Welcome to the world’s largest web Site on MIG, Flux Cored, TIG and TIP TIG weld issues and solutions. Established by Ed - Em Craig 1998.
A site dedicated to improving weld process controls and weld process ownership .
I have spent 60 years in the weld industry, and provided manual, automated and robot weld process improvements at hundreds of companies in 13 countries. Some of the common factors that I witnessed in weld shops that were having an influence on the daily weld quality and productivity were;
[a] The common, global, front office lack of management and engineering Weld Process Ownership Capability.
[b] The often weld department front office reliance on weld sales personnel to make GMA / FCA process improvements. The irony is most of the sales individuals in this industry will have never run a weld shop and have limited weld process and application expertise.
[c] Lack of weld process control and best weld practice expertise is often evident on weld shop floors. After all who has not witnessed experienced weld personnel playing around with the two simple GMA weld equipment controls when making both GMA and Flux cored welds?
Note: What I write here is of course not applicable with all weld shops. Also be aware that welder skills or length of the welders experience has nothing to do with weld process controls and best weld practice expertise.
This site is focused on two weld processes GMA and Gas Shielded Flux Cored, (FCA). These processes use the same GMA equipment, and these processes daily account for over 80% of the global arc welds produced.
In this “why change the way we have always done it industry” and decades after the introduction of GMA and gas shielded flux cored, in most global weld shops, you will find personnel who have welded for decades yet know little about the GMA or FCA weld process that they derive their living from. This not only impacts manual weld quality and productivity, it also influences Robot GMA Weld Performance.
A MISSING LINK WITH ROBOT GMA WELDS. For close to four decades GMA welding robots have been the prime source of arc welds for the auto – truck industry. Yet in 2022, 99% of this industry does not supply it’s robot techs. with GMA robot weld process controls and best weld practice training. So most robot technicians while excellent at programming will play around with the GMA weld controls in their robot pendants.
1960s. I started MAG welding tractors with Massey Ferguson, UK. And the 60 years I have been in this business, there is one thing that has not changed.
In the 1990’s, while I was the North America ABB Robot Weld Manager, the average daily USA robot GMA weld rework with the USA Big Three and also, Japanese and German companies tier one suppliers, averaged 50%. Also the average robot MAG weld down time as a result of weld issues was typically 40 to 80 minutes per-shift.
ABB is one of the world’s largest engineering and robot companies. At ABB. USA. I worked with mostly young graduate weld engineers from OSU. Ferris and LeTourneau Universities. All these engineers had one thing in common, none had been educated with the ability to without reading weld instructions, set a simple, two control, optimum, GMA or Flux cored weld. And like many weld personnel, when given a new robot weld application, they would usually “play around” with the weld controls.
Em. established the Robot MAG weld data for both the Ford F-150 and the world’s largest truck.
I was asked by ABB and Caterpillar management, how long would it take to develop all the multi-robot cell weld settings required to weld Caterpillar’s mammoth trucks. I think I shocked them when I quickly replied, ‘the majority of all these robot welds should be done with two simple MAG weld settings.
A ROBOT WELD QUESTION. What two MAG robot weld settings do you believe could weld the little truck above. Explain why I said that only two wire feed and voltage settings were appropriate.
While at ABB I used the robot GMA process control program that I developed to educate ABB weld engineers, and also to train the ABB Tier One suppliers and companies like Harley and Caterpillar. Since the 1990’s, annually I have updated this program. In 2022, over 2000 global companies have used the program.
Note: My weld process control programs can be viewed in the Process Training section.
The sad or apathetic, hands off management that I met at Harley Davidson, had never understood the concept or meaning off front office Manual or Robot Weld GMA Process Ownership.
When Harley designed the Fat Boy bike in the nineties, it eventually decided to MAG weld the frames with ABB robots. I set the initial robot MAG weld frame data at ABB.
If you don’t believe in the importance of weld process ownership, you should have no issues with the following weld questions on this page.
CHECK YOUR MAG WELD EXPERTISE. One of the world’s most common welds is a MAG Spray weld. What is the MAG Spray Transfer Wire Feed and Amps start point for both the common 0.035 and 0.045 (0.9 – 1.2 mm) MIG steel wires using argon – 20% CO2?
The lack of MAG process control expertise stands out like a sore thumb in most global auto / truck plant and few plants like to broadcast how much additional dollars they spend each year as a result of robot arc weld rejects, weld rework, downtime or from lost robot weld production.
ROBOT WELD PROCESS QUESTION. The robot cell is using a 70s-6 wire and 80% Ar. / 20% Co2. The weld transfer mode is set in the traditional CV mode. The weld wire feed and the weld crater data is set at 380 inch/min and 23 volts. With these welds, sometimes the arc starts don’t occur. Explain why?
WHAT DANA, THE WORLD’S LARGEST TRUCK FRAME COMPANY THINKS ABOUT MY ROBOT MIG WELD PROCESS CONTROL PROGRAM.
E – Mail From Dana Senior Weld Eng.
Em. 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 the plant, our robot MIG welding lines were producing less than 40 Ford F-150 truck frames per-hour, and 100 % of the completed robot frames required extensive manual weld rework. Thanks to your Robot Weld Process Control Training Program and your consumable changes, the robot weld results from our employees are today staggering. Yesterday the plant that I am at hit close to a record of 76 frames per hour. We are daily attaining 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 7 Step Robot Weld Process Control” recommendations in five of our USA plants. Many thanks Em. From a grateful weld engineer. Ryan Good. Dana Senior Weld Eng.
Note: DANA is a world leader in the supply of frames and drive line products, axles, drive shafts, and transmission. DANA employs approx.23000 people in 26 countries and in 2010 had sales of $6.1 billion.
Note. My robot MIG process control is available in the Process Training section
ROBOT WELD QUESTION. Anyone that programs a robot should know the answer to this question. When you increase the robot weld travel rate without adjusting the wire feed rate, do you increase or decrease the voltage. Explain why.
I Trained more than 250 ship welders at the Aker Kaverner Ship Yard in flux cored process control training. Location Philadelphia Naval Yard.
Aker had budgeted less than a million dollars weld repairs per-ship. When I was hired as the Yard Weld Mgr. they were spending 8 to 10 million dollars per-ship on flux cored weld repairs. I used my flux cored process control training, a training format never previously applied at any global ship yard. After three months of evaluation by the yard QA department. My two day training program reduced the yard’s flux cored weld repair costs in three months by over 60%, producing approx. savings of 6 million dollars per-ship.
AUTO – TRUCK PLANTS & SHIP YARDS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.
In these two diverse industries, welding certainly has a high priority, yet both have for decades too often hired managers and engineers that lacked the ability required for front office Weld Process Ownership. When the front office lacks this expertise, you know their welders will be “playing around” with either their weld data.
THANK GOD SHIP YARDS AND AUTO COMPANIES DO NOT REQUIRE NDT THAT EVALUATES INTERNAL WELD QUALITY. IF THEY DID, THEY WOULD IMMEDIATELY BE OUT OF BUISNESS.
APPROX. 10% OF THE WELDS ON MOST SHIPS REQUIRE NDT THAT EXAMINES INTERNAL WELD QUALITY. AND IT’S ALWAYS VERY COSTLY FOR THE YARDS WHEN THE UT OR X-RAY EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED.
A SAD FRONT OFFICE APPROACH TO BOTH MAG / FCA WELD COSTS: In the hundreds of global weld shops I visited in my roles as the Corporate Linde – AGA – Airgas – Carbonic, Weld Training Mgr. I was asked to solve well over a thousand weld customer problems. I never went in one USA or Canadian weld shop that had an understanding of their real “MAG / FCA Weld Costs.
Typically the weld shop weld cost focus would be on the price of their weld gas mixes, or the weld wires.
WELD COST QUESTION. The most common weld in this weld shop is a 1/4 (6mm) horizontal fillet weld. The weld shop has a 350 amp power source. For it’s welds it uses an 0.045, 70s-3 wire. The gas is argon – 20% CO2. The welders average arc on time each hour is 30 minutes. How much weld are they depositing each each hour. If it takes more than two minutes to figure out, the expertise to control weld costs is lacking.
TO UNDERSTAND WELD DEPOSITION POTENTIAL YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS.
It’s rare in weld shops to see maximum weld deposition rates being consistently attained with any MIG or flux cored wire. Weld Quality, Deposition Rates and Arc On Times drive weld costs. If you are surprised at the too common front office lack of weld cost control expertise, the next time you step into a weld shop front office, try and find someone that truly understands their daily MIG or flux cored weld costs, someone who can answer this simple weld question.
WELD GAS QUESTION. Your weld shop uses argon 20% CO2 for the MIG welds, and makes the switch to argon – 10% CO2. So you tell the welders that they have to do what and why?
DECADES OF WELD PROCESS IGNORANCE AND ISSUES HAS CREATED AN ENTRENCHED, CONFUSED, WELD SHOP CULTURE.
I was hoping that in the decades I have been in this industry, that one day I would see a sign of weld shop evolution. Instead annually I have seen increased weld process confusion. Each year I see an increase in useless GMA power source, electronic, bells and whistles. An increase in Pulsed GMA – FCA and Metal Cored false claims. And of course the usual BS about three part GMA gas mixes.
WELD SHOP NATIONAL ANTHEMS. “Why change the way we have always done it”. And, “can you give me some time to play around with the weld controls”. These two could be put to music.
ROBOT WELD COST QUESTION: In this auto plant, the average carbon weld size on the parts welded is similar to a 3/6 (5 mm) fillets. The 0.045 wire feed rate is 350 inch/min. Argon – 10% CO2 mix is used. The robot weld labor is $30 / hr. The weld wire cost $1 pound, and the gas is $60 per-cylinder. In less than 5 minutes a weld decision maker should be able to provide the cost of a foot or meter of each weld produced, and know how much gas and wire to use for the project.
Because NASA and the worlds largest Aerospace and Defense companies are involved, one should not always anticipate a high tech. approach to the welds being produced.
One day the Orion space craft will land on Mars. I was involved for a short time in approving some of the laser and GTA weld joint designs for the Orion.
I had a chance a few years ago to review NASA and Boeing Weld Procedures used throughout the aerospace industry. Going through the procedures felt like stepping back into the 20th century.
A MESSAGE TO ALL WELD MANAGERS, ENGINEERS & SUPERVISORS. It should not take more 30 minutes to those of you with weld experience with the semi-automated GMA – FCA processes to figure out the benefits of changing from the manual GTA to a semi-automated GTA process such as TIP TIG, especially when you have at this site and at my tiptigwelding.com all the process evidence and training resources you need to make a logical weld quality / productivity decisions.
One thing Elon Musk said he learnt the hard way at both Tesla & SpaceX, is that the difficulties in his high tech. mfg. applications are usually not in the Design of the applications, it’s with the “human, engineering, manufacturing expertise and capability”.
Weld process control expertise would be of great front office value to companies as diverse as Tesla and SpaceX. Perhaps one day companies like this and others will get the message.
For Decades, there has been a major Global Weld Education Failure.
When it comes to welding courses, I believe too many community colleges and trade schools are stuck in the 1960s.
When it comes to educating weld engineers, most global universities and colleges that offer weld degree programs, have for decades, hired professors / educators that lack “arc weld process control expertise” with the world’s most common weld processes.
I was requested to provide weld process solutions to approx. 1000 companies in 13 countries. Most of these companies employed weld engineers. I was invited by plant managers for a reason that I don’t have to spell out.
WHAT IS THE LOGIC OF USING CWI WELD INSPECTION PERSONNEL WHO LACK WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE?
To add to the above woes, in the last few years we see in this process confused industry is they will turn to AWS. CWI personnel to baby sit the welders. This is ironic as the majority of weld inspectors that daily critique welds, lack any ability to provide the weld process information that would prevent weld defects.
If interested in the semi-automated GTA, TIP TIG process, and have an interest in comparing it to GTA and pulsed GMA, I took 2000 hours to develop a technical “no sales influenced” web site, that few bother to visit. The site provides the process comparisons between Hot Wire GTA, manual GTA and Pulsed GMA. All the real world weld process attributes of the TIP TIG process are presented and this info. https://tiptigwelding.com.
TIP TIG PROCESS QUESTION. Provide the two most important reasons, why TIP TIG could weld most Titanium parts > 3 mm without using a gas trailing shield.
FOR THOSE THAT WANT MY TIP TIG PROCESS CONTROL SELF TEACH / TRAINING PROGRAM, VIST “PROCESS TRAINING” AT THIS SITE. IF YOU WANT TIP TIG DATA VISIT MY OTHER SITE, tiptigwelding.com
From the Fission to the Fusion industry, from the Aerospace to the Defense, Oil industries, this site hopefully shows the importance of weld process controls and the importance of weld process / application awareness.
In 2021 well into my 70s, I WENT TO WORK AT Common Wealth Fusion, CFS AS THEIR SENIOR WELD ENG. I PROVIDED DESIGN WELD ADVICE AND THE WELD QUALIFICATIONS TO BUILD THE WORLD’S FIRST EFFECTIVE FUSION REACTOR THAT WILL BE CALLED SPARC.
Below, CFS in its 2021 journey to build, (before ITER) the world’s first Fusion reactor, SPARC. If you think you have had complex weld challenges, the plasma you see in the middle of SPARC below will be approx. 100 million degrees, and and the super conductor magnets a few away, are around minus 440 degrees.
I was proud for a year to be a part of the CFS engineering team. I led the CFS engineers and scientists to the weld solutions required for the Nitronic 50 and 316 LMn welds subject to Cryogenic, Radiation, Mag Permeability & Distortion concerns. SPARC is under construction in 2022, and this prototype fusion plant will in a few years lead to numerous CFS reactors called ARC’s.
2022. Nuclear plant construction and repairs. This industries 65 year relationship with the GTA weld process.
Two Vogtle nuclear reactors , units 3 – 4 located in Georgia, USA, could cost close to 30 billion dollars at completion. Of course there are the usual over budget delays from construction issues that always will have weld issues. Manual GTA has been the prime arc weld process for plants like these,
Manual GTA the arc weld process of choice since 1958, when the first US. commercial Nuclear Power Station was built.
IN CASE ANYONE IN THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS AWAKE.
Since 2008, the GTA process has evolved into the semi-automated TIP TIG process.
- GTA always required the highest welder skills.
- GTA as a result of very slow weld speeds delivers high weld heat input that influences distortion.
- GTA typically delivers less than 0.3 lbs/approx.
- GTA weld speeds are typically 1 – 5 inch/min.
- GTA always produced the highest weld costs.
2022. For the upcoming USA Fusion and hopefully the miniature Nuclear industry, perhaps my greatest weld achievement over time, maybe, that I had an influence on paving the way in these industries to progressive weld process changes that will have a dramatic influence on the amount of welders required, the welding skills required, and of course on the projects weld quality and costs.
My business partner Tom O’Mally and I introduced TIP TIG in 2009 to the USA, Canada and Australia. In 2020 this process passed the explosive weld test that would qualify it for welding the sub hulls and in 2021 SpaceX purchased many units. Once trained correctly and this in itself is a rare event, this process is easy to use. It will not only provide superior quality than any GTA / GMA process, it will also triple GTA weld production.
PRODUCING BOTH THE HIGHEST WELD ENERGY WITH THE LOWEST WELD HEAT INPUT ARE UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES OF THE MANUAL OR AUTOMATED TIP TIG PROCESS.
You do not have to be a weld engineer to be aware that every alloy attains it’s properties from heat treatment, and attaining opt. mechanical or metallurgical properties with every code quality weld, becomes more possible when the weld process utilized provides the highest possible weld quality with the lowest weld heat input.
Increased TIP TIG weld energy in an inert atmosphere, enable defect free welds. Thanks to increased weld speeds and EN polarity this process also delivers the lowest stresses, the lowest distortion, the smallest HAZ and the best possible mechanical, metallurgical and corrosion properties.
So in 2022 one has to ask what’s lacking in the North American Aerospace, Defense, Nuclear plant and those Submarine engineers. Also what’s wrong with those engineers who designed and are building the world’s largest engineering project, the ITER Fusion plant in France. Engineers who for more than a decade were not aware of the evolution of GTA.
 TIP TIG produces the highest possible manual arc weld energy and weld fluidity that minimizes the opportunity for lack of fusion or porosity defects.
 TIP TIG provides the lowest possible welded part heat input. Think of the reduced stresses, and distortion, along with the smallest HAZ and superior mechanical, metallurgical and corrosion benefits
In contrast to the very low weld deposition from the traditional, manual GTA process, TIP TIG increases the GTA deposition rates on average by 200 to 300%, and therefore is not limited in the part thickness, the weld size or application. Also as weld wire does not have to be manually fed into the TIP TIG arc plasma, this process provides a weld uniformity and continuity not attainable from manual GTA, and also dramatically reduces the traditional TIG all position welder skills which also influences weld quality.
IN 2009 I WAS WELDING LARGE GRADE 2 TITANIUM PRESSURE VESSELS WITH TIP TIG, WITHOUT USING A GAS TRAILING SHIELD. This was the first time in the history of arc welds on the large, thirty foot diameter titanium vessel, that was 100% welded using NO Gas Trailing Shield. Yet in 2022 in N. America, the majority of those that will weld Titanium are not aware of the semi-automated GTA TIP TIG benefits for titanium. For those interested visit my tiptipwelding.com site to see the titanium weld video, and all other alloy benefits.
DISTORTION – DISTORTION – DISTORTION..
A concern with many companies will have with tight dimensional tolerances especially on costly alloy steels is weld distortion. Therefore any engineer that is not stuck in the 20th century, would consider an easy to use arc weld process that delivers the lowest possible weld distortion.
You could try and duplicate my untouched TIP TIG weld, with GTA or pulsed GMA, but you would be wasting your time.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD GET THE N. AMERICAN WELD INDUSTRY INTERESTED IN A WELD PROCESS THAT MOST NORTH AMERICAN WELD DISTRIBUTOR HAD NO INTERST IN?
I thought the best approach to selling TIP TG into the N. American industry dominated by Lincoln, Hobart and Miller and Fronius distributors, was to do what I had done for decades. Instead of doing weld process control educational seminars, I started out by presenting TIP TIG seminars and work shops. My fist US work shop in 2009 had apart from Americans, participants, personnel from China, Australia, Canada and Brazil.
