIG or pulsed MIG process be called on for the HIGHLY HEAT SENSITIVE aluminum alloy weld repairs? Will the repair shops get caught up in the Pulsed MIG BS salesmanship and told they need Artificial Intelligent MIG machines or the silly Pulsed On Pulsed nonsense.
Remember Ford like Chysler and GM and just about every other vehicle mfg.. has for decades had extensive problems with it's daily robot welds and with the manual carbon steel weld repairs. With this in mind, body shops need to be aware that with the 6XXX alloys when doing weld repairs, depending on what has gone on at the auto / truck mfg.. facility, they could be opening up a "STRUCTURAL LIABILITY CAN OF WORMS".
Jan 2014: With the aluminum manual weld repairs that will be necessary at the plants and at body repair shops, it's likely welders may be asked to do, what a knowledgable designer or engineer would not allow them to do? Pulsed MIG which is a high weld energy imput (large HAZ) will likely be the
process choice for manual weld repairs in both the plants and at the body repair shops.
2014: THE REPAIR WELD HEAT WILL BE INFLUENCED BY THE NUMBER OF WELDS, THE WELD LENGTHS, THE WELD SIZES, THE WELD SETTINGS - TECHNIQUES AND ALSO BY THE SIZE OF ANY WELD GAPS. THE WELD GAPS WILL REQUIRE LARGER THAN NORMAL ANTICIPATED REPAIR WELDS. (LARGER HAZ).
2014: THE REPAIR WELD HEAT IF NOT RESTRICTED AND CONTROLLED ON 6XXX ALLOYS CAN DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THE VEHICLE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY IN THE WELD'S HAZ AREA.
Jan 2014: One prime question that the Ford design / mfg. engineers may not have figured out, is what the max weld joules limits (weld restriction limits) that should be allowed for these thin gage 6XXX aluminum alloys, especially as these engineers are aware that the MIG weld repairs will be applied at the plants or body shops. Also what will be the negative structural strength effects from the possible multi-pass repair welds applied to the 6xxx aluminum.
2014: As the use of aluminum increases, I predict that in the truck - auto plants and at body repair shops, that a good percentage of the 6XXX manual alum weld repairs will lead to unacceptable weld quality, weld / HAZ cracks, and if destructive tests were applied, highly questionable weld joint integrity.
Possible Aluminum Forming & Weld Issues
with the Ford F-150 Trucks and other Vehicles.
2014: WHILE CARBON STEEL STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY IS TYPICALLY NOT DRAMATICALLY INFLUENCED BY WELD REPAIRS, THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH ALUMINUM. IF THE 6XXX VEHICEL STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY IS REDUCED DURING WELD REPAIRS, AND THE RESULTING PART STRENGTH IS NOW LOWER THAN WHAT THE DESIGN ENGINEER OF THE VEHICLE PARTS REQUIRED, WILL THIS OPEN THE DOOR TO LEGAL IMPLICATIONS REFERENCE LIABILITY RESPONSIBILITY WHEN THAT VEHICLE IS INVOLVED IN A COLLISION?
Jan 2014: When automotive executives made the decision to go from carbon steels to aluminum for the
F-150 trucks, I wonder how many of these executive were aware that for decades the majority of global auto - truck mfg. companies have been placing poor quality manual repair welds on top of the poor quality robot MIG welds on their easy to weld carbon steel parts.
The good news for the auto industry was thanks to over welding, the poor body / frame SMAW or MIG weld repairs typically did not have a great impact on the structural strength of the carbon steel or high strength steels being welded, (unless the vehicle was of course involved in a crash).
NOTE: BODY SHOPS SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER, THAT IN CONTRAST TO THE ALUM 6XXX WELDS, WITH THE TYPICAL CARBON - HIGH STRENGTH STEELS USED IN THE AUTO - TRUCK IDUSTRY, POOR QUALITY, CARBON STEEL MIG WELDS AND THEIR RESULTING HEAT AFFECTED ZONES, WILL TYPICALLY PROVIDE MUCH GREATER WELD / JOINT STRENGTH THAN ANY ALUM WELD.
BEFORE MAKING THE MOVE TO ALUMINUM WELDS, ONE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ANY AUTO - TRUCK EXECUTIVES WOULD FIRST WANT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO ESTABLISH EFFECTIVE WELD PROCESS CONTROLS & BEST WELD PRACTICES WITH THE DAILY NUMEROUS ROBOT WELDS BEING MADE ON THEIR EASY TO MIG & RESISTANCE WELD CARBON STEELS PARTS.
E-mail from Chuck to Ed. Nov 2014:
While working in the automotive repair industry I have been been made to use silicon bronze on collision repairs that could have been welded with steel MIG wires and now Ive being told to buy a Single or Double Pulsed MIG unit as it will be mandatory on the new aluminium Ford F-150 trucks. Ed, there is very little if any available information about these and the gas to use. Please e-mail me and post information about these issues here in the USA. Thanks, Chuck in California.
The trucks are just hot out of the paint ovens and the E-mails on welding the aluminum have started. I anticipate numerous e-mails on this aluminum weld repair subject. I suspect that the E-mails will show the weld process confusion from those that have to put on a weld shield, and we will also see the laser - pulsed -MIG process ignorance that will come out of the mouths of engineers that simply are not process or metallurgical experts on the subjects involved.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE THAT PURCHASE THE 25 - 60K STEERING WHEELS?
Jan 2014; A logical question for anyone that drives.
If you were driving a vehicle and travelling at 60 miles an hour and involved in a collision, would you prefer the vehicle you were in to be made out of a high strength, highly ductile carbon steel parts, or would you prefer the vehicle be made out of a lighter weight, much lower strength aluminum metal?
Jan 2014: A logical question for anyone that drives.
If you experienced a vehicle collision, would you prefer that your vehicle was made by carbon steels which typically have high tolerances for the numerous poor robot MIG and resistance weld defects that are often found on global vehicles. Or would you rather the vehicle was made out of aluminum alloys which are highly sensitive and easily weakened by the many normal fab - weld shop and body shop variables?
Note: When alum welded body parts are used and they are weaker than steels, in a vehicle collision their is likely to be more damage and more costly parts that will require replacement.
Possible Aluminum Forming & Weld Issues
with the Ford F-150 Trucks and other Vehicles.
On carbon steels, weld Porosity is a minor, common weld defect easy to eliminate. Porosity typically has minimal impact with the mechanical properties of most carbon steels and also high strength steel welds. In contrast aluminum is like a sponge for moisture. With aluminum porosity and oxides are very readily formed, and therefore porosity can be be a major weld defect with severe mechanical implications in the much weaker aluminum auto - truck welded components.
Note: With its increased oxide potential with aluminum welds, the oxides and porosity is also influenced by more weld variables than steel. With alum, variables such as high sensitivity to surface contaminates, weld techniques, weld parameters (especially voltage), slight changes to gas flow rates and the gas composition.
JAN 2014: A logical question for anyone that drives.
If the vehicle you drive has aluminum parts which get damaged in a collision, and the vehicle has to go to the body shop for aluminum weld and fabrication repairs how would you feel about the integrity of the repairs when in 2014 possibly > 90% of the body shops in North America and around the globe would not have a clue on the effects of their TIG or MIG weld heat on the aluminum alloys repaired. To keep up with their weld production demands, I believe that the plants that build the aluminum vehicles will as the months go on, see more and more need for the alum MIG weld repairs. And in the body repair shops, even with training who is going to evaluate the weld quality and part integrity attained, and limit the amount of weld heat that's will be applied with the alum repair welds?
Jan. 2014. Aluminum MIG Weld Fabrication Concerns:
A big influence on the required alum repair welds will come from forming and fabrication issues that are common with alum alloys. Lets face it, you don't have to look far in the auto - truck industry to find robot MIG and Resistance welds that are daily made on carbon steels parts that are rarely built to the design dimensional tolerances.
In numerous auto - truck plants I have had to place robot welds on gage parts that had 2 to 6 mm gaps and these parts were from controlled, relatively new stamping operations. Also again due to the too common poor mfg.. management and lack of consistent good mfg.. practices, the majority of stamped parts welded today as its been for decades are coated with forming lubricants, (oil - water).
The GOOD NEWS. Thanks to the common "over welding" on the steel auto - truck parts, the more serious carbon steel weld defects such as lack of weld fusion, micro crater cracks and undercut typically have had minimal influence on the vehicel part integrity.
The BAD NEWS. Along came aluminum to an industry that typically rarely has process control - best practice expertise,
Jan. 2014. Aluminum MIG Weld Oxidation Concerns:
At any plant that MIG welds carbon steels, it's a a rare event when someone in the engineering department has a discussion on the
subject of "weld oxidation". Once these plants get involved with aluminum MIG weld fabrication, they will learn how aluminum is highly sensitive to oxidation and especially on thin parts in which the rear side of the thin gage repair welds is unlikely to recieve oxide protection. Controlling the oxide formation and porosity should become a hot topic for this industry.
Aluminum MIG Weld Fabrication Dimension Concerns:
At many auto - truck plants, you will find that the carbon steel part weld gap dimensions are way beyond the design dimension specifications. The robot weld gap dimensions will often vary from 0.025 to 0.250. With carbon steels, it's easy to deal with carbon steel weld gaps, as you could use a weld transfer mode like short circuit to bridge the steel gaps without too much concern about weld burn through, or about the weld oxidation formation on the rear side of the welds.
In contrast to the carbon steels, the thin gage, alum MIG welds used for repairs will have a much lower melting temp than carbon steels, and will therefore "increase the weld fabrication (part fit) concerns for "weld burn through". Keep in mind in auto plants MIG weld repairs are typically made with one weld settings or personnel will play around with the weld controls.
As mentioned, when weld gaps or weld burn through occurs with steel weld gaps, there is little concern to fill the gaps and little concern for oxide formation on the back side of open root welds. While gaps in thin steel parts rarely negatively influence the strength of the parts being repaired. In contrast with aluminum parts, the weld gaps would leave an open root weld that's would get minimal inert gas protection and therefore increase the oxidize produced on the weld gap rear sides. That weld oxidation like porosity can lead to further metallurgical concerns and dramatically weaken the alum welds and parts. Weld gap variations should be a major concern for any large scale aluminum applications as those gaps also require larger welds that will result in slower weld speeds. The slower weld speeds will create increased weld heat that can negatively influence the alum parts strength.
Jan. 2014: Aluminum MIG Weld Fabrication and Conductivity - Changes Concerns:
In contrast to carbon steels, "the increased conductivity" that's part of all aluminum MIG welds, along with part gap dimension variations will have dramatic impact on the consistency of the weld fusion or the weld burn through potential that can result. What typically happens in most of the auto - truck plants in which the aluminum parts will be manually welded, is eventually inexperienced personnel will start to make weld changes to either the laser or to the pulsed MIG aluminium settings, and those changes are usually not re-qualified.
Jan. 2014 Aluminum MIG Weld Fabrication - Wire Concerns:
With the aluminum robot MIG weld repairs, the plants will soon have to get control of the soft wire feed issues, the alum wire burn backs, the weld end crater cracks and the weld start stop issues. To avoid this use process control - best practice training.
Using process controls / best practices, It was an easy task for
Ed to set optimum robot alum MIG welds on the above golf cart frames.
Jan. 2014: If a manager, engineer or technician understands the controls and best practices necessary to minimize the variables that can influence aluminum welds, then there is nothing difficult in making sound aluminum, robot - manual, pulsed MIG welds. However in contrast to carbon steels, the aluminum vehicel weld applications will have a much higher degree of sensitivity to the many variables that can impact the daily weld quality and productions. With this in mind Auto - Truck engineers are going to have to do something that for decades most have never been very good at, they will have to take ownership of the weld processes utilized . To control the aluminum welds, the engineers and managers responsible should strive to learn the requirements of robot weld process controls and the best weld - mfg.. practices necessary for aluminum components.
WHEN AN APPLICATION IS SENSITIVE TO MANY WELD VARIABLES AND THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE PART CAN BE COMPROMIZED DURING THE WELDS, IT'S LOGICAL THAT A "WELD QUALITY MONITORING DEVICE" SHOULD BE USED. HOWEVER IN THE AUTO - TRUCK INDUSTRY IF A DEVICE SUCH AS THIS IS SHOWN TO IMPACT THE REQUIRED DAILY PRODUCTION, A COMMON RESPONSE BY THE AUTO - TRUCK PLANTS IS TO REMOVE OR TURN THE DEVICE OFF.
Jan 2014: With a laser process that's very sensitive to an application, an alloy or to the weld joint dimensions, I would be interested to note if Ford used a weld monitor to ensure the weld quality. With the laser weld units available at this time Vision systems are available that can view and pin point the required weld location, and then measure the completed weld bead or spot weld height, length and width that's produced. However as robot personnel will be aware, sometimes the laser will want to do one thing, while the robot TCP works against the laser, especially if the TCP has changed and therefore not in calibration with the laser vision system.
The robot / laser communication and calibration can cause many issues for frustrated maintenance personnel, especially when process changes have been made that are not optimum for the welds. In Fords case, in the past, I was aware that they have removed costly laser vision equipment after it was installed on their steel frame robot lines. The reason the vision systems were removed, was the resulting robot down time (alarms went off to often) proved to be extensive with many adjustments and calibrations required. The bottom line. Remember this is Jan 2014. I believe the Ford robot laser issues will build up as the months go by requiring more and more manual MIG alum weld repairs. I also predict that as in the past when ever something gets complex or impacts production for a major vehicle manufacture, those corporate executives will quickly out source the application and remove it a tier supplier. Again everything that i discuss here is simply a prediction of what's likely to come, and the weld reality is the issues discussed could be dramatically reduced, if those in the front office made the right decisions.
Jan 10. 2014: I BELIEVE THAT THE INCREASING USE OF ALUMINUM ALLOYS IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY WILL EVENTUALLY BE A HUGH ACHILLES HEEL THAT SLOWLY AWAKES THE WE HAVE OUR HEAD IN THE SANDS SLEEPING SHARKS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION.
Jan 2014. If I was a lawyer involved in alum vehicle collisions, I would start to learn about aluminum alloys and the structural strengths of their laser / arc welded, glued or riveted joints. Also I would want to know why special concern should be applied to those aluminum welds that required weld rework. In contrast to the carbon steels used previously, the aluminum repair welds have the potential tp weaken the aluminum parts in some instances to structural strengths much lower than that anticipated by the vehicle designers.
