All consumables are not created equal

Deborah Adamson warns of the dangers and hidden costs of selecting cheaper, non-genuine tips and nozzles to reduce welding costs.

Deborah Adamson warns of the dangers and hidden costs of selecting cheaper, non-genuine tips and nozzles to reduce welding costs.

AS TIMES get tough in the Australian economy, cost cutting becomes a regular topic of conversation in boardrooms and workshops across the country.

Raw materials and labour are the two major costs in the manufacturing process. While most companies have little or no control over raw material costs, labour costs can be controlled through the application of best practice procedures and product selection to minimise downtime during production.

Particularly during hard times, the temptation to switch from genuine to non-genuine welding consumables as a cost saving measure, becomes stronger than ever before. Companies need to be aware that opting for the non-genuine, cheaper alternative simply doesn’t make sense.

Using non-genuine and often inferior quality consumables can result in reduced weld performance; increased operator downtime; higher consumable usage; and lower productivity. For companies serious about maximising their productivity, the selection of the right consumable product should warrant careful consideration when purchasing equipment and establishing welding procedures and processes.

Quality is the most important part of the equation when selecting welding consumables. The non genuine consumables may be subject to quality variance.

A consuming case

The benefit of researching and selecting the right welding consumable is evident by examining a heavy user of consumable products.

Gessner Industries, an Australian owned company based in Toowoomba Qld, specialises in engineering and manufacturing of farm and industrial equipment. The foundation of the company’s success is the willingness to constantly strive to find ways to streamline their manufacturing process, while maintaining excellence in product quality standards. This approach led them to evaluate the productivity of individual welding operator times, and costs associated with consumable changes and operator downtime.

Gessner Industries was experiencing poor arc starts and welding characteristics in some processes. At first, it was assumed the equipment was at fault, but on closer inspection and the company recognised that inefficiencies in their welding processes were due to the number of tip and nozzle changes occurring on a daily basis. They recognised the opportunity for serious productivity gains by reducing this downtime and standardising both their welding processes and product inventory.

In addition, wire feed problems were being experienced as an oversize contact tip was being used to achieve the desired result.

With the assistance of a Welding Industries of Australia company technical representative, it was determined the problems were a result of the quality of the contact tips being used. The contact tips had excessive clearance which produced a situation where the wire was repeatedly burning back into the tip when an arc was trying to be established.

Quality solutions

The WIA representative recommended a trial of genuine Centrefire consumables manufactured by Bernard.

The range of Centerfire™ consumables is worth consideration when seeking a high quality solution. The large diameter tip base and tapered seat provides better electrical conductivity and heat transfer, plus the spatter shield within the nozzle protects the diffuser and gives smoother, less turbulent gas flow. All this leads to consumables that last up to three times longer than cheaper alternatives.

The “drop-in” tip design with no threads, and no tools required to replace the tip or nozzle means a quick change over after burn back, reducing downtime.

After the completion of the six week trial which revealed potentially high productivity benefits, the engineering company converted its entire workshop over to Centerfire consumables which could be adapted to the company’s current welding guns.

Centerfire is distributed in Australia by Welding Industries of Australia. For more information visit www.welding.com.au or call 1300 300 884.