IN 2009, WHILE N. AMERICAN WELD ENGINEERS WERE SITTING IN FRONT OF THEIR LAP TOPS AND WORKING WITH 1946 GTA, THE CHINESE WELD ENGINEERS MADE THE FIRST MOVE.
THE CHINEASE OIL / GAS COMPANY CNOOC, HAD SERIOUS WELD QUALITY ISSUES WITH THEIR SUB SEA PIPE AND IT’S INCONEL CLADDING APPLICATIONS. THEY HAD TRIED FRONIUS, LIBURDI AND OTHER EQUIPMENT, ALL FAILED.
CNOOC Overlay Sub-sea pipe ID with Inconel then weld the pipe ends in minutes and never have defects that the X-Rays would reveal.
WHILE AMERICA SLEEPS: It was ironic that the first major customer to purchase TIP TIG equipment and also to fully embrace the process, was the Chinese National Oil Company, CNOOC. This company flew a group of their engineers to my first TIP TIG seminar that I presented in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 2009. Of course no senior Naval personnel from the yard attended, they were invited.
12 years after I introduced the TIP TIG process to CNOOC at the Phily. work shop, CNOOC and others in China in the Oil, Nat Gas and Power sectors now lead the world in the use of the semi-automated GTA TIP TIG process.
Thanks to the CNOOC Chinese company ordering equipment from us, Tom and I now had the funds required to get the TIP TIG USA company grounded in the USA.
From pipe or plate, root to fill, 2 mm to any thickness, TIP TIG is the easiest process to use in any weld position. No weld fumes, no spatter or weld cleaning required. The same two weld settings can be used for most pipe and plate welds. The GTAW – Pulsed MIG and Gas Shielded Flux Cored weld processes simply cannot compete when code quality welds are required.
FOR THOSE THAT WANT THE PROCESS FACTS IN AN INDUSTRY IN WHICH PROCESS MYTHS ARE THE NORM.
I believe that I generated the world’s most informative web site on TIP TIG, process. This site is not influenced by the usual weld equip. sales bovine fecal matter. The site is tiptigwelding.com.
THINK ABOUT THE SUCESS OF THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY UTILIZED ARC WELD PROCESSES.
OF COURSE SEMI-AUTOMATED SIMPLIFIES THE USE OF A WELD PROCESS AND INCREASES WELD QUALITY AND PRODUCTION.
The reasons for the success of GMA and gas shielded flux cored, is they are “semi-automated” easy to use arc weld processes that provides respectable weld deposition rates. So when someone comes along and makes the GTA process into a “semi-automated” the easy to use TIP TIG process that provides 200 t0 300% more weld than GTA, what’s this weld industries response?
A SIMPLE SEMI-AUTOMATED GTA QUESTION. Why do you believe that in contrast to any other arc weld process, TIP TIG would enable the lowest possible weld joules and a two to three hundred percent increase in GTA weld deposition?
The following are real world TIP TIG weld benefits attained for code quality welds.
- TIP TIG enables on average 300% greater weld deposition than manual GTA welds.
- TIP TIG on “all position welds” is easier to use than DC GTA, Pulsed MIG and Flux Cored, while at the same time producing superior weld quality.
- TIP TIG with increased weld speeds and DC polarity always enables the lowest possible weld joules, producing superior mechanical / corrosion properties than any other arc weld process.
- TIP TIG always enables the lowest possible weld fumes.
- TIP TIG no weld spatter, and no weld cleaning required.
- TIP TIG always lowest weld distortion and lowest weld / part stresses.
- TIP TIG highest weld fusion capability with no weld porosity concerns.
- Use TIP TIG on large or small applications, one process root to fill, one process capable of welding all metals from the thinnest to the thickest parts.
- TIP TIG semi-automated or easily fully automated.
- TIP TIG, one gas, one weld wire, no more than three simple weld settings and one weld procedure.
IF YOU WANT EVIDENCE OF 2021 GMA – FCA WELD PROCESS CONFUSION, AND THE LACK OF CONTROLS & BEST WELD PRACTICES, YOU WILL FIND IT AT ANY N.AMERICAN NAVAL YARD.
THE NAVY ANTHEM…WHY CHANGE THE BLOODY WAY WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT. Any personnel that deals with Navy projects, will likely be aware that the Navy senior management desperately wants to get a grip of their fabrication / weld quality. Weld rework per-vessel is often millions of dollars over budget of the weld repair projections.
UNFORTUNATELY, WHEN PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IS SUGGESTED REF. WELDING, IT’S THE SENIOR SHIP YARD AND NAVAL ENGINEERING OFFICERS THAT ARE ALWAYS THE FIRST TO RESIST THE WELD ENGINEERING CHANGES.
The ship yards typically spend millions of over budget dollars that are most often a result from their poor flux cored weld quality. Also few ever count the costs associated from the poor daily weld productivity being attained.
TYPICAL AVERAGE WELD DEPOSITION IN SHIP YARDS IS 30 TO 50% LESS THAN THAT ATTAINED IN A WELL MANAGED WELD SHOP.
The weld reality in most shipyards, is that the yard front office management and engineers have for decades simply lacked the GMA – FCA weld process control expertise that would enable them the ability for Process Ownership. Yes they do understand the SMA process.
SHIP YARD WELD COSTS. In an 8 hr/shift, a ship yard welder welding all position, gas shielded flux cored welds should be able to deposit a minimum of 23 – 24 lbs/per-shift. However thanks to the too common apathetic yard management and engineers, and also the inadequate ship yard welder training programs, the typical ship yard welder in N. America, average 50 to 60% of the FCA weld metal it should deposit daily.
FLUX CORED PROCESS QUESTION. If the weld shop is welding mostly carbon steels in the flat and horizontal weld positions, and the carbon steels are 3/8 and thicker, why is the commonly used E71T-1 wire a poor choice?
For those of you that want to control gas shielded flux cored welds, and attain minimum weld rework with always maximum weld productivity, you get that with process controls. The FCA self teach / training resource, is in my process training section.
WELD SHOPS THAT DONT EVOLVE, THESE DAYS WILL HAVE A SHORT LIFE. In the highly competitive global weld industry, companies can purchase welded parts from China, South Korea or Eastern Europe. If USA companies don’t evolve, and continue to listen to sales-reps. for weld advice about weld equip. bells and whistles or magic gas mixes, and they continue on the path of front office lack of weld process ownership, while resisting progressive weld change, they may as well close their weld shop doors.
The following is common in 2021 for the industries which utilize traditional manual Pulsed GMA, manual GTAW and Gas Shielded Flux Cored welds on large scale code quality weld projects;
- The daily weld quality and weld production being produced in most plants will have changed little in six decades.
- Weld rejects and weld rework will continue to be the expected norm.
- Weld spatter clean up the norm.
- More than one weld process will be used on the code welds, requiring different weld qualification procedures, different weld procedures, different weld equipment, different weld consumables, practices and skills will be required.
GMA Weld Question. Welding 1/4 – 6 to 7 mm carbon steels in the flat positions with a 1.2 mm 0.045 wire, argon 20 – CO2, and a 350 amp CV power source , what would be the average GMA deposition rate be with an arc on time of 30 minutes.
A QUESTION BOUND TO ANNOY MANY.
The growing army of AWS CWI weld inspection personnel, would get more respect from me, if before they offer an opinion on the daily welds they view, they take a few hours to understand the simple two control GMA – FCA weld processes that they daily critique?
IT TAKES APPROX. ONLY 15-20 HOURS TO LEARNEITHER THE GMA – FCA – TIP TIG – ADAVANCED TIG, or ROBOT GMA ARC WELD PROCESS CONTROLS RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE AT THIS SITE.
Before you purchase your next GMA power source, ask yourself, do you need the electronic Bells and whistles?
A weld fact. In 2021, using a N. American 350 – 450 amp, CV MIG power source that has changed little since the 1960s. A power source that in contrast to a pulsed MIG power source typically can costs 50 to 200% less. A CV power source that in less than 5 minutes I could demo with 3 weld settings, that I could in contrast to pulsed GMA equip. produce, spatter free, superior weld quality on any steels and alloy steel welds. With this same CV equip. I could then provide superior gas shielded flux cored welds.
GAS SHIELDED FLUX CORED QUESTION.
Why in contrast to a CV MIG power source, is it difficult to get superior weld fusion with a gas shielded flux cored wire if using a pulsed MIG or multi-process power source?
Too often when the plant is having manual or robot weld issues, the plant or engineering mgr. may then turn to more expensive weld resolutions such as, employing more manual GTA – MIG or FCA welders. Perhaps they will ask their sales-rep to bring in the latest Lincoln, Miller or Panasonic electronic wonder power source. Or for the robot line as the robots are not meeting their promised potential there solution will be to purchase more robots. Or perhaps as is common with the N. American Auto – Truck industry, they will outsource the troubled welded parts to a southern State or Mexico, where weld rework costs are rarely relevant.
The sad weld reality for global weld decision makers that have a difficult time consistently attaining the full manual or robot GMA weld quality and productivity potential from the world’s most utilized arc weld processes, is that for approx. six decades, producing manual mediocre GMA weld quality and productivity, and creating unnecessary costly weld rework has become the DAILY NORM. And unfortunately the poorly trained managers and engineers that run plants with the welding robots, are simply no aware of the robot GMA process control that’s been available at this site for approx. 25 years. (process training section).
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR MANAGERS TO PROVIDE RESOLUTIONS TO THEIR WELD SHOP ISSUES, IF THEY ‘DON’T RECOGNIZE THE ROOT CAUSE OF THEIR WELD PROBLEMS?
MOST MANAGERS ARE NOT AWARE THAT “WELDER SKILLS” HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A SECONDARY REQUIREMENT FOR WELD PROCESS OPTIMIZATION. FIRST AND FORMOST IS WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE:
You will rarely see this in a job description for GMA – FCA welders. The welder must have the required weld process control expertise and be aware of the best weld practices to attain weld optimization. It’s definitely not something that SpaceX or NASA or any Fortune 500 company would request when hiring any weld personnel including a weld engineer.
With the common management and engineer lack of awareness of process control expertise, it’s therefore logical this expertise will be something rarely required in any weld job description, and also “process controls” will rarely be part of the mfg. plant discussions.
As far as I know, the weld industry is the only technical industry that relies on inexperienced sales or equipment representatives to provide weld process advice for a shop’s weld issues. The sales rep, will typically be an individual that likely has never run a weld shop. This nonsense has been going on for decades. The issues are typically with weld equipment that that has two weld controls that have not changed since the 1960s..
As a corporate training or weld product manager at Linde, Airgas, AGA and Carbonic, I trained over 4000 weld sales-reps, and I figured out no matter what training they received perhaps 5 in a hundred were worthy to walk through a weld shop door and provide weld advice,
One area that will always reveal the lack of MIG weld process controls and best weld practice expertise that prevails is found in the robot cells in most global automotive and truck plants. A look at many pendant weld programs will reveal the often poor, ever changing weld program data for simple welds that should require no more than two weld settings.
IT WAS TYPICAL AT ABB FOR ME TO ESTABLISH ONE OR TWO OPTIMUM GMA ROBOT WELD SETTINGS FOR ANY GM – FORD OR CHRYSLER APPLICATION. AND WHEN I VISITED THEIR PLANTS, I WOULD USUALLY SEE THAT MY DATA HAD IN SOME INSTANCES BEEN CHANGED USUALLY 10 TO 30 TIMES, AND THE ROBOT WELDS WERE A MESS.
Managers and engineers wake up. Robot personnel “playing around” with the weld control data in a robot cell, is not a sign of enlightened engineering and mfg. management, it’s an indication that the company management and engineers are simply not aware of the weld process control expertise that’s required by technicians and engineers to attain the best possible robot weld quality and productivity.
For decades, most global mfg. and plant managers thought playing around with weld controls was the norm. Most managers were simply not aware that their engineers or technicians were NOT taught Arc Weld Process Controls, at the Colleges or Universities that provided them with their weld educations. However for more than 20 years, this expertise in self teaching / training formats has been available at this web site, (process training).
LACK OF MANUAL OR ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROLS & LACK OF BEST ARC WELD PRACTICE & AND LACK OF WELD COST CONTROL EXPERTISE IS SIMPLE TO RECTIFY:
If managers, engineers and supervisors in automotive and truck facilities, don’t understand the robot weld process control expertise requirements for weld process ownership, it’s not likely their robot technicians or those that are making the weld changes will have this expertise.
If a rare enlightened plant or engineering manager had insisted that at least one person in their plant had the weld process control and best weld practice expertise necessary to own the processes, and therefore be able to optimize either their daily robot or manual weld quality or productivity, that same manager, would also be wise enough to ensure that this person was given the responsibility to train all those in both the front office and the weld shop that daily are making the weld decisions. O well dream on.
You don’t get asked to establish the robot MIG welds on America’s most iconic vehicles without a reputation for past weld accomplishments .
Just a few of the products Em. worked on
 FORD F150.. I was the only person to establish robot welds that did not require weld rework which was amazing if you saw the poor robot weld joints.
 BEETLE. New VW Beetle car seats provided the highest crash ratings ever attained for small cars in the US. I set these robot MIG welds at Johnson Controls in Mexico. Johnson found out that the VW robot MIG data established by VW in Germany would not work. Not only did i attain zero rework i increased the robot production by 30%
 CORVETTE, Some of the worst welds produced in the auto industry in the 80 – 90s were on America’s fav. sports car the Corvette. This vehicle was manually welded with flux cored wires and the welds were a disgrace. I recommended to the GM engineer responsible for the project that they should be using MAG. I trained the GM workers to transition to MAG. After that a I recommended that GM progress to robots. They did and I established the Corvette robot MAG welds.
HARLEY. This hands off management company has no understanding at all of the requirements or the value of front office weld process ownership. So its no surprise that this company was slow to evolve to robot MIG welds. Most of the bike frame welds were done manually in MIG weld production lines that reminded me of the production line in Henry Ford’s first plant. When Harley developed the FATBOY, it quickly became a best seller. I set the initial robot welds for this product while I was the weld mgr. at ABB Robots.
GENIE. Who has not seen these products on construction sites or in plants, and because of what the do they need defect free robot and manual weld quality. I set their robot welds and provided process control training programs.
CATERPILLAR. Who else would this company turn to but ABB and myself when they wanted the robot MIG weld the world’s largest trick.
Please be aware, that I spent decades condensing and simplifying both my Manual and Robot MIG weld process control training resources so that irrespective of their weld background, they could be presented by anyone.
By the way those of you who want to make progressive weld changes in your plants, I would suggest you start with the “Job Description” Include the words, “Must have the required Manual or Robot Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice expertise”.
THIS WILL SHOCK MANY. A “WELD TEAM” IN ANY MANUFACURING FACILITY, IS TYPICALLY A SIGN OF “INEXPERIENCED WELD MANAGEMENT”.
THE WELD TEAM: Another unique attribute about poor global weld shop practices, is when managers, supervisors or engineers lack weld process control and best practice expertise they will frequently create a Weld Team, a team that ironically will also lack the same expertise. The common manager’s response to their never ending weld issues is to daily take an acid reducing TUM to control their heart burn, and then call a WELD TEAM meeting. Too often the only thing frequently achieved by the weld team will be the consumption of a large amount of coffee and donuts, wasted man hours, and more weld process confusion added to the plant.
My easy to learn manual and robot weld process controls and best practice self teaching or training programs typically only require 15 to 20 hours to learn. If this training was provided to all the company’s personnel that daily influence weld decisions, the weld reality is that no plant or weld facility would require a “weld team” and the reason would be, that all the companies weld decision makers would be trained with the weld process control – best practice requirements that enable them to uniformly walk the one path required to consistently attain, manual or robot weld process optimization. Think how unique that would be a plant in which all involved in weld decisions were trained in the requirements for weld process ownership.
HOWEVER A MANUFACTURING TEAM IS LOGICAL. Rather than creating a robot weld team, a more logical approach in an organization that understands weld processes would be to create a “manufacturing team”. This would be a team comprised of the key robot weld decision maker, and the production, quality, maintenance and engineering manager. The manufacturing team’s prime responsibility would be to ensure that the products for the robot cells should be delivered in a timely manner, and the parts to be welded by the robots would be manufactured in accordance with the specified design, conditions and dimension, (always a rare event in poorly managed auto / truck plants).
In the highly competitive global weld industry, an experience weld shop manager, supervisor or engineer should never allow this attitude.
INSTEAD OF PURCHASING LOW COST DURABLE CV MIG EQUIPMENT AND PROVIDING EMPLOYEES WITH PROCESS CONTROL TRAINING, MANAGERS WILL OFTEN SPEND 200 to 300% MORE FOR PULSED MIG WELD EQUIPMENT TO WELDD STEELS AND ALLOY STEELS , THE QUESTION IS WHY?
Of course electronics in MIG equipment has enabled interesting weld transfer mode opportunities especially with pulsed MIG and aluminum welds benefit. However much of the electronics that from the 1980s to 2020, that have gone into pulsed MIG equipment that is used for steel and alloy welds, have in reality been mostly useless BELLS & WHISTLES.
FEW WELD SHOPS ARE AWARE OF THE NEGATIVE WELD QUALITY AND COST ATTRIBUTES OF PULSED MIG WELDS:
Anyone who has ever done a weld macro on a steel or stainless fillet weld on steels > 5 mm thick, will be aware with the MIG Spray mode that unfortunately has a poor ratio of weld energy to weld mass, will view that the weld fusion attained is often poor to marginal. When that Spray mode is changed to a pulsed mode that can provide the same weld deposition potential as Spray, but however spends 50% of its time at a low background current, then is should not be a surprise to find that this lower energy mode will in contrast to a Spray weld, not improve the weld fusion or reduce the weld porosity, but that pulsed MIG mode will suitable for welds that require lower weld energy, welds on gauge steels, aluminum, and clad welds. I wrote a book on MIG and Pulsed MIG over 20 years ago. That book was called “A Management and Engineers Guide To MIG”.In this book I dedicated over a 100 pages as to what was wrong with the pulsed MIG mode for steels and alloy welds, and all the issues I discussed then are still relevant today in 2020. By the way those weld shops that purchased costly Pulsed MIG equipment to reduce weld spatter, could have spent $200 on one of my MIG training programs and eliminated their spatter concerns with something called Weld Process Control Expertise.