Aluminum auto - truck weld issues
should make lawyers drool.
JAN 2014: AS MUCH AS I APPLAUD ANY COMPANY TRYING TO INNOVATE IT'S WELD PRODUCTION METHODS, THERE IS VERY LITTLE EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS TODAY IN AUTO - TRUCK FACOLITIES ARE BETTER TRAINED IN 2014 THAN THEY WERE THREE DECADES AGO WHEN EQUIPMENT AND PROCESSES LIFE WAS LESS COMPLEX.
JAN 2014: I PREDICT THAT MANY OF THE PLANT MANAGERS AND ENGINEERS THAT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LASER WELD FABRICATION WITH ALUMINUM PARTS, AND ALSO FOR THE POSSIBLE MIG WELD REPAIRS ON THE ALUM WELDS, WILL AS THEY OFTEN HAVE DONE WITH THEIR CARBON STEEL ROBOT PROBLEM WELDS, THEY WILL SPEND EACH SHIFT SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS, CHEWING THEIR TUMS AND CONTINOUSLY BE IN THE FIRE MAN MODE IN WHICH THEY DAILY TO TRY TO QUENCH THE ENDLESS WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTION FIRES WITHOUT KNOWING THE ROOT CAUSE / RESOLUTIONS..
ROBOT LASER - PLASMA - PULSED - REGULAR MIG - FCAW OR RESISTANCE WELDS. THE IRONY IS MOST WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTION ISSUES ARE READILY RESOLVED WHEN MANAGEMENT / ENGINEERS ACCEPT THEIR ROLE, RESPONSIBILITY AND THE PROCESS CONTROL - BEST PRACTICE EXPERTISE THATS NECESSARY TO FIX THE ISSUES.
IT'S EVIDENT THAT WHEN IT COMES TO WELDING
AUTO - TRUCK MANAGEMENT NEEDS TO REINVENT THE WHEEL:
WITH OVER 40 MILLION VEHICLES RECALLED THIS YEAR, IT'S OBVIOUS THAT MANY EXECUTIVES IN THE AUTO & TRUCK INDUSTRY NEED TO REVIEW THE EXPERTISE, MFG PRACTICES AND QUALITY PROGRAMS BEING UTILIZED IN THEIR PLANTS.
To be a manager or engineer in any large scale manufacturing facility such as a Caterpillar, Volvo, John Deere, GE or a GM plant, it would help these companies if apart from the normal production requirements, if the responsible plant managers, engineers and supervisors were also able to;
 Assess the Manufacturing Quality, Production and Cost Risks that will be involved with the weld processes, equipment, materials required to build new components.
 Correctly define, the job descriptions that enable employees to fully control and optimize the equipment / processes that they are responsible for.
 Have the ability to recognize the root cause of daily mfg. issues, and ensure that training programs are provided so all involved have the expertise to meet the daily production / quality needs.
 Define the quality - productivity accountability, responsibility and ownership of the managers, engineers and supervisors involved with the welds.
 Ensure front office employees have the ability to purchase equipment, processes and consumables without the influenced by salesmanship.
 Define and provide the process control - best practice training programs required for each individual so they can fully control the weld equipment processes and consumables utilized.
 Ensure managers / engineers walk a path in which they do not allow deviations in design tolerances, or inferior quality or productivity.
 Ensure that time and resources are not being wasted in meetings with individuals that are not qualified to address the root cause and provide instant resolutions.
 Ensure someone in the front office is aware of the real weld cost of each product produced.
[10) Ensure someone in the front office has the expertise necessary to be aware of when a robot has attained it's maximum weld quality - productivity potential.
PROCESS SELECTION AND QUALITY - PRODUCTION RISKS:
While Robot Plasma or Laser "CUTS" are readily controlled in mfg. operations, in contrast, laser "WELDS" controlled by robots on large, heat sensitive, thin gage 6XXX series aluminum parts, would have to be one of the most complex mfg. applications that any plant or fabricator would have to deal with.
I believe that the last place you would want to put a robot - laser weld
cell is in an organization;
that has a history of lack of management / engineering robot weld process control - best practice expertise,
which has never been able to optimize it's robot welds on easy to weld carbon steels,
that never seems to get on top of it's day to day high volume, fabrication, forming, weld quality - production issues,
[d] that relies too often on sales and vendor advice for its common technical problems.
To add to the laser / robot weld complexity, the management - engineering decision is made to add into the manufacturing risk pot, a complex, heat sensitive alloy that is be be welded with a process that has the most stringent demands
for part fit, tolerances, controlled weld edge preps and cleanliness.
I suspect one day some corporate individual in the auto - truck industry might say. We have to change the way we manage - engineer our products, or "for the amount of mileage we increased in our trucks and cars with the increased use of aluminum, it would likely have been far more cost effective to have got those extra gas miles from improved Engine Innovation".
When lower cost, simpler equipment - process solutions are available to meet a companies weld production or quality demands, of course it's a MAJOR MANAGEMENT MISTAKE when these guys bring into any High Volume Production Mfg. Environment, complex, unnecessary, costly equipment - processes or consumables.
THE FOLLOWING IS NOT WHAT YOU WILL READ
"I HAVE BEEN IN MORE AUTO - TRUCK PLANTS THAN MOST ENGINEERS, AND I NEVER SAW A LASER CUTTING OR A LASER WELD APPLICATION THAT WAS IN REALITY EVER JUSTIFIED.
In the auto-truck
industry, as a result of poor management / engineering practices, the simple fact is that annually this industry will annually waste billions of dollars on rejects, rework, recalls and also on lost robot productivity.
In the large plants that supply this industry its not hard to find executive that are easily impressed by sales people who offer the the latest, costly equipment / process solution. Its harder in these plants to find technicians / engineers and managers who can make the argument why the bells and whistles are not necessary.
This brings us to use use of >250K Lasers. Lasers are products sold by a laser reps, and yet these high tech reps will be able to set up their complex lasers, however, l typically they would be unable to optimize the two simple controls on the 60 year old MIG equipment. And the laser rep tells the I LIVE IN AN IVORY TOWER corporate exec why robot laser welding is better than robot MIG welding or robot laser cutting is better than robot plasma cutting.
IF YOU LIKE "HIGH WELD / CUTTING SPEEDS" FROM THAT ROBOT- LASER APPLICATION, SIMPLY CONSIDER THE LOWER COST TRADITIONAL PROCESSES. THEN ENSURE YOU KNOW HOW TO OPTIMIZE THOSE PROCESSES, AND THEN CONSIDER THE USE OF THESE PROCESSES USING "TWO ROBOTS".
IN GENERAL YOU WILL GET THE SAME PRODUCTION RESULTS AND SAVE HUNDERDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON YOUR EQUIP PURCHASE. ALSO D BY THE WAY, THE MAINTENACE DEPT AND PRODUCTION MGR. WILL LIKELY GIVE YOU A HUG FOR KEEPING THAT BLOODY LASER EQUIP OUT OF HIS PLANT.
I've seen laser cutting applications that I could have easily done with $20K plasma equipment. . I've seen laser welds that I could again with the addition of another robot and the use of MIG or TIPTIG, again create dramatic reductions complexity for the plant and in capitol expenditure.
When management struggles with a fabrication process it's not difficult to understand why they should like for a crutch and give consideration to the often useless bells and whistles that are promoted daily. Lets face it, they are too many managers and engineers who believe that the more money you spend on the fabrication / mfg. equipment, the less production / quality problems you will
IF YOU MANAGE A PLANT AND BELIEVE YOU NEED A LASER FOR YOUR AUTO / TRUCK PART WELD, YOU SHOULD SPEND A LOT OF TIME AT THIS SITE. UNFORTUNATELY GM - FORD - CHRYSLER - HONDA - TOYOTA AND OTHER CORPORATE EXECS WILL RARELY VISIT THIS SITE. AND THATS WHY OVER PRICED, OVER COMPLEX EQUIPMENT GETS ONTO WELD SHOP FLOORS. THIS IS ALSO A PRIME REASON WHY THE AUTO / TRUCK COMPANIES ARE MAKING THE RIDICULOUS DECISIONS TO USE LASERS TO WELD THEIR ALUM APPLICATIONS.
This company needed to SHINE MORE THAN A LIGHT ON THIS UNNECESSARY LASER PURCHASE.
One laser weld application that I was asked to optimize was outside the auto industry. This company had purchased a laser and robot that travelled the length of a track to weld the longitudinal seams on LAMP POSTS. This laser / robot cell cost a fortune and six months after installation there was more down time than up time. The down time was a result of many laser / robot issues that the engineers and technicians could not handle. I looked at this application for an hour, and figured I could have given them the same weld production with better quality (MIG less sensitive to fit). Using two instead of one robot, with two MIG units. my production times would have been similar, yet my down time would enable a dramatic increase in their daily weld product)ion. Also the operator skills and maintenance dept.. concerns would be dramatically reduced. By the way they would have likely saved about $300K on the equipment purchase. I fixed the laser situation but knew that the next day would present more issues. I walked away from that plant again frustrated at the stupidity of the people in the front office. Please remember it's decisions such as this why people loose jobs and plants close,
LASERS AND WELD TRACKING: I
remember in Detroit, assisting Ford with it's robot weld issues at one of it's truck plants. The Ford management had purchased a multi-million
dollar robot MIG welding line, they also had purchased every possible robot bell and whistle including
a very costly Laser Weld Vision Tracking system for each robot on the lines.
The Ford engineers responsible for the robot weld at the truck plant, figured they needed
the laser tracking systems for their MIG welds because the other Ford managers / engineers were simply not capable of producing parts with the correct dimensions.
Within twelve weeks of the new robot purchase, all the laser tracking devices were removed from the robot lines. I could be wrong, but believe the approx. total cost of these lasers was over $250K - $300K. The high tech, weld joint tracking lasers were dumped in cardboard boxes to gather dust in a storage room. The reason the lasers were dumped in storage at the Ford Plant was no one in the plant could handle the highly
technical issues that were derived each shift when laser or was it robot tracking problems occurred and they certainly could not manage the MIG weld process corrections that were forever being made.
ROBOTS AND WELD CELL LOGIC:
 Parts built to design dimensions.
 Well designed fixtures.
 Optimum weld data, equipment and consumables.
 The use of robot Best Weld Practices.
 The utilization of easy to operate & control Touch Sensing / Through Arc Tracking.
 Effective automated robot TCP controls.
 Need more production, first optimize what you have then bring in another robot.
 All personnel (including front office) trained in Robot weld Process Controls -
Best Practices, these were in the most important attributes for any robot cell in 1985, and in 2015, they still are the primary keys to optimum robot MIG weld automation.
RISKS AND LIABILITY.....When the plant decides to use robots and laser and MIG for alum parts, in contrast to carbon steels, they have dramatically increased the liability risks.
HEADS UP MANAGERS, THE LEGAL SHARKS WILL BE LOOKING AT YOUR VEHICALS FOR ANOTHER BIG PAY DAY.
As evident in my Bad Weld Section, for decades as I worked in the auto industry, I saw something that most law companies are not aware of, or perhaps they would rather not want to get involved with. Most lawyers were simply not aware that In general, throughout the auto - truck industry there has been a flagrant disregard by the major global manufacturing companies to consistently produce their robot - manual welded products in accordance with the design requirements.
Thanks to the general, global lack of corporation - management weld quality ownership and accountability, the amount of bad welds produced daily from welds on ships, oil platforms, to the weld produced in the auto - truck industries, should have the legal sharks salivating.
Ed set the world's first multi-robot cell,
MIG welding a large alum fabrication.
Aluminum multi-robot weld cells become very complex, when a single robot
issue can shut down the other robots in the cell.
I have much interest in robot alum MIG welds, and I was likely the first person in North America to establish the robot MIG data on a complex, multi-robot cell, welding the large, aluminum robot application shown above.
In the late 1990's when pulsed MIG equipment was little more than electronic junk, and robot alum wire feedabilty was a major issue,
I managed to avoid the multi-robot cell, robot down time, and also avoid the weld quality - productivity issues and weld repairs you would expect. To achieve this, I simply used my process control expertise and my best weld practices.
For robot MIG issues in the auto - truck industry, you may want to visit this section.
Aluminum robot problems this time from Panasonic.
For bad welds in the auto - truck industry. you will find data here
2014: WITH 60 PLUS MILLION VEHICAL RECALLS, AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT THIS YEAR ON RECALL REPAIR COSTS, A REASONABLE QUESTION ONE COULD ASK. "WHY IN THIS INDUSTRY IS TRAINING NOT BEING IMPROVED SO THAT INDIVIDUALS (INCLUDING WELD DECISION MAKERS) HAVE THE EXPERTISE TO ENSURE THAT ALL MFG. PARTS THEY DEAL WITH, ARE BUILT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE DESIGNER'S SPECIFICATIONS.
In the last three decades, at many of the major auto - truck plants that I was asked to assist with their robot or manual MIG - flux cored weld quality and productivity problems, I was asked to create reports showing the root causes of the weld quality or productivity issues. In my reports provided to the plant managers and engineering managers, I would typically criticize the fact that the weld issues were not generated on the shop floor, they were instead generated by the lack of management - engineering, robot and weld process expertise, ownership, responsibility and accountability. Typically my reports would end up in the front office garbage baskets, and I even tho I quickly solved the weld problems for a small costs, I was rarely asked back.
AS I LIKE TO GET TO THE ROOT CAUSE OF MFG. WELD ISSUES, MANY MANAGERS, ENGINEERS AND SUPERVISORS DO NOT LIKE THIS SITE. THEN AGAIN, MOST OF THESE INDIVIDUALS WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO VISIT THIS SITE AS THEY ARE TOO BUSY PUTTING OUT THEIR DAILY WELD SHOP FIRES.
ABB Robots & ESAB
ARCITEC Power Source Weld Issues.
Welds on Ford Aluminum Car Seats.
I was requested by the management at VAW, a tier one supplier, to analyze the
weld performance of their ABB robots and the ESAB Arcitec MIG equipment. This
plant produces extruded aluminum parts and made aluminum car seats for
Ford. The robot welded car seats and parts required small welds which were made on thin gage
the installation of the robot cells, the robot weld
reject rates averaged sixty plus percent, and the robot down time per-hour averaged
20 to 30 minutes. Continuous production of optimum weld quality
parts has been made impossible by poor management / engineers decision. The issues and resolution are documented in the following weld report. Click
TRAINING - TRAINING - TRAINING - TRAINING - TRAINING - TRAINING - TRAINING - - - -
Their are two ways to get my MIG and flux cored weld process control - best practice training. You can either order one of my programs, or request CUSTOMIZED training, info follows.
