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Welding Equipment Essentials

If you expect your welding equipment to last longer and perform better, preventative maintenance is a must.

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Preventative maintenance is the key to getting the most out of your equipment investment. Like the other gear your metal techs use on a daily basis, your welding and plasma-cutting equipment benefits from a regular maintenance program. To work efficiently, each type of welding unit has specific requirements. Here’s a quick checklist:

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Plasma Cutters

  • Plasma cutters need an unrestricted flow of clean, dry air to the torch, so be sure to change the regulator/moisture trap filter on a regular basis.
  • Inspect the torch cable periodically to make sure all connections are tight and that the cable the air flows through hasn’t been crushed or damaged.
  • Change the consumables in the torch when they’re damaged or worn out.

TIG Welders

  • If you have a water-cooled TIG torch, be sure you’re using the correct torch coolant. It’s also important to change the coolant based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
  • Check for coolant leaks. Leaks at the torch require immediate attention to reduce the potential for electric shock.
  • If your TIG welder has a high-frequency start, watch for erratic performance from the high-frequency feature. When was the last time you checked the gap on the high-frequency points? Check the operator’s manual for your specific welder, but remember that this service is best performed by a qualified repairer.

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MIG Welders

  • Make sure wire-drive rolls are the correct type (solid wire) and size.
  • Check that the upper and lower drive rolls are aligned.
  • Make sure the guide tubes are clean.
  • If the welder has been in use for longer than a year, clean or replace the liner. Blowing out the liner before installing each new spool of wire is also a good practice
  • Change the contact tip if it’s worn (an egg-shaped hole instead of a round one) or if it looks like the wire has burned black and continues to stick every time you try to weld.
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