Stay competitive, productive and profitable
Companies are always looking for ways to become more competitive, productive and profitable. Accurately bidding on jobs, having the right equipment and skilled welding operators, and completing projects on deadline are all imperative to reaching those goals. Safety on the jobsite is also absolutely critical — it is important that companies take steps to minimize hazards that could lead to employee injury.
There are opportunities in the welding operation to implement efficiencies and ensure greater safety, including the use of remote control technology — which in today’s marketplace has evolved to provide significant benefits to that end.
Technology that provides complete remote control of the welding power source at the weld joint, like Miller® ArcReach® technology, provides significant benefits for productivity, operator safety and weld quality. When welding operators no longer have to walk back to the power source to make parameter adjustments, it can save hours each day and reduce safety risks like slips, trips and falls. It also eliminates the need to settle for less-than-optimal welding parameters, resulting in better welds and less rework.
This technology is beneficial for industries where a welding operator is not welding next to the power source. These include large jobsites found in industries such as construction and shipbuilding, where welding can take place hundreds of feet in the air or far away from the power sources.
Available remote technology
There are two main types of remote control welding technologies available in the marketplace, but they are not all equal.
- Remote control or RC feeders require weld cables, as well as an additional control cord, which offers full wire feed speed and voltage control at the weld joint.
- The most advanced option available for MIG welding includes a voltage sensing or VS feeder with complete remote control technology — offering wire feed speed, voltage control and process control via the existing weld cables — no additional cord required. For TIG and stick welding, amperage, arc control and process control are available via a remote. The control cord is not required. (Note, the remainder of this article will focus on this type of remote control technology.)
Eliminating the control cord — which can contain in excess of 14 wires wrapped in a bundle — reduces cable management by 33 percent, while giving the welding operator complete control at the weld joint and reducing the need to purchase or maintain expensive cords. These reduced costs can add up on jobsites that have dozens or even hundreds of welding machines.In addition, reducing unplanned downtime for the repair and maintenance of older corded options can also eliminate unnecessary costs.
Another benefit: There are no line-of-sight limitations, as the weld cables provide the remote control capability as opposed to radio waves, which can be disrupted by obstructions or distance. As long as the cables are proper sized for the job, they will have the ability to communicate to the power source.
ArcReach technology provides remote control capabilities without the need for a control cable. In addition, enhanced ArcReach technology available on the XMT® 350 FieldPro™ power sources from Miller makes it even easier for welding operators to adjust parameters at the weld joint so they can do their best work.
One new technology available in enhanced ArcReach offerings is Cable Length Compensation, or CLC™. This technology ensures that the voltage welding operators sets is the voltage they get at the feeder or remote — even hundreds of feet away from the power source. This allows greater accuracy and easier control of weld quality for the operator. It also saves time the operator would spend walking back and forth to the power source to dial in the voltage to meet welding specifications.
In addition, the Adjust While Welding (AWW™) technology allows for parameter changes and precise adjustments at the wire feeder or remote while the arc is on — so operators can make adjustments during welding to compensate for heat buildup, changes in weld position or variations in part fit-up. This not only saves time, it also contributes to improved weld quality, since each stop and start of the arc introduces the potential for discontinuities or quality issues that often require time-consuming grinding between passes.
The new CLC and AWW technologies are available by pairing enhanced ArcReach accessories with the new XMT 350 FieldPro offerings from Miller. The XMT 350 FieldPro lineup includes a polarity reversing model that joins the larger ArcReach portfolio in late 2017.
The ArcReach family of products provides maximum fleet compatibility and greater flexibility, allowing companies to fully utilize their existing accessories and power sources until they are ready to replace or upgrade. If an existing fleet includes standard feeders, they can be paired with XMT 350 FieldPro welders. However, the benefits of ArcReach technology will not be available. If an existing fleet includes older ArcReach SuitCase® feeders or ArcReach remotes, they can be paired with XMT 350 FieldPro welders and will continue to deliver their existing ArcReach benefits. To enjoy the latest ArcReach benefits, pair XMT 350 FieldPro welders with new ArcReach SuitCase feeders, new ArcReach Smart Feeders or new ArcReach remotes.
ArcReach accessories are also compatible with a wide variety of Miller engine-driven welder/generators — including machines in the Big Blue® and Trailblazer® lineup — so companies can expand use of the technology with their existing fleet. Miller is the only welding equipment manufacturer to offer this type of remote-control technology without a control cable in an engine-driven power source.