FOR MANAGERS OR ENGINEERS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN "CUSTOMIZED TRAINING" FOR THEIR WELD DECISION MAKERS OR TRAINERS, PLEASE GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE UNIQUE PROGRAMS THAT I PROVIDE IN ASHEVILLE NORTH CAROLINA .
HOW TO MANAGE A WELD SHOP & ENSURE MAXIMUM DAILY WELD QUALITY
AND PRODUCTION, ALWAYS AT THE LOWEST WELD COSTS".
Asheville Wikipedia Photo by Ken Thomas Rainy.
Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina. Asheville voted # 1 USA. City in 2015.
MY CUSTOMIZED PROCESS TRAINING IN A GREAT LOCATION:
The following customized MIG & flux cored,
Process Control & Best Weld Practice training program is suited for managers, engineers, supervisors, technicians and trainers. The training is provided in Asheville. NC.
In the competitive global weld - fab industry, increased profits will be achieved by those companies that employ, managers, supervisors, technicians and trainers that do not rely on weld sales advice, and have the Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice capability for weld process optimization.
Weld Process controls - Best Weld Practices is essential to consistently attain the required MIG - flux cored weld quality with the highest weld productivity always at the lowest possible weld costs.
PROCESS TRAINING & WELD COST REDUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
Extensive weld cost savings will be found in any weld department in which manual weld personnel and robot technicians no longer have to play around with their MIG and flux cored weld controls.
Extensive weld cost savings are generated in weld departments when weld processes, weld consumables, weld transfer modes, weld deposition potential and weld costs are understood by the weld decision makers.
Extensive weld cost savings will be generated when the manual / robot weld quality is consistently optimized, weld rejects and rework are reduced, and the prevention of weld defects is understood.
Extensive MIG weld equipment and consumables cost reductions are enabled in weld departments in which the weld decision makers no longer rely on weld sales reps for weld advice. These cost benefits will be many;
The weld decision maker will have the reasons and proof that your company does not need to purchase costly pulsed MIG equipment that's typically loaded with useless electronic bells and whistles.
 The weld decision maker will no longer need to purchase three part gas mixes or a variety of different gas mixes.
 The weld decision maker will not require the costly metal cored wires and will think twice about the flux cored wires purchased.
 The weld decision maker will dramatically reduce weld fumes and weld grinding enabling a cleaner safer environment and also reduce the requirements for grinding wheels & discs.
A COMPANY WILL NOT NEED A WELD TEAM, WHEN ALL THE WELD DECISION MAKERS IN THE PLANT ARE "QUALIFIED" TO MAKE WELD PROCESS - BEST PRACTICE DECISIONS.
My customized training course last two days. The course location is in Asheville, North Carolina. With this program I provide what no training company or global educational facility provides. The participants will become manual or robot weld process controls - best practice experts.
For more info. E Craig. 828 337 2695. E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROCESS CONTROL - BEST PRACTICE TRAINING AUTO - TRUCK INDUSTRY:
E-Mail. Ed I wanted to send update about that
E-Town, DANA plant
that you visited
a few years ago.
As you know on your first visit, our robot MIG
were producing less than 40 Ford F-150 truck frames per-hour, and
over 90% of the frames required extensive weld rework.
Thanks to your Robot Weld
Process Controls - Best Practices Training program,
and your process and consumable recommendations, the robot weld
from our employees are today staggering. Yesterday this plant hit very close to
a record of 76 frames per hour. We daily attain
our average goal of one frame per-minute. We had two recent weld audits. One weld
audit had a total of two failures,
and the 2nd weld audit was the first 100% pass
weld audit in the history of the Ford F-150 line.
We have now implemented your robot weld process recommendations in five of our
A grateful engineer, and a grateful DANA Corporation.
Note The DANA corporation is a tier one supplier and a world leader in the supply of drive line products such as frames, axles, drive shafts, and transmissions for light- and heavy-duty vehicles. DANA employs approximately 22,500 people in 26 countries and in 2010 had sales of $6.1 billion.
WELD PROCESS CONTROL TRAINING FOR ANY WELD SHOP USING MIG - FCAW.
Dear Ed, I want to let you know that by using your MIG - FCA weld process control - best practice methods in one of our plants, we have now dramatically improved our weld quality - productivity and reduced our labor - filler metal costs by approx. 45%. We intend to utilize your training program in all our plants.
Lawrence Bower CWI/CWE.
Chief Welding Engineer.
NCI Group. Houston TX.
There are some USA, auto - truck plant managers that daily sweep their robot weld issues under their office rug. I know one big three company that gave up on their robot welded parts, and shut down the multimillion dollar robot lines, and sent the robots and parts to Mexico, a country where overtime rates and manual labor weld rework costs are not that relevant.
IS THE USA FOLLOWING THE DECLINE OF THAT GREAT ROMAN
Instead of providing manufacturing resolutions that could cut costs and create a more competitive company, many mangers and engineers bury their heads in the sand, while they watch USA manufacturing jobs and the middle class way of life disappear.
With MIG and Flux Cored weld technology, from the 1950s to the 1980s, the USA led the industrial world in MIG equipment technology and in Flux Cored weld consumable development.
The MIG and Flux Cored process in 2014, accounts for approx. 80% of the global welds made daily. The irony with these two important weld processes, is in 1960's there was minimal focus by weld educators and by engineering management on Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices expertise, and fifty years later, little has changed.
The one thing that has changed today in the weld industry, is the weld cost competitiveness, of today's global weld shops.
As most countries can produce welds cheaper than the USA or Canada, North American mfg.. managers and engineers would benefit by applying a controlled approach to the welds they daily produce. It's important that those that make a living from applications that involve welding, take note that the common, annual weld fabrication profits and job related erosion is not a recent thing.
The reduction in weld jobs and weld profit erosion has been occurring in North America for more than two decades, (thanks Reaganomics).
While many involved in weld shops, complain about the influence of competing countries who pay welders and fabricators 25 cents, to three dollars an hour, it's notable that in 2014, that many third world countries have the engineering and manufacturing capability to produce any code quality, manual or automated welds.
The main reasons most companies invest in welding robots, is to hopefully reduce their hourly weld costs, and to provide consistent, optimum weld quality. The reality with the majority of companies that have invested in the robots, is due to the lack of management, engineering MIG - robot weld process controls expertise, and the lack of robot best weld practices, most of the global robots purchased will rarely attain more than 60% of their daily MIG weld production potential. To add to the robot weld costs and production woes, the typical robot down time of 30 to 60 minutes per shift (often not reported) is completely unacceptable, and also the usual high weld reject, and required manual weld rework costs, all add the robot woes.
It's not just the third world labor costs that North American large weld shops should be concerned about: If you work in North America, you will likely be aware that there are plenty of weld - fab shops in the USA southern states that will be glad to weld anything for less than ten bucks an hour. In this increasingly difficult and frustrating industrial manufacturing weld cost environment, it's difficult to comprehend why so many weld shop managers, supervisors and engineers show so little little interest in MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process control and Best Weld Practices expertise.
It's not all doom and gloom. For those North American weld shops that have an owner, manager, engineer or supervisor that has an interest in improving their daily MIG and Flux Cored weld quality, decreasing their product weld failure liability, and increasing their weld shop profits, these things are easy to attain with these resources.
FIRST WORLD OR THIRD WORLD, IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU MANAGE A WELD SHOP IN INDIA, CHINA, USA OR TIMBUCKTOO,
THE COMMON, UNNECESSARY. DAILY WELD OVER COSTS
WILL EAT AWAY AT THE WELD PROFITS.
IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE REAL COSTS, HOW CAN YOU KNOW THE REAL PROFIT POTENTIA?
You can readily find someone who will know the cost of the weld wires and gas mixes, however you have a difficult time finding someone in most
global weld shops that will be aware of the "real world costs" of the common MIG and flux cored welds that they daily produce.
|Ed's weld process training resources
simplify all MIG - FCA weld costs.
To get rapid MIG - Flux Cored weld quality - productivity results that will enable extensive weld cost saving, takes a certain type of weld decision maker.
 It takes an individual who understands the value of weld process - equipment ownership.
It takes an individual who does not want to rely on weld sales reps for weld advice.
It takes an individual who does not accept that skilled weld personnel should "play around" with their MIG or flux cored weld controls.
 It takes an individual who is honest about the fact that he needs to know more about the real costs of the common MIG - Flux Cored welds they are daily responsible for.
 It takes an individual that understands there has to be a high value in weld process control - best weld practice expertise.
Why should any weld shop manager complain about competing labor costs, if that manager does fully understand their real MIG - Flux Cored weld costs, and also does not understand the weld process controls - best weld practices that are necessary to consistently produce welds at the lowest possible weld costs.
Uniform Skills - Uniform Equipment - Uniformity - Consumable & Process Uniformity.
YOU WOULD THINK THAT ALL MANAGERS WOULD WANT THOSE INVOLVED IN WELD DECISIONS TO WALK ONE PATH THAT LEADS TO TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIFORM BEST WELD PRACTICES.
Who benefits from the expertise offered at this web site? Welders, managers, supervisors, technicians, engineers, QA personnel and of course any person that has influence on the welds produced.
I HAVE ASSISTED HUNDREDS OF WELD SHOPS IN 13 COUNTRIES. IN MOST OF THESE SHOPS, I COULD DECREASE THE DAILY ROBOT CYCLE TIMES BY 30 TO 60%, OR I COULD INCREASE THE MANUAL , MIG OR FLUX CORED WELD DEPOSITION RATES FROM 25 TO 70%. MOST OF THE WELD COST REDUCTIONS WERE SIMPLY DERIVED WITH MAKING CHANGES TO THE WELD PROCESS, THE CONSUMABLES, OR TO THE WELD PARAMETERS UTILIZED.
The weld issues discussed at this site are global in scope, and they have been around for the fifty years that I have been optimizing welds. The bottom line, this web site is about what managers, engineers and supervisors have for decades failed to do, and what weld decision makers could do to dramatically improve their weld quality and profits.
Welcome to weldreality.com, which I suppose has been a web weld blog since 1997. My
name is Ed Craig. Many
of you will know me from the 18 years I wrote the QA Weld Column in the USA Weld
Design and Fabrication magazine. Perhaps you read one of my thirty plus published
articles on the simplification of manual and automated MIG and Flux cored weld process controls. If you have a Machinery Handbook gathering
dust on your shelve, and it's not too old, I wrote the MIG and the Cutting sections. I have written three books on MIG and Flux Cored Weld
Process Controls and Best Weld Practice. With fifty years of hands on weld process control expertise, I have resolved
manual and automated weld issues in more than a thousand companies in thirteen different
hope you enjoy this web site which simply provides my personnel opinions on the importance of Best Weld Practices
and Weld Process Controls for the welding industry.:
Note: In 2009 I was in Europe helping a company called Cameron. This company was a subsea valve manufacture. I was asked to assist them with their automated Hot Wire TIG clad weld issues. While in the UK, I heard about a unique weld process called TIP TIG, and a few months later with my business partner Tom O'Malley, we bought this important process to
North America and to Australia.
When you visit the TiP TIG USA website, you will find that the TIP TIG process is the natural evolution of the seventy year old TIG process. In contrast to pulsed MIG, which is the evolution of the regular MIG process, whereas pulsed MIG provides very few real world weld benefits, the TiP TiG process provides extraordinary weld benefits.
TiP TiG delivers 100 - 400% more hourly production than regular TIG and Hot Wire TIG. the TiP TiG process dramatically reduces the manual welder skills, and is very easy to learn. TiP TiG provides superior weld quality than any other conventional manual weld or automated process. If your company welds alloys, TiP TiG delivers the lowest possible weld heat, always providing the best possible metallurgical properties. TiP TiG delivers the least possible weld fumes of any wire fed process. I am proud of the fact that my business partner Tom O'Malley and I, bought this process to North America and Australia. And many of the world's leading engineering companies are pleased that they have now found TiP TiG.
There are weld quality requirements that are impossible to attain
with any MIG, mode, regular TIG, or flux cored, and that's when you turn to the process that I bought to North America and Australia, its called TIP TIG.
Above: Enlightened engineers at Exon, Siemens and GE have after almost a decade found there were numerous TiP TiG
on all their alloy applications. With TiP TiG, most welds are made simple even when the most complex alloys are utilized.
WELD PERSONNEL TYPICALLY DON'T LIKE CHANGE, THEREFORE IT SHOULD NOT BE A SURPRISE THAT IN THE LAST 5 DECADES IN AN INDUSTRY THATS PLACED LITTLE FOCUS ON MIG - FCA PROCESS CONTROLS - BEST WELD PRACTICES, THAT IN 2015, THERE IS LITTLE EVIDENCE OF WELD PROCESS CONROLS - BEST PRACTICES EVOLUTION:
From Trade Schools, Community Colleges to Universities, the majority (not all) weld educators have in general failed to present effective MIG - Flux Cored weld process control - best practice education and training programs.
The following is not a message you will get from your friendly weld supplier.
"The influence of "weld salesmanship" has for decades negatively impacted the global weld industry, and had grave weld quality, productivity, liability & cost consequences".
In 1984 and as it is in 2014, the best possible, robot carbon and alloy steel MIG welds, simply required a low cost, traditional CV MIG weld
power source, a simple two part argon CO2 gas mix, the selection of the "correct" size MIG weld wire, and lets not forget the the important requirement, of an "individual who has robot programming and MIG Weld Process Control & Best Weld Practice Expertise".
However In the last decade, robots have communicated with the MIG power source through an electronic interface, and therefore most MIG power sources now utilized in robot cells are "sophisticated electronic pulsed MIG units" that from a weld perspective are typically loaded with useless electronic bells and whistles. This pushes up the MIG weld equip prices, reduces the MIG equipment durability, adds to the weld complexity, and brings minimal value to most robot welds.
Ed made these 3/8, (10mm) single pass,
fillet welds with the process basics.
Manual MIG welds accounts for approx. 75 to 85% of the global welds produced daily. The flux cored process which utilizes the same equipment equipment accounts for approx. 13 - 18 % of the daily welds.
The growth of the MIG process was in the 1980's further enhanced with the introduction and rapid annual growth of MIG welding robots especially in the auto and truck industry..
WHILE MANY IN THE WELD INDUSTRY FOCUS ON THE SKILLS OF THE WELDERS, THE WELD SKILLS ARE A SMALL PART OF THE REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY TO ATTAIN OPTIMUM MIG AND FLUX CORED WELDS.
