The World’s Largest Web Site on MIG, Flux Cored, TIG & TIP TIG Weld Issues & Solutions.
TIP TIG has been the world’s best arc weld process for code quality welds for the last ten years, the irony is few global weld shops are aware of it or seen it.
WELD ENGINEERING EVOLUTION OCCURS WITH FRONT OFFICE WELD PROCESS OWNERSHIP AND THE WELD SHOP CONTINUOUS SEARCH FOR PROGRESSIVE WELD CHANGE.
2019: Welcome to weldreality. This site commenced in 1998 when it started out as a weld blog a long time before blogs were associated with web sites. For me this web site has provided an outlet on what I have experienced over five decades in a 1000 plus weld shops in 13 countries.
In the industry that I am proud to be a part of, there has always been a major shortage of managers, engineers and supervisors who lack the ability for weld process ownership, and in their weld shops you typically will find reliance on weld sales reps for process advice, weld personnel that play around with the MIG controls and two subjects rarely discussed will be weld process controls and best weld practices.
This site weld programs are focused on MIG, Flux Cored and the ten year old TIP TIG, weld issues weld resolutions. As TIP TIG is a game changer for weld shops, the suitable applications for these three processes is discussed and the requirements for Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practices are discussed and provided.
2019: IN AN INDUSTRY RESISTANCE TO CHANGE: In an industry in which the arc weld processes utilized for “steels and alloy steels” has changed little in the last four decades, “weld process change” is something in which many weld shops are often reluctant to accept, who has not heard, “why change the way we have always done it”. While their is broad acceptance of weld process improvements derived from the additions of electronics to MIG weld equipment, for decades there has also been the question of what the real world weld quality and productivity impact is from MIG weld equipment that in reality is often loaded with useless electronic bells and whistles.
INTRODUCTION OF A PROCESS THAT WILL REPLACE TIG – MIG AND FCAW FOR THE MAJORITY OF CODE QUALITY WELDS.
While MIG, TIG and the Flux cored process have since the 1960’s been responsible for most of the global arc welds, in 2019, weld shops have a ten year old alternative process called TIP TIG. This is a process that may appear for some weld personnel to be a cross between the DC TIG and MIG process.
2019: I predict that within a decade, the TIP TIG process that I bought to North America in 2008, will be the most important weld process associated with code quality welds on most metals. With so many weld, metallurgical, mechanical, corrosion, and weld fume safety benefits attained from TIP TIG, weld benefits that are spelled out on this page and especially in my unique “TIP TIG” weld fact and weld process comparison section, the TIP TIG process, again when the best possible weld quality and and welded part properties are required will readily prove superior to the traditional GTAW, Pulsed MIG – STT MIG- RMD MIG and the Gas Shielded Flux Cored process.
Note: For those that may not agree with the above TIP TIG statement, it would take a 30 minute TIP TIG demo in any weld shop to prove the TIP TIG weld results
THIS SITE PLACE MUCH FOCUS ON WELD PROCESS COMPARISONS, HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE, WELD PROCESS COMPARISONS WILL HAVE MORE MEANING WHEN THOSE MAKING THE COMPARISONS HAVE WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE.
The introduction of a unique process such as TIP TIG, means this process will be compared with the traditional arc weld process utilized in global weld shop, As mentioned above, it helps in arc weld process comparisons, if those doing the comparisons have the process controls and best weld practice expertise that enables them to always attain process optimization with the arc weld process used.
In each of the weld process sections presented in the programs section of this site and also in my Weld Process Controls – Best Weld Practice self teaching / training programs, you will read about how the major weld equipment and weld consumable manufacturers have had a dramatic negative influence on both manual and robot weld quality and productivity. You will read about the common weld issues generated by weld management that lack the ability for weld process ownership. And you will become more aware of the sad fact that in this important industry, few weld personnel have with MIG and Flux Cored weld process controls & best weld practice expertise.
I apologize for the size of this web site, however the process subjects are extensive and the repercussions of costly arc weld issues that daily effect the majority of the global weld industry have been unchanged for decades. Since the 1980’s I have been documenting common global arc weld problems, and written 35 articles and had four books published on MIG and Flux Cored weld issues and resolutions, always with focus on simplifying the subject of weld process controls and best weld practices.
