Productivity is king on every jobsite. Whether the welding project happens on a mining claim in the remote Yukon Territory or at a trucking yard in California—finding ways to save time and get work done faster is critical to the bottom line. Making do with less-than-optimal weld settings, spending time on non-value-added activities such as rework, or walking to the power source multiple times a day to make parameter changes is costing thousands of dollars per year in your welding operations. Stop wasting money, and instead choose a welder/generator with the right technology.
In part one of this article, we examined new technologies available on engine-driven power sources in the market that offer cutting-edge solutions to combat productivity loss, such as ArcReach® technology. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits across the construction worksite spectrum.
BENEFITS FOR MANY JOBSITES
On a mining site, welding jobs often mean repairing heavy equipment quickly with what’s on hand to keep the operation running. Different jobsites and welding applications pose different challenges, but the demand for productivity, safety, and quality remains. Engine drives with ArcReach technology deliver benefits wherever they are used.
Mark Upshaw uses a Trailblazer® 325 welder/generator with ArcReach technology to save significant time on welding jobs—sometimes up to several hours each day depending on the job. Upshaw is the owner of M&M Welding, a California-based welding operation that specializes in industrial welding for vacuum trucks and tanks, food processing plants, mining operations, and custom projects. Many of Upshaw’s welding jobs happen on the customer’s jobsite, so he uses a service truck equipped with his Trailblazer 325 to complete jobs.
“A lot of my work is hard money bid jobs. It’s a very competitive market. We have to be able to keep our bids low enough to get the job, which means we have to be fast and efficient in order to make money,” Upshaw says. “What we look for are engine drives that have versatility, for whatever application we need to do at the time.”
At one customer jobsite, Upshaw and his crew climb inside of vacuum truck tanks to make welding repairs. Getting in and out of the tanks—through a manhole that is typically 14 to 20 inches wide—is tricky. Reducing the number of times an operator must crawl in and out of the tank to make parameter adjustments saves time and improves operator safety.
“We prefer the ArcReach system because of the difficulty getting in and out of these tanks. ArcReach allows us to make all the adjustments from inside the tank,” Upshaw says. “Prior to using ArcReach, we would have to either have an outside man going back and forth from the power source to make our adjustments, which means an extra man hired to do that, or you would waste 10 to 15 minutes each time to come out of the tank, make the adjustments, then get back down inside the tank.”
Depending on the size or location of the welding project, those trips can add up to several hours per day for Upshaw and his crew. ArcReach technology eliminates that wasted time and improves productivity.
“It cut our costs considerably, besides the additional safety factor,” Upshaw says.
Saving money by utilizing existing power sources is another benefit of the technology. Because ArcReach accessories are compatible with a range of power sources, incorporating new machines into the fleet is seamless. The same ArcReach wire feeders and remotes that work on plug-in power sources equipped with the technology can also be used with engine-driven power sources.
Reducing the time spent walking to the power source to make adjustments can save thousands of dollars per welding operator, per year—a big impact on the bottom line for any operation. When choosing an engine drive, it’s also important to consider one that offers additional technologies that contribute to a lower total cost of ownership and faster return on investment.
Several Miller-exclusive technologies on engine-driven power sources work in conjunction to decrease fuel usage, lower operating costs, and reduce jobsite noise.
The Trailblazer 325 used by Upshaw delivers fuel savings in several ways, such as through Auto-Speed™ technology and Excel™ power—technologies that help increase fuel efficiency and improve the machine’s performance and longevity.
A machine with Auto-Speed technology responds to the weld requirements by automatically adjusting engine speed to one of four rpm levels—rather than operating at 3,600 maximum rpm under any load (like other machines on the market). Operating at the engine speed required by the job keeps the engine from working harder than necessary, saving fuel and ultimately money. In addition, a unit equipped with Excel power delivers a full 2,400 watts of auxiliary power at all speeds—even idle. This delivers cost savings and safety benefits to Upshaw, since jobsite tools like grinders can be operated at speeds that save fuel and reduce noise.
Another way to improve fuel efficiency and maximize profitability is to choose a welder/generator with electronic fuel injection (EFI). This technology provides faster, more-reliable starts in any weather—and delivers up to 42 percent greater fuel efficiency.
“When we come in with these bids, we have to crunch every dollar that we can. We have noticed considerable fuel savings with the Excel power and the electronic fuel injection on these machines,” Upshaw says. “And, with the engine drive running quieter in idle, it allows you to communicate with your fellow workers much easier.”
SAVE TIME AND MONEY
Wasted time and lost productivity are enemies in any welding operation—especially in harsh conditions or on large jobsites or those where it’s difficult for operators to get to where the work must be done. Any opportunity to work smarter saves time and money, so don’t settle for a less-optimal solution. The right welder/generator solution, equipped with advanced technologies, can help complete work faster while also improving quality and safety.
“I’m going to use the equipment that makes my job better, faster, and more efficient,” Upshaw says. “ArcReach technology has allowed us to save a lot of time, which on the bottom line is money.”
About the author:
Jake Zwayer is a product manager, Power Systems Division, with Miller Electric Mfg. LLC. For more information, visit www.millerwelds.com.