In the 1970 and 1980s, with low cost CV MIG equipment, I was showing weld shops how to produce MIG short circuit welds with no spatter.
TWO WAYS TO RUN A WELD SHOP. ONE WITH FRON OFFICE WELD PROCESS OWNERSHIP CAPABILITY. THE OTHER WITH THE ADVICE OF A WELD SALES REP.
In the nineteen sixties I started MIG and flux cored welding tractors in a Massey Ferguson plant in Manchester England, and today in 2020 in any global weld shop, I could take a 1960s CV MIG power source, or a 2020 $2500 new CV MIG power source, and with MIG weld process control expertise, consistently provide optimum quality, spatter free welds on any steel and alloy steel parts from 14 gauge to any thickness. So the weld reality for the one or two readers that are aware of this 20 year old website, is if the weld shop mostly welds aluminum parts that less than 6 mm thick, then the purchase of a pulsed MIG power source provides many weld benefits. However if the weld shop welds thicker aluminum parts, the weld shop will attain better aluminum weld quality by using the CV spray mode on the lower cost CV MIG equip. If the weld shop welds mostly steels and alloys the weld shop will save money if it simply purchases CV MIG units that can typically cost 100 to 200% less. Think of the savings for the weld shop from being able to purchase the lower cost, easier to repair, more durable CV equipment that has two simple weld controls and for the occasional aluminum welds provide a portable pulsed MIG unit. Weld decisions such as this, require managers and engineers that are capable of Weld Process Ownership. Managers that will be aware they can optimize their steel MIG and flux cored welds with low cost CV MIG equipment because they have provided all their weld personnel with the required MIG Weld Process Controls – Best Weld Practice Training.
THE PURCHASE OF THREE PART GAS MIXES AND METAL CORED WIRES ARE ALSO OFTEN INFLUENCED BY SALES BOVINE FECAL MATTER: While some metal cored wires that contain alloys may be beneficial for high strength applications, when welding low carbon steels. I never saw a metal cored weld I could not replicate with a lower cost MIG wire. As for those three part MIG gas mixes, as a key writer of the AWS MIG Shielding Gas Specifications, I would like to inform any weld shop that over the last four decades purchased a three part MIG gas mix for steels and alloy steel welds, that the costly three part MIG gas mixes were never necessary and the reality of adding oxygen in a gas mix created more negative attributes to a weld than benefits. I will admit however that both the metal cored wires and three part gas mixes were always a good tool for the weld distributors to attain gas business in weld shops that lacked the ability for MIG weld process ownership.
On many steel and alloy weld applications, for decades, the common useless electronics found in pulsed MIG equipment was a good companion for the useless three part MIG gas mixes and metal cored wires that were also used as a crutch by those that lacked weld process control expertise.
GAS SHIELDED FLUX CORED: In 2020, the majority of global weld shops may also be surprised to hear that both GTAW and the Gas Shielded Flux Cored process are a poor weld process choice for many code quality welds. For those using all position gas shielded flux cored wires in 2020 on applications that require X-Rays or Ultrasonic testing, a reasonable question would be why would any weld shop choose a weld process such as flux cored, in which irrespective of the welder’s skills, unreliable weld quality, excess porosity, trapped slag weld fusion concerns, excess spatter and excess weld fumes will be the norm.
ITS 2020 AND SOMEONE FORGOT TO TELL WELD SHOPS THAT IN THE LAST DECADE, THE GTAW PROCESS BECAME OBSOLETE: And If the weld shop is still using the seventy year old DC. TIG process for welding parts that require an extensive amount of welds, what manager has not been frustrated in dealing with this ultra slow process that requires the highest welder skills, and also provides high heat into the welded parts. Note: For those that are interested in the well documented issues that occur with the common MIG – Pulsed MIG – GTAW -Flux Cored processes and their equipment and consumable issues when utilized on manual and robot welds, please visit my programs sections. While pulsed MIG, DC TIG and the gas shielded Flux Cored processes have since the 1960’s, been responsible for most of the global code quality arc welds that are produced daily, in 2019, few weld shops are aware that for more than a decade there has been an alternative, superior, “manual semi-automated and fully automated” weld process called TIP TIG.
TIP TIG is a process that may appear at first glance for some weld personnel to be a cross between the TIG and MIG process. However this is a process that when code quality welds are required, TIP TIG will provide superior weld performance than TIG – Pulsed MIG – Gas Shielded Flux Cored and Hot Wire TIG welds.
TIP TIG is both an easy to use semi-automated and fully automated arc weld process. When code quality welds are required, by consistently enabling the highest weld energy in an inert atmosphere, (best weld fusion lowest porosity) along with attaining the lowest welded part heat input from DC polarity and increased travel rates. In contrast to GTAW – Pulsed MIG – FCAW and Hot Wire TIG, the TIP TIG process will always attain the best possible weld quality and also part mechanical and corrosion properties.
TIP TIG provides the highest weld energy and weld fluidity, with the highest weld purity, and also enables the lowest weld part heat with an easy to use process for welds on any metals, applications any size, and welds in any position..
WHEN TOM MY BUSINESS PARTNER AND I BOUGHT TIP TIG TO NORTH AMERICA IN 2009 AND STARTED “TIP TIG USA, THIS PROCESS CREATED DRAMATIC NEW WELD OPPORTUNITIES FOR WELD SHOPS IN N.AMERICA, AUSTRALIA AND CHINA.
2020. I predict that by 2025, the “Plasch Austria” patented TIP TIG process that I and my business partner Tom introduced to North America, China and Australia in 2009, will be the world’s most widely utilized arc weld process that is associated with most code quality welds.
With so many weld, metallurgical, mechanical, corrosion, and also weld fume safety benefits obtained from TIP TIG, benefits that are spelled out on this page and especially in my comprehensive, “TIP TIG” program which provides TIP TIG data that’s not provided on any other global website. For any weld shop the weld reality is this, when the highest possible quality on all position, root or fill, fillet or butt, small or large parts, on manual or automated applications are required, the weld shop will find TIP TIG will be easier to use, (less skills), and always produce superior weld quality than the traditional DC/AC TIG – Pulsed MIG – STT MIG – RMD MIG, Flux Cored and also the Hot Wire TIG process.
Note: For those that may not agree with the above TIP TIG statement, why waste a breath arguing the subject, after all it would take less than 60 minute for a TIP TIG demo in any weld shop to prove the TIP TIG weld quality and cost results are superior to what your company is presently producing. Of course the local sales rep. that has a degree in liberal arts or history, and likely does not sell TIP TIG may disagree, and instead perhaps they will want you to try their latest electronic MIG power source or another useless three part MIG gas mix.
This site places much focus on the process expertise that’s too often lacking in global weld shops and also on the GTAW – Pulsed MIG – FCA and TIP TIG weld process comparisons for common, code quality global weld shop applications. Note, the weld process comparisons will have more meaning when those that are interested in the comparisons, have the weld process controls & best weld practice expertise that’s been necessary to optimize the common arc weld process utilized in their weld shops.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THE PERFECT ARC WELD PROCESS? If I was to ask a well seasoned weld individual, what do you believe the key weld process attributes would be to make the perfect weld process for most code quality welds. The following would be my list.
Ten fundamental weld process requirements to attain the best possible, all position, code quality manual welds on any metals.
- Must be an easy to use, semi-automatic and automatic weld process.
- Must have the weld capability for both open root and fill passes on any application and metals, and suitable to welds on any thickness.
- Must provide the highest weld energy, (weld fluidity) capability to attain optimum weld fusion with all metals. (not possible with MIG or FCAW.
- Must provide moderate all position weld deposition rates that while producing, cost effective welds are also providing an important balance between the amount of weld deposited and the weld energy delivered.
- Must provide an inert plasma atmosphere that minimizes weld oxidation and porosity.
- Must provide no spatter or slag.
- Must provide automatic control of weld start / stop data.
- Must provide EN polarity that enables with the weld speeds attained, the lowest welded part heat input that enables the smallest weld HAZ, and the best mechanical and corrosion properties.
- Must be simple to set.
- Must not require more than three settings for all welds.
Note in 2020 there is only one weld process capable of delivering the above and it’s the decade old TIP TIG process. https://tiptigwelding.com
PLEASE BE AWARE, THAT EVERY THING THAT’S STATED AT THIS SITE, I CAN DEMONSTRATE AND PROVE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR AT ANY WELD SHOP.
MODERATE WELD DEPOSITION RATES AND THE HIGHEST DC WELD ENERGY ENABLE THE BEST ALL POSITION WELD FUSION. When the weld shop has an all position, easy to use process such as TIP TIG that produces moderate weld deposition rates that provide the highest energy and fluidity welds that are protected by an inert gas, for the weld shop this this enables the capability to attain on any scale application the highest possible arc weld quality. When you combine the weld quality asset of TIP TIG with the TIP TIG’s DCEN and weld speed ability to produce the lowest possible weld heat input to the parts welded, this provides for the weld shop, the manual and automated weld capability to eliminate the normally anticipated weld rework on any application. And also to be able to weld any type of weldable metal without worrying about any weld metallurgical concerns. The TIP TIG welds shown on this page and in the TIP section cannot be duplicated by any regular optimum TIG, pulsed MIG or flux cored welds.
Note. Yes with traditional DC TIG process the weler can always produce excellent weld quality, but with manual DC TIG, the welder cannot attain the TIP TIG weld energy, the TIP TIG weld uniformity and weld continuity that drives weld speeds, the TIP TIG weld deposition rates and reduced skills that drive weld costs, and with TIP TIG the weld shop can produce on most parts > 2 mm the lowest welded part heat that influences metallurgy and application capability.
When I first introduced TIP TIG to N. America and Australia around 2009, I was well aware that this unique process would be a huge game changer for weld shops, and would have to be compared with the traditional arc weld processes utilized by the weld shops, especially with code quality welds. When discussing weld process comparisons, it helps if those doing the process comparisons first have the weld process controls and best weld practice expertise that was necessary to consistently attain weld process quality and productivity optimization with the weld shop processes they daily use. (available with my low cost weld process optimization training programs), however the bottom line is simply this, there is no optimum Pulsed MIG – GTAW and Gas Shielded Flux Cored welds that will have the capability to match the weld quality show on upper left, and with the other TIP TIG welds shown here and in my TIP TIG section.
Some processes as discussed in the process section of this site are simply not capable of consistently producing optimum weld quality. Weld shops will be aware that with manual welds, that irrespective of the welder skills, arc weld processes such as Pulsed MIG and gas shielded flux cored are on many applications simply not capable of consistently delivering defect free welds. The inherent weld process issues that influence the weld quality are discussed extensively in my TIP TIG and in MIG and flux cored weld program sections.
Some of you that attended my process control workshops or purchased my weldreality training programs, will be aware that I have specialized on the requirements for weld process control and best weld practice for close to the five decades that I have been in this industry. Manual, automated or robot welds, I know what each arc weld process quality – productivity and capability is with any metals on any applications. I am well aware also of the weld issues that will be generated from the weld process and consumables used, and also the issues that are generated from the common poor weld practices used by the welders. So please keep this in mind in the weld advice that I offer, I was born in Manchester UK, and in general Mancunians are people that have good sense of humor with no time for BS. I don’t sell welding products, and from my lips you will never hear weld equipment or process bias. However for decades I do offer what in general is missing in the majority of weld shops of the global weld industry, that is the required Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice self teaching / training programs that will help any company personnel attain the best possible weld results with the MIG – FCAW – Advanced TIG and also TIP TIG process utilized.
If a person wanted to find evidence of the too often poor, stagnant state of the global weld industry, they could start out in two diverse industries such as ship building and automotive. In most of the global ship build facilities, thanks to lack of weld management and weld engineering ownership and lack of weld process controls expertise, there is usually always extensive, unnecessary manual costly weld rework. And in the auto. truck plants, the bins that line the robot aisles will usually be full of weld rejects and rework from the poor robot MIG weld quality, and few of the robots in the plants will be attaining optimum their robot weld productivity potential.
For decades. as a result of unnecessary flux core and MIG weld rework, millions of dollars have been lost per-vessel built, and the reason is a simple one, the common Navy and shipyard front office, lack of Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Expertise.
Its 2020, and as they have done for decades, global Navy shipyards will be building multi-million dollar vessels and dramatically going past their weld rework budgets and yet at these shipyard facilities the;
- THE REQUIRED WELD SPECIFICATIONS ARE BEING UTILIZED.
- THE WELD PROCESSES WERE APPROVED.
- THE WELD PROCEDURES QUALIFIED.
- THE WELDERS TRAINED.
- THE WELDERS WERE QUALIFIED.
- AND THE QA DEPARTMENT DAILY STRIVES TO ENSURE THAT STRINGENT WELD INSPECTION WAS AN EFFECTIVE PART OF THE SHIP BUILDING PROCESS.
- SO CAN YOU GUESS WHY THE NEVER ENDING WELD ISSUES, AND WHAT THE MISSING LINK IS?
With any facility that applies an annual budget for it’s anticipated weld repairs, you would assume that the manufacturing management created that budget from its history of typical past, annual weld repair costs, You would also think that the key weld decision makers would then strive to reduce those weld repair costs. And yet in shipyards, you will find the annual weld repair costs rarely go down, and in most cases again thanks to lack of management and engineering process ownership expertise, the weld repair costs typically will again, like the movie Groundhog Day, repeat, and often dramatically exceed the weld repair budget sometimes by many millions of dollars.
WHY WITH SIMPLE WELD CONTROL ARC WELD PROCESSES ARE THERE SO MANY WELD ISSUES: A logical manager or engineer would ask, why with the simple to set, two control, MIG and flux cored weld process that are utilized daily for the majority most arc welds, two processes that have hardly changed in many decades, do the responsible managers and engineers continue to fail in their task of owning these weld processes and better managing their daily weld quality and productivity? Also why after decades of experience with these two weld processes is there little evidence of weld process control and best weld practice evolution throughout the global weld industry?
Lets face it, anyone who had spent 30 minutes at this web site would not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why the never ending shipyard or automotive plant weld issues have been going on for decades, or why most of the aerospace, power, oil and defense industries are stuck in the welding 20th Century. The following are five common root causes of why many of the global weld issues occur;
 MANY MANAGERS ARE NOT AWARE THAT MANUAL – ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROLS & BEST WELD PRACTICE IS AN EXPERTISE THAT EXISTS.
 FEW FRONT OFFICE WELD DECISION MAKERS HAVE THE EXPERTISE TO RAPIDLY WORK OUT THE COST OF A COMMON 1/4 6 mm MIG OR FILLET WELD.
 ENGINEERS AND TECHNICIANS ARE NOT TAUGHT WELD PROCESS CONTROLS AND BEST WELD PRACTICES.
 MANAGER AND SUPERVISORS TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT THEIR WELD PERSONNEL HAVE TO PLAY WITH WELD CONTROLS.
 MANAGERS & ENGINEERS & SUPERVISORS ARE NOT AWARE OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO LEARN THE REQUIREMENTS FOR WELD PROCESS OWNERSHIP.
I do apologize for the size of this web site, however its 25% of what it once was, however the weld processes and applications discussed are diverse, the weld process issues extensive, and the repercussions of costly arc weld quality and productivity issues that daily effect the majority of the global weld industry has been going on for the five decades that I have been in this industry. However the weld reality is, the process controls – best weld practice subjects should be of interest to anyone that calls them self a weld professional.
Since the 1980’s I have been documenting the common global arc weld problems that I was asked to resolve in more than a 1000 weld shops in 13 countries. I have written 35 articles and had four books published on MIG and Flux Cored weld issues and process control resolutions. My focus was always on simplifying and condensing the subject of weld process controls and best weld practices and passing this on to all weld decision makers. I have spent decades developing the low cost process control resources available at this site that enable managers and engineers to take ownership of their weld processes, however the sad weld reality is getting them to purchase these resources, has in most instances been like getting a mule to drink water from a trough.
2109: On the subject of lack of weld evolution, their will always be a place for the traditional TIG process, (left), however as you will read below, this 75 year old process should no longer the optimum arc weld process of choice with most code quality welds.
In this home page, I will start out with some general information on the three key common arc weld processes that will be used in the next decades, Pulsed MIG, Gas Shielded Flux Cored and the most important will be the TIP TIG process. The reader will find with these three weld processes, the most comprehensive manual and robot weld process control data in this sites programs sections and also in my weld books and training materials. And while the site is long winded due to its age and the never ending global weld shop issues, I hope some readers will find the information that could enable any organization to take the one path required for weld process optimization, a path that ensures with each of the three weld processes, the best possible, consistent, uniform quality welds always of course produced at the lowest weld costs.
As MIG is the world’s most widely utilized arc weld process, you can never have enough MIG information.
FOR ME, 50 YEARS HAVE PASSED IN THIS INDUSTRY AND I SEE LITTLE CHANGE. Some may think it ironic that most of the MIG weld issues that I was writing about in the 1970 -80’s, are the same issues as the MIG weld issues that are being generated in 2020. Please note that extensive data on the Pulsed MIG process and the extensive pulsed MIG equipment issues are found in the MIG programs section.
A WELD REALITY IS THAT FEW WELD SHOPS WERE AWARE OF THE DECADES OF POOR PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT WELD EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE, WHICH IS SIMPLY ANOTHER INDICATION OF THE LACK OF WELD PROCESS EXPERTISE THAT PREVAILS THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRY.
If the reader was to ask their experienced weld shop floor personnel to explain why they need pulsed MIG equipment for steel welds, I can assure you that in their answers there will likely be many indications of their MIG weld process confusion. And if the front office weld decision makers were asked why they should purchase pulsed MIG for their steel welds, they will likely tell you all the reasons that their local sales rep. (who never ran a weld shop) told them.
I have written approx. a hundred thousand words on why Pulsed MIG is not a requirement in a weld shop that welds mostly steel and alloy steel welds, and with the introduction of TIP TIG, when rational weld process selection decisions are made, the purchase of Pulsed MIG equipment should decline especially when any code quality steel welds are required. If like me you don’t have a life, there are decades of manual and robot pulsed MIG issues documented in my pulsed MIG process and MIG equipment sections.