2109: Their will always be a place for the traditional GTAW process, however this process will each year play less of a role with 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 TIP TIG. The reader will find with these weld processes, the most comprehensive manual and robot weld process control data in this sites programs sections and in my weld books and training materials, and while the site is long winded due to its age and never ending weld shop issues, I hope the reader will find the information that could enable any organization 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 most widely utilized arc weld process, I will start out with some MIG weld reality information.
Most of the MIG weld issues in the 1980’s are the same as the MIG weld issues in 2020.
 POOR MIG EQUIP. PERFORMANCE. Few weld shops or robot weld departments are aware that many of the MIG weld issues generated throughout the global weld industry have been the responsibility of not only those that purchase the MIG equipment but those that also make MIG weld equipment.
For at least three decades, lack of front office manual or robot weld process ownership has been the norm, and in this time period MIG equipment manufactures like Miller, Lincoln, Panasonic, Hobart, Motoman and ESAB were producing faulty, unstable or simply poor performing Pulsed MIG equipment, and global weld shops were daily paying the price without being aware of the real reasons.
 THE PULSED MIG PROCESS: There should of course be consideration why weld shops when purchasing MIG equipment should want to spend much more on the less durable, more difficult and costly to repair Pulsed MIG equipment. There are many reasons why weld shops and robot cells should not be using Pulsed MIG, and their are also logical reasons why Pulsed MIG should be used.
If the reader was to ask weld shop floor personnel to explain why they need pulsed MIG equipment for steel welds, I can assure you that in their answers their will likely be indications of process confusion. And if you ask the front office why pulsed MIG should be used they will likely tell you all the reasons that their local sales rep. (who never ran a weld shop) told them.
 ROBOTS AND MIG WELD REQUIREMENTS: Pulsed MIG or regular CV MIG, you would think its logical that those responsible for robot MIG weld decisions would be aware of the root causes of robot MIG weld issues, and aware of the robot MIG weld process controls and best robot weld practice solutions that would enable consistent, optimum robot MIG weld quality and productivity, with of course the lowest robot down time.
 DECADES OF MIG WELD GAS NONSENSE: In North America, there are forty plus MIG gas mixes available and few weld shops are aware that no more than four 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.
 SIMPLIFIED MIG SETTINGS AWARENESS. No matter what weld wire is placed on a MIG power source, as shown in my training / self teaching MIG and gas shielded Flux Cored weld process control programs, there are three optimum MIG and flux cored weld settings. There are also MIG and Flux Cored best weld practices that will minimize weld defects and optimize weld productivity. The weld reality is few weld personnel will be aware of the settings and practices and as is common in many weld shops when setting a MIG or FCA weld, the weld personnel will frequently “play around” with two weld controls that have changed little in decades.
It was a rare global event, however arc weld process controls was for a short time applied in this ship yard.
When I introduced Flux Cored Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practices in this ship yard, the weld quality and productivity results were staggering, quality / cost information below.
WHERES THE MEAT? Even Navy executives who likely have never run a weld shop are beginning to wonder why in the weld industry that there is little evidence of the use of weld process controls or best weld practices with are weld processes that have been around for decades. For those not interested in my never ending opinions and focus on the lack of weld weld best practices and weld processes controls, they may however want to be aware of the the words of a Mr. Guerts, the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy.
Mr. Guerts will be responsible for spending approx. 205 billion dollars next year. And as you will read below, front office engineering and management process OWNERSHIP & process CONTROLS geared towards fabrication & weld quality improvements, with the goal of attaining substantial cost reductions, are subjects very dear to Mr. Guerts heart. See Navy below.
2019. An example of lack of front office management and engineering weld process ownership. In the last decade, many of the welds produced on building global Submarines have been made using out dated, 20th Century processes such as DC TIG – MIG – FCAW and SMAW. For those front office weld decision makers that ignore or are not aware of arc weld process evolution, and not aware of the benefits of weld process controls and best weld practices, you may when you finish this page you may want to visit my process training – self teaching programs and for evolution visit my TIP TIG weld program.
2019. Its sad that many of the 21st Century global defense projects are at this time being built with 20th Century arc weld processes, outdated weld specifications and procedures, and too often a lack of process controls and best weld practices.
