How can a wire feeder help operations save time and money?
Modern wire feeders designed for fabrication and manufacturing offer new features and technologies that can help companies reduce training time, improve results and boost productivity.
Whether your operation is looking for added pulsed capabilities, the ability to weld multiple types of metals or an easy-to-use feeder, a range of options are available – so you can get the perfect fit.
While wire feeders and their technologies vary by manufacturer, they generally fall under three categories: basic, intermediate and advanced.
To get an idea about the differences among the three categories, consider the lineup of Intellx wire feeders that pair with Deltaweld MIG welding systems from Miller:
- Intellx is the basic Intellx option. It has digital meters, remote voltage, wire feed speed, arc control, trigger hold, wire jog and purge, wire feed speed feedback (which improves accuracy), four drive rolls and dual-wire models, among other features.
- Intellx Pro is the intermediate offering. It has all the features of the basic Intellx, plus EZ-Set technology for MIG and Accu-Pulse pulsed MIG processes, trigger memory select, pre-flow and post-flow, two memory slots and out-of-the-box programs optimized for steel and stainless steel.
- Intellx Elite is the advanced offering. In addition to all the features of the other two, it also provides a full-color LCD screen, Profile Pulse pulsed MIG, weld sequence control, trigger dual schedule, weld parameter limits, memory lockouts, system lock, auto thread, auto purge and out-of-the-box programs optimized for aluminum, nickel, copper nickel and bronze.
The right wire feeder choice for the operation depends on several factors, including what type of material is being welded, operational goals, welder skill level and the welding processes to be run.
Advanced feeder benefits
Intermediate and advanced wire feeders deliver three key benefits for fabrication and manufacturing. The first benefit is reduced training time. Welding equipment that makes it easier for welders to learn and train means operations can get new welders up to speed and onto the production floor faster.
One feature that improves ease of use is a feeder with a large, easy-to-read display that uses full words and phrases rather than symbols or abbreviations that are hard to understand and decipher. It’s also helpful when features of the feeder are easy to access and use via the interface, so welders don’t have to spend time searching hidden menus or side panels for functions they want.
The Intellx Elite wire feeder has a full-color LCD screen interface with on-demand graphics. It provides information about the weld and parameter changes as the welder makes adjustments, so they can see how each change will affect the weld arc. This helps reinforce the lessons that newer welders are taught in welding school about how certain adjustments affect the weld.
It also reduces time spent making adjustments because the machine confirms the correct ranges for less-experienced welders. This technology helped manufacturer Henderson Products in Manchester, Iowa, shave a week off training time for new welders.
Feeders that have preset technology also help make setup and use easier. These presets simplify parameter setup for new welders.
The second benefit for fabrication and manufacturing is improved weld quality. Wire feeders that help ensure welders are using proper processes and parameters can make a difference in the quality of welds being produced – and reduce rework.
With preset functions, welders can be sure they are using the right settings for the material being welded. Other features, like locks and limits and weld sequencing, help maintain weld quality by keeping weld settings within optimal parameter ranges on every feeder and ensuring welds are completed in the proper order.
A feeder that provides feedback with on-demand graphics also helps promote quality welds and reduce mistakes. When welders get real-time information about what is happening in the weld as they change settings, it helps new welders learn. Even experienced welders can better understand details of the weld and how the weld is affected by changes they make.
The third benefit of fabricating and manufacturing is greater efficiency and versatility. Wire feeders that can weld many different materials improve an operation’s versatility and efficiency. A feeder that provides capabilities for MIG, flux-cored and different types of pulsed MIG welding offers operations the flexibility to choose the right process for every application. Pulsed MIG welding can deliver a more forgiving arc for welders and help them complete welds faster, boosting productivity.
In addition, feeders with customizable memory settings allow welders to switch weld parameters with the touch of a button. Memory 1 could be set to run on 10-gauge steel in the horizontal position, and memory 2 could be set to run vertical down welds on stainless steel, for example. The easier it is to make adjustments when switching between welds, processes or materials, the more time it saves.
Advanced feeders with an expanded weld library also allow for welding with more gas blends and wire diameters, so operations have flexibility to take on more jobs with one feeder.
Today’s advanced wire feeders provide easier access to features and deliver more functions that can help welders save time and produce high-quality welds. Whether operations are looking to reduce training time, gain more control over parameter changes or get more flexibility from their welding equipment – the right feeder can deliver results.