 WELDING ROBOTS QUICKLY REVEAL THE LACK OF MANAGEMENT WELD PROCESS OWNERSHIP:
Pulsed MIG or regular CV MIG welds, you would think it logical that those responsible for robot MIG weld decisions would be aware of the weld process and weld transfer mode differences, so they can best utilize the weld modes in the attainment of robot weld optimization. You would also think that the front office weld decision makers would be aware that their employees will in most instances lack the robot MIG weld process controls and best weld practice expertise that’s necessary to enable consistent, optimum robot MIG weld quality and productivity, always of course with the lowest robot down time.
 DECADES OF MIG WELD GAS SALES AND WELD SHOP BS:
In North America, there are forty plus MIG gas mixes available, and few weld shops that are aware that no more than four MIG gas mixes have ever been required for all MIG welds. The majority of the MIG Gas Mix mixes sold are simply a result from the vivid imagination of a of gas marketing or sales executive. Note: As the industrial gas marketing manager for Airgas, AGA, and Liquid Carbonic, I developed or introduced in N. America 4 of the top selling MIG gas mixes. If interested visit my MIG gas section.
 A WELD PROFESSIONAL WITH OWNERSHIP CAPABILITY WOULD SIMPLIFY, CONDENSE AND ENSURE EMPLOYEES ARE TRAINED IN THE PROCESS CONTROLS – BEST PRACTICES REQUIRED.
No matter what weld wire is placed on a MIG power source and what the weld metal and application is, as shown in my Training / Self teaching MIG and Gas Shielded Flux Cored weld process control – best weld practice programs, the reader will find that there are “three” optimum weld settings. There are also MIG and Flux Cored best weld practices that are necessary to minimize weld defects and optimize weld productivity. The weld reality is few of your weld personnel will be aware of the settings and practices, and as is common in many weld shops when setting a MIG or Flux Cored weld, the weld personnel will frequently “play around” with two weld controls that have changed little in decades.
Around 2007, in a rare weld event for me, I had the opportunity to apply my arc weld process controls – best weld practices in a US shipyard in which the managers and engineers were much more familiar with SMAW (STICK) weld practices that were likely established in the second world war.
When hired as the shipyard weld manager, I walked into a yard in which the previous weld and engineering manager knew a lot about stick welding and nothing about Flux Cored and MIG Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices. In this shipyard. within three months of my process control training, the weld quality and productivity results were staggering. The weld quality and cost information attained is below, and full info available in my flux cored section.
WITH THE EXCESSIVE N. AMERICAN WELD REPAIR COST OVERRUNS ON THE PRODUCTION OF NAVY VESSELS, AND WATCHING HOW QUICKLY CHINA CAN BUILD SIMILAR VESSELS, AFTER DECADES OF DOING NOTHING, US NAVY SENIOR MANAGEMENT IS BEGINNING TO WONDER WHY THE LACK OF OF WELD MANAGEMENT / ENGINEERING PROCESS OWNERSHIP EXPERTISE HAS BECOME THE NORM. A LACK OF EXPERTISE THAT DAILY IMPACTS THE WELD QUALITY, PRODUCTIVITY AND PRODUCTION DEADLINES.
As you will read below, even the Navy executives who will have never run a weld shop are beginning to wonder why in the shipyards that build their vessels, the over budget weld repairs are always measured in the millions, and over the decades there has been little evidence of management coming to grips with the costly weld issues, and rarely evidence of the understanding or importance of the use of weld process controls or best weld practices.
THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SPEAKS ABOUT THE COSTLY WELD ISSUES BUT MOST OF HIS DEFENSE CONTRACTORS DON’T KNOW HOW TO RESPOND
For those not interested in my opinions and my focus on the general lack of weld weld best practices and weld process controls expertise, they may however want to be aware of the the words of a Mr. Guerts, the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy. Mr. Guerts is responsible for spending approx. 205 billion dollars next year, and as you will read below, the front office engineering and management lack of weld process ownership in the Navy shipyard departments that fabricate & weld have him more than worried about meeting the his annual ship build delivery and budget requirements. See Navy below.
2021. The USA, Australia, Europe and the UK, Thanks to China which now has the world’s largest Navy there has never been a greater demand for Naval vessels and submarines. Yet the countries mentioned are still using the 1946 GTA process and often using inadequate or outdated weld specifications and weld procedures.
WELDER TRAINING PROGRAMS ARE TOO OFTEN INADEQUATE IN MOST GLOBAL YARDS. All it takes is one flux Cored, lack of weld fusion defect in the right application location. and with the right circumstances, the result can be a catastrophic human and cost disaster. However the irony is that in most global ship and oil platform yards, is that they typically provide inadequate welder training programs that focus on welder skills with minimal focus on the requirements for weld process optimization. The botton line is few of the shipyard managers and engineers are aware of the importance of the weld process controls and best weld practices required with the common semi-automated weld processes.
WELD QUALITY – WELD LIABILITY.
A platform such as this was used to provide offshore accommodations. All it took was a poor 1/4 (6mm) flux cored fillet weld to influence a structural component fatigue failure, the platform collapsed into the ocean with 123 lives lost with billions in costs.
Weld shop evolution is at a snails pace in most of the global weld industry.
In most of the global weld shops that weld code quality parts, during the last three decades you would have found manual welders that when welding on steels and alloy steel parts > 1/4, (>6.4 mm), were likely using one of the following processes and it was these processes and not the welders that were often causing the weld reject issues ;
 The Gas Shielded Flux Cored process when used on all position welds, will irrespective of the welder’s skills used will readily generate lack of weld fusion, trapped slag, excess porosity, worm-tracks, and excess spatter issues and weld fume concerns.
 The Pulsed MIG process, which irrespective of the welder skills, with all position welds on steels & alloy steels > 5 mm thick, this process as discussed below, will thanks to a poor weld energy to deposition rate balance, contribute to lack of weld fusion, unacceptable porosity, slight spatter and weld fume concerns.
 The DCEN TIG is a process which requires the highest all position welder skills and those skills will often differ from one welder to another which can influence the weld quality and weld uniformity. This is also a process that produces the slowest arc weld speeds often resulting in high weld and part heat.
For decades, companies would not have considered a TIG process as a practical, cost effective process choice for the large vessel application as shown on the left. Typically applications such as this would have been welded with flux cored, or if the weld project was managed by an engineering dinosaur, the SMAW (stick) process would have been used. So here is the welder 100 feet of the ground using the easy to use TIP TIG process, no smoke, no spatter, and no weld rework required.
HOW DO YOU EVALUATE A WELD? Below center left, a vertical up 71T-1 flux cored weld that shows “both good skills and poor weld settings” . The settings indicate that who ever selected the weld parameters lacks Flux Cored Weld Process Control Expertise. On Linked over 200 people involved in welding thought the flux cored welds below were excellent. Only two people, (one was myself) saw the welds for what they were COLD. On these FCA welds, an internal weld evaluation would have revealed extensive lack of weld fusion and excess trapped slag and porosity. The weld profile, convex. rapid freeze lines and scalloped edges reveals the welds simply lack the weld energy that would provide the required weld fluidity to attain consistent weld fusion on the thick steel parts shown. What does fluid weld energy look like? Take a look below right at what a fluid weld made with the TIP TIG process when used on a similar vertical up thick steel applications.
The self shielded FCA process and the gas shielded flux cored weld shown on the left are an important reason why ships and oil platforms sink, and buildings and bridges collapse in CA earth quakes.
The above left E71-T1 flux cored welds reveal the welder had good skills but whoever established the weld procedure data lacks weld process control expertise. Cold welds like this are too common in ship and oil-platform yards and on construction projects. These welds would with internal NDT reveal many weld quality issues which I am sure the designer of this part did not anticipate. If you want to be aware of the numerous weld issues generated by gas shielded and self shielded FCAW visit both the flux cored and also the TIP TIG sections.
Take a moment to again take a close look at this vertical TIP TIG weld. Note the wide plasma coverage of the high energy weld pool, a pool that is not influenced by the filler metal as it would be with regular TIG. Note the resulting weld pool fluidity from an arc plasma temperature that could be twice as high as a flux cored or MIG arc. And as everyone who welds will be aware, its the arc energy and resulting weld fluidity that creates weld fusion. Its that fluid weld energy and the weld purity being attained from using an inert gas that eliminates the formation of weld porosity and slag.
It’s only logical that this ten year old TIP TIG process is producing a weld transfer that any weld shop would want to utilize for it’s code quality welds, and especially with sluggish alloy welds. However in 2019, the weld reality is most weld shops when welding code applications that require a good amount of weld will likely be using the inferior Pulsed MIG or flux cored weld process both of which are prone to generating lack of vertical up weld fusion on steels > 6 mm. If you have an interest in most comprehensive unique weld data ever written on TIP TIG and its application potential especially jn contrast to the other arc weld processes, please visit my TIP TIG section
Note: Once the weld shop has purchased TIP TIG, to prevent the TIP TIG welders doing what most MIG and FCA welders have done for the last 50 years “playing around” with weld controls, weld shops may want to consider my TIP TIG Weld Process Controls – Best weld Practice, Self-teaching – Training resource, which simplifies the TIP TIG settings, and the process requirements and best weld practices necessary to instantly attain the highest possible TIP TIG weld and part quality. My TIP TIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training or Self Teach Materials.
A FUNDAMENTAL FLUX CORED WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTION THAT THOSE MAKING WELD DECISIONS SHOULD BE ABLE TO INSTANTLY ANSWER:
FCAW Question…The 0.045 (1.2 mm), E71T-1 gas shielded flux cored wire is common on building the above oil platform or for welding ships.
Provide the vertical up fillet weld data for the above flux cored weld wire for welding carbon steel 1/4 (6.4 mm) plate.
[a] Provide the optimum flux cored wire feed rate.
[b] Provide the approx. flux cored current.
[c] Provide a good start voltage.
[d] As you have to purchase the flux cored weld wire, provide the hourly deposition rate that will be attained with a twenty minute arc on time.
[e] Provide two flux cored best weld practices that will enable the best possible weld fusion.
Ensuring consistent optimum weld quality is easily attained. As viewed below, I quickly taught my friends 11 year old nephew on how to set the optimum MIG weld data to weld the Imperial Oil Nat Gas pipe root welds, (pipe test samples) below. Once I had taught this young man the MIG process controls to set the optimum MIG root settings, I quickly taught him the best all position MIG pipe root weld practices. Then all it took was his young steady hands to provide an optimum pipe MIG root weld.
Please remember that while welder skills and length of welding experience have been the prime employment requirements for most weld shops, that weld process controls and best weld practice expertise will too often be the weld shop missing links, and the important keys necessary for any weld shop to daily, consistently produce the best possible MIG, flux cored and TIP TIG weld quality and productivity of course always at the lowest weld costs.
From robot welding cars or manual welding pipes in a Nuclear plant, when the welder does not have the necessary Arc Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Expertise, they often will play around with their weld controls and may use practices that will enhance the opportunity for weld defects. Anyone can hold a MIG or Flux Cored weld gun or TIP TIG torch, its what the welders and front office personnel know about the weld process optimization requirements that make them a weld professional.
Code quality pipe welds are can be simple when the front office personnel and supervisors ensure their welders have bot only the skill capability but also the optimum weld process controls data and the best weld practice required for the process and consumables utilized.
In the 90s I trained both Exon pipe welder and also 11 old Jesses how to optimize MIG Short Circuit, STT – RMD for Nat Gas 5G pipe root MIG has been used for many years for pipe root welds, so I guess that means we can assume that most weld decision makers that work with pipes would have no issue with the following pipe root weld question.
Weld Process Controls & Best Practices
5 FUNDAMENTAL WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTIONS THAT ANY PIPE WELD DECISION MAKER SHOULD BE ABLE TO INSTANTLY ANSWER:
If the above young welder had to make the above 5G pipe root using MIG short circuit while not the best process, using an 0.035 (1 mm) carbon steel wire and a 75 Ar – 25 CO2 mix.
 What wire feed rate, current and voltage would be optimum?
 While welding this SC root how much wire will the welder be using each hour with a 30 minute arc on time?
 What would be the major weld concerns with SC in this position?
 What would be the difference be between the MIG RMD and MIG STT process for the 5 G root passes, and why are theses two processes not required for rotated pipe roots.
 Whats the difference of a low pulsed mode and the Lincooln STT mode when used for a 5G pipe root?
If you were to traverse this web site over the last twenty years, or over the last four plus decades, you had attended my seminars or were familiar with my weld process controls – best weld practice – training books and materials, you would be aware of my never ending focus on the responsibility in the weld industry for front office arc weld process ownership;
- Lack of global weld management, engineering and supervision weld process ownership, along with the general poor understanding of weld costs, are two subjects that of course add to weld cost and quality issues, and also increase weld liability concerns that can negatively influence the reputation of the company.
- Lack of weld shop MIG – Flux Cored, and now TIP TIG Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice expertise that leaves many global weld personnel playing around with the two weld controls.
An extremely global slow weld shop evolution, that’s partially influenced by lack of front office process ownership and weld decision makers that will often rely on sales advice for their weld shop issues. These two factors can help create a “why change the way we have always done it” weld shop attitude, that unfortunately keeps many companies and weld shops embedded in the 20th Century.
Those involved with weld management and reluctant to progressive cost effective weld changes, should consider changing their career.
So the weld shop wants to weld all position pipes and vessels and like all weld shops,
- The shop would like an easy to use process that enables zero weld defects.
- The shop would also like to weld as fast as a pulsed MIG weld and provide weld quality better than GTAW.
- The weld shop also wants a process that is easy to use and does the welds from the root to cap.
- The weld shop is dealing with sluggish alloys and wants a process that puts in high weld energy and the lowest weld heat to provide the best possible mechanical properties.
- The weld shop also has a manager that is concerned about weld fumes, and would appreciate a process with the lowest weld fume levels.
- TIP TIG provides the solutions for all the above weld shop concerns, and by the way, its only been available for ten years, so no rush. And don’t forget when the shop gets the TIP TIG process, please ensure the welders will not be playing around with the TIP TIG wire feed and power source amp controls.
So what are Are Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices?
When a weld decision maker can walk up to any weld application and instantly select the best arc weld process, the best consumables, the best weld transfer modes, the best weld settings, and be aware of the best weld practices and the weld deposition rates and weld costs produced, then they are familiar with weld process controls and best weld practices. I condensed and simplified this data so it can be learnt in approx. 15 hours. Scroll down for the MIG – FCAW – TIP TIG programs.
In 1931, the first all welded Naval Vessel was built, and there certainly were many more bad welds than good welds. The arc weld processes utilized have been dramatically improved, and with no more than two welds controls you would think that it should be easy to optimize the required welds. However, the reality ninety years later is in N. American and most other global Navy yards, the unacceptable bad welds per-ship is staggering. How ironic is it that while captains have to be be fully responsible for their ships, it’s hard to know in most shipyards who is responsible for the welds.
Arc welding and ship building, soon it will be 100 years of too common, poor shipyard weld management that lacks of arc weld process controls and best weld practices.
Note: My businesses partner Tom and I introduced TIP TIG to Australia in 2009, and eventually it was recognized, hull explosion tested and accepted by the Australian Navy as its arc weld process of choice for its 50 billion dollar submarine contract.
AS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF WELD PROCESS CONTROLS IN SHIPYARDS, ALL IS NOT LOST. A 2016. E-Mail to me from a foreman at General Dynamics, NASSCO (Electric Boat) shipbuilding. Dear Emily. Having instituted your Weld Process Control – Best Weld Practice Flux Cored and MIG training programs at our NASSCO GD facility, I wanted to let you know the following results. At this location we are recovering from extensive, costly poor weld performance by qualified NAVSEA weld personnel on a major, US Navy CVN contract. I was hired in the middle of this contract which unfortunately like many naval yards has endless weld problems. Thanks to your training programs, we have greatly reduced our flux cored weld problems. And with your MIG & flux cored process control program, we finally were able to understand that our “NAVSEA approved weld procedures were not optimum”, we were recommending very low MIG – FCA weld parameters (outside your optimum minimum recommended range). We are now using your recommended weld parameters and practices and are now engaged in changing both our flux cored and MIG weld procedures also to your recommendations. Regards and thanks again. Foreman GD. NASSCO.
Poor weld quality and productivity and a general welder skills shortages are global weld issues that changed little throughout the 20th Century. These are issues are easily resolved for any organization, that is if the engineering management would understand their requirements for process ownership, recognize the benefits of TIP TIG and the weld process control requirements for their employees. Provide the correct training programs, and also provide the correct job descriptions that define the expertise required for all front office and weld shop employees, and then weld shops will be in a position to step in the 20th century.
Please note: For decades, MIG and flux cored have accounted for more than 90% of the global welds produced daily, yet most of the global community colleges, large corporations and universities that provide relevant weld education programs, have never provided MIG and flux cored Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Expertise.
Management & Lack of Process Ownership
The common lack of capability by many weld shops to produce consistent, uniform, optimum manual or robot arc weld quality always of course at the lowest possible weld costs is often influenced by the following:
- The MIG and flux cored processes used in weld shops have two simple weld controls, that have hardly changed in many decades, and yet the daily global weld rework, weld rejects, poor productivity and weld liability concerns are staggering. These issues are simply not weld shop created issues, they are a result of lack front office weld process controls – best weld practice expertise.
- The reliance of weld shops on local sales personnel to help solve their weld shop issues, individuals that likely have never run a weld shop. This again reveals the lack of weld management, engineering and supervision “weld process ownership expertise”.
- A lack of front office comprehensive understanding of manual MIG, Flux cored and soon to be TIP TIG “Weld Costs”, and the expertise necessary to daily control and minimize weld costs.
- From ship yards to automotive plants, an acceptance throughout the global weld industry for accepting “outdated welder training methods” that for decades have resulted in weld graduates “playing around” with their weld controls, and weld personnel that lack the ability to maximize the weld quality and productivity potential from the arc weld process and weld consumables utilized.
More on the Ship building consequences from poor weld management.