Attaining the best possible MIG, Flux Cored and TIP TIG weld quality with the highest weld productivity is more readily attainable when the required optimum weld data is condensed and simplified, the logical weld consumables are selected, the weld process control and best best weld practices are applied and the weld personnel understand the metals welded and weld application requirements.
WHILE MANY WELD SHOPS FOCUS ON “WELDER SKILLS”, IT’S BENEFICIAL IF WELD DECISION MAKERS UNDERSTAND THAT WELDERS SKILLS ARE NOT WELD BEST PRACTICES AND WELDER SKILLS ARE NOT AN INDICATION OF WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE:
HOW IMPORTANT IS A SINGLE WELD? 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. I suppose that this is understandable as few of the ship yard 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 Shop Evolution Requires Weld Controls - Best Weld Practices
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 alloy steel parts > 1/4, (>6.4 mm) were likely using one of the following processes;
 The Gas Shielded Flux Cored process when used on all position welds, which irrespective of the welder’s skills, this process will lack of weld fusion, trapped slag, excess porosity, worm-tracks, and always fume issues.
 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 contribute to lack of weld fusion and unacceptable porosity.
 The DCEN TIG process. This is a process which requires the highest all position welder skills and those skills often differ from one welder to another which can influence weld quality and weld uniformity. This is a process that produces the slowest arc weld speeds that can produce high weld and part heat.
For those weld shops that in 2019 are using the above three weld processes, I would like to welcome them to the 21st Century, and introduce a unique weld process that I introduced to N. America and Australia around 2009, The process is called TIP TIG. As the data in my TIP TIG section reveals, you will see some remarkable weld result and new weld application considerations and hopefully come to the conclusion that especially with code weld applications its way past time for change.
2019: After 70 years of delivering the best possible arc weld quality, the DCEN TIG process had to finally evolved into semi-automated and automated weld process that should replace most TIG – Pulsed MIG and flux cored welds on most code quality applications.
TIP TIG easy to use, defect free, spatter free, smoke free and lowest welded part heat.
In contrast to DCEN TIG, Pulsed MIG, & Gas Shielded Flux Cored process, the TIP TIG process will always provide the following;
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.
For the most comprehensive weld application and process comparison data, please visit my TIP TIG section.
HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THE WELD? Below left, a vertical up E71T-1 flux cored weld that shows “both good skills and poor weld settings”. On linked over 200 people involved in welding thought the flux cored welds below were excellent. Only two people, (one was myself) saw them for what they are. These are COLD welds that with an internal weld evaluation would reveal extensive lack of weld fusion and excess trapped slag and porosity. These welds simply lack the weld energy that would provide the required weld fluidity for consistent weld fusion. 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 above E71-T1 flux cored welds reveals that whoever established the weld data lacks weld process control expertise. Cold welds like this will reveal many weld quality issues which I am sure the designer of this part could well do without, (numerous flux cored weld issues provided in both the FCA and TIP TIG section).
Take a moment to again take a close look at this vertical TIP TIG weld. Note the wide plasma coverage of the weld pool, the resulting weld pool fluidity from an arc / plasma temp that could be twice as high as a flux cored or MIG arc. Its that energy and resulting weld fluidity that creates weld fusion. Its the weld purity from using an inert gas that eliminates weld porosity and any slag. This ten year old TIP TIG process is producing a weld transfer that any weld shop would want to utilize on code quality welds and especially with sluggish alloy welds.
However the weld reality is most weld shops welding code applications will likely be using the inferior DC TIG process, or the Pulsed MIG process prone to lack of vertical up weld fusion on steels > 6 mm, or perhaps the shop is using the fast freeze flux cored process that is always prone to lack of fusion, worm tracks, trapped slag and excess porosity. If you have an interest in most comprehensive unique weld data ever written on TIP TIG and its application potential jn contrast to the other arc weld processes, please visit my TIP TIG section Also so that welders as many did with MIG for the last 50 years, do not play around with TIP TIG controls, my TIP TIG weld process controls – best weld practice, Self-teaching – Training resource, simplifies the process requirements to instantly attain the highest possible weld / 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:
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.
MIG Short Circuit, RMD and Pulsed have for many years been used 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
A FUNDAMENTAL WELD PROCESS CONTROL QUESTION THAT ANY 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 with an 0.035 (1 mm) carbon steel wire.
