By reducing welding costs, companies will accumulate productivity savings year after year. Productivity savings will allow a company to keep saving even if the price of consumables, equipment, or welding accessories goes up. Outlined below are five ways companies can reduce their welding costs.
1. Enhance current welding processes
Be on the lookout for ways to create more efficiency in your welding processes and procedures. Examine such things as wire diameter, wire feed speed, travel speed, voltage, transfer mode, and gas type. If your shop is welding with a short arc process and a 75/25 blend of shielding gas, it may be more effective to switch to a different gas and spray mode of transfer. If there is oxide on the parts being used, perhaps it would be easier to use a process that overcomes contamination problems rather than try to clean each part before welding. Is your supplier up-to-date on the latest technology? He should keep you advised on new processes, machinery and consumables that maximize efficiency.
2. Eliminate extra welds from design
One company that manufactured boxes originally had a design for welded lift handles on each side of the box. By changing the design of the box to cut out lifting slots, it eliminated the need for welding the handles – saving time and money. This example shows the importance of looking for ways to modify product designs to reduce the number of unnecessary welds. Closely examine your current designs and modify wherever appropriate.
3. Determine whether material handling is effective
Delivery of parts to the welding station is a logical way to reduce welding costs. For example, a company manufacturing concrete mixing drums was making the mistake of putting pieces on the shop floor. When it came time to weld, the operator had to hunt around for the parts he needed. An outside welding expert pointed out the amount of time being wasted, and suggested the company start batching pieces together on separate carts. This organized process allowed the welders to find the pieces they needed quickly and easily. Rearranging shop stations may also reduce time wasted handling parts. Whatever makes your production line more efficient reduces overall costs.
4. Analyze delivery of consumables to welding points
In many shops, the operator has to go to a tool room for a new contact tip or other welding accessory, which takes time away from the welding cell and slows production. Companies should stock at least a limited supply of items near the welding station, including gas, flux and wire. This will minimize wasted time and improve operating efficiency.
5. Watch out for gas waste
Leaks in the gas delivery system can create a potential loss of money. By looking at the amount of consumables purchased each year and comparing it to the total gas purchased, your company will be able to determine if there is a significant loss. A simple gas device called a surge turbine placed at the end of the gun provides a digital readout of the gas surge and flow rate. If you notice a high surge rate, investing in a surge guard will reduce pressure – eliminating gas surges and waste.
As more companies look for more efficient ways to do business, everyone involved will benefit. Productivity savings may result in lower costs for the public and pay raises for employees – certainly a bright spot to look forward to in our currently bleak economy.