Every year in calm seas or what’s considered normal ocean weather, hundreds of ships will break apart, usually around the weld seams. One prime reason for the catastrophic ship structural failures is first and foremost, lack of ship yard front office weld process ownership. Poor yard supervision. Over size weld joints allowed that create oversize weld heat affected zones that weaken weld joints. Flux cored trapped slag and pores. Poor weld procedures that do not deal with the weld variables generated in the yard, procedures that enable poor and inconsistent weld fusion. And most important, ship yard welder training departments that are stuck in a 1980s time warp and are not aware of what weld process controls and best weld practices are. The Ship Building Industry has for decades had great potential to save many millions of dollars per-vessel on reduced weld rework and millions more on when they attain the weld process knowledge for improved weld productivity. All it takes is for the responsible mangers, engineers and supervisors to figure out their missing link and learn about the requirements for weld process ownership.
Please note: For decades, MIG and flux cored have accounted for more than 90% of the global welds produced daily, yet most of the global community colleges that educate welders and universities that provide Weld Engineering degrees, have never provided MIG and flux cored Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Education.
The bad news for many Ship and Oil platform yards is with the common lack of front office, engineering and supervision weld process ownership there will be extensive weld quality and weld rework cost consequences on those welds that get internal weld evaluation, and for those welds that only get visual examination, the unknown liability consequences can also make many loose sleep at night. However the good news for any large weld shops, is once front office personnel learn the process control and best weld practice expertise that they and their employees have lacked, there will be tremendous potential for dramatic weld quality improvements with extensive weld cost savings.
When it comes to arc welding, Navy senior management has made it clear that they want their key defense suppliers to step up to the plate and provide the requirements and change that would drive weld quality improvements and drive down weld costs. However its logical that the Navy management and engineers responsible for ship building should first and foremost have the necessary process control expertise so that they can recognize when their contractors don’t have it.
Submarines should always require the highest weld quality, but that quality potential will be hindered when front office managers and engineers are either unaware or unwilling to change their approach to controlling arc weld processes and ignoring to TIP TIG.
A REMINDER AGAIN OF WHAT THE US NAVY HAS TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT OF PROCESS EXPERTISE: Mr. J Geurts, the Assistant Navy Secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition and responsible for a budget of around 200 billion dollars spoke at a Defense One Tech Summit. Its not word for word but almost.
Mr. Geurts. “The US Navy can’t build our future planned fleet and attain the 355-ship fleet goal required by our national strategy, unless it finds ways to dramatically reduce both the ships and submarine build and repair costs”. Today in North America when we look at our general lack of industry & yes Navy management & engineering Process Ownership, we need to go way beyond labor costs as the root cause of our mfg, job demise. Perhaps we also should spend a little more effort to examine our engineering, fabrication Process Expertise.
Response from Em. What Mr. Geurts stated above in 2019, is what I have been saying in my articles, web site, books, work shops and with my process control training resources for at least 30 years. Of course I love his frank logical message, but also I hope MR. Guerts recognizes that one the most resistant organizations in the industrial world that is resistant to process change, would likely to be the NAVY. And if he wants change from his suppliers then the Navy should lead by example.
A message that many weld decision makers may want to consider.
Of course its time for changes in the weld department, after all, most of the Fortune 500 company weld specifications used were established more than 35 years ago and many of the weld procedures daily in use were written in 1985.
A word to those global weld decision makers that have an interest in not repeating the boomers arc weld mistakes.
If weld decision makers wanted to enhance their companies weld quality and productivity, rather than listening to a weld salesman or watching their welders or technicians play around with their MIG or flux cored and soon to be TIP TIG weld controls, they could ask the following.
- Why is there a general lack of front office comprehension on what weld process controls and best weld practices is and what it could achieve for the weld shop?
- Why is there a general front office reliance on inexperienced weld sales advice to help resolve weld shop issues
- Why is there a general front office acceptance that its OK for the weld personnel to “play around” with their MIG and flux cored weld controls”?
- Why is the QA/QC department personnel focus on finding rather than helping prevent the occurrence of weld defects?
- Why is there an acceptance of large expenditures on grinding consumables & grinding labor costs to attain the daily weld quality desired?
- Why is there a general front office lack of ability to work out MIG and flux cored (and soon to be TIP TIG) weld costs with the common welds produced daily?
- Why for decades has there been a general lack of optimum weld equipment, and consumables standardization in the weld department?
- Why does the weld purchase MIG equipment for steel welds, which is often loaded with useless electronic bells and whistles?
- Why do few weld shops understand MIG gas mixes and end up purchasing an incorrect two part mix or a useless three part gas mixes?
- Why for decades have welder training programs hardly changes and most are so inadequate that the graduates often will have to “play around with MIG and Flux Cored weld controls?
- Why in high production volume manufacturing plants, do few of the front office weld decision makers and shop floor technicians lack the ability to consistently attain the full MIG – Flux Cored weld quality and productivity potential from either their manual welders or their robots.
When you have a moment you may also want to check out this sites Program Page where you will find a wealth of practical weld programs that for two decades has dealt with MIG – FCAW – TIG weld issues found in most weld shops, and also provides steels and alloy weld data, with the resolutions for most ROBOT MIG weld issues that have been occurring for decades.
Please note I am well aware that many global weld shops are well on top of the requirements for weld process optimization, I am simply providing my experiences based on the approx. 1000 companies I assisted in 13 countries.
FOR FIVE DECADES I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS SUBJECT, AND AS I HEAD TOWARDS A PINE BOX, I WONDER HOW MANY MORE DECADES WILL IT BE BEFORE THE GLOBAL WELD INDUSTRY FIGURE OUT THE MISSING LINK IN BOTH THEIR FRONT OFFICE AND WELD SHOP?
Robot MIG welding high volume, thin gauge steel parts in auto. or truck plant, or providing manual MIG and flux cored welds on bevel plates or pipes in a shipyard, and at the other end of the spectrum, welding parts that will go on a rocket to Mars, few global weld departments are l daily achieving consistent, optimum, manual or automated arc weld quality & productivity. And even fewer are producing their welds at the low weld costs that could be attained. It was this way in 1967 and its still this way in 2017 when I was providing weld process and design advice on parts used to build the Orion spaceship that will one day likely end up on both the Moon and Mars.
Weld shops that employ weld supervisors, engineers or technicians, may want to examine why something missing in the weld departments, and no its nothing to do with lean Mfg. or ISO, its called BWP and WPC.
Extensive robot weld quality and cost reduction opportunities in automotive plants .
In the global auto – truck and construction equip. plants, its not the under-trained, inexperienced weld process control robot technicians and maintenance personnel that are at fault for the robot down time, the robot weld rejects, rework and poor productivity.
THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MILLIONS OF POOR GLOBAL ROBOT MIG WEDS PRODUCED DAILY, LIES WITH THE ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS THAT TOO FREQUENTLY DON’T RECOGNIZE THE PROCESS EXPERTISE THAT THEY AND THEIR EMPLOYEES REQUIRE.
BY THE WAY, WHEN CATERPILLAR FIRST WANTED THE WORLD’S LARGEST TRUCKS WELDED IN A MULTI ROBOT CELL, AS THE WELD MGR. FOR ABB ROBOTS, I WAS ASKED TO ESTABLISH AND SIMPLIFY THE INITIAL ROBOT WELD DATA AND PROVIDE THE BEST ROBOT WELD PRACTICES.
WHEN CATERPILLAR WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY AND LIABILITY ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH THE WELD FUME / DUST HEX CHROME ISSUES IT WAS HAVING STAINLESS, INCONEL AND OTHER ALLOYS IT FINALLY RESOLVED THE COSTLY PROBLEM BY USING TIP TIG AND SO FAR THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY TO SAVING OVER 2 TO 3 MILLION DOLLARS. 2019:
I bought TIP TIG to N. America around 2008, and over the decade in many of the seminars and workshops that I provided, and with the thousands of words I wrote and the many videos I provided on my TIP TIG USA web site, I especially focused on how TIP TIG will as shown left dramatically reduce weld shop safety concerns with the weld fumes and grinding dust exposure, and placed special emphasis that TIP TIG was the logical solution for the thousands of N. American and Australian welders that daily weld the common Stainless, Duplex and Nickel alloys, that on the subject of cancer causing Hexavalent Chromium, surely its beneficial to their health to use a process that not only provides the highest weld quality but also the lowest weld fumes.
SLOW TO RESPOND IS A SIGN OF WHAT? While Caterpillar engineers should be patted on their backs for eventually bringing TIP TIG to their company more than six years after I introduced TIP TIG to N. America, those engineers might want to reflect on the fact that it took engineers in China only five weeks to figure out from my seminar data that the TIP TIG process in N America was the solution for their stainless and inconel weld fumes, weld quality, weld productivity issues. And in less than a month after Tom and I opened the doors of our TIP TIG facility in Philadelphia, six of those engineers from the Chinese National Oil Company turned up at our facility.
AS FOR THOSE WELD SHOPS AND MFG FACILITIES THAT SUBJECT THEIR EMPLOYEES TO THE HEX. CARCINOGENIC “WELD FUMES AND WELD DUST”, PLEASE REMEMBER MASK FILTERS, BREATHING HELMETS AND EXHAUST EQUIPMENT ARE RARELY FULLY EFFECTIVE FOR ALL THE PERSONNEL WHO WORK IN THE WELD SHOP OR HAVE TO PASS THROUGH THE WELD AREA.
ALSO REMEMBER THAT GRINDING WELD APPLICATIONS WITH CHROME AND OTHER ALLOYS CREATES “DUST”, AND FOR THOSE COMPANIES THAT WANT TO AVOID FUTURE LEGAL ACTIONS THAT DUST IS SUPPOSED TO BE SUBJECT TO SPECIAL COLLECTION AND REMOVAL REQUIREMENTS. THE ONLY LOGICAL SOLUTION TO THIS SUBJECT IS WELD WITH TIP TIG, A PROCESS THAT “DOES NOT REQUIRE GRINDING” A PROCESS IN WHICH ITS “DIFFICULT TO SEE THE WELD FUMES”.
In 2009, for these two Chinese welders, HEX. chrome fume were not a concern. No HEPA filters, no respirator helmets and no costly exhaust equip. was required with these two TIP TIG welders working in a confined space in the depth of a ship, Lets face it its difficult to measure what you cant see.
BY THE WAY I AM STILL WAITING FOR THE WELL PAID CATERPILLAR MANAGEMENT AND ENGINEERS TO SEND ME A HALLMARK THANK YOU CARD FOR THE SERVICES I RENDERED WHILE EARNING NO INCOME, GOING INTO DEBT AND PUTTING THE TIP TIG PROCESS ON THEIR DOOR STEP.
A WORD OR THREE ON ROBOT WELDS:
The prime reasons that few of the global MIG welding robots attain their weld quality and productivity potential, is the responsible plant engineers, robot technicians and maintenance personnel lack something that their managers are not aware exits, its called, Robot MIG Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice expertise.
If only the Tier One managers solution to their robot MIG weld issues was this simple.
I have provided robot weld quality – productivity process improvements for the majority of the worlds auto and truck companies and their Tier One suppliers during my role as the weld Manager for ABB Robots North America, and later for 25 years in my role as a global weld process improvement engineer. Apart from evaluating the plants robot weld results, providing rapid quality and productivity solutions and then providing the robot MIG weld process controls – best weld practice training , I would also evaluate the plant management & engineers response to their robot weld issues.
In general no matter what auto plant I visited in 13 countries, the production and plant management simply wanted me to provide a quick robot cell fix. and typically the front office personnel showed little interest in either the cause of robot weld issues or in the resolutions. Process Ownership comes from my Robot – Manual MIG – Flux Cored – and TIP TIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training or Self Teaching Materials.
Lack of robot weld process control expertise results in a common robot cell issue, wire burn back to the tips, a major prime cause of robot down time.
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE LOST DAILY FROM ROBOT WELD CELL PRODUCTION DISRUPTIONS, WHEN THE REALITY IS MY $300 ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROL SELF TEACHING / TRAINING MATERIALS PROVIDE MANY SIMPLE ROBOT WELD RESOLUTIONS.
In too many global robot MIG weld cells, wire burn backs and poor arc starts are so common they are often responsible for 40 to 60 minutes robot down time per-shift. In numerous robot cells I visited the company would put a container in the cells just for the contact tips and as for those poor arc starts well that’s just another reason for someone to “play around with the weld controls”. Many managers and technicians think these two common robot weld cell issues are the norm. And of course if those in charge of the robot cells don’t know the solution to these two robot weld problems, the problem never ends. The robot weld reality is no robot should need more than one contact tip change per-shift, No robot should have a single robot weld start issue and no robot should be down for more than 10 minutes per-shift for any robot issues.
A FUNDAMENTAL ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTION.In the robot cell, the MIG spray weld and start data for the 0.035 (1 mm) steel wire, is wire feed rate, 600 inch/min and 30 weld volts. Weld speed for a 1/4 (6.4 mm) fillet was 16 inch/min. The wire burn back to the contact tip problem is revealed in this data, and a robot engineer or technician that spent a few hours with my Robot MIG weld process control program would instantly see the issue and be able to provide the weld resolution.
Robot poor arc starts that influence weld quality or production are a reflection of poor robot weld management.The dreaded weld wire BLOB is one common cause of costly lost robot weld production and weld quality issues.
Faulty robot arc starts, and there is a blob on the wire tip at the completion of each weld. See if you can solve this problem below.
A FUNDAMENTAL ROBOT WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTION:
The contacts tips above were used in a simple robot MIG Spray application. The robot weld data, the 0.035 wire feed rate was 220 amps and 27 volts. The robot weld end crater fill data was 1 second time, with 200 amps and 23 volts. The problem for the poor arc starts is in this data, and no one should be allowed to control a costly robot cell if they cannot answer the above two common weld problems.
All GM wanted was for their two multi-million dollar automated torque convertor weld lines, was to join these two parts with a lap seam leak proof seam weld and produce a 1000 converters a day, with welds that wont leak, produce rejects or require rework.
One of the many General Motor Process Improvement Weld Applications that I provided weld quality – productivity improvements for.
GM AND THE USUAL AUTO. & TRUCK MANAGEMENT AND ENGINEERING WELD PROCESS APATHY. My project was at a GM plant located in Ohio. GM had purchased a new automated torque converter weld line. After the torque line integrator and the Lincoln Electric weld engineers had finished with their modifications to the new eight million dollar weld production lines, the GM management was not satisfied with the poor weld results attained, and as the Lincoln engineers involved had gone as far as they were capable with their PowerWave pulsed MIG weld equipment, GM then asked would I get involved and come to their plant to solve the Torque Line MIG weld issues
The torque converter seam weld problems generated on the two fully automated weld production lines:
- A five to eight percent daily reject rate revealed by leak tests was generated from the Lincoln Pulsed MIG welds. The 50 to 80 parts per-day were costing GM thousands of dollars per-week.
- With the Lincoln pulsed equipment there was weld inconsistency and instability being generated with the Pulsed MIG welds.
- With the Lincoln set pulsed MIG welds on the multi-gun application, excess weld heat was generated on the parts causing distortion that affected production assembly issues.
Four days into my GM visit, I had changed the weld transfer mode to the more consistent spray mode and I changed the weld wire size. My changes reduced the weld reject rate to zero. I has also increased the weld deposition that enabled faster weld speeds. The increase in weld speed and and without the influence of the pulsed high peak current eliminated the weld heat distortion problems. Note: My increased weld deposition enabled enabled GM to have a 20% increase in production per-shift, (200 more finished parts per-day).
As I have mentioned likely a million times, the lack of global front office weld process management / engineering and supervision process ownership has for decades been especially evident in the majority of the auto-truck industry. So it was no surprise that during my week at the GM plant, not one GM manager or engineers took an interest in the extensive weld changes and results that I achieved on their new eight million dollar production line .
SO WHAT DO MOST AUTO ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS DO WHEN THEY NEEDED WELD ADVICE?. THEY OFTEN ASK A SALES REP. What I also found interesting about the GM high volume torque converter installation was each of the two production lines used three new Lincoln Power Wave Pulsed MIG power sources. When I arrived at the GM plant full production had not as a result of the weld issues and already at this early stage I found out that four of the six Lincoln pulsed MIG Power Wave units had already been replaced.
Note: I have been dealing with and reporting on pulsed MIG equipment issues for close to three decades, (see MIG and robot sections),
The torque converter weld leaks were generated strictly from the Lincoln Power Wave pulsed mode which provided weld instability with insufficient weld energy for the deposition rates produced leading to lack of fusion and leaks.
As I had done many times with Lincoln and Miller and many other pulsed MIG equipment, to attain the weld fusion on these two lines, I switched the pulsed mode off and set the welds with the CV MIG spray transfer mode and I also changed the wire size. By the way not that anyone at GM would have an interest in but GM could have have paid approx. 70% less for its 6 weld units if they had purchased the lower cost, more durable Lincoln CV 400 amp units.
As the GM management showed little interest in what I had done it was not a surprise to me when they turned down my request to train their employees. I charged GM around five thousand dollars for my weeks work. GM then made me wait for almost three months for my payment.
Note: If the GM managers and engineers had an interest in welding and spent three hundred dollars on my robot weld process training programs or read my “Management Engineers Guide to MIG.” they would have been able to take process ownership and have avoided the many months of frustrating weld issues, By the way for saving Lincoln Electric from further embarrassment, and for the millions of dollars I saved GM each year, guess what? I also never got a Hall Mark thank you card from either GM, Lincoln or from the company that built the production lines.
FROM AUTO PLANTS TO MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND DEFENSE PLANTS, NO SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERS BUT TOO OFTEN A SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERS WITH WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE.
For close to a decade, a major North American medical equipment company was producing the Pulsed MIG aluminum welds below, and their front office managers and engineers were simply never aware that the root cause of their never ending aluminum craters was not the personnel in their robot weld department floor, it was a result of the poor performing Lincoln Power Wave Pulsed MIG power source. However in any plant when equipment does not perform correctly you would anticipate that the plants engineers would have the responsibility to at least identify the issues. Also keep in mind its poor weld management that will purchase weld or robot equipment on the advice of a sales rep, without first proving that the units to be purchased will consistently meet the weld quality and production needs.
Aluminum weld defects not from the robot programmer but from poor data and electronics that were built into the Lincoln Power Wave MIG power source.
For at least two decades, companies like Miller, Lincoln, Motoman, ESAB and Panasonic and most of the European manufactures of MIG equip. were making pulsed MIG equipment that should never have been allowed in any weld shop or a robot cell. This pulsed MIG equipment and not the weld transfer mode, not the welders and not the robot technicians was the cause daily of millions of robot weld issues that had dramatic weld quality and cost consequences especially especially for auto – truck suppliers.