 What wire feed rate and voltage would be optimum?
 While welding this root how much wire will the welder be using each hour when welding with a 30 minute arc on time?
 What would be the major weld concern?
If you were to traverse this web site over the last twenty years, or over the last three decades, you were familiar with my three weld process controls – best weld practice – training books and materials, or had purchased my process control self teach / training materials, you would be aware that my focus on a common repeating theme on the responsibility for arc weld process ownership;
- Lack of global weld management, engineering and supervision weld process ownership, along with the general poor understanding of weld costs, 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 welding and reluctant to progressive weld change should consider changing their business or the following.
So you want to weld pipe or vessels and you want zero weld defects. You would like to weld faster than pulsed MIG and provide weld quality better than GTAW. You want a process that is easy to use and does the welds from the root to cap. You want a process that puts in the lowest weld heat with the best possible metallurgical properties and also use a process with weld fume levels so low, you cannot see the fumes. Well TIP TIG has only been available for ten years, so no rush. By the way when you do get TIP TIG please ensure these 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 arc weld process,select the best consumables, the best weld transfer modes, the best weld settings, be aware of the best weld practices and also aware of 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 was 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, its hard to know in most ship yards who is responsible for the welds.
For more than 90 years most ship yard mangers and their engineers appear to lack the ability for weld process ownership, and few seem to be aware of the importance of weld process controls and best weld practice.
THANKS TO THE OFTEN UNQUALIFIED NAVY & MERCHANT SHIP BUILD MANAGEMENT AND ENGINEERS, MAJOR COSTLY WELD ISSUES WITH THE SIMPLE WELD PROCESSES HAVE GONE ON FOR DECADES, AND ARE LIKELY TO CONTINUE FOR DECADES:
Oct 2019.. A portion of an article I copied from the web and written by Mr. Ewen Levick, the Australian Defense Magazine.
Leadership replacements at General Dynamics are reportedly compounding delays in the construction of USN Virginia class submarines. Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger was ousted following ‘mounting frustration’ within the USN that hit a boiling point when weld issues were revealed in missile tubes destined for the Columbia class, Virginia class, and the UK’s next generation ballistic missile submarines. Like the new Australian program, General Dynamics Electric Boat reports that its also challenged by workforce shortages in key production locations and a deficit of available skilled labor.
Note: I and my businesses partner Tom introduced TIP TIG to Australia where it was accepted by the Australian Navy. If TIP TIG is fully utilized for welding the Ausy. subs at least Australia should not have problems with the quality of any all position welds. And the Australian Navy has yet to learn , that with TIP TIG they have a process that dramatically reduces, welder skills. Now all Australia needs to do is get some managers and engineers that comprehend the importance weld process ownership and process controls. And as for the “why change the way we have always done it” US Navy and their prime suppliers of welded parts, well the following may be an indication of how simple the weld solutions could be.
ALL IS NOT LOST. I HEARD FROM ONE INDIVIDUAL IN THE SHIP BUILDING INDUSTRY WHO IS AWAKE TO THE WELD POSSIBILITIES ATTAINED FROM WELD PROCESS CONTROL – BEST WELD PRACTICE EXPERTISE.
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.
WELD QUALITY AND WELDER SKILL SHORTAGES ARE ISSUES EASILY RESOLVED FOR ANY ORGANIZATION, THAT IS, IF THEY WOULD ASK THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND STOP USING WELD SPECIFICATIONS, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES THAT BELONG 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, 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.
Of course there are Ship building consequences from the general lack of management and supervision Weld Process Ownership and lack of weld process control expertise.
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 and universities that provided relevant weld education programs, have never provided MIG and flux cored Weld Process Controls and Best Weld Practice Expertise.
The bad news for Ship and Oil platform yards is with the common lack of front office, engineering and supervision weld process ownership, is daily there will be extensive weld quality and 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.
One product that should require the highest weld quality, but that quality is hindered by front office personnel either unaware, unwilling or slow to change to the weld process requirements necessary for the progressive weld changes.
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 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.