When weld decision makers lack MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process Controls - and Best Weld Practices Expertise, there will be frequent costly weld issues and the weld decision makers will often then turn to a weld salesman to provide the weld resolutions. Over decades, this situation has led to a highly technical industry that has an extraordinary reliance on sales advice. The end result is an industry that for decades has paid a high price for unnecessary poor weld quality, poor weld productivity and unnecessary weld cost consequences.
Many managers, engineers and supervisors responsible for weld departments that contain MIG welding robots, are under the impression that "skilled" MIG welders can contribute to the robot MIG welds. The robot weld decision makers are often unaware that while the robots and MIG equipment has the potential to provide superior weld quality
and productivity than manual MIG welders, the MIG weld optimization will not occur unless the worker who provides
automated - robot weld data
the complete requirements of robot MIG Weld Best Practices and robot MIG Weld Process Controls.
Note: Please be aware that weld skills have never had anything to do with Weld Process Control expertise and Best Weld Practices knowledge.
Chinese companies seem to have a difficult time making Wamart steel can openers, so when they build any large scale project involving extensive steel and welds, no one should be SURPRISED IF THE CHINESE ENGINEERS ON THE PROJECT EVER FIND OR REPORT A BAD WELD.
Will the extremely poor welds that were made on the Beijing,
Birds Nest Olympic Stadium,
mean that one day the impressive steel structure will turn into a spiders web for spectators?
by Ed Craig.
Posted. www.weldreality.com. Aug. 2. 2008.
five hundred million dollar, Beijing, Olympic stadium was built on top of an earth quake fault. The steel stadium is wrapped
in a unique designed, high strength steel cocoon that weighs approx. 45,000 tons.
While the world's focus was on the artistic design of this stadium, my focus was on the sad weld engineering practices that were used to build it.
At the end of July, two weeks before the 91,000 seat stadium was ready to host
the 2008 Olympics, I sat in front of my TV and watched a Discovery Channel program about the stadium construction.
The steel Bird's Nest design is without question a steel wonder to behold,
however having a more than slight interest in welding fabrication you know where my
focus was. While I watched the TV show that showed the construction, I did not like what I saw that was going on with the on site welders and their welds and I certainly knew that what the chief engineer at the site was saying about the welds, was simply a load of rubbish.
May. 2009. Beijing Update: Check out what's happening to this
Chinese stadium, nine months after Ed wrote his opinions on the poor welds
and construction at the Birds Nest stadium.
Major MIG equipment manufacturers like MILLER, ESAB, LINCOLN AND PANASONIC WILL ALWAYS, ATTAIN EXTENSIVE PROFITS FROM AN INDUSTRY IN WHICH THE MAJORITY OF WELD SHOPS SEEM HAPPY TO PAY UNNECESSARY PREMIUM PRICES FOR THEIR COSTLY, PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT, WHICH TYPICALLY IS LOADED WITH COSTLY, USELESS, ELECTRONIC BELLS AND WHISTLES.
If these weld shops spent $500 on attaining my weld MIG & FLUX CORED WELD PROCESS CONTROL - BEST PRACTICES RESOURCES, the weld shops would then have the keys necessary to consistently attain optimum, manual and automated MIG and flux cored weld quality and productivity at the lowest labor costs, with ironically the lowest cost weld equipment and consumables.
was my job as the corporate Training and
Weld Product Manager with companies such as Praxair, Airgas, AGA and Liquid
Carbonic, to test MIG weld equipment and consumables that were available from companies around the globe. I did this for more than 25 years.
Today, as many of you are aware, in 2104, you
can pay $3500 to $5000 for a traditional 450 Amp. CV,
MIG power source, or pay approx. $6000 to $14,000
for that pulsed MIG power source.
For weld shop management that has no wish to waste their profits in weld rework and low weld deposition rates, the weld reality is this.
With my MIG - Flux Cored Process Control - Best Practices and Self Teaching - Training resources available here, there will be many weld cost benefits. For example, in contrast to the widely utilized, costly, pulsed MIG power equipment, when welding carbon steels, alloy steels and stainless weld applications, the weld shop will attain the same manual or greater MIG and Flux Cored weld productivity with the same or superior weld quality, from
the much lower cost, easier to maintain, easier to operate, conventional, CV. MIG equipment
2014 WELD EQUIPMENT FACT: In North America, to attain optimum MIG or Flux Cored weld quality - productivity on carbon steels & alloy steels, gauge to any thickness, requires CV MIG equipment that should cost approx. $3500 to $5000 for American built, 350 to 450 Amp MIG equipment. You may want to check out the MIG equipment part of this site to see the weld equipment I recommend and the weld equipment that gives me gas.
When employees lack MIG - Flux Cored, Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices expertise, weld shops will unfortunately, daily waste many $$$ on the following weld issues.
 MIG WELDS THAT ARE MADE DAILY WITH PROCESSES AND CONSUMABLES THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR DECADES, SHOULD RARELY REQUIRE WELD REWORK OR GRINDING.
Note all Flux Cored multi-pass welds require extensive grinding.
 MIG - FLUX CORED WELD SPATTER COSTS GLOBAL WELD SHOPS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALY TO REMOVE, YET WHEN WELD PERSONNEL HAVE WELD PROCESS EXPERTISE, SPATTER IS EASY TO PREVENT, OR TO MINIMIZE.
 IN THE MAJORITY OF WELD SHOPS, BOTH THE MANUAL AND THE ROBOT WELD DEPOSITION RATES ARE RARELY UNDERSTOOD OR OPTIMIZED. WHEN WELDS ARE NOT AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE DEPOSITION RATES, MUCH HIGHER HOURLY WELD LABOR COSTS ARE BEING GENERATED. WITH MY TRAINING PROGRAM, THE MAJORITY OF WELD SHOPS WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE THE WELD LABOR COSTS IN THE 20 TO 70% RANGE.
 PAYING UNNECESSARY HIGH MIG WELD EQUIPMENT COSTS TYPICALLY BY PAYING FOR USELESS BELLS AND WHISTLES, IS NOW THE NORM THROUGHOUT THE GLOBAL WELD INDUSTRY.
 MANY COMPANIES WILL PURCHASE UNNECESSARY
CARBON STEEL METAL CORED
AND FLUX CORED WIRES, WHILE IN MANY INSTANCES, MUCH LOWER COST MIG WIRES WOULD DO THE SAME JOB.
 MANY COMPANIES WILL PURCHASE USELESS THREE PART GAS MIXES THAT CONTAIN OXYGEN WHICH BY THE WAY IS DETRIMENTAL TO MOST MIG WELDS. SAVINGS ARE ATTAINED BY USING LOWER COST, TWO COMPONENT ARGON - 10 TO 20% CO2, MIG GAS MIXES.
 MANY COMPANIES WILL PURCHASE ADDITIONAL ROBOTS WHEN THEY HAVE NEVER ATTAINED THE FULL WELD PRODUCTION OR QUALITY POTENTIAL OF THEIR EXISTING ROBOTS.
ALL OF THE ABOVE, ARE ADDRESSED WHEN THE WELD DECISION MAKERS
HAVE THE WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE THAT IS AVAILABLE IN MY TRAINING RESOURCES.
MIG gas selection has for decades been surrounded by confusion, myths and sales adjectives, and this has had tremendous weld cost and quality consequences for the global MIG welding industry.
The good news for the weld industry is when you find management
it's easy to create large weld cost savings.
It's a weld reality, that the global weld industry could save hundreds of millions of dollars daily if the majority of managers that influence the weld decisions learnt to to take full ownership and responsibilty of the weld equipment, processes and consumables that are vital to their organization. Also it's common sense that in their role as a professional, that weld decision makers should be capable of managing or supervising a weld shop without weld advice from a weld sales rep.
Weld shops decision makers should be able to make rational weld shop decisions that are based on technical
substance. To optimize weld quality, weld decision makers need to be aware of the process controls and best weld practices. To control weld costs, the weld decision makers should understand for each common weld, the weld deposition potential of the weld consumable and weld transfer modes utilized.
How much is one foot, or one meter of a common 1/4, (6 mm) MIG fillet weld?
You would think it would make sense that all weld decision makers are aware or could quickly work out of the real costs of their common MIG and flux cored welds.
It's common in many companies to see increased growth of Metal Cored and Flux Cored wires that typically can cost in the range of $2.50
to $7/lb. These are products that I have evaluated and tested for decades. The cored wires are mostly used for steel welds made in the flat and horizontal weld positions. The reality is that irrespective of what the company who uses these wires has been told by a salesman, when welding on clean materials free of mill scale, the welds produced with the cored products, will rarely offer in contrast to MIG wires that cost approx. $1/lb, any real weld quality - productivity benefits. You may not take my word for this message, however with weld process control expertise, you would be aware of the truth of the statement. I believe that the use and continuing growth of the costly metal cored - flux cored and three part gas mixes throughout the global weld industry is strictly based on ignorance and salesmanship.
For those who have never met me, it's important that you understand my back ground. I have been optimizing MIG and flux cored welds in more than 1000 plants for 5 decades. I also was responsible for testing weld equipment and consumables for decades. Irrespective of the weld application I worked on, I have always achieved the highest possible weld quality - productivity, with no weld rework or weld spatter issues. The welds I produced were and still are attainable with process expertise and the utilization of the lowest cost MIG equipment and consumables.
Note: If a company wants to know how much weld salesmanship has had an influence at their plants, all any manager, engineer or supervisor has to do is think about all the MIG gas mixes that they have tried in their facility in the last few years, and then take a look at MIG mixes in the cylinder storage racks. No matter what steels are MIG welded, any company that has used, or is using "three part gas mixes", or is using more than two MIG gas mixes in their plants, has been influenced by MIG gas salesmanship. Today there are as many MIG gas mixes available in North America and Europe as there are breakfast
cereals available on the shelves of your local super market.
How sad a weld shop would be,
without thick skin,
serious attitudes, great egos, and
a sense of humor.
When their customers are confused, product prices on commodities such as weld gases will always benefit the sellers
ONE WAY FOR MAJOR MIG GAS PRODUCERS AND SUPPLIERS TRY TO GET HIGHER PRICES FROM THEIR LOW COST COMMODITY MIG GAS
PROVIDE SALES INDUCED, BOGUS WELD CLAIMS ABOUT THEIR LATEST THREE OR FOUR PART MIG GAS MXES.
2015: THREE PART MIG GAS MIXES HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FOR ALMOST FOUR DECADES. THE WELD REALITY IS IN CONTRAST TO THE CORRECT TWO PART GAS MIX, THE THREE PART MIXES HAVE PROVIDES NO MIG WELD BENEFITS FOR MOST STEEL AND ALLOY STEEL WELDS. ALSO OVER 90% OF THE TWO PART MIXES THAT ARE AVAILABLE ARE SIMPLY NOT REQUIRED.
Global MIG gas misinformation and gas selection confusion has been the norm for more than five
decades. It's a sad
reflection of the weld industry that the majority of the MIG gas information found in weld
shops is based on weld management, engineering, and supervision process ignorance, and of course, the info they do have on gas mixes is typically provided by a weld gas salesman.
For any company that utilizes any three part gas mixes for carbon steels, alloy steels
and stainless applications, they may be embarrassed to find out they have been part of an industrial gas marketing
con game. For a few years I was a primary contributor to the American Weld Society (AWS) committee that wrote the MIG Gas Specifications. Much of my time at these AWS specification meetings, went into trying to keep the extensive sales biased, incorrect. BS data that was presented on the three part mixes, out of the AWS specification.
2013: Note: Its a sad fact since its introduction, many that contributed to AWS weld specifications were personnel that had a marketing or sales management background.
In the last three decades, in my research roles at Airgas and AGA I developed four of the most practical, low cost, two component MIG gas mixes which are today sold throughout North
America. If you want to stop wasting money on three part mixes, check out my low cost MIG gas mixes. For MIG gas information without sales bias, visit the MIG Gas section at this site.
For five decades all I ever heard in most weld shops was, "why change
the way we have always done it".
OVER A 50 YEAR PERIOD, I HAVE BEEN IN MORE THAN 1000 MANUAFCTURING PLANTS IN 13 COUNTRIES, AND NOT ONE OF THOSE PLANTS HAD EVER REQUIRED THAT THEIR MANAGERS, ENGINEERS, SUPERVISORS, TECHNICIANS AND WELDERS HAD MIG & FLUX CORED WELD PROCESS CONTROLS & BEST WELD PRACTICES EXPERTISE.
THOSE IN WELD - MANUFACTURING MANAGEMENT WHO MAY HAVE HAD MINIMAL INTEREST IN "WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE", SHOULD REVIEW THE FUNDAMENTAL WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTIONS IN MY WELD TESTS, AND CONSIDER THE COST RELEVANCE AND CONSEQUENCES OF THOSE QUESTIONS TO THEIR OWN ORGANIZATION.
Ed's MIG Weld Process Controls Test.
Eds Flux Cored Process Controls Test.
Why the general lack of global focus, on the essential process control - best practice requirements necessary MIG and Flux Cored Welds?
The wide use of MIG welding started in the late 1950's. Yet since
the introduction of this important process, there has been little management, engineering and educational focus on the requirements for "MIG Process Controls and Best MIG Practices. The consequence is global in scope. For decades, the majority
of global manual MIG and flux cored weld personnel have "played around" with their MIG
or Flux Cored weld controls.
In 2014 as it was in 1964, why do the majority in this technical industry accept LOWER TRAINING AND EDUCATION STANDARDS THAN MOST OTHER SIMILAR SKILLED TRADES?
After my 50 years, I am running out of time, and I wonder what it will take to get the global weld management to realize that there is much more to MIG and Flux Cored welds than the "welder's skills" that are necessary to place molten metal in a specific location.
I have never met a machine shop supervisor who would put up with one of his machinists "playing around" with the lathe or milling machine controls. So why would any experienced weld decision maker allow their weld shop personnel to play around with two simple MIG controls that in reality, have hardly changed in the last six decades? The answer to this issue is a simple one.
The majority of those involved in weld management and weld education have simply not been aware of the benefits and requirements for MIG - Flux Cored Weld Process Controls (WPC) and Best Weld Practices, (BWP).
The WPC and BWP weld cost benefits will never be completely attained till process control education is initiated from office at the front of the weld shop, and from all weld education facilities.
Ed's Robot Process Control Program.