The common robot weld issues were usually
- Poor Arc Starts.
- Arc end crater fill Issues.
- Weld instability.
- Lack of Weld fusion and porosity.
- Poor interface between the the robots and power source so weld timing when it was required was inadequate.
- Poor weld parameter calibration from the pendant to the power source.
The sad reality in this lack of process ownership industry, is for almost twenty years few weld shops mangers or engineers figured out what the root cause was of their daily weld problems was, and another weld reality, was those that made the weld equipment were rarely made accountable for the poor weld performance.
Note: I have a portion of this web site in the MIG section dedicated to the numerous Pulsed MIG equipment issues that I came across in hundreds of companies in 13 countries.
I always found it strange when working in auto, or truck plants, when I heard the “production stopped alarm go off” which would often indicate a robot MIG weld line had stopped production. A common global reaction to an alarm such as this in an industry that was not exactly short of engineers, was that the managers, engineers and supervisors who were on the floor at the time of the alarm, would reach into their pockets, pull out a cell phone and request help from the lower paid robot technicians or from maintenance personnel, both of which usually had minimal robot weld process control and best weld practice expertise.
NEITHER THE FORD MANAGEMENT OR THEIR TIER ONE SUPPLIERS REALIZED HOW MUCH OF THE ROBOT TRUCK FRAMES MIG WELD ISSUES WERE A RESULT OF THEIR OWN LACK OF WELD PROCESS EXPERTISE AND ALSO FROM THE POOR PERFORMING PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT IN THEIR ROBOT CELLS.
Auto – truck robot pulsed MIG weld issues were part of the problems that I dealt with for three decades. It takes little expertise with the advice of a salesman to order equipment for a robot weld cell. However its inexcusable when a company orders a robot cell, if they don’t include in the equipment PO a clause that states before the final payment is made, the robot integrator includes a days production that produces the desired weld quality and productivity with minimum rework, rejects and down time. Boy that would give interrogators and the weld equipment manufacturers some real head aches. They might actually take responsibility and fix some of the issues that become evident with their equipment.
TODAY IN 2019, AS ITS BEEN THROUGHOUT THE GLOBAL AUTO – TRUCK INDUSTRY FOR AT LEAST THREE DECADES, MANY MANAGERS, ENGINEERS AND SUPERVISORS RATHER THAN BEING CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING A COMPREHENSIVE UNDERSTANDING THE EQUIPMENT AND PROCESSES USED IN THEIR ROBOT CELLS, WILL BE MORE INTERESTED ON WHATS HAPPENING IN THE NEXT MEETING OR ON THEIR LAP TOPS OR CELL PHONES.
IF THE FRONT OFFICE PERSONNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WELDS, ARE NOT AWARE OF WHAT WELD PROCESS CONTROLS AND BEST WELD PRACTICE EXPERTISE IS, THEN OF COURSE THE PLANT TECHNICIANS & MANUAL WELD PERSONNEL ARE NOT LIKELY TO HAVE IT.
For decades, the CV MIG process was a simple two weld control process that has changed little since the 1960s. So from my perspective, the following was not acceptable in the 1969, and its still not acceptable in 2019.
Boss I need another hour to “play around” with the 60 year old MIG process and the two simple MIG weld controls.
We have to change the common engineering and manufacturing acceptance of weld personnel "playing around" with weld controls, after all, no manager would want a machinist playing around with the controls on their milling machine.
As you traverse the MIG, Flux Cored and TIP TIG info at this site, which by the way could take months, please remember that its been approx. six to seven decades that the majority of global weld shops have been accustomed to watching their experienced skilled weld personnel “play around” with the two simple controls on their MIG equipment.
These are the same weld shops that employ managers, engineers and supervisors that often rely on weld advice from a weld sales person who has likely never worked a weld shop. The same weld decision makers who often believe that the solutions to their daily manual or automated MIG and flux cored weld issues will come with the purchase of another new electronic MIG power source, or a new special three part MIG gas mix, or perhaps from a new (not necessary) costly metal cored wire.
So the weld department wants to produce the perfect robot or manual, large single pass, 5/16 – 3/8 MIG fillet using a low cost two component gas mix, weld wire and low cost durable MIG weld equipment that’s not loaded with useless bells and whistles.
The above was my untouched, as finished, MIG Spray robot fillet that I established the procedures for in the early 1990’s. This was a time when most robots were using a low cost, durable, easy to repair, approx. $3000 CV MIG power source with a separate robot interface control. This Spray weld will have better weld fusion than what is attainable with any expensive Inverter pulsed MIG equip, available in 2019, and by the way, I was producing just under 16 lb/hr. This brings up the question of what do you want from your weld process and equip, and if you know weld process controls, what steel consumables did I use, what was the gas mix and what was the wire feed, voltage and travel rate, this is what weld process controls is.
Note: Few weld personnel will be aware that if they flip a switch on their sophisticated, 350 – 450 amp electronic Inverter or multi-process MIG unit to the Spray transfer mode, that with this so called advanced MIG equipment, for a given wire feed rate they are typically drawing less MIG weld current, (less weld fusion – less deposition) than would be attained with a regular 350 – 450 amp CV MIG power source.
ONE COULD ASK THE WELD SHOP MANAGEMENT, WHY THEY PURCHASED A NEW MULTI-CONTROL, INVERTER PULSED MIG POWER SOURCE FOR THEIR STEELS AND ALLOY STEEL MIG WELDS, WHEN FOR MANY YEARS THEY WOULD WATCH THEIR WELDERS “PLAY AROUND” WITH THE SIMPLE TO OPERATE, TWO WELD CONTROLS ON THEIR TRADITIONAL CV MIG EQUIPMENT?
If a weld shop is thinking about purchasing the latest Inverter Pulsed MIG unit or the latest TIG equipment for code quality steels or alloy steel welds, they may want to evaluate a process that is far superior to both Pulsed MIG and GTAW.
IN 2008, I REQUIRED NO POWER SOURCE ELECTRONICS TO PRODUCE THIS PERFECT UNTOUCHED MANUAL FILLET. I DID REQUIRE TIP TIG
THIS WEB SITE IS NOT AGAINST THE EVER INCREASING NEW, ELECTRONIC WELD EQUIPMENT TECHNOLOGY, ITS ABOUT THE EXPENDITURE JUSTIFICATION OF ELECTRONIC WELD EQUIPMENT THAT IN REALITY DOES NOT ENHANCE THE WELD FUSION AND THE PRODUCTION ON COMMON STEELS & ALLOY STEELS.
Also this web site has and always will be focused on the negative influence of global MIG and flux cored weld process confusion and on the extensive weld sales influence on weld shops that in reality has for decades added to that confusion.
For decades, those front office personnel that were not aware of the requirements for weld process ownership in their weld shop, would often place their company weld issues on the shoulders of a sales rep. who likely has never run a weld shop.
SALESMANSHIP AND MIG EQUIPMENT BELLS & WHISTLES..2019: Pulse on Pulse, Triple Pulse on Pulse, Magic AI Pulse, and whats sure to be coming soon to your weld shop is Bovine Fecal Matter Pulse. During the last three decades, while the cost of traditional CV MIG equipment was driven down as a result of more countries having the ability to manufacture MIG equipment, most global weld equipment manufacturers and weld distributor reps have been aggressive in their promotion of the much more costly, electronic, pulsed MIG Inverter units.
Electronics continue to offer Weld shops more bells and whistles.
When it comes to welding, you may likely get better weld advice from a used car rep.
When selling the Inverter pulsed MIG units for steels and alloy steel welds, the weld distributor rep. may state that the justification for his companies pulsed MIG Inverter technology is the weld power source “can reduce weld spatter”, this has always been a BS sales pitch.
In the video below, many decades ago using process control expertise, I was attaining optimum, spatter free, MIG Short Circuit (SC) welds with standard, low cost, durable CV MIG equipment that has hardly changed since the 1960s. The slow motion optimum parameter Short Circuit weld below was using settings suited to the common 16 gauge welds. and was made with a traditional 250 amp, $1800 CV MIG unit. CV MIG units such as this typically in 2019 would cost approx. $2300 dollars, usually about 30% the cost of an Inverter pulsed MIG unit.
MIG Equipment Data and Evaluation
We have to change the common engineering and manufacturing acceptance of weld personnel "playing around" with weld controls, after all, no manager would want a machinist playing around with the controls on their milling machine.
A WELD REALITY FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN EVALUATING THE MIG PROCESS, IT’S EQUIPMENT & CONSUMABLES FOR MORE THAN FIVE DECADES.
Some of you may remember before the introduction of portable phones, laptops and google, that around 1989 I invented a product called the Pocket Welder. This electronic hand held data unit provided something that was hard to find for decades. With a push of a key you had weld info. on 2000 plus steels and all the MIG – FCAW – SMAW arc weld data and also oxy – fuel cutting data you would ever need. My product was eventually sold through the AWS. Thirty years after my Pocket Welder, I still compile weld data with the intention of condensing and simplifying it. You are right I do need a life.
Back to the subject of MIG equipment evaluation. In my roles as the Corporate Training or Weld Equipment Product Manager with Airgas, AGA, Praxair, and Liquid Carbonic and ABB Robotics, I was in a position where I could test any MIG equipment from any country. Also in my consulting process improvement role, for more than three decades of dealing with manual and automated weld issues in hundreds of plants in 13 countries, I got to know MIG weld power sources better than I knew my own children, and yes I realize that is a sad comment to make.
Thirty plus years ago one of the articles I wrote for the Weld Journal was about my excitement in the promised new MIG weld application potential promised to come from the British Weld Institute that was developing the evolution of CV MIG, to the Pulsed MIG process.
However ten years after the introduction of pulsed MIG equipment in North America, in My Management and Engineers Guide To MIG 600 page book, I dedicated approx. 100 pages to the poor performing Pulsed MIG equipment and process issues that were being generated by US MIG MIG equipment manufactures such as Lincoln – Miller and Hobart. Later came the Asian pulsed MIG equipment from Panasonic and Motoman which reached new lows on Pulsed weld performance.
The irony is that those pulsed MIG process and weld issues that I wrote about nearly 30 years ago, are still relevant in 2019. Also to add to my MIG equipment evaluation I spent twenty five years in 13 countries assisting companies who were mostly having pulsed MIG weld issues, especially with robot applications. My solution to their weld issues was often to switch the pulsed mode off and reset the welds in the more stable standard CV MIG modes.
Of course all technology evolves, and with the introduction of MIG Inverters and improved electronics performance capability with Pulsed MIG equipment on steel and alloy steel welds was improved, however in 2019 there are still major weld quality issues being generated from a weld process that in reality thanks to the low pulsed MIG back ground current, on parts > 3/16 can provide to much weld mass with too little weld energy and weld fusion can be a concern.
In contrast to regular CV MIG units, the more costly Inverter Pulsed MIG units when purchased for aluminum or for clad MIG weld applications will offer many weld benefits, (both applications benefit from an open arc lower energy weld transfer mode), however in 2019 when purchased for gauge to thick steels and alloy steel welds, with most pulsed MIG equipment you will find a variety of useless, costly electronic bells and whistles options and few real world weld quality or productivity benefits.
There are three decades of pulsed MIG weld equipment and process issues listed in this web site and in my books and training resources.
Spatter free CV MIG welds for spray or short circuit on gauge, have been available with regular, low cost, durable CV MIG equipment since the nineteen sixties. And rather than waste thousands of dollars on weld equipment they may not need, surely it would make sense for management to spend a couple of hundred dollars and provide employees with the process control expertise necessary to minimize weld spatter and be aware of the optimum MIG short circuit or spray weld settings range plus the best weld practices for all MIG and flux cored welds. My Robot and Manual MIG – Flux Cored – TIP TIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training or Self Teaching Materials.
My 1980 controlled MIG Short Circuit spatter free weld made without electronics.
AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT MY WELD PROCESS CONTROL PROGRAM PROVIDES: The above video shows the optimum Short Circuit (SC) transfer sweet spot for 16 gauge steel weld using an 0.035 (1 mm) steel wire, a 75 – 25 CO2 gas and a low cost, 1978 CV. MIG power source. The MIG Short Circuit sweet spot is revealed when using a specific MIG wire diameter, and the most attainable short circuits are attained in a second.
For example the 0.035 (1 mm) wire feed set at approx. 210 inch/min which is around 10 o’clock or the third turn on none digital wire feeders as shown on the left. Each WF turn delivers approx. 70 inch/min x 3 = 210 inch/min which provides approx. 140 amps which requires 17 weld volts. These SC parameters create the SC sweet spot which is identified by the very rapid, consistent, constant crackle sound that welders will be familiar with.
Em’s Easy to Learn Weld Clock Method for all optimum MIG or Flux Cored Settings.
FOR ANY CV SHEET METAL MIG WELD WITH 0.035 OR 0.045 WIRE, PLEASE REMEMBER TO START OUT WITH THE WIRE FEED SET AT 10 O’CLOCK & ORDER 17 CUPS OF COFFEE.
Manual MIG Question: If you are an experienced weld decision maker please provide the Short Circuit, settings for an 0.045 (1.2 mm) steel weld. Provide the wire feed rate, the amps and volts that are necessary to again attain the SC sweet spot condition with an argon – 20 to 25% CO2 mix. And also with this MIG setting and a 30 minute per-hour arc on time, how much of the MIG weld wire would the weld shop need for a 10 hour shift?
Manual MIG Question: This is a question you could ask the experienced MIG welders in your shop. What is the minimum current and wire feed rates to attain Spray transfer with 0.035. (1 mm) and 0.045 (1.2 mm) steel MIG wire?
Robot MIG Question: Inconsistent robot MIG weld arc starts are common in robot cells welding steel parts, and the cause of the weld start issues is often the formation of a glob on the wire tip and each welds completion. What MIG weld weld parameters will ensure this issue will never occur.
Note: As a result of lack of front office and engineering robot MIG weld process control expertise in the auto. & truck industry, the average robot down time (loss of production) in a shift is approx. one hour. A frequent common management solution to the robot down time and to robot weld rework, purchase more robots and put more manual workers on the robot lines.
There was three decades of poor performing Pulsed MIG Weld Equipment
It’s never took much electrical technology to continuously melt a MIG wire, after all two car batteries can produce a MIG weld.
For decades, most of the pulsed MIG equipment purchased for steel or alloy steel welds, was not as a result of superior MIG equipment weld performance, but was as a result of the general, global front office and weld shop lack of process controls – best weld practice expertise. This again is the prime reason for most weld shop front office’s reliance on weld sales advice.
2019: It was the electronics in the pulsed MIG Inverter power source that enabled improved communication, (rarely improved steel weld transfer characteristics) between the power source with robots. So the often inferior MIG Inverter equipment in robot cells welding steels quickly became the standard with robot sales, especially in the automotive industry, which by the way is an industry that in general has rarely employed mangers, engineers and technicians that understood, and even today after almost 4 decades of MIG robot cells, understand the robot MIG weld process controls – best weld practice requirements necessary to attain the best possible robot weld quality and productivity, with the least possible robot down time.
THE WELD SHOP BOUGHT EITHER A MILLER, LINCOLN, HOBART, MOTOMAN, PANASONIC OR ESAB, ERRATIC PERFORMING PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT, SO THE PULSED POWER SOURCE PROBLEMS BECAME THE WELD SHOP PROBLEMS:
It’s sad to report that over the decades that I dealt with numerous pulsed MIG weld equipment and weld process issues in numerous companies throughout 13 countries, that as far as I am aware, none of the major pulsed MIG power source manufactures ever recalled or informed their global weld customers that had purchased their pulsed MIG equipment, of the electronic induced problems that were occurring with their pulsed equipment. For decades, the weld equipment manufacturers must have been aware of some of the pulsed MIG weld transfer issues with steel welds, as they were forever changing the power sources model names or continuously changing the the power source E PROMS and circuit boards.
2019 PULSED MIG AND WELD REALITY: When welding > 3/16 carbon steels and alloy steels, after a 30 plus year period of pulsed equipment evolution, today’s $6,000 to $15,000 pulsed MIG units still can not deliver a superior weld than that delivered from the much lower cost, CV MIG equipment that’s using Spray Transfer. It’s a sad commentary that in 2019, few of the global weld shops that utilize MIG equipment, will be aware of the pulsed weld fusion & weld porosity issues that are influenced by the pulsed transfer.
So thanks to the poor pulsed MIG weld equipment performance and often unstable pulsed weld transfer characteristics, for more than three decades I made a good living fixing manual and robot pulsed MIG steel weld issues at hundreds of companies in 13 countries. Often my weld solution was to switch the pulsed MIG mode off and establish a CV MIG Short Circuit or Spray weld instead. Many of my pulsed MIG equip. experiences are printed in both the pulsed MIG and robot sections of this site. However I would at this time especially thank the senior executives at the major MIG equipment manufacturers for providing their poor performing pulsed MIG equipment, as let’s face it, their pulsed equipment and pulsed weld screw ups, provided a good living for my family.
What does the MIG equip. mfg. do as a solution to their poor performing, pulsed MIG power source, sometimes like Miller they change the model name and then add more useless, electronic bells and whistles?
Talk about having to work with useless electronic MIG power source bells and whistles, this is Ed in a Viza car plant Spain, in their ABB robot cells fixing one of the many Miller Axcess pulsed MIG power source weld issues. He is adjusting the robot MIG parameters using the ridiculous Miller hand held palm PDA control that for the Tier 1 auto. client added nothing to the weld quality – productivity capability.
By the way, as I spent more than three decades at many Fortune 500 companies, fixing hundreds of manual and robot MIG weld issues that were usually influenced by the poor performing pulsed MIG equipment from the major U.S, Japanese and European MIG equipment manufacturers, you would at least think that especially Lincoln, Miller, ESAB, Panasonic and Motoman executives could at least include me in their Xmas card list, and send me a bottle of wine to thank me for solving the weld problems that were being caused by the equipment they built.
Pulsed MIG Question: So while we are aware that pulsed MIG is an effective arc weld process for aluminum, could you provide two reasons why not to use pulsed MIG on 5356 aluminum parts thicker than 1/4, (6 mm). This info. is part of weld process control expertise, and the type of info obtained in my training programs.
