Considerations on purchasing a resistance welder starts with power requirements for the welder. Does your facility meet these needs, or will an upgrade to the building’s power be required? Secondly, are OEM approvals part of your business model? And if so, does the unit you are purchasing have the OEM designation? In some cases, they will need to be purchased from the OEM program. In addition, does the welder come with local support, consumable parts on hand, and backed from a nationally supported system should repairs be necessary over time? The welder should also be upgradable as future steel materials continue to change. Today’s welders should recognize and auto-adjust for materials and thickness for today’s materials, taking the guesswork out of the welding process. Spanesi Americas markets both Tecna and Spanesi brand Spot Welders to fit the needs of every collision repair shop.
For years now, the ability to perform “no-holes” dent repair has been possible due to stud welder technology. Stud welders work by temporarily attaching a stud to the bare metal at the body damage. Various pullers are used to pull out the dent and then the stud is twisted off, leaving a panel that can be finished with little or no filler.
The workhorse of this business has been the handheld, portable stud welder kit. These kits come with a full range of accessories and cost far less than large shop systems.
When choosing a kit, there are few key items to look for. The welder should have enough power for heavy sheet metal repair, 1500 secondary amps minimum. It should also have a long and sturdy power cord, at least 8 feet in length, eliminating the need for power-robbing extension cords. The cord should have a heavy, oil-resistant jacket that can withstand the abuse of the shop floor. The slide hammer is the key accessory and should have a twist-lock nosepiece to firmly grasp the weld studs. With few moving parts, stud welders are notoriously reliable and will last for many years. Look for one with an extended warranty, say five years, as a sign that the seller has confidence in the product.
The first consideration when buying a welder is identifying the work you want to be able to do with the welder. Once the application has been determined, the next thing is make sure your shop has the power available for the welder, and if you are considering a resistance spot welder make sure you also have enough air.
You shouldn’t buy a “just enough” welder; think of your shop’s future needs and buy a welder to last you awhile. Many shops are buying a welder to satisfy a particular OEM collision program – make sure you buy a welder with more than one OEM approval just in case that you decide to widen your OEM certifications. Even for shops that don’t have an interest in OEM certification, it is a good idea to buy a welder that has OEM approvals. An OEM approval means that the welder not only is capable of welding the new metals, OEMs also check into quality, reliability, and after-sales support. OEMs have more than one welder approved, so call the suppliers and ask questions. Find out all you can about the different welders you are considering, compare features objectively, and make your decision that way. Don’t let yourself be hypnotized by flashy, unrealistic claims.
Vehicle manufacturers are increasing their use of high-strength steels, exotic materials and proprietary manufacturing processes, making the repair of “sheet metal” more complex. To properly and efficiently repair these vehicles, make sure your next welder comes with an OEM-approved automatic mode. OEM approvals and homologations show that the welder meets specific squeeze pressure, output amperage and other criteria set by a manufacturer, and automatic settings save considerable time during the repair process. Advanced automatic welders – like the Elektron MULTISPOT MI-100control T inverter spot welder with TrueAutoMode™ technology – adjust weld parameters during use, providing perfect OEM-approved spot welds regardless of surface.