THE MOST WIDELY UTILIZED WELD PROCESS UTILIZED BY ROBOTS IS THE MIG PROCESS, YET THE MAJORITY OF FEW MIG ROBOTS THAT WERE PURCHASED IN THE LAST THREE DECADES HAVE NOT ATTAINED THEIR MAXIMUM WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTIVITY POTENTIAL.
It makes little sense why any company that takes pride in it's level of manufacturing and weld expertise, would spend thousands or millions of dollars on robots and fixtures, and then let their workers "play around" with the robot weld data.
There is a simple low cost solution to the global lack of Weld Process Control - Best Weld Practice expertise. During the last four decades, I developed the world's most simple, self teaching
MIG - Flux Cored weld process control training programs. This program utilizes my unique, "Weld Control Clock Method" With the Clock Method, participants with or without MIG expertise, will within a few hours be able without taking notes, to attain the MIG - Flux Cored process control
- best practices expertise necessary to instantly set correct, optimum manual and robot MIG / Flux Cored welds on any applications.
ROBOT WELD PRODUCTVITY ISSUES. ROBOT WELD QUALITY CONCERNS.
REJECTS. ROBOT WELD REWORK. ROBOT WELDS AND LIABILITY CONCERNS, AND LETS NOT FORGET THE CAUSES FOR ROBOT DOWN TIME.
attain optimum "robot" MIG weld quality and productivity or instantly deal with
robot weld issues that effect down time, requires MIG Weld Process Control expertise. With the global
average robot MIG weld production efficiency range at only 40 to 60% of it's real
potential. With the too frequent questionable weld quality and costly robot weld rework usually in the range of 20 to 100%, many manufacturing
companies would with the expenditure of $300 on my self teaching and training resources have a great opportunity for dramatic robot weld cost reductions and robot
weld quality improvements.
For a few years,
I was the North American Robot Welding Manager for ABB Robotics where I used my programs to establish the world's first, "Robot MIG weld Process Control Training Program". For the last two decades when employed as a Process Control Consultant, I provided both manual and robot weld optimization and training to
numerous companies in 13 different countries.
Before I optimize a companies's robot welds, I start out by providing my Seven Steps to Robot MIG Process Controls Training Programs to all the weld decision makers at the plant. I would not provide this type of training program unless all the relevant management and engineers agreed to attend the program. The reason, lack of management - engineering weld equipment - process ownership has been and still is a major part of this global problem, and to establish and maintain the required Best Weld Practices in any plant, requires that all weld decision makers walk the same path.
I developed my programs so that anyone (no weld expertise required) could present them.
MIG - FLUX CORED, MANUAL OR ROBOT WELD CONTROLS. Why not provide your employees
with one of my easy to use weld Process Control - Best Practice training
programs. Imagine after
a few hours of viewing this unique resource, that all the participants will have the
ability to instantly address their daily robot or manual MIG weld issues which impact the daily weld quality and productivity. Imagine, a weld department where no one "plays around with their weld parameters" . And imagine the plant management satisfaction when the weld shop daily achieves consistent, optimum weld quality / productivity without weld rework all at the lowest possible weld costs.
A mystery in TOO MANY global weld shops, is the real world
costs of the common MIG or Flux Cored welds made daily in the weld shop.
MIG AND FLUX CORED WELDS AND COSTS? A weld department cannot maximize it's profits or control it's MIG and Flux Cored weld costs, unless someone fully understand the primary weld processes utilized. One of the world's most common welds is a MIG or flux cored 1/4, ( 6mm) fillet weld. Do you believe anyone in your front office or on the weld shop floor has the ability to look at the weld wire size, glance at the MIG wire feed control and then instantly provide the real weld costs associated with that fillet weld. Using my process control resources, this weld cost task would be so simple that the weld decision maker would not even require a pen or calculator.
When you ask
a manager the cost of a MIG or flux cored weld,
the majority of managers typically will want to talk about the cost of the weld gas mixes and the cost of the weld wires.
Many weld supervisors think they are on top of the weld production as long as they see that the welder's shield is down and weld smoke and sparks are being generated.
What the supervisors and management is often not aware is, the welder working hard can weld a vertical up flux cored 1/4 fillet at
6 lb/hr, or with process control expertise set the same fillet
weld with the wire feed set to deliver 10 lb/hr. Or you could have a MIG welder working up a sweat to weld a common, horizontal 1/4 (6 mm) fillet at 6 lb/hr, and with the same sweat, using my MIG process control data they can make that fillet weld at 12 to 20 lb/hr.
The weld reality is few managers or supervisors understand the weld deposition rate potential of the weld process and consumables they use for the applications they daily weld. It's a sad reflection of the industry that i love, that you will find that less than five percent of managers and supervisors will have the MIG - Flux Cored weld process control knowledge and expertise necessary to
optimize their weld quality and control and understand their real weld costs. That's the bad news. the good news is the solution is a simple one.
My unique, low cost weld process control training resources enables the attainment of consistent, optimum MIG and flux cored weld quality and
productivity for the majority of weld applications, and these resources simplify weld costs.
The shortage of MIG and Flux Cored
always been a global myth:
Pick up a weld magazine in any industrialized country, and you may read about how some manufacturing manager or plant manager is concerned about the so called global shortage of qualified MIG - TIG or Flux Cored weld personnel?
If a company was required to increase it's weld labor force for a contract that involved MIG welding Caterpillar or similar construction equipment parts. Or a Dow Chemical or GE pipe shop was looking for Flux Cored welders who could pass an ASME Sect 1V. 5G. welder qualification test on duplex pipes, Its true that typically it would find that hiring experienced welders was not a simple task.
However, its a sad reality, that most managers and especially HR department management, are typically not aware that if they simply could find people without drug problems, people with a good work attitude, that in general using my training programs, that it would take approx.
40 - 60 hours
to train a "none welder" to produce any weld position, code quality welds.
Those going through my short length training program would have the capability to provide optimum
MIG and Flux Cored welds that
meet any global weld code / specification requirements.
these same companies could also have the trainee weld personnel
attend the usual local weld training establishment and after six months
of costly, wasted effort, you would find that the new welders have a few skills and yet they will still "play around" with their MIG and flux cored weld controls.
THE TRADITIONAL TIG PROCESS REQUIRES THE HIGHEST WELDER SKILLS WITH THE LEAST PROCESS EXPERTISE. AND FOR SOME IT TAKES MANY YEARS TO MASTER THE SKILLS REQUIRED FOR CODE, ALL POSITION, PIPE WELDS. THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION TO THE TIG WELDER SKILLS SHORTAGE. ITS CALLED TIP TIG.
WITH TIP TIG A PROCESS THAT I INTRODUCED IN NORTH AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA, YOU COULD TAKE
SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER WELDED PIPE, AND IN APPROX 10 DAYS, THAT PERSON SHOULD BE ABLE TO MEET ANY ALL POSITION, CODE, PIPE WELD TEST.
By the way, those TiP TiG manual or automated pipe welds will be better quality than any regular manual TIG welds, and better quality than any Hot Wire automated TIG welds. As a bonus the TIP TIG welds will be done 200 to 400% faster with superior metallurgical properties.
A ship yard has a large MIG or flux cored weld project coming up, and will need to hire many more welders. In the past when the welders have taken the welder qualification test, typically one to three out of ten welders tested will pass the tests, and extensive costs are occurred in this frustrating task.
If you want to increase the rate at which new hire weld personnel can pass any MIG - Flux Cored weld qualification test, it would make sense if the weld decision maker in charge would insist that before the welders waste the weld costs associated with weld testing and weld coupon evaluation, they sit those involved with the test down in a classroom and give them a few hours of my weld process controls, and best weld practice requirements .
It's a good job for most weld shops
that NDT is rarely used on the welds.
IT'S A GOOD JOB EVERY MIG AND FCA WELD IS NOT SUBJECT TO
NDT THAT LOOKS AT THE INTERNAL WELD QUALITY.
If NDT was applied to all global MIG and Flux Cored welds, approx. 70 - 80 % of the welds would have defects that are not considered acceptable to any weld code requirements.
I suppose most weld shops are relieved that their welds will never require "internal weld evaluation" However from a safety and product liability perspective, you would think weld shops would want to always ensure the highest possible manual or robot weld quality.
In contrast to most welds, common codes such as API, ASME, AWS, require weld qualification procedures,
yet every code weld that has failed or has serious defects, will be a weld that was supposed to be made with so
called, pre-qualified weld procedures and qualified skilled welders.
WITH MOST CODE WELD DEFECTS, THE MANAGEMENT FOCUS IS OFTEN ON THE WELDER WHO MADE THE WELDS, WHEN IT'S A GOOD POSSIBILITY, THAT THE WELD PROCEDURE, THE PROCESS OR CONSUMABLES HAD A LARGE INFLUENCE ON THOSE DEFECTS.
Apart from the welder's skills, an essential element to the success
of any weld project, is the implementation of Best Weld Practices, and assurance that the weld personnel doing the weld decision makers providing the weld qualification procedures, have the necessary Weld Process Control Expertise.
Response to variables is an important welder's function
I always find it interesting in the weld shops I visited, to watch the weld personnel respond or not respond to the numerous variables that are affecting their welds.
Apart from the welders
"playing around" with their MIG or Flux Cored weld controls, how would the weld personnel
in your shop, respond to the following?;
 welds with too small or excess root gaps,
 welds with joint misalignment,
 welds with poor weld edge preparation,
 welds with
poor weld joint access,
difficult out of position
welds on unacceptable surface conditions,
 welds with undercut,
 welds with
 welds that are causing distortion,
 welds that are creating cracks, lack of fusion, porosity or spatter,
and lets not forget, the influence of welds that are made in changing environmental conditions.
A WELD REALITY: Few weld shops have ever provided their weld personnel with the process control - best practice training necessary to correctly respond to the variables that daily effect the weld quality or productivity.
Imagine the weld cost benefits of a weld work force that is trained to understand how to react to weld variables. Imagine using welders that know how to minimize the formation of weld defects, and will always use weld settings that ensure maximum hourly weld productivity.
If you are a weld shop decision maker and you want to create cost affective changes in the weld shop, you have these two simple options;
 Get advice from another weld salesman.
 Or use the unique manual / robot MIG and flux cored
weld process control training resources. available at this site.
Ed's simple Weld Clock Method, simplfies MIG & Flux Cored weld settings Set the MIG pipe root weld, or a common 16 gauge weld.
10 o'clock, with 17 cups of coffee, (17V).
Ed's easy to remember Weld Process Control
Weld Clock Method© is Copy
For those of you with sparse, or grey hair, you will have likely noted that in many weld shops there is a glass wall that divides the hands off management and engineers from the weld shop floor personnel. That dividing wall often results in the "them versus us syndrome". In this costly and unhealthy manufacturing environment, it's not uncommon to find the ships crew (the welders) have taken over the ship. In this too common mfg. enviroment. you end up with welders who do their own thing and develop unwarranted, inflated egos from the control they think they have in their poorly run weld shops. This old and very tired weld shop quagmire is ripe for the influence of a weld salesman, and ripe for weld quality - productivity issues with weld costs that are out of control.
WELD SHOP PROCESS CONFUSION, HAS FOR DECADES BEEN A DOOR OPENER FOR THAT GUY THEY CALL THE WELD SALESMAN:
Weld shop confusion will often lead to a costly crutch such as the introduction of new weld equipment saturated with useless electronic bells and whistles or unnecessary costly weld consumables. Lets face it, if that new pulsed MIG power source does not help the weld issues, the problem must be with the weld gas and the solution must be in that new three part gas mix. I have been in many weld shops in which the weld distributor salesman spends more time on the weld shop floor than the manufacturing manager.
Weld process confusion always enables DRAMATIC WELD COST SAVINGS:
The good news, it's taken decades to create the cultural weld shop mess we too often see today, however with management driven change, there typically is great opportunity for most weld shops to attain dramatic weld quality improvements and cost savings.
PROCESS CONTROL IGNORANCE - APATHY. FOR FIVE DECADES YOU WOULD FIND IT IN THE WORLD'S LARGEST ENGINEERING COMPANIES OR THE SMALLEST WELD SHOPS:
In the majority of fortune 500 companies in which welding is an important process, you will find that too often there is management - engineering weld process ignorance and apathy.
Most of you who have spent 10 minutes at this web site will now be e aware of the extensive lack of weld management in the Auto - truck industry, and It may be a surprise to find that many major USA fortune 500 companies such as General Electric and Dow Chemical have numerous fabrication facilities which appear to be stuck in a 1960 - 1970 weld manufacturing time warp. These corporations typically rose to greatness as a result of research, innovation and strong management and engineering leadership.
In the last decade, as I visited many of the 500 companies to assist them with their never ending weld issues, I frequently witnessed the growth of hands off managers - engineers, with minimal focus on engineering R & D. Also thanks to the management weld apathy i found that the manufacturing practices - processes and procedures I reviewed were typically established in the 1960 - 1970s. The reality was while the past practices built these corporations, too many managers and engineers are today ensuring often through fear of change or lack of balls, that their companies will remain entrenched in that welding past.
IF A WELD SHOP IS NOT EFFICIENT IN TERMS OF THE WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTIVITY IT PRODUCES, HOW CAN THAT SHOP UNDERSTAND OR REACH IT'S REAL PROFIT POTENTIAL:
In the last 15 years, the North America, management and engineering weld process ignorance - apathy has been a large part of the discussion and scope of this site. Many people are not aware that an important consequence of the the lack of management focus on this important subject is this is one of the reasons the "USA no longer produces good paying factory weld jobs".
APATHETIC WELD MANAGEMENT & A TOO COMMON "ENGINEERING WHY SHOULD WE CHANGE ATTITUDE":
So a fabricator I know in 2010 received an opportunity to quote on a job for Dow Chemical, this is a company that I will simply call a Dinosaur. Dow wanted large, thick wall, stainless steel, storage tanks. When the DOW welding specs were reviewed by the fabricator, he noted with dismay that DOW had requested the worst possible weld process for this large project. Dow wanted the fabricator to use the SMAW (stick) process to weld the 15 - 30 ft diameter tanks. The fabricator complained to Dow engineers and managers responsible, that the use of the SMAW process would dramatically increase both the weld production time, and the welding costs. He also told the engineer that with the SMAW process, the anticipated weld rework costs would be much higher than they need to be if alternative welding processes were utilized. The fabricator requested that DOW engineers enable them to uses the Gas Shielded Flux Cored weld process. The Flux Cored process would allow the fab shop to reduce the overall weld costs by at least 70%, provide higher weld quality and reduce the concerns for meeting the production deadlines.
