Welding is a highly skilled profession. It follows, then, that the biggest cost for any welding operation – by far – is the cost of labour. Reducing the amount of time welders spend on non-productive activities can therefore significantly reduce costs, improve output, or both. In this article, we take a look at the three biggest sources of inefficiency in welding operations, and how they can be avoided.
1. Changing Cylinders
On the face of it, changing over welding cylinders could seem insignificant. But the amount of time (and, subsequently, the cost) of changing out empty welding gas cylinders can really add up.
A quick calculation can reveal how many minutes are spent changing the cylinder for every minute of actual welding:
This may seem like a small fraction, but consider the effect this has on your welding operation over the thousands of hours of welding carried out through the year. Factor in the inconvenience and time costs of having to stop in the middle of a job to change gas supply, and the costs can rapidly add up.
Imagine what the financial benefits would be if you could reduce this wastage by 33 percent.
Air Products Integra® 30 litre 300 bar cylinders are specifically designed to minimise the inefficiencies of cylinder changeovers. Integra® cylinders attach via a quick-connecting Integra® Flow Optimizer (IFO): simply "snap" on and you're ready to weld, with no need to buy, repair or calibrate a regulator again. Integra® cylinders are smaller and lighter than conventional cylinders, making them far easier to manoeuvre. Additionally, the high-pressure filling technology results in a similar volume of gas per cylinder, which often last longer than conventional equivalents, and reduces the frequency of changeovers.
Rectifying Products Post-Weld
It's not uncommon to see skilled welders asked to "finish off" a product after it's been welded, with additional activities such as cleaning and grinding - yet the return on their time is greater when welding, rather than these more basic tasks. Simply delegating these activities to non-welders is also not the best solution. Cleaning and grinding are only rectification of non-optimal products – consider why these processes are required in the first place.
Typically, minimising spatter is the best way of reducing the need to clean and grind products post-weld. Though spatter can never be eliminated completely, there are a number of ways to reduce it significantly and, thus, improve productivity in terms of meters welded per hour. Less spatter also means less wasted wire – a sizeable bonus considering the high cost of wire and that it is 20 percent of a typical welding operation.
Read our article on how to reduce spatter.
Admin can represent a significant waste of a welder's time – as many will attest! Air Products offer a number of time-saving processes to minimise the administrative burden on welders.
Our online service, MyAirProductsSM, provides a simple way to re-order welding gases at the click of a button. In addition, users can easily view their current cylinder holdings, and access Safety Datasheets (SDS) and Certificates of Analysis (CoA).
Larger welding operations can also realise massive efficiency benefits from moving to a liquid supply. As well as designing and selecting a liquid supply system to suit your company's needs, Air Products use telemetry to automatically monitor liquid levels and schedule deliveries, ensuring that customers won't have to worry about gas supplies again.
Air Products supply a range of time-saving and efficiency-boosting gas products for welding businesses of all sizes. Get in touch with us today and we'll help you find the right solution.