Many manufacturers hold on to outdated welding equipment, believing they are good stewards of the organization’s money, and depending on their situation, that might be true. It’s never a good idea for a business to spend money needlessly. Other times, however, not spending money to replace a piece of equipment can hurt a company’s bottom line even more.
Take the example of a 20-year-old welding machine. While something is satisfying about making a piece of equipment last as long as possible, there may be signs pointing out that the real cost of holding on to this machine is quite a bit higher than you thought.
Here are ten signs that your welding machine is old and you should be considering a new one, even though the old one still works:
1. Repair costs have skyrocketed
Many shops don’t track the maintenance costs of each machine, but they should. Instead of seeing the total spent on all welding equipment for maintenance and repair, they would recognize that some of their welding machines are responsible for the bulk of the expenses. If you are servicing a welder much too frequently, it is probably time to send it into retirement and buy a new, reliable one. Keep in mind that the cost of the repair is only part of the problem; downtime is the real enemy here.
2. You are noticing lower productivity
If your welding machine is down three times in one year, and it costs your business two days of output each time, you could be losing up to 48 hours of production if you don’t have spare parts on hand.
Another way an old machine hinders production: if your work allows for bigger wire, such as 1/16” diameter, and your old model limits you to .045” diameter, you could increase your deposition rates substantially with a new welder. That move could pay for itself in less than one year.
3. Safety is becoming an issue
An old welding machine can become a safety concern. If your workers are getting shocked by the old unit and the case feels hot, you could have a potentially dangerous situation. You might be able to repair it, but if it’s happening because of an inherent design problem, the safest remedy is to replace it immediately with a new, safer model.
4. You see higher electric bills
One of the many signs that a welding machine is old and should be replaced is low efficiency. Older models convert incoming line power to welding output power at 60 to 70% efficiency. New generation machines operate at about 80% efficiency. And inverter-based equipment, such as the PrimeWeld TIG200-D Inverter 200-Amp TIG Welder, have a transfer efficiency above 85%, which can help companies save hundreds of dollars each year from each machine.
In fact, recent performance tests, completed by independent consultants, have confirmed that inverter-based welding machines provide a demonstrated higher return on investment.
5. You can’t find spare parts
Are you having trouble getting replacement parts for your old welding machine? Although these old machines might still be running, that doesn’t mean they are operating trouble-free. And when they break down, it will be quite frustrating when you discover that spare parts are no longer available. Lack of parts is one of the surest signs that a welding machine has gotten too old, and you need to replace it.
6. Your old machine doesn’t have pulsing capabilities
If you are involved in out-of-position welding, pulse welding is a must. It helps the weld congeal during the background cycle and prevents the molten metal from dripping from the joint. It also works well for welding thin metals when the risk of burn-through is higher.
Pulse can increase deposition rates as high as 40%, and a machine like the TIG225X TIG Welder with Pulse from PrimeWeld is the perfect upgrade from that old and outdated traditional welder.
7. Deposition rates have decreased
Many shops continue to stick weld when they could be using a MIG welder, such as the MIG160 from PrimeWeld. Running a flux-cored wire could increase deposition rates by 100% or more when compared to stick welding. Think about how much you could increase productivity (and profits) and decrease weld spatter by moving up to an efficient MIG welder.
8. You need more portability
If you have been lugging heavy welding equipment to different jobs around the shop or in the field, you would probably welcome a switch to a light-weight and portable machine. Today’s ninety-pound machines can take on the same work as those 300-pound monstrosities did in the past. Portability and value from smaller welding machines are undoubtedly excellent reasons to consider a new machine.
9. You often exceed the duty cycle on your old machine
Another one of those signs that your welding machine is old is that your welder keeps exceeding its duty cycle and goes on thermal shutdown. All those minutes you are forced to wait will translate into costly lost production. If that continues, look for a heavy-duty replacement and start saving money and increasing profits.
10. Your less-experienced welders are struggling with the old machines
Technology in modern welding machines can help less-experienced welders by compensating for their inconsistent techniques. Lighter and more powerful welding machines with digital screens are replacing the old analogs with dial-in knobs. Because of features such as simplified interfaces and automatic parameter adjustments, today’s welding machines have become much easier for operators to use.
As the welding industry struggles with a skilled welder shortage, these new welding machines will allow companies to increase productivity with fewer workers and make it easier for welders of lower skill levels to produce high-quality welds and reduce mistakes.
If any of these signs have cropped up in your manufacturing business, they are probably telling you that it’s time to look at a new welder. And the professionals at PrimeWeld can show you the right choices to meet your needs. Take a look at their impressive lineup of high-quality machines today!
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