The Dow engineers and the managers responsible for the project rejected the gas shielded flux cored selection recommendation. The reason give by the DOW management was an old tired one. Dow stated that the initial tanks which were first built in 1960s were welded with the SMAW process, and the engineers were therefore reluctant to change to the 30 + year flux cored weld process. One of the DOW engineers actually had the nerve to say in the weld meeting, "after all why should we change the way we have always done it" .
The DOW management sad attitude, and their apathetic engineering response, has had for this compay, created decades of dramatic weld cost, quality, and schedule consequences. Those that call themselves engineers, and do not utilize the most cost effective weld processes for their applications, should do their company a favour, and change their profession. Perhaps these people would be better suited working at McDonald's, as that's one company who would appreciate "this the way we have always done it" speech.
GE - Exon - Siemans - ABB, I have seen the same apathetic, weld process management apathy at most of the Fortune 500 engineering companies that I visited. The world's largest companies were consistent in employing "hands off", managers and engineers, personnel that were happy in front of their computers, and even happier behind the glass walls that seperated them from the weld and fab shops.
When engineers and managers lack weld process control expertise, they typically want to avoid making weld decisions that involved different weld processes or consumables. Lets face it, if management and engineers at any large corporation wanted to dramatically reduce their annual, global weld costs, these guys would have to first grow some balls, second, get a process education, (requires 10 - 16 hrs of reading), and then take ownership and responsibility for their large scale weld projects.
Extensive global weld cost consequences
from a common weld shop attitude.
Weld quality & cost consequences from many sources:
Lack of Management - Eng - Project Mgt, Supervision Weld Process Ownership.
Designers and Weld Process Apathy.
Weld Decisionmakers reliance on Sales Advice.
Techicians that decide they should stop learning after two years experience.
If they ever applied NDT to all the welds on cars and trucks, they would find so many weld defects, that few vehicals would ever be allowed to leave the plant.
An internal MIG weld evaluation would reveal that for
every four robot MIG welds found on auto - truck parts
one to three of the welds would reveal unacceptable weld defects.
weld reality of the the majority of robot MIG welds that join global cars and truck parts, is the
average fillet weld size is approx. 4 - 5 mm, while the average gage part thickness welded is less than
1.2 - 3 mm. Thanks to the general lack of best weld practices and lack of MIG process
control expertise in these industries, it's too frequently that the "over
weld" rather than the robot or manual MIG - FCAW weld integrity is what is holds together
the $20K to $50K vehicles.
robot Weld Process Control Training resources are
easy to learn and simple to use. These resources will ensure
the personnel in your
always attain the full weld
quality - productivity from
the robots and MIG equipment selected.
Click here for info.
2008. Above Photo: I had to use the ridiculous Miller remote control to set a Miller Axcess Pulsed MIG power source, that was loaded with useless electronic bells and whistles. I knew that Viza, the tier one Spanish auto seat manufacturer must have purchased this new pulsed MIG equipment, based on the advise by a Miller salesman. I found out at Viza, that the Miller Axcess equipment had electronic problems that I had previously encountered with the same equipment in the USA (and I previously reported this to Miller in the USA). Miller management ignored the pulsed MIG problems with their MIG equipment in North America, and introduced the faulty equipment with the same electronic issues to it's Spanish customers.
Check the MIG equipment selection and pulsed MIG section for more info on companies that have no issues making weld equipment, and when they know they have faulty weld equipment, they make no attempt to tell their customers.
Over the decades, I worked with numerous new pulsed MIG power sources that had extensive, electronic issues, and I would report many of the issue to the weld equipment mfg. Yet I cannot recall ever seeing a pulsed MIG weld power source recall from, MILLER - LINCOLN - HOBART - ESAB OR PANASONIC?
For many companies,
would be a first.
Where are the qualified
global weld managers?
The global job web career sites, will in a few minutes let you know how
unimportant that Weld Managers job is.
to one of the world's largest career web sites, monster.com and a quick key word search for a "QUALITY MANAGER"
and you should typically find numerous jobs in the USA and around the globe. However if the key words, "WELD
MANAGER" few jobs will be evident.
From my weld shop logic, it's always been more important to "prevent weld defects rather than to find them," and a weld shop manager, QA person, engineer, supervisor or technician that wants to justify his salary should know how to achieve this.
Note. The sad weld reality is most large weld - fab shops employ a QA manager. The inspectors that work for this mgr, unfortunately will be typically trained to find, rather than to prevent weld defects.
We are all aware that Weld Process - Best Practices expertise should start with those weld and mechanical engineers, however as many of you are not aware, most of the major, global colleges and universities that provide weld education, do not provide their engineer students with the appropriate weld Process Controls - Best Practices education they need for the most common weld processes used in the industries they will serve.
Who is reponsible for the robot cells?
It does not matter if the robot weld issues are being generated by the;
 The ROBOT TECHNICIANS.
 The PERSONNEL MAKING THE ROBOT WELD CHANGES.
 The ROBOT CELL OPERATORS.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ROBOT WELD QUALITY OR PRODUCTIVITY ISSUES SHOULD ALWAYS BE WITH THE ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS.
Few in the global manufacturing industry are aware that for
almost two plus decades in manufacturing facilities, over
90% of MIG welding robots were set up by inexperienced robot companies and integrators. The robot MIG weld quality - productivity achieved after installation was further negatively influenced through management, engineering and supervision weld process ignorance, and through the plant's inexperienced robot technicians.
Its a weld reality that the
majority of global MIG welding robots are daily managed by technicians who are typically responsible for placing the weld data
in the robot programs. The irony is that the vast majority of the robot technicians have never received MIG Weld Process Controls and Best Practices Training.
When you combine the common lack of robot weld process controls - best robot weld practice with;
[a] management that is typically not aware of the real robot weld quality - productivity and costs,
[b] equipment in the robot cell that is part of the problem, (Pulsed MIG weld equipment),
[c] equipment that is not in the cell that should have been part of the original robot purchase,
(robot TCP controls, torch cleaning station, or joint tracking etc),
[d] the too common, poor or lack of engineering and
manufacturing standards that result in unacceptable "part dimensional
tolerances" for the welded parts,
[e] the frequent poor weld fixture design that either impedes the robot movement or the optimum gun angles, or fixtures that do not provide consistent part placement,
[f] poor robot cell fixture maintenance.
[g] maintainence personnel allowed to make unqualified weld changes.
All of the above will influence the global poor robot weld quality and unecessary weld costs that are found with the majority of robot MIG weld cells.
I would not waste energy asking any designer of an auto or truck MIG welded parts, if they understood the process they had requested to weld their parts.
From car seats to shocks, thin wall tubes are widely used with car and truck parts. The tubular parts are great for increased rigidity and strength, however
these components also offer unique
robot MIG weld - energy
It's a shame that most of the university educated designers of the tubular parts will be completely unaware of the MIG weld requirements and the MIG weld concerns with tubular parts.
A good example of a tubular MIG weld problem will often occur with the "J"
groove tube joint shown in the right photo. The J groove occurs when welding a round part to flat gage part. With this weld joint, increased
weld mass is necessary to fill the groove, and the groove typically requires twice as much weld as necessary for the thickness welded.
The larger weld mass required in a J groove, dissipates some of the energy that would typically be
applied to attain the required side wall weld fusion. Lack of MIG weld fusion is very common with these weld joints, as is excess weld heat from the over size weld.
From welding thin gauge parts to 5/16 (8 mm), single pass, horizontal, fillet welds, few weld shops have ever understood that both the MIG spray and pulsed process will too often deliver a poor ratio between the weld energy produced. the weld mass and the weld speed required.
Combine the frequent poor MIG weld fusion on J groove joints, with the short
cycle weld times found with the too common, "short length", auto and truck welds, and you often end up with rapid freeze, low energy welds that on the surface may look sound and robust. However as in the case of the weld macro above, you end up with a large weld on a 1.4
mm tube to brkt, and that weld reveals, lack of robot MIG weld fusion. Note with the above poor weld fusion, you still have evidence of excess weld heat from the large HAZ evident on the thinner tube. This defect is a common MIG weld issue which is easy to resolve with MIG weld process control expertise. It's also something that one day hopefully designers of these parts will have a better awareness of.
Remember, J grooves welds typically require > 100 to 200% more weld necessary for the part thickness welded.
Oversize MIG welds will take away from the weld fusion potential, slow down the robots weld speed, add to the excess heat in the welds HAZ, something that can weaken the HSLA parts.
If designers of robot MIG welded components do not purchase the robot process control - best weld practices program at this site, who will teach these personnel to understand the weld cost & weld quality consequences of their designs?
The most ridiculous weld specification I have ever seen, have been those from the major Japanese and the Big Three USA auto - truck manufactures. For example you may find in their weld specs. that some idiot in the corporate office has;
Requested the use of the terrible Self Shielded Flux Cored Wires,
Specified the weld porosity content on parts that have zinc coatings, or parts they know will be covered with stamping lubrication fluids.
[c] Specified ridiculous max and minimum weld fusion requirements on thin gage parts in which the weld fusion has to change as the part heat changes
Also on tube welds, it's difficult with some robots to control
the robot Tool Center Point and attain consistent robot high rotational weld speeds from the robot's multi-axis
movement, or from the fixture movement. The weld quality and consistency of the robot programming, the global lack of weld process control expertise, the common small weld lengths, the weld parameter influence
from MIG wire stick variations, and the weld wire helix issues can all influence the weld positions (weld fusion) weld quality attained on small round welds.
Note: With tubular welds or cold rolled part welds,
weld fusion - porosity issues is often influenced by lubricating oils from the
manufacturing - forming process, or from the zinc protective coatings on the parts.
As mentioned small tubular welds are often over sized welds and these Reverse Polarity welds will rapidly build up weld heat in a small localized areas. On thin
gage HSS tube steels, the excess weld heat in the HAZ has to be a concern especially when additional weld passes are delivered from weld rework
which is typical with auto and truck robot applications. To
retain some of the High Strength Steel (HSS) structural integrity in the weld's heat affected zones, it's critical
in the robot welding of these high strength components, to ensure that correct weld sizes are applied and manual
MIG weld rework is eliminate. Also what's the sense of providing robot welds if they don't consistently provide weld fusion over their total length.
The HSS, small tube robot weld applications, are one that management is advised to keep their inexperienced millwrights,
electricians and other maintenance personnel away from. Robot welded parts don't need inexperienced maintenance personnel "playing
around" with the robot weld data making "unqualified weld changes. The weld solutions to
all of these issues are addressed
in my robot weld process control programs.
MIG WELDS CONCLUSION: It's fine for designers and engineers to talk about the reduced weight benefits
of their thin, high strength, steel or tubular parts, however if the weld process destroys those properties with unnecessary weld heat or creates welds with lack of weld fusion, or if the manufacturing engineers have lost dimensional control of the parts creating weld gaps, the robots will be producing welds with unacceptable quality. If this is the case, those lawyers involved in car and truck collisions should take note, and engineers could ask. What's the real
benefit of the high strength tubular welded components when the vehicles are involved in collisions?
All engineers and robot weld decision makers working with robot welded part should be aware of the fundamentals in my Best Weld Practices - Robot Weld Process
Control Training Resource.
Robots, weld costs &
poor robot weld production efficiency:
i have been in hundreds of plants in 13 countries that use many MIG
robots, and in the majority of plants, it was typical to find that the plants on average were using three
robots to do the work that two could do. The managers and engineers in these plants were never aware of this costly fact, as they also were not aware of how to produce robot welds that do not require weld rework.
For more than two decades in the auto - truck industry,
the typical, robot weld down time
per-8 hr/shift, has been a ridiculous 60 to 90 minutes,
which according to Detroit auto industry sources, can result in an approx. cost
of $2000 - $2500 per-hour.
my numerous visits to Detroit plants that were having robot
I found few managers or engineers understood the root cause of their robot weld quality - productivity and down time issues, and and even fewer wanted to get involved.
2013. The average global, Robot MIG weld
production efficiency range, is only 40 to 65% and the
average robot weld rework range is 20 to 100%.
The last thing a weld shop needs is to ask weld QA personnel who typically have no weld process control expertise, a question on weld process quality - productivity issues. QA personnel who are process control experienced are typically wasted in the majority of weld shops as the management and engineers direct them to react after the welds are complete.
For decades, too
many global manufacturing companies have placed their weld quality labor resources and focus on "finding
rather than on providing their employees (including QA personnel) with highly cost effective
weld process control training programs, that would "enable weld defect prevention".
"GLOBAL QA - WELD QUALITY DEMISE":
never been a bigger demand for QA Managers and Weld Inspectors,
yet the demand for Weld Managers,
Technicians with Weld Best Practice Capability and Weld
Process Control Expertise,
has always been almost none existent.
 IS YOUR ORGANIZATION CLOSE TO MAKING A LARGE WELD AUTOMATION OR WELD
EQUIPMENT INVESTMENT, AND YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO ATTAIN OPTIMUM WELD QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY WITHOUT THE PURCHASE OF COSTLY, USELESS BELLS AND WHISTLES?
Do you have weld design concerns or looking for design tips that
can enhance weld optimization from your weld automation?
 ARE YOU SIMPLY LOOKING TO RESOLVE
WELD PROBLEMS OR LOOKING FOR THE MOST COST EFFECTIVE EFFECTIVE WELD PROCESS DATA AND PROCEDURES?
 Perhaps you have a MIG / Flux Cored welder shortage at your locations and would like to provide the world's most effective robot - manual MIG process control training programs. With a few hours process training your employees will exceed your expectations.
AT THIS SITE YOU WILL FIND THE WORLD'S MOST EFFECTIVE MIG AND FLUX CORED PROCESS CONTROL TRAINING RESOURCES.
FOR A LOW COST, FAST SOLUTION TO YOUR ROBOT / MANUAL WELDING ISSUES, CONTACT ED.
Ed has resolved weld issues for hundreds of companies and many
of the weld issues were resolved with a phone call or by E-mail .
