A recent survey by gases and engineering companyBOC has identified that only 18% of users measure the productivity of their gas-shielded welding processes.
According to BOC’s South Pacific technical manager for industrial products Nic Bothma, this is a cause for concern in the industry.
“It is shocking that the cost-effectiveness of gas-shielded welding processes is hardly being measured at all,” Bothma said.
“The cost-efficiency of welding can be improved by up to 30% if the right gas mixture is used on the right base material using the right process,” he said.
“Tailoring the gas mixture can provide a quicker and higher quality result. The best possible weld is achieved when base material, shielding gas, welding wire and equipment are properly matched.
“The research indicates a low recognition of the opportunities that exist for industry to improve its welding productivity by taking advantage of more advanced, premium gases which are better suited to many types of welds.”
Of all the Australian respondents, 90% said they would consider changing or trying another type of shielding gas.
Although most global respondents did not believe they could achieve great improvements in productivity by changing shielding gas, 58% said they are likely to use a different shielding gas in the future.
The research also found that of those that do measure gas shielded welding productivity 48% said they measure the number of components produced per hour, 24% measure the number of welds per welder visual weld inspection, two out of three buy argon; one in three buy an argon-CO2 mix only; one in four buy CO2 only and around one third of respondents find it difficult to distinguish between different types of shielding gas.
MIG/GMAW was the most popular form of welding with over 40% of respondents using this method.
Beyond the welding parameters, one cost consideration is the non-welding costs such as welding preparation and post-weld cleaning.
“These costs are minimised by the application of the right shielding gas,” Bothma said.
“Labour is the most significant cost in mild steel and stainless steel welding application. It can contribute over 74% of the cost to produce a weld. The right shielding gas helps lead to greater productivity which reduces costs.”
According to Bothma, using the right shielding gas can increase welding speed, reduce clean up (from spatter minimisation), improve weld quality, reduce inefficient deposition of wire, and enhance operator satisfaction due to increased ease of weld and better results.
South Pacific technical manager for industrial products