It used to be if you needed some specialty welding on an aluminum intake manifold, you had to wait until Monday just to take it downtown to that big fabrication outfit. Of course, those places have to charge a fortune just to keep demand down. Now things have changed. Suddenly everyone’s stick welding, running TIG, MIG, and plasma cutting at home. Home welders and small- to medium-sized shops have gained capabilities that were unimaginable just ten years ago.
What is Multi-Process Welding?
The term “multi-process welding” simply refers to the capability to perform two or more processes while using the same machine. Most machines offer MIG welding and wire feed as the main choices. Many offer TIG and MMA welding as well. Others might substitute plasma cutting for the TIG choice.
Multi-process welders allow the quick choice of different techniques. You can tack weld a handrail together quickly with the stick to get dimensions and structure right. Then you can change leads, adjust a few settings and make beautiful finish welds with a wire feed or a TIG for slick, professional results.
Small Welding Machine Processes
These are by far the four most prominent processes among small welding machines:
1. Manual metal arc (MMA) welding.
2. Metal inert gas (MIG) welding.
3. Wire feed or flux core welding.
4. Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding.
Why Multi-Process Welding?
Here are just a few reasons why multi-process welding machines make sense:1. The versatility and labor savings of multiple processes are available close at hand.
2. Space savings are realized by combining multiple machines into one.
3. There are substantial monetary savings over purchasing several machines.
4. Enjoy opportunities to try new processes once too expensive to afford.
Multi-process welding tools make the most sense for small fabrication shops and auto body or restoration. This goes double for one-man operations where cost management is crucial. One main welder and one line of duty backup piece will cost less than one set of specialized machines. The ability to offer multiple techniques can only help the bottom line.
What Makes a Good Welding Machine?
As with any other welding tools and welding accessories, quality is the most important consideration. What kind of welds does a particular multi-process machine produce? Clearly, reliability and durability belong at the top of the list as well. Does the manufacturer offer a reasonable warranty, welding tools, welding accessories and does the maker have a good track record in the welding industry?
It’s important to make sure that any machines you’re considering are inverter-powered. These welders are much lighter, use less power and are more compact than transformer-powered units. They can be transported much more easily to the job site and toted around.
A multi-process machine should be able to handle a wide variety of metals and thicknesses or it’s not going to be very useful. Check on how much power is actually delivered and if there are welding accessories like a helmet, wire spools or alternate torches available with the unit.
Don’t give up traditional arc welding power for gimmicky features. Can the machine use different gases and does it have pre-programmed settings to save or avoid? What’s the machine’s duty cycle? You need to work long enough at a time to be productive.
Anyone who uses their hands to make a living has the need for a good welding machine. Sculptors, auto shops, fabricators, mobile repairmen and anyone else who wants to try new techniques or weld unusual materials on occasion have reason to consider a multi-process welder. Expand your capabilities now with this groundbreaking technology.