Call Ed if you would like his customized training at his Asheville, North Carolina location. E-mail.
email@example.com. Pho 828 337 2695
NEVER ENDING WELD MEETINGS ARE USUALLY A SIGN OF LACK OF WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE;
WHEN WELD MANAGEMENT DOES NOT RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE
OF WELD PROCESS CONTROL AND BEST PRACTICES EXPERTISE, THEIR WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTIVITY ACCEPTANCE STANDARDS
WILL BE LOW. THESE MANAGERS
WILL KEEP HAVING
WELD ISSUE MEETINGS. IN THE MEETINGS THEY WILL KEEP ASKING THE SAME OLD IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS. WHEN EXPERTISE IS NECESSARY SOMEONE WILL INVITE THE LOCAL WELD SALES REP.
Manual or robot welds, it's too often the
same old MIG weld process issues:
|Have you ever met a tool maker or any machinist that daily "plays around" with the settings on the equipment they use?
Be a professional like my grandson Riley. Train your weld
they also don't have to "Ask
a Lincoln Rep" how to MIG weld a part someone likely MIG welded 50 years ago.
Are they managers or FIREMEN? Does your weld facility employ weld
managers, weld supervisors or firemen?
a weld manufacturing facility in which the MIG or flux cored weld quality and
productivity are not optimized, it's not uncommon to find engineers, supervisors, technicians and their management
in a constant Fireman mode, These are the guys that daily
run around trying to quench the weld production and weld quality fires.
 In the Fireman's plant, you will often find ISO deeply embedded,
KAIZEN is a second language, black belts are in abundance, while many of the common manufacturing processes such a paint, resistance welds and MIG welds are out of control.
 In the Fireman's plant, you will find the management and engineers are incapable of establishing uniform Best Weld Practices and have no understanding of the requirements of robot or manual Weld Process Controls.
In the Fireman's plant, you will not find a single person who can tell
you the real cost of the common welds they daily produce.
 In the Fireman's plant, you will the managers and engineers have not taken ownership of the manufacturing
processes that are responsible for their profits.
 In the Fireman's plant you will you will find no job descriptions or if there are job descriptions they are poorly defined.
How can managers control their weld costs, if they don't know the real costs of the common welds they daily produce?
How many weld decision makers have you ever met that
can look at a simple 1/4 (6mm) fillet weld and the weld consumables utilized, and instantly know;
the optimum consumables that should have been utilized,
the optimum weld data that should be used,
the weld deposition rates that should be attained,
[d] with robots, the weld speeds that could be attained for each weld.
Why does anyone bother with the costs and time associated with weld qualifications and weld procedures,
if the daily weld results end up with "weld rework"?
Too many weld qualification tests and resulting weld procedures do not encompass best weld process practices or process controls. In north America, we loose over a billion
dollars annual on weld rejects, unnecessary weld rework and poor weld productivity, and its a sad commentary that the majority of those welded
parts will have had "pre qualified weld procedures". While so much reliance is placed on welding skills the experienced weld decision maker is aware that welding skills are only a small part of the requirements to consistently attain optimum welds.
For five decades, as I walked through more than a thousand weld shops in 13 countries, I hoped that in at least one weld shop, that I would find a weld decision maker who;
could make weld decisions without seeking the advice of a weld salesman,
[b] understood the importance of weld best practices - process controls.
[c] was aware of the real weld costs.
It was a wasted effort.
With my roles as
a Weld Training Manger and Weld Product Marketing Manager for companies such as Praxair, Airgas, AGA, and Liquid Carbonic,
I have dealt with, and trained more than 1000 weld salesmen and I therefore believe that this experience allows me to have an opinion on global weld sales reps.
to five decades of global MIG weld industry reliance on sales advice, three of the
largest growth and most profitable weld products sold in today for welding carbon and alloy steels are;
 Costly, unnecessary electronic pulsed MIG equipment.
 Costly, unnecessary metal and flux cored wires for flat - horizontal welds.
 Costly, and unnecessary three
part MIG gas mixes.
If the above three products were no longer available to the global weld shops that
weld mostly carbon steels, low alloy steels and stainless steels, there would be no impact
on the weld industry's weld quality and productivity.
As it was five decades ago and as it is today, the majority of weld decision makers need to get some scissors and cut the umbilical cord which too often is attached from them to a local weld sales rep:
I think its amusing that when
MIG or flux cored weld advice is needed, many of the global weld shops which employ weld personnel who
have been in the business for decades, will not think twice about asking a weld sales rep for advice.
What's ironic about the above statement, is the majority of sales reps will have a background education or experience which is not relevant to the welding industry.
The sales reps with their frequent biased product advice will usually be eager to recommend another new, three
or four part, gas mix, or offer their costly pulsed MIG power source with it's useless, programmable
magic wave forms, sensitive circuit boards and short life span.
If you want evidence of the MIG weld process and equipment confusion, you would find it in the majority of global weld shops.
TAKE A WALK AROUND THAT WELD SHOP:
How many different MIG power sources, welding wires and gas
have been in the shop in the last five yearsd?
 Figure out how many welders in the shop are daily playing around with their MIG weld controls.
 Ask yourself, why is their weld spatter on the parts?
 Ask yourself, why do the welds lack uniformity?
 Ask yourself, why are welds being rejected or require weld rework?
 Try and find someone that can tell you the real cost of the most common weld in the shop.
MAKE UNDERSTANDING MIG - FLUX CORED WELD COST A PRIORITY:
Few weld shops employ managers or supervisors that can
in a few minutes work out the cost of a common
3/16 or 1/4 ( 5 - 6 mm) fillet weld. When asked about
weld costs, the
majority of global weld shop decision makers will
want to discuss the cost of the MIG wires or the MIG weld gas mixes. Manual and automated weld deposition rate potential
for the common MIG - FCA weld sizes is rarely given consideration or fully understood.
If it takes you or anyone in your organization more than 5 minutes to work out the cost of any weld, that person lacks
weld process control expertise. The solution to this striking weld cost issue is simple. Those interested, should spend a few hours with my low cost MIG - Flux Cored weld process control - best practice resources. A few hours to get complete control of any MIG or flux cored weld cost.
WHEN MANAGERS - SUPERVISORS LACK WELD PROCESS CONTROL - BEST PRACTICE EXPERTISE AND MIG - FCA WELDS NEED TO BE OPTIMIZED OR ISSUES RESOLVED. THE MANAGEMENT - SUPERVISION FOCUS IS OFTEN ON THE WELDERS, RATHER THAN ON THE REAL ROOT CAUSES.
|The highest optimum MIG - FCA weld quality and productivity can be made by dumb machines, when Best Weld Practices and Process Control expertise is applied.
WOULD THE FOLLOWING FUNDAMENTAL WELD PROCESS
CONTROL QUESTIONS BE TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT LIKES TO MAKE MONEY FROM IT'S WELDS?
your Weld Process Knowledge with these fundamental weld questions. If
it takes you more than 15 minutes to provide the "correct answers" to the following
weld questions, you are not in control of the world's most common
weld equipment and consumables.
As MIG Spray Transfer is the most widely used weld transfer mode used for all steel welds on parts > 1/8 (>3mm) thick, it's reasonable, that the MIG weld personnel would be aware of the answer to this question.
What is the MIG wire feed setting in inch/min (m/min) in which the common 0.045 (1.2mm) wire
using argon - 20% CO2
goes into Spray Transfer?
 Most MIG weld personnel are not aware that a change in MIG gas mixes requires a change in weld parameters. The weld supervisor wants to try another new MIG gas mix.
What weld parameter changes would a weld decision maker advice the welders to adjust with a change of the shops's MIG gas mix from argon - 20% CO2, to argon - 10% CO2?
Utilizing the best weld transfer mode is the first step to weld optimization and a change in weld part thickness may enable a change in the weld transfer mode.
The welders in the shop usually weld thin gauge parts <3mm, with 0.035 (0.9mm) wire. Occasionally they have to weld thicker parts in the 1/8 - 1/2. (3 to 12 mm) range. Using an 0.035 (0.9mm) MIG wire, what wire feed setting in inch/min (m/min), will Short
Circuit Transfer change into spray transfer when using argon
- 20% CO2?
 One of the most common MIG gas mixes utilized, causes many weld problems.
Why is the common argon - 25% CO2 mix the worst possible MIG gas for companies who
weld parts thicker than 1/8 (>3mm)?
 Why purchase robots if there is little expertise on the robot weld speed potential?
Your company is using a robot to weld a common 3/16 (5mm) carbon steel,
horizontal fillet welds.
An 0.045 (1.2 mm) wire and
argon - 10% CO2 is used. To meet your weld production needs you need
to attain a minimum weld travel speed of 40 ipm. Provide the
Wire Feed Speed____ inch/min. Required Amps ____ Volts___.
Robot weld production is greatly influenced by robot down time.
The robot cells are on average going through three to six contact tips each day. The robot welds 1/4 (6mm)
using an 0.045 MIG wire and
argon - 10% CO2. The wire feed data is
280 inch/min (7 m/min) with 25 weld volts.
Why is this company having daily contact tip issues?
 Weld automation is rarely optimized if automated MIG or flux cored weld parameters are poorly understood.
A mechanized weld carriage or a robot is used to
weld a 1/4 (6mm), horizontal fillet weld with an 0.045 (1.2mm)
E71T-1 flux cored
wire and argon 20% CO2. Provide the flux cored;
Wire Feed Rate____Weld Travel Rate____Weld Voltage____.
 Can the weld shop profits be maximized in a weld shop that does not understand the real cost of a weld?
What is the MIG weld cost for a weld application which has
a total of 6 feet of weld (1.5 meters) of 1/4 (6 mm) horizontal fillet welds on each part. The part is welded with the common 0.045 (1.2mm) MIG wire. This wire cost $1 /lb. The argon - CO2 gas mix cost is $40 per-cyl.
The wire feed rate used is 420 inch/min with 30 volts. The welders have an
overhead rate of
$40 / hr. The MIG welders average arc on time is 30 minutes per-hr.
Gas shielded flux cored wire will not be optimized unless the parameters are understood.
Welding 1/4 (6.4 mm) structural carbon steel parts with an 0.045 (1.2mm) E71T-1 flux cored wire. The weld position is vertical up. The gas mix is argon - 25% CO2. Without asking the sales rep, provide the optimum wire feed, amps and voltage for the welder.
Fine tuning MIG or flux cored welds is an essential requirement for anyone responsible for the welds.
This company has an automated Bug O type weld unit that runs on a track, (or the application could be robot weld). The MIG Spray Transfer weld is oversize.
Without touching the wire feed rate, you increase the weld travel rate by 20%.
What will you have to do to the weld voltage and explain why?
 So many companies use this poor MIG gas mix.
The weld shop is using Helium Tri Mixes (90 He - 7.5 Argon - 2.5 CO2) for MIG welding thin gage <3 mm stainless. As the new weld shop decision maker you have to advice why this expensive MIG gas mix has been the wrong choice?
 An important part of weld cost is the time spent cleaning those welds.
The weld shop is using MIG Spray and Pulsed MIG and weld spatter is in abundance. The weld decision maker is about to demonstrate how to get rid of most of the weld spatter. What will he adjust adjust and why?
 The weld shop welds thin gauge parts with short circuit (SC) and have extensive weld spatter. To get rid of the SC spatter, what parameters have to be adjusted and why? The same weld shop then welds using MIG spray transfer and also get spatter. As the weld decision, you have to explain why in contrast to the SC welds, you are about to make opposite weld parameter adjustments.
 In the robot cell a glob of weld on the wire tip is causing poor arc starts and effecting the robot weld production.
At the end of the robot welds there is a large melted glob on the end of the weld wire. The glob is causing robot arc start issues. Explain how the glob causes the problems and how you will get rid of the globs?
Note: A reasonable question. Are the above weld process control questions relevant to the weld quality, productivity and costs in a weld shop, and just as important are the questions relevant to your weld career? If you had
difficulty with the fundamental MIG and Flux Cored weld process questions, don't feel frustrated,
after all, for more than six decades the weld industry and most weld educators have
placed minimal focus on the subject of weld process controls. The solutions are available in the training section of this site.
Ed's MIG Weld Process Controls & Best Practice Test.
Ed's Flux Cored Weld Process Control & Best Weld Practice Test.
You may know a weld manager, engineer or supervisor like this.
will be that manager, engineer, supervisor or technician that daily has their head buried in the sand. This is the weld decision maker who takes no ownership for the companies weld equipment and processes. This guy actually believes that
MIG and flux cored welders need to "play around" with their weld controls and his companies daily weld quality
and productivity depends on the temperament and artistic skill levels of each welder. This guy (most women would have more sense) will get most of his weld questions addressed by the local sales rep. This is that weld decision maker who believes that weld productivity
is measured by how long the welder's hood is down, and never has had a clue about the cost of the welds he is supposed to be responsible for.
you ask these weld decision makers about their weld costs, they typically want to discuss the
cost of the weld wires and gas mixes.
 When you ask these weld decision makers about their weld issues, they will
not think twice about calling the local weld sales
rep for advice. They will have no problem spending unnecessary
dollars on the latest (useless) three part gas mixes, or on costly pulsed MIG equipment that is typically loaded with
ineffective electronic bells and whistles.
These are the weld decision makers who will daily accept inconsistent, manual, weld quality and unacceptable
productivity as being the norm.
Or you may know a weld decision maker like this:
These will be the weld decision makers who are tired with the daily, futile finger pointing, typically directed at those who are not responsible for the ever changing weld shop issues. These guys will also be fed up with the time wasting useless, too frequent weld meetings, in which BS is the norm, and practical, cost effective weld solutions are rare.
 These will be the individuals who are frustrated
that their so called experienced weld personnel have to "play around" with the
decades old, two control, MIG and Flux Cored weld processes.
 These will be the guys who no longer want to read weekly
reports full of excuses for the inconsistent, robot or manual, MIG flux cored
weld quality and productivity.
 These are the weld decision makers that know that optimum MIG - Flux Cored weld process
comes from the plants that will have the ability to establish uniform Best Weld Practices and Weld Process Controls.
These weld decision makers will
know that to achieve optimum weld quality - productivity, their employees need more than weld skills, they need MIG - FCA weld process control training. Click here for my Weld Best Practice - Process Control Resources.
Note: You should not be in this industry if you don't have an open mind, a sense of humor, and very very thick skin
hope you are not upset with the messenger at this site and that you are focused on the message. I hope weldreality.com can be a catalyst for progressive, cost effective weld
for your organization. I also hope that my information and opinions will encourage managers, engineers, technicians
and supervisors towards Weld Process Ownership. The info at this site can dramatically reduce most of the common MIG / Flux Cored
weld process issues, the too common weld myths, the process - consumable weld confusion, and the too frequent sales reliance that's common for most global
MIG weld shops.