Surely if you are a weld decision maker, it would be beneficial to know with steels, alloy steels and especially with aluminum welds, when to switch from Pulsed MIG to regular MIG Spray, or for example why you would use TIP TIG instead of pulsed MIG, flux cored or DCEN TIG. They should post the following in the offices and meeting rooms at any facility that utilizes the manual or robot MIG or flux cored weld process.
“Those in this organization that have an opinion on the MIG, Flux Cored weld process, and lack the weld process controls & best weld practice expertise that’s necessary to consistently enable the highest weld quality, lowest weld defects and lowest weld costs for this organization, would be wise especially in the weld team meetings, to keep their mouths shut”. Manual and Robot MIG – Flux Cored – Advanced AC/DC TIG and the TIP TIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training and Self Teaching Materials.
You can have the most innovative car or truck designs, and purchase the most costly robot weld automation equipment to weld the parts, but as most automotive management found out the hard way, if companies don’t ensure that their workers and front office personnel responsible for the welds have robot MIG or resistance weld process control – best weld practice expertise, those front office employees become firemen, forever chasing weld shop fires but lacking the ability to quench them. As for the robot weld technicians, well they simply become “play around” with the weld controls experts.
Something all managers and engineers should be concerned about, without weld process controls and best weld practices few of the costly robots purchased will consistently attain their full weld quality and productivity potential.
For those stuck in the 20th Century, the evolution of the TIG and possibly the MIG process occurred approx 10 years ago.
2019: Yes after 70 years, the DCEN TIG process evolved into a process that should replace most TIG – Pulsed MIG and flux cored welds on code quality applications.
SLOW WELD SHOP EVOLUTION IN 2019 INDICATES WHAT? In most of the global weld shops that weld code quality parts, during the last decade, you would have found manual welders that when welding on alloy steel parts > 1/4, (>6.4 mm), were likely using one of the following;
[a] the outdated Gas Shielded Flux Cored process, (a process that creates slag – porosity – worm-tracks and weld fusion issues).
[b] the outdated DCEN TIG process, (a process that requires the highest welder skills, slowest weld speeds and high weld heat).
[c] the outdated Pulsed MIG process that when used on steels and alloy steels > 5 mm thick, can contribute to lack of weld fusion and porosity.
I would like to welcome the weld shops that use the above weld processes to to the 21st Century, and introduce them to a unique weld process that I bought to and introduced to N. America, China and Australia in 2009 , its called TIP TIG.
TIP TIG EASY TO USE AND NOTHING BUT A QUALITY WELD.
In contrast to DCEN TIG, Pulsed MIG, & Gas Shielded Flux Cored process, TIP TIG in a 30 minute demo will always provide the following; For the most comprehensive data on TIP TIG visit https://tiptigwelding.com
- TIP TIG always enables the highest possible weld quality.
- TIP TIG always enables the best possible metallurgy results.
- TIP TIG always provides the best possible mechanical properties.
- TIP TIG always will provide the best possible corrosion properties.
- TIP TIG always will enable the lowest weld distortion potential.
- TIP TIG enables least cracking potential & highest impact properties.
- TIP TIG produces the least oxidation potential, does not even require a gas trailing shield on many titanium welds.
- TIP TIG from a welder skills perspective, is the easiest process for any all position welds.
- TIP TIG enables extensive reductions in VEE groove angles, providing dramatic reductions in weld consumables and weld labor costs.
- TIP TIG always produces the least weld fumes.
- TIP TIG should enable no grinding.
- TIP TIG should always enable the lowest weld rework potential.
- TIP TIG on any metal enables the best weld fusion capability with the lowest weld porosity.
- TIP TIG eliminates the need for multi-processes as its the best process for any pipe root and fill and its a process easily automated.
The most comprehensive unique weld data ever written on TIP TIG and its application potential is in the TIP TIG section of this site. Also so that welders don’t spend the next 50 years playing around with TIP TIG controls, the TIP TIG weld process controls – best weld practice, Self-teaching – Training resources, simplifies and provides more process information on how to optimize TIP TIG welds.
Manufacturing Facilities & Consistent Weld Process Optimization
IN MFG. FACILITIES, ITS LOGICAL THAT ALL THOSE MAKING WELD DECISIONS WALK THE SAME PATH TO WELD PROCESS OPTIMIZATION:
A well run weld shop first requires that front office weld decision makers & their welders, understand the requirements of weld process ownership. Weld Process Ownership by both the front office and weld shop would enable all the weld decision makers to walk the same path to the daily requirements that are necessary for MIG, flux cored and TIP TIG weld quality & weld productivity optimization.
PULSED MIG & WELD PROCESS AWARENESS ISSUES IN 2018: : The pulsed MIG weld process has been available for more than three decades, and there is no doubt that an Inverter pulsed MIG power source can provide many weld benefits for specific aluminum weld applications <1/4, (alum. requires less weld energy than steels and alloy applications). However, over the three decades in which I evaluated the pulsed MIG process on hundreds of manual and robot applications, with most of the USA, Japanese and European pulsed MIG equipment I would find numerous electronic issues, weld transfer stability issues and weld energy issues that would influence the weld quality and productivity on steels and alloy steels.
2019: In my 600 page. “Management and Engineers guide to MIG” book that I wrote approx. two decades ago, in one section I wrote close to a 100 pages on how in contrast to regular CV MIG and Spray transfer, Pulsed MIG will on many steels and alloy steel weld applications > 5 mm, negatively impact the weld quality and productivity. The irony is that the pulsed MIG issue information that I provided then, is still relevant today. The book and my other weld process controls – best weld practice self teach / training resources are found in the following link. Manual and Robot MIG – Flux Cored – Advanced AC/DC TIG and the Unique TIP TIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training and Self Teaching Materials.
IT’S A SAD REALITY, THAT THE GLOBAL WELD INDUSTRY WAS RARELY AWARE OF THE MILLIONS OF WELD ISSUES BEING CAUSED DAILY BY THE PULSED MIG WELD EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS. THESE ARE MANUFACTURERS WHO FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, NEVER TOOK OWNERSHIP OF THEIR POOR OR ERRATIC PERFORMING PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT. AND AS FAR AS I KNOW, NEVER NOTIFIED THEIR WELD CUSTOMERS OF THE ISSUES.
Over the 30 plus years of the erratic Pulsed MIG power source evolution, most of the global major MIG equipment manufacturers such as Miller, Lincoln, ESAB and Panasonic had major electronic issues with their pulsed MIG equipment. The electronic issues in the pulsed MIG equipment would negatively affect the pulsed weld transfer stability and weld-ability. Also the Pulsed MIG mode with it’s low back ground weld current requirement, and depending on the wire feed rate, often excess peak current requirement, would influence either consistency the weld fusion, the weld deposition rate potential for the application, the weld transfer stability and frequently the weld end crater fill capability. The pulsed MIG units from thirty years ago and still in 2019 are usually loaded with many useless electronic bells and whistles that not only influence the equipment costs, they add to the process confusion , create weld procedure longevity concerns, influence the pulsed MIG equipment life, and create costly MG weld equipment repairs. Note: The average Pulsed MIG equipment repair costs are frequently greater than the purchase cost of a new CV MIG power source.
A message to those that make robot weld decisions.
It’s easy with the help of robot integrators for manager of global auto, truck plants to fill their state of the art factories with robot lines. Unfortunately thanks to the many managers and engineers who lack MIG weld process ownership, few of their robot technicians will have the MIG weld process control ability necessary to provide robot programs that will consistently provide the best possible weld quality with the highest possible weld productivity, and also with the lowest possible robot down time. My training / self teaching program “Robot MIG Weld Process Ownership – Controls – Best Weld Practice Expertise”. is not a bad first step to take.
From GM to Tesla, from old to new car and truck manufactures, the lack of robot MIG weld process ownership continues to be a global issue.
Two important training programs are required for anyone making robot MIG weld decisions.  Programming robots which thankfully is now an expertise that most can learn in a few weeks, this should be followed up three months later with a more advanced training program. And the other training program is something Mr. Musk at Tesla and most other global managers, engineers, supervisors and robot technicians rarely get, that’s my “Robot CV MIG and Pulsed MIG Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Expertise. It took me 30 plus years to nail this program, to simplify it, and it should take irrespective of weld back ground approx. 15 – 20 hours.
It did not matter if it was robot or manual MIG welds, the most difficult thing to find in the front office was someone who truly owns the weld process.
For those of you that are confused about weld experience versus weld process control expertise please note. I don’t know how many times I heard this in manufacturing facilities. “But Em why would our welders need process control – best practice training most have been MIG welding for 20 plus years.” Welders skills and length of welding experience have nothing to do with the required manual or robot weld process controls and best weld practice expertise, this is the missing link and even today in 2019 most weld engineers are not taught this subject as the professors that teach the weld engineers are not even aware of the subject.
SO YOU DON’T THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE?
A simple common Robot MIG Weld Process Question: I hand the robot weld decision maker a thin, 0.035 (1 mm) galvanealed steel auto parts that requires lap welds. For this robot project I want the weld decision maker to select the best wire size, best wire type, the best two part gas mix, the most suited weld transfer mode, the wire feed rate, the voltage, the approx. weld travel rate, the best positions to weld the part. If that weld decision maker has to look at a piece of paper or does not know the answers, they lack weld process control expertise.
Few welding robots attain their full weld quality and productivity potential, so the solution for many managers is to add manual labor to the robot lines or purchase more robots. As just about every other global mfg. manager and engineer responsible for MIG and Resistance welding robots found out the hard way. You can spend millions of dollars on sophisticated robot weld lines, expensive weld fixtures and top of the line weld equipment in the robot cells, however if the companies front office and shop floor weld decision makers lack robot weld process control – best weld practice expertise, a costly price is paid.
The Responsibility of weld managers, engineers & supervisors
A MANAGER, ENGINEER OR SUPERVISOR OF A WELD DEPARTMENT, SHOULD AT LEAST BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THAT WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE IS LACKING IN THEIR WELD SHOP:
It’s the responsibility of management, engineers and supervisors who are supposed to own their mfg. processes, to recognize that weld skills have nothing to do with weld process controls or best weld practices. And to be able to figure out the root causes of why their weld shop personnel play around with weld controls and lack the ability to consistently optimize a simple two control process such as MIG and flux cored. Remember MIG and flux cored account for approx. 85% of the welds produced daily, two processes that have changed little in many decades. It’s also the responsibility of weld management interested in attaining code quality welds to encourage “change” especially when a unique weld technology such as TIP TIG is introduced.
If I had a dollar for each time I heard this nonsense.
IN TOO MANY COMPANIES MIG AND FLUX CORED WELD COSTS DISCUSSIONS ARE OFTEN FOCUSED ON WELD WIRE AND GAS COSTS: It’s been a fact for decades, that front office “weld cost” discussions are rare and usually when the discussion does comes up the front office will often bring up the weld wires and weld gas costs. To control MIG and flux cored weld costs one has to be aware of the wire feed rate potential for the weld application and convert that to weld deposition rate. I simplified this info in my process control self teaching / training resources. 2019
NOTE: I HAVE JUST FINISHED THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE DATA ON REVEALING THE GLOBAL NONSENSE THAT SURROUNDS MIG WELD GAS SELECTION, AND I PROVIDED THE LOW COST MIG GAS MIXES THAT WILL PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE MIG WELD QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY. VISIT THE MIG WELD SECTION IN MY PROGRAM SECTION
WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY TEACHING ENGINEERS AND DESIGNERS ABOUT ARC WELDING AT THE GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES? Designers typically lack MIG and flux cored weld process control expertise, and even tho they may state on the part’s blue prints “use MIG” these two words may be the limit of their arc weld process knowledge.
It’s a fact that since the common use of steel MIG welds in mfg. facilities since the 1950’s, that due to their too common arc weld process ignorance, the designers of both manual and especially robot welded parts in industries as diverse as the automotive and shipbuilding, (and most other industries), that millions of dollars are wasted daily, due to the never ending arc weld issues that .
Of course it’s logical that designers should be taught and understand the weld process limitations or benefits for the process that they recommend to be used to weld the parts that they design. It’s also logical that designers would want to be aware of how to enhance their part design to improve either the robot or manual weld-ability, the weld quality or the weld productivity.
So the weld reality is, that its more than likely that the person who designs the parts welded in many weld shops will understand the function and capability of their design, but not likely understand the MIG, Flux Cored, TIG, (and when they wake up, eventually TIP TIG) inherent weld process issues, the process limits, the process benefits and capability. The weld reality is that designers are educated people, and even tho the universities that they attended, may on the subject of welds have failed them, they should be savvy enough to be able to recognize that their lack of weld process – best weld practice expertise, can influence on their parts, the weld quality productivity and costs. And therefore they have a responsibility to gain that expertise which coincidentally is provided here.
Designers, improve the design of your welded parts with spending a few hours with one of the following programs. Manual and Robot Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training / Self Teaching materials for MIG – Flux Cored – Advanced AC/DC TIG and the TIP TIG process.
Global Sales Influence on Weld Shops
It’s sad to see the common global lack of front office process ownership and the too frequent reliance on a salesman for weld advice.
HERE COMES THE WELD SALES REP WITH HIS BOX OF DONUTS. It’s not uncommon in global welds shops to find that the local weld distributor salesman who may have a degree in Fine Arts, History or English, is a person who has never worked in, or never managed a weld shop. Yet this sales rep may have more influence on the shop weld quality and productivity produced, than the supervisors, engineers and managers who are supposed to be running the weld department. With the global influence of weld salesmanship on weld shops, it’s a rare event in a weld department to find weld equipment or weld consumable standardization, and even rarer to find that the best performing and most cost effective weld equipment and consumables had been purchased. With my corporate Training or Weld Equip. Product Manager roles at companies such as Airgas, AGA, Praxair and Liquid Carbonic, I trained over 2000 weld salesmen in the USA and Canada. I believe approx. 5% were suited to the role of visiting a weld shop and providing practical and cost effective weld advice.
SO WHAT ARE MIG OR FLUX CORED WELD PROCESS CONTROLS? Many managers, engineers and supervisors responsible for the welders will typically focus on their welder’s skills or years of experience, and will often not be aware as to what the term “Arc Weld Process Controls” This is a subject that has nothing to do with that old worn out weld department requirement that thinks process controls means calibrating the MIG equipment once a year, or hiring another weld inspector who can point out weld defects, but lacks the process expertise to prevent them. Lets face it, irrespective of the industry, QA departments responsible for welds would be far more cost effective for their companies if they changed their approach in dealing with welds to weld defect prevention rather than revealing weld defects.
This weld has poor fusion, undercut, & excess porosity, fortunately the reasons for the defects are thankfully not part of my job description.
I wrote this in 1999. Are most of the weld QA/QC personnel cost effective for the companies they serve? The following are typical functions for the personnel that are daily involved with weld inspection:
 Ensure the welds are in conformance with the weld procedures:
Too often both the weld qualification and weld procedures utilized are not compatible with the actual welds which are influenced by variables not considered in the weld qualification. The procedures or the weld processes will also often not be optimum, the weld parameter ranges provided often too limited or too broad or poorly understood, and the required best weld practices not documented or practiced.
 Perform weld inspections on the companies and contractors finished parts:
What’s the sense of focusing QC and NDT resources on the costly, finished components. Why not ensure that the weld inspection personnel are provided with something most don’t have. Provide them with the weld process controls – best weld practice expertise that would enable them to assist welders in in minimizing the formation of weld defects.
 How effective are your weld meetings?
These weld meetings “often result in many people sitting around a table, providing opinions on the weld subject, while the reality is most will lack the required weld process control expertise necessary to ensure that the best possible weld quality and productivity will be produced on the project.
 Control the weld wire storage:
Make sure especially with those Chinese, Eastern Europe or South American made MIG – flux cored weld wires, (who knows how they control the quality in the mfg. of their consumables) are stored in heated containers. It’s a sad reality that once the MIG or flux cored wire reels leave the heated storage containers, that they will rarely be tagged with the date put in service, and then the weld wires will then often be left in a working environment in which humidity or moisture can have a negative effects on the wires and welds produced.
 Oversee hiring of new welders & the required welder qualification tests:
On most large weld projects, it’s a rare occurrence if more than 20% of welders tested pass the welder qualification tests. Few companies provide the process means when testing welders, so that they can actually pass the required MIG or flux cored welder qualification plate or pipe tests. As the “play around” with weld controls welders are not likely to know the optimum MIG or flux cored weld parameters or best weld practices for the plate or pipe welder qualification tests. I would recommend that for any welder qualification tests, that before the weld personnel are allowed to take the often costly tests, it would be cost effective if the QC personnel involved first provide the welders with a one to two hour workshop that simplifies the optimum weld settings and weld practices required for the qualification and for the projects. This is what my weld process control resources do. When I was asked to train and qualify a large group of new welders, it did not matter if it was an ABS – AWS – API or ASME welder qualification test, with my hands on and classroom one day training program, I used to always achieve approx. 90% first time pass rates.
IT’S THIS SIMPLE: I believe that global QA/QC weld personnel would be far more cost effective for their companies, if they learnt the MIG – Flux Cored, Advanced GTAW & hopefully one day TIP TIG weld process controls and best weld practices to help in reducing weld re-work
Weld Process Controls – Best Weld Practice expertise means that the open minded weld decision maker who does not have to rely on a weld salesman for advice, will have the ability to look at any weld application, and instantly be aware of the optimum weld equip. and consumables, and when applicable, the best arc process and weld transfer modes. Of course they would also be aware of the optimum weld parameters, (without playing around), and the best manual or robot Welding Practices that are required for the parts welded.
So if your company utilizes MIG – Flux Cored – TIG or the new TIP TIG process, and someone in the organization can invest a few dollars and approx. 20 hours of their time with my Weld Process Controls – Best Practices, Self Teaching / Training Resources, they will have the ability to rapidly enable dramatic weld quality improvements, extensive weld cost reductions and reduce weld liability concerns. These resources will also dramatically enhance their weld career potential.
Weld QA personnel, supervisors and technicians, do you want to take the next step in your weld career? My Manual and Robot, MIG – Flux Cored – Advanced AC/DC TIG and TIP TIG, Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice Training / Self Teaching Materials will get you where you want to go.
Shipyards, more weld issues and increased management opportunities.