Most weld shops employ weld supervisors they also may want to examine something missing in most weld departments and its nothing to do with Lean Mfg. or ISO requirements, 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: NOTE ON WELD FUME SAFETY AND WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE TO PROVIDE THE REAL EFFECTIVE SOLUTION: 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 on TIP TIG subject that I wrote on this web site and on the USA TIP TIG web site, I especially focused on how TIP TIG can dramatically reduce weld shop safety concerns with the weld fumes / dust exposure from welding and grinding alloys, and of course I wrote numerous times that TIP TIG is a logical solution for the thousands of welders that daily weld the common Stainless, Duplex and Nickel alloys and subject themselves to cancer causing Hexavalent Chromium.
SLOW TO RESPOND IS A SIGN OF WHAT? While Caterpillar engineers should be patted on their backs for bringing TIP TIG to their company approx. five years after I introduced the process 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 fume, weld quality, weld productivity issues. And in less than a month after Tom and I openinged 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. 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 often due to the BLOB. This is a 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 weld lines to join these two parts with a lap seam leak proof seam weld and produce a 1000 torque converters a day, with welds that wont leak, produce rejects or require rework.
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).
This speaks volumes.
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 – TRUCK ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS DO WHEN THEY NEEDED WELD ADVICE…THEY ASKED 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 PLANTS, NO SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERS JUST A SHORTAGE OF WELD PROCESS EXPERTISE.
For many years, a major medical company was producing Pulsed MIG aluminum welds like below, and the front office managers and engineers were simply never aware that the root cause of their never ending craters was not the personnel on the 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 issue and also keep in mind no equipment needs to be purchased for a weld shop without first proving that the units meet the weld quality and production needs. When this does not happen its again a result of lack of front office expertise and ownership.
Weld defect curtsy of a Lincoln Power Wave MIG power source, but not something the company wanted the customers of their medical equipment to see.
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.
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 these 60 year old, two MIG weld parameters.
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 gas mix, weld wire and MIG weld equipment without 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 WITH 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 would often place their company weld issues on the wrong shoulders.
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.
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.
FOR ANY CV SHEET METAL WELD 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
Its never taken much technology to continuously melt a wire, after all two car batteries could make 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 THE MILLER, LINCOLN, HOBART, MOTOMAN, PANASONIC OR ESAB, ERRATIC PERFORMING PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT, SO THE PULSED POWER SOURCE PROBLEMS BECAME THEIR 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 power source bells and whistles, this is Ed in Spain in the 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 still asleep, 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.
SO 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 N. America and Australia in 2009 , its called TIP TIG and in a 30 minute demo I could show any weld shop the following.
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 will always provide the following;
- 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.
ITS A SAD REALITY, THAT THE GLOBAL WELD INDUSTRY WAS RARELY AWARE OF THE MILLIONS OF WELD ISSUES BEING CAUSED BY THE PULSED MIG WELD EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS WHO FOR APPROX. TWO DECADES NEVER TOOK OWNERSHIP FOR THEIR POOR PERFORMING PULSED MIG EQUIPMENT…
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 intergraters for manager of global auto, truck plants to fill their state of the art factories with robots. Unfortunately thanks to managers and engineers who lack weld process ownership, few of their robots and their robot technicians will have the process control ability to provide robot programs that will consistently provide the best possible weld quality, the highest possible weld productivity and the lowest possible robot down time. My training / self teaching program “Robot MIG Weld Process Controls & Best Weld Practice Expertise”. is not a bad first step to take.
From the old car companies to the new lack of weld process controls is the same issue
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 OF A WELD DEPARTMENT SHOULD AT LEAST BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THAT WELD PROCESS CONTROL EXPERTISE IS LACKING IN THE 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.
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
IN TOO MANY COMPANIES MIG AND FLUX CORED WELD COSTS, BECOME 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.
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 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 those 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, its 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, weld issues and 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 weld 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
My flux core ship yard training program gave these welders the keys to controlling the flux cored process and they now smile more.
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 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.
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?
Irrespective of what the salesman will tell many. No Pulsed MIG power source will be as simple to operate as a regular CV MIG unit.
Most weld shops get stuck with paying for useless electronic Pulsed MIG equip. Bells and Whistles.
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 the most Important development in Arc Welding Process
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.
TIP TIG is easier to use and attains better weld quality than TIG. TIP TIG 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.