EXON - HALIBURTON - GM
- ROLLS ROYCE - IMPERIAL OIL - FORD - CHRYSLER HARLEY - DANA - MAGNA - TENNECO - VOLVO - TOYOTA
- HONDA - IMPERIAL OIL - COMBUSTION ENGINEERING
- GENERAL ELECTRIC - CATERPILLAR - JOHN DEERE - MERCEDES - DOW CHEMICAL - BABCOCK - ABB
- GENERAL DYNAMICS -
VW - TEXTRON - INGERSOLL
RAND and ESSO are just a few companies that utilized Ed's robot / manual process
control services, expertise or training resources.
Ed Craig provides weld process quality / productivity solutions for a reasonable fee.
Ed's Robot and Manual MIG and Flux Cored Weld Process Control Training power point presentation should be provided to all personnel involved in the weld process and involved in weld process decisions. This list starts with the management, engineers, supervisors, technicians and QA personnel and of course all the weld shop personnel.
When everyone in the weld department walks the same welding path and training is provided, Uniform Best Weld Practices and Weld Process Controls can be implemented and the following should result.
 All robot or manual pre-qualified weld procedures will provide data that deal with all the
real world parts and the weld variables that will influence the daily weld quality and productivity.
 Optimum, shop floor Weld Manufacturing and Weld Instructions
will presented. The management will ensure that these instructions will be adhered to and always highly visible.
 All weld personnel will be aware of how to instantly set optimum MIG and flux cored weld data for any weld, any alloy, any wire, any weld issue. The change in the weld setting will be made without the weld personnel "playing around" with the weld parameters.
 Daily weld clean up and weld rework will become miniscule and unacceptable.
 Managers, supervisors or any weld decision maker will know the real cost of the common welds they daily produce.
All weld decision maker will be aware of their weld production capability in terms of the weld deposition rate potential and the weld travel speeds per their common weld applications.
It's not just the global Auto - Truck industries where there
great opportunity for weld quality - productivity improvements and dramatic weld cost reductions.
improvements in MIG - TIG and Flux Cored
quality and weld cost reductions, can
in the majority of global weld shops.
For Ed's Ship Yard, Oil Rig weld
issues section, click here.
The greatest potential for weld quality improvement and
reduction is found in every weld shop that employs many welders or uses many robots.
No one daily uses more MIG - Flux Cored weld wires than a ship yard or a facility building
oil - gas platforms.
 No one daily produces more weld defects or has higher weld repair costs than these industries.
If a person wanted to find extensive lack of management, supervision and engineering "weld process ownership", the first place they would visit would be the above facilities. The next place to visit would be an automotive or truck manufacturing plant. The good news for those are looking for career opportunities and advancement in these industries, to rise above the common weld management - engineering apathy and mediocrity all that person would have to do is get weld process control and best practice expertise, grow some balls and be ready to show how they could generate tremendous weld quality improvements and weld cost savings.
Ed's Flux Cored Weld Process Control & Best Weld Practice Test.
the weld cost section, take a look at the multi-million dollar cost savings, one
ship yard attained
using my one day flux cored process control weld training program.
As a weld process control expert, you should have the ability to instantly master any manual or automated weld equipment - consumables utilized, and without playing around with the controls, attain both optimum weld performance and productivity with all welds.
As a weld process control expert you know it's your responsibility to ensure the correct process control training is provided.
Imagine a weld shop in which all the weld personnel
are aware of the root causes of the manual / robot MIG and flux cored weld problems, and these employees have the
ability to provide instant, logical solutions to their weld issues, without playing around with the weld controls.
Imagine a weld shop in which all weld personnel understand the relationship between
the wire type, weld gas, wire diameter, weld transfer mode, part thickness and the weld deposition
rates and weld travel speeds required and the welders are also using the correct weld practices and techniques for the process and consumables utilized.
It's always "rare pleasure" to watch the weld personnel I have trained over the years when they act in a professional manner and instantly set optimum manual or robot weld parameters for their application.
Ed's MIG - Flux Cored Process Control Workshops:
For both Ford and and their tier one supplier Dana, this was a rare
opportunity for their unqualified managers, engineers and supervisors to witness consistent, optimum, robot MIG weld quality on the truck frame lines.
For both Ford and and their tier one supplier Dana, this was a rare
opportunity for their unqualified managers, engineers and supervisors to witness consistent, optimum, robot MIG weld quality on the truck frame lines.
A decade ago, my Robot Process MIG Weld Control training program dramatically improved the
weld quality and productivity
on the Ford F-150 truck frames. The F-150 is the world's biggest selling truck.
From Dana Weld Engineer To
Jan 2007: Ed. I wanted to send update about the E-Town Dana plant that you visited a few
years ago: As you know on your first visit to this plant, our robot lines were producing less than 40 truck
frames (Ford F-150) per-hour and the majority of the MIG robot welded frames required extensive weld rework. Thanks to your MIG Weld Process Control Training and
your consumable / parameter changes and recommendations, the results from our employees are today
staggering. Yesterday this plant hit very close to a record of 76
frames per hour. We now daily attain our average goal of more than one frame per-minute.
We had two recent weld audits. One weld audit had a total of two failures, and
the 2nd weld audit was the first 100% pass weld audit in the history of the Ford
F-150 line. Many thanks from a grateful Dana
R. G. Dana. Weld Eng. Note from Ed: It makes me happy to hear a robot welding success story like this, especially at Dana, where initially there was extensive management and engineering process ignorance, and
process control apathy with great resistance to the robot weld changes I recommended. The Dana - Ford truck frame weld quality and productivity results were eventually attained
through the weld process control and best practices training program I provided. This program is available in my Robot
/ Manual Weld Process Control Training programs located here.
With global MIG weld process confusion, it should be no
that there is GLOBAL
WELD GAS CONFUSION:
are approximately sixty MIG gas mixes available for MIG
applications, which is ridiculous as no more than four MIG gas mixes should be required.
The common global MIG gas mix selection confusion is simply a
reflection of the
global weld industries lack of MIG weld process control expertise.
If you are looking for the best MIG gas mix.
Note I developed four low cost MIG gas mixes
that provide real world weld benefits.
Note: Working in management with AGA,
Airgas. Praxair and Liquid
Carbonic. He developed and introduced four of the
top selling MIG gas mixes used today In North
MANUFACTURING AND WELD PROCESS EXPERTISE WOULD LIKELY SERVE COMPANIES BETTER THAN COMPLIANCE WITH INNEFECTIVE, ISO QUALITY STANDARDS:
A message to automotive management and engineers.
INSTEAD OF WASTING EXHORBANT COSTS AND VALUABLE MAN HOURS ON THOSE EUROPEAN GENERATED, BUREAUCRATIC AND OFTEN INNEFECTIVE, ISO QUALITY STANDARDS, MOST COMPANIES WOULD HAVE ACHIEVED SUPERIOR QUALITY RESULTS IF THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT HAD THE ABILITY TO HIRE 'QUALIFIED, HANDS ON MANAGERS WHO BELIEVE IN ACCEPTING OWNERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE EQUIPMENT - EMPLOYEES THAY MANAGE'. OF COURSE THESE INDIVIDUALS WOULD ALSO HAVE THE UNUSUAL EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE NECESSARY TO TRAIN THEIR EMPLOYEES AND IMPLEMENT BEST PRACTICES.
For over two decades I've been reporting on the manual - robot weld issues generated by the apathetic, hands off, we accept no ownership weld management and engineers in the auto - truck industry.
Here we are in 2014, and GM, the world's largest auto - truck company will loose billions of dollars on recalls of close to 14 million vehicles, (equivalent of a good years production). The irony is few consumers are aware that for every vehicle recalled there are numerous others that have factory induced defects that never get reported. While some may argue that cars today are complex and therefore we should expect many issues, my argument would be that sending a space craft to mars is complex yet engineers and managers seem to be able to handle that little project. Every product that goes into a car or truck is managed and engineered by university qualified individuals who's job it is to see that the products they put into the vehicles conform to the design and manufacturing specifications.
To show that we don't have this lack of management - engineering ownership and accountably disease in North America, we are all aware of the quality issues with Mercedes, and Toyota is a product that at this time carries lesser quality expectations than it did a decade ago. This last week in May, Nissan reports it will have to replace hundreds of its Nissan Leaf battery cars because of missing welds. The Nissan recall is because a key front structural component has not been completely welded. The missing welds would weaken the front and make it less able to protect the car's occupants in a crash.
When those Big Three automotive corporate executives lined up in like sheared sheep to borrow billions from American
taxpayers to save their companies, a logical individual who knows this industry could have asked. Why does the auto industry, which
has one of the highest ratio of engineers to workers, annually create "billions of dollars" in rework, rejects, recalls, warranty and productivity issues?
these industries, millions of dollars are lost daily from robot
MIG weld rejects, excessive weld rework and poor robot weld production efficiency. We are all aware of the important role the MIG process plays in building a car, yet for approx. three decades, we have seen that the
majority of auto - truck plant managers and engineers seem to lack the ability to understand what they own and simply lack the ability to establish uniform Best MIG Weld Practices
and apply logical cost effective MIG Weld Process Controls to their plant's robot welds.
With automotive robot - manual MIG and resistance welds, it's not just the too common, missing vehicle welds that should be a consumer concern, it's the poor quality of many of the remaining welds that the customer never gets to see. The poor quality welds will for many generate serious consequences when that vehicle is involved in a collision.
Too many weld shops either have no weld job descriptions, or they provide poor job descriptions for anyone involved in the manual or robot welds.
quality and productivity issues will always be more numerous in weld shops in
which confused managers, surround themselves with confused supervisors, who are
surrounded by confused engineers, who have to be surrounded by confused employees. You can be sure these individuals will
get no assistance from their none existing, or poor job descriptions: A well run weld shop starts out with all weld personnel having job descriptions that clearly identify their required expertise and their responsibility and accountability for the daily weld quality - productivity attained.
When the blind leads the blind, you know things cannot be as smooth as they should be.
FOR DECADES, UNQUALIFIED AUTO / TRUCK PLANT MANAGERS ALLOWED UNQUALIFIED MAINTENANCE
MILLWRIGHTS AND ELECTRICIANS AND OTHER UNQUALIFIED PLANT PERSONNEL TO DAILY ADJUST THE
SO CALLED "PRE-QUALIFIED WELD PARAMETERS" ON THEIR ROBOT MIG WELDS.
every time I walk past the robot cells, some millwright or electrician from the
maintenance department is playing around with the robot weld data. For
heavens sake Joe, our experienced welders play around with their MIG controls. Do you seriously believe those guys in the maintenance department
with there 150 - 200 amp Miller MIG machine, have the MIG weld process control expertise
necessary to optimize robot MIG welds? By the way Joe, in case we ever get sued for faulty welds, perhaps you can tell me why are these unqualified guys are changing the so called, "pre-qualified
weld data" without engineering approval and new weld qualification?
If you are relatively new to the auto - truck industry take note that few Global MIG welding robots are well managed.
"The majority of the technicians and engineers who run robots in this industry are simply
"operating" not optimizing the equipment and the process. Any engineering survey would find that less than 5% of the personnel that daily make adjustments to the robot MIG weld programs are in full control of the robots or the process.
I made the above statement in a weld report that I provided to the Ford (Detroit) Frame plant management in the 1990s. It was futile message at that time as the managers and engineers running the plant simply did not understand the concept of weld process ownership and they also lacked the interest and knowledge to grasp the root cause of their daily robot MIG weld issues.
Below. Some of the work shop participants at one od Ed's 2007 workshops. The workshop was
"Seven Steps for Robot Weld Process
Wolf Robotics. Fort Collins. Colorado.
You can purchase Ed's Seven Step, Robot program for around $300. Any questions E-Mail Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FORD - HARLEY - DANA - MAGNA - TENNECO - VOLVO - TOYOTA
- HONDA - IMPERIAL OIL -
- CATERPILLAR - JOHN DEERE - MERCEDES - DOW CHEMICAL - ESSO BABCOCK -
ABB - GENERAL
GENERAL ELECTRIC - VW - TEXTRON - INGERSOLL
The above, are just a few companies
that utilized my Weld training resources.
Thanks for sticking with it, I know it never ends, which is what happens to a person when they don't have a life.
The following is in the home page Section 2.
 Find out why the inspection approach of most QA weld managers is simply not cost effective.
 View the best inconel, stainless, pulsed MIG "clad" welds that have ever been made in North America.
Find out why so many companies that do code quality welds are stuck
in a 1960s weld time warp.
Find out why companies should not be using self shielded flux cored wires, when they want to attain quality welds and good mechanicals.
When the weld equipment and processes are not optimized you would think someone in management wants to generate change.
If you have any sense you don't make MIG welds like most Japanese manufacturing companies.
 Find out why the "robot weld team" is frequently a good resource for the management to water down and spread out what should be their role and responsibility.
 This North American car parts plant was unusual. I found two managers that showed an interested in the requirements necessary for optimum robot weld quality - productivity.
 Find out why the Chrysler corporate management lost over 20 million dollars from bad welds on one easy to weld part.
 Why the big three wastes millions of dollars each year for welder training.
Continue Home Page. Section. 2.
Or perhaps you are interested in seeing how easy it is to save millions of dollars with large weld fabrication projects take a look at the following;
HOW THIS SHIP YARD SAVED MILLIONS FROM WELD QUALITY - PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS:
HOW THIS OIL COMPANY SAVED MILLIONS EACH YEAR FROM INCREASED PIPE WELD PRODUCTIVITY. Click here.
Low wages yet management pays ridiculous
prices for useless MIG equipment.
Aisan management loves to waste money on useless
MIG weld equipment electronic bells & whistles.
Visit Eds Process Training Resources.
Please don't leave this site without checking Ed's MIG- Flux Cored
weld practices and weld process controls resources.
Whats in Home Page Section TWO.
Why Dow Chemical often looks like it's stuck in a 1960s weld time warp.
Magna uses Ed's Robot Process Control Training program.
What do ship yards and auto plants have in common?
Why the common QA weld inspection practice often fail.
When the robot welds are difficult this USA Big Three company ships the parts to Mexico.
FEMA the weld joke.
Would this be Einsteins Theory on MIG welding?
One prime reason the North Ridge welds failed during the earth quake.
More Motoman weld issues.
Another reason many robot weld managers have raised the white flag.
Why the Volvo manger was wrong to want to hire skilled welders to run his robots. (page 3)
Eds Process Control Best Weld
Practice Training Resources.
All weld and steel Programs.