Its a sad weld reality that many ship yards would go out of business if complete weld fusion was a requirement for all their vessel welds.
Gas Shielded Flux cored is the prime manual arc weld process utilized with most of the welds that fail in the shipyards and cause issues for the ships at sea. Few ship yard front office and weld department decision makers are aware of the many inherent weld quality issues generated by flux cored, and are not aware of the weld process controls and best weld practices that will reduce the potential for those weld defects. For decades, the majority of Merchant and Navy built vessels have been built without MIG and flux cored weld process controls & best weld practice training that’s necessary for welders to fully optimize the weld process quality – productivity potential, and for supervisors and managers to assume weld process ownership. If shipyard engineering / management recognized the importance of weld process control expertise they would be in a position to enable dramatic weld quality and weld productivity improvements and possibly save millions of dollars in weld rework per-ship.
BACK TO MY WELD REALITY. For a short period I was the weld manager at the AKER Philadelphia Naval shipyard, below. I decided to bring AKER into the the twenty first century and provided their 300 welders who had all before I arrived qualified for ABS flux cored welder qualification tests. Yet all these welders had for years played around with their weld controls, My flux cored weld process control training enabled them to instantly set the optimum parameters that they required to deal with the many variables you typically will find in any ship yard. The results were dramatic as you will read below.
The Aker Shipyard. A Case Study in Weld Cost Reduction
My first issues at the Aker shipyard was with the “why change the way we have always done it” ship yard manager.
I was hired by Aker executives so that they could actually start to make some profit on the tankers and container ships they were building in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Aker had budgeted well under a million dollars per ship for weld rework. With the container ships and tankers , typically NDE is applied to look for internal weld defects on only a small percentage of the ships critical welds. The day I started at Aker, the flux cored weld rework costs were out of control, close to 9 million dollars per-ship. The yard was run by German management who were well aware of the ways ships were stick welded before the invention of flux cored and MIG.
SOMETHING MISSING IN MOST GLOBAL SHIP YARDS IS MANAGEMENT / ENGINEERING WELD PROCESS OWNERSHIP. When I interviewed for the job as the yard Weld Manager, I was informed of the weld rework issues. I informed the yard’s management that I would only accept the job, if I was given 100% management responsibility for welding, I needed to process ownership if I was going to influence the weld quality and costs in the yard.
I IMPLEMENTED MY FLUX CORED WELD PROCESS CONTROL – BEST WELD PRACTICE TRAINING PROGRAM.
Keep in mind the 300 welders were supposed to be qualified and most of the welders had also received ineffective flux cored training in the yard’s weld school.
From $9 Million to $3 Million Reduction Per Ship
I trained around 20 weld personnel per-session. Keeping in mind the man hour costs associated with training 300 people I kept the program to 8 hour sessions, 4 hours of classroom on flux cored weld process controls – best practices, and then I provided 4 hours hands on welding, having the welders apply what was taught in the classroom. Within a month the training of the 300 welders was complete. Within three months, on the weld joints subject to X-Ray, (easy to measure weld data results) the yard reduced the approx. weld repair costs per ship by 65%. So for those that like cost reduction numbers, that’s a weld repair cost reduction from 9 million dollars to less than 3 million dollars per-ship. And if the program was carried on, supported by progressive shipyard management, within a year, I am sure that the weld rework would have been reduced to less than one million. The weld rework cost reductions by the way was measured by the yard QA Management.
Note : Unlike costly Navy frigates that can cost 700 million to a billion dollars plus per-ship the Aker built tankers and container ships typically would cost approx. 120 to 175 million dollars per-ship, so as you can imagine 9 – 10 million dollars over budget for weld rework on container ships and tankers is not pocket change. As Naval vessel shipbuilding yards building frigates and aircraft carriers are used to weld repairs that could be over a 100 million dollars, think about the weld cost reduction potential from a short process control training program that would reduce the flux cored or MIG weld defects in the 60 to 70% range.
Left. One ABS qualified welder’s vertical up flux cored welds. Right after 8 hours of Em’s Flux Cored Weld Process controls Training.
Weld Cost Savings Potential and Weld Liability Risks.
From building Oil Platforms to Merchant ships, from building Submarines, to Frigates or Air Craft Carriers, there is always tremendous weld cost savings potential, that is if the responsible management, engineers and supervisors would recognize the importance of weld process ownership, weld process controls and weld process best practices.
So for those still with me, I hope you now have some evidence of the importance of Manual and Robot MIG – Flux Cored – Advanced AC/DC TIG and TIP TIG, Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice, Training / Self Teaching Materials.
Like other high tech industries, most oil and gas companies weld as they did in the 20th Century.
Companies that build structures like this, often do little to reduce unnecessary weld rejects and rework and reduce their weld liability concerns.
Many lives lost, and over a billion dollars down the drain due to a weld failure on an oil platform, weld issues that could have been avoided if the management and engineers responsible for the rig construction understood the concepts and benefits of weld process ownership
WISE MANAGERS WOULD RECOGNIZE A COMMON WELDERS DEMISE, A LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN ADJUSTING MIG, FLUX CORED AND SOON TO BE TIP TIG WELD PARAMETERS:
In most shipyards, LNG and Offshore oil rig construction facilities, you will often find the welders, irrespective of the weld joint, part thickness and the weld position, will be using a single wire feed and voltage setting for either their flux cored or MIG welds. MIG and Gas Shielded Flux Cored account for approx. 85 – 90 % of the global welds produced daily. Yet if I I visited any global Shipyard, NG or offshore Oil Rig construction facility, and asked the following two common weld process questions, the first thing I would expect would be the same glazed look I used to get from my wife when I talked to her about welds.
MIG Process Question: Using MIG, a conventional 350 – 450 amp CV MIG power source, an 0.045 (1.2 mm) wire with an argon 20% CO2 mix, and welding a 1/4 (6.4 mm) fillet in the flat position. The weld is made between a 3/16 (4.8 mm) carbon steel plate to a 1/2 (12 mm) steel plate. Provide the Wire Feed, the Voltage and how much weld wire would be required each hour if the welders’ hourly arc on time is 20 minutes.
Flux Cored Process Question: Using the same conventional 350 – 450 amp CV MIG power source, but with an 0.045 (1.2 mm) E71T-1 flux cored wire, welding the same steel parts and position in above question, again with an argon 20% CO2 mix, provide the wire feed, the voltage and figure out how much weld wire would be required each hour if the welders’ hourly arc on time is 20 minutes.
When I preach weld process ownership to weld shop managers and their supervisors, what I hear at most weld shops is, “but Ed (now Em), we have highly SKILLED MIG and flux cored welders here and some have worked for us over 20 years. My reply would be, skills have little to do with process control expertise. For example, would you prefer in your machine shop to hire a person to operate a lathe that had a few months experience but has been taught all the correct lathe settings and practices that are necessary to operate the lathe for machining any parts. Or would you want someone who has worked for a year or two with lathes but never received any formal machine shop lath training.
WHY WOULD A MANAGER ALLOW A DOUBLE STANDARD FROM THE MACHINE SHOP TO THE WELD SHOP? No company would expect it’s machine shop workers to “play around” with the controls on their equipment, so why would the same company allow weld personnel to “play around” with MIG equipment that for many decades has had two simple weld controls?
As Weld Process Controls – Best Practice expertise is easy to learn with my unique process self teaching / training programs that simplify the subject, the individual irrespective of weld background that takes this program would then have the expertise to look at any metal and part thickness to be welded, and would instantly be aware of the appropriate MIG, Pulsed MIG, TIP TIG or flux cored wire size required, the optimum weld parameters and the best weld practices to be used. If MIG was used, the decision maker would then select the appropriate MIG weld transfer mode, Short Circuit, Pulsed or Spray, the most logical two part gas to mix use, (based on weld energy required). If automation or robots were being used, the weld decision maker would also know the weld travel rate required for the desired weld size provided, and also be aware of the best robot MIG weld practices to minimize robot weld issues and maximize the robot weld speeds.
Pulsed MIG Process Question: Em. We are ready to purchase a Pulsed MIG power source, in 2019, what would your choice be?
Answer: I have been testing Pulsed MIG equipment for more than 30 year, and I believe that the best value for a pulsed MIG unit in 2018 is the MIG OTC unit shown left and below. A good weld manager, engineer or supervisor would know why this unit stands out, (pulsed weld transfer performance and stability). And if that person was really good weld process control expert they would be able to walk up to this unit, or any pulsed MIG unit and instantly set the following four welds.
 An all position open root pass for a 1/2 wall, 8 inch diameter steel pipe.
 A 5/16. 5356 aluminum fillet weld.
 A 14 gauge 316 stainless lap weld.
 An Inconel or stainless clad weld producing high deposition with low weld dilution on 1/4 steel.
If your employees cannot handle the above common MIG weld tasks without “playing around” with the MIG weld controls, then what’s the sense in buying the best pulsed equipment? Surely It would make more sense to first invest in yourself and your employees by purchasing for a few dollars one of my manual or robot MIG weld process control programs. Have you been too my Pulsed MIG equipment & robot sections to find out what happened with the companies that purchased pulsed MIG units and lacked process control expertise?
The OTC pulsed MIG unit is one of the rare reasonably priced pulsed MIG units that actually provide practical electronic features that can provide real world pulsed MIG weld benefits, especially with gauge to 3/16 aluminum welds. In contrast, many of pulsed Inverter MIG power sources purchased for steel welds, will provide useless electronic bells and whistles and their prime attribute will have been to decrease the weld equipment durability and increase the weld equipment price.
The purpose of a weld is what? Always keep your eye on the Weld Fusion.
It’s a good job that most MIG and flux cored welds on parts > 3 mm are not subject to a Macros or X-Rays, as finding consistent optimum weld fusion, would be as rare as finding an honest politician.
POOR WELD FUSION IS THE NORM WITH MANY PULSED MIG WELDS ON PARTS > 3/16.
A point rarely considered or poorly understood in many weld shops, is that the weld fusion attained with the majority of MIG, Flux Cored, and SMA welds will often be either borderline or unacceptable. Also, too many front office personnel believe, that it’s the welder skills or lack of weld experience that are the prime root causes of most of the weld defects produced.
Irrespective of the welders skills or how optimum the welders parameters are, certain weld processes such as MIG, Pulsed MIG, Flux Cored or TIG will create weld defects simply as a result of the inherent process weld issues. For example you know with flux cored you are going to get trapped slag, and with pulsed MIG on certain parts poor weld fusion.
A Manual MIG Weld Process Question: The company is using pulsed MIG on it’s stainless welds on 1/4 to 1/2 parts. These welds used to be made with CV. MIG Spray Transfer. Using the same 0.045 MIG wire diameter and similar wire feed settings as used with Spray, they found they were having weld fusion concerns. Explain why?
Managers or weld shop owners when considering the purchase of costly Pulsed MIG units for welding mostly steels & alloy steel applications, please remember when looking at the electronic options on the front of that new pulsed MIG power source, that it’s likely you are going to bring this pulsed weld equipment into a weld shop in which for many years the manual welders had not figured out how to optimize the two weld controls that have been on MIG equipment for more than 60 years.
Surely in any weld shop that’s ready to purchase new MIG weld equipment, that it would be far more cost effective to first provide all weld decision makers with weld process control – best practice training so first and foremost the full weld equipment potential can be obtained from lower cost CV MIG equip. Once the weld personnel understand CV and Pulsed weld process control expertise, the welders will then also be able to fully utilize and get the maximum potential out of the new pulsed MIG equipment.
Fully understanding the optimization of all MIG weld transfer modes enables a real weld process evaluation between standard CV equipment and pulsed MIG equipment. This logic also applies when testing traditional TIG equipment with advanced TIG which will have many new electronic process features, and lets not forget TIP TIG which makes traditional TIG welds redundant for most TIG applications.
WELD REALITY: Thirty plus years since the introduction of pulsed MIG equip. while beneficial on thin aluminum, however when welding steels and most alloy steels, pulsed MIG equipment provides limited weld quality or productivity improvements. Of course you won’t hear this statement from most weld equipment sales reps.
2018: Please remember Process Controls – Best Practice expertise is not an expertise that is provided at the majority of global universities, colleges, trade schools and training departments that provide weld programs for engineers and weld personnel.
There is a simple solution to avoid these Common Weld Defects
There is an important relationship between the weld process selected and the weld defects that will or will not be produced.
Common weld defects such as lack of weld fusion, porosity, undercut & slag could be added to those defects above. Its always important to note especially with MIG and flux cored welds, that many weld defects will result solely from the weld process, consumables and data selected. And in-itself. that’s a reason more front office people should be aware of the weld processes and consumables used in their organization.
I suspect that when it comes to weld rejects, weld defects and rework, that the majority of weld shop front office weld decision makers will when manual and robot weld issues occur, point to their welders as the prime cause of the weld issues. The reality also will be that the weld decision makers will have neglected (most will not aware) to provide their welders with the Process Control – Best Weld Practice training that they have never had and its training that will for the weld shops have the biggest impact on weld quality – productivity.
Let’s face it, if the weld shop management is aware of the root cause of weld issues, this would have to go a long way in helping prevent them. When managers, engineers & supervisors are not aware of the requirements of weld process controls & best weld practices, it’s not going to be provided.
A Manual MIG Process Question from Mike.
Question: Em. I am trying, to optimize the parameters (yes I play around with the controls) to produce optimum MIG weld lap joints on 14 GA to 3/16 stainless. I have been nothing but aggravated. Please put my information on the website about the Miller Invision I purchased, its basically a useless power source and I wish I had my 11 grand back. Anyway thanks for what you do.
Answer: Mike I hear you frustration the welds could easily be made with an 0.035 stainless wire and my Argon 2% Co2 mix, using the start point of Spray with the arc focus on the thicker part. For the low Spray weld, approx. WF 430 – 450 ipm with 25 – 26 Volts and move fast with a 20 to 25 degree push angle and a 5/8 WSO. This would also be a good pulsed weld with 0.045 wire that is if you have a decent pulsed MIG power source. Regards Em.
So since the 1950s, there has been four prime arc weld processes. In 2018, the majority of global weld shops, when “all position” arc welds are required on steels and alloy steels, will typically consider arc weld processes such as SMAW, Pulsed MIG, Flux Cored and TIG. These four important processes when used for steels and alloy steel applications, have seen few equipment / process changes that have in reality advanced weld quality – productivity. This includes Pulsed MIG welds. Most of the pulsed MIG steel and alloy steel welds made in at present could be produced just as effectively using much lower cost CV. MIG equipment using short circuit and spray transfer modes with of course weld process expertise.
The Four Prime Arc Weld Processes
So since the 1950s, there has been four prime arc weld processes. In 2018, the majority of global weld shops, when “all position” arc welds are required on steels and alloy steels, will typically consider four common arc weld processes. SMAW, Pulsed MIG, Flux Cored and TIG. These four important processes when used for steels and alloy steel applications, have seen few equipment / process changes that have in reality advanced weld quality – productivity. This includes Pulsed MIG welds. Most of the pulsed MIG steel and alloy steel welds made in at present could be produced just as effectively using much lower cost CV. MIG equipment, and the short circuit and spray transfer modes and weld process expertise.
STICK – SMAW
STICK – SMAW: For fifty years I have avoided the use of this arc process, and would not consider SMAW as a logical choice for most code quality weld applications. The logical choices would be gas shielded flux cored or TIG / TIP TIG. Their is always an exception for using this process such as weld access, weld reach, part condition or environment concerns.
Gas Shielded Flux Cored
Gas Shielded Flux Cored. With gas shielded flux cored welds, any experienced weld decision maker would be aware that even with optimum skills and parameters utilized, there will be no guarantee with NDT, that the flux cored welds wont have serious common FCAW defects such as trapped slag, worm tracks or porosity.
Pulsed MIG: When a high deposition process such as Pulsed MIG uses a back ground current, the pulsed weld energy in contrast to the spray mode is reduced. Using manual Pulsed MIG welds on steels and especially sluggish > 5/16 alloys such as stainless, it would be difficult to ensure that the MIG welds have consistent acceptable weld fusion.
GTAW (TIG): Regular TIG is the arc process with the most high weld quality expectations, and has been a prime choice for code quality and alloy welds. TIG also produces the lowest weld deposition rates (slow travel that results in high heat) and requires the highest welder skills. TIG equipment has evolved with electronics, ,however the weld benefits from the Advanced TIG power sources are with aluminum weld applications
TIG skills differ from welder to welder and this can influence the weld quality and uniformity attained. Most TIG welds require that the manual welder dip and withdraw their TIG wire length into the TIG arc plasma and weld pool. This unique arc weld practice again varies from welder to welder and again is a manual weld practice that influences the weld quality uniformity and consistency attained. Also with many TIG applications and the very slow weld travel rates that often result, with TIG the weld shops see small defects influenced mostly by skills and practices and the shop may have concerns for high weld and part heat, something that few alloys will benefit from.
TIP TIG in the last century is the most Important development in Arc Welding
Since 2010, the most important change with arc welding processes has been the introduction TIP TIG process.
In North America, around the year 2010, I went to Scotland to meet a friend called Darren Matherson, he introduced me to a relatively new process call TIP TIG. It took me only a 10 minute process evaluation to figure out this was now the world’s most important arc weld process, especially for those that had an interest in steels and alloy steels code quality welds.
After my return from Scotland to the USA, I needed a partner to provide the funding to bring TIP TIG to the US. I found one, a friend, Tom O’Malley, a Philadelphia weld distributor. Tom provided the financing and together we created TIP TIG USA and then introduced TIP TIG to both N. America and Australia.
Some Advantages of TIP TIG
TIP TIG HAS BEEN THE WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT WELD PROCESS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, BUT YOU WILL FIND FEW IN HIGH TECH WELD SHOPS THAT EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS.
On many applications TIP TIG is much easier to use and attains better weld quality than regular GTAW. The TIP TIG process enables 100 to 400% decrease in TIG labor costs. TIP TIG always provides the lowest possible weld heat for the lowest weld distortion and best metallurgical properties. When you have the best arc process and use my process control – best practice resources you produce welds like this for 25% of the cost of a TIG weld.
NASA, Exon or Northrup, TIG welders would be wasting their time trying to duplicate this TIP TIG pipe weld quality, which was generated at 300% below the weld costs that’s daily created by TIG welders.