In fabrication, productivity is everything; anytime you have the opportunity to make your welding process more efficient and cost effective, you should consider that direction, and welding tractors do exactly that. Considering ways to improve productivity can be frustrating, so we’ve done the work for you.
In this article we are going to give you three reasons why welding tractors make your life easier.
Welding tractors can cut spending significantly. For starters, the cost of reworking the material can be reduced. This is due to the fact that a welding tractor assists in producing more consistent welds and is less likely to make errors during the welding process.
Welding parameters such as arc-length, travel speed, and oscillation primarily remain constant; reducing distortion in the material and the amount of sub-par welds. This means you won’t have as much rework to do (grinding, gouging, buffing, etc.); it also means that you will be saving on labor costs because your welders will be spending less time repairing any distorted areas of your welds, and more time producing quality welds.
Labor cost is certainly a major part of productivity; consistency, efficiency, and quality directly affect this cost. Ask yourself what your current productivity costs you now? Have you explored other avenues to improve your efficiency?
2. Consistency of Quality
With a welding tractor you have more control over the weld that you want to produce, and whatever parameters you set will remain constant through the entirety of the weld. You have the ability to control many aspects of the weld such as arc-length, travel speed, oscillation, and even starts and stops; magnets are also built into the tractors to allow vertical, overhead, and pipe welding. Some tractors even have an oscillating motor to perform a weaving motion while welding. Tractors have the mobility and consistency that may not always be in the welder’s favor. How much rework is currently being done in your shop? Have you calculated what it costs you to begin and close out a completed job?
For example: If you require specific, repetitive welds in your production (such as multiple straight passes on a 13’ work piece) you will want every one of those welds to be the same. A tractor will perform these passes with little deviation, as well as keeping the parameters consistent.
Instead of having multiple welders spend hours on an application, fewer welders can spend the same amount of time producing more welds, without quality being a concern, increasing efficiency and profitability. The welders can set up the tractor, set its parameters, and let it run; this allows them to move to other areas of production while having an eye on the tractor while it is in use. It also reduces the fatigue of the welders, keeps them away from the weld puddle, and the harmful effects that come from daily exposure to welding.
Tractors don’t necessarily remove the welder completely, but it allows them to be more productive in areas they may not have had the opportunity before.
You can have all of these benefits we’ve mentioned, while maintaining the convenience of a portable, semi-automated system.
Most welding tractors are lightweight enough to be picked up by the welder. This is perfect for an operation such as a shipyard, trailer yard, skids, pipe yards, vessel shops, job shops, and filed welding where many of the welding takes place over a large area. Once the welder is finished with one weld, they can then pick up the tractor and move it to the next work piece while the previous work piece moves onto the next step in production.
This also allows the tractor to be transferred from site to site if need be. Ultimately, the tractor being portable allows more flexibility in where and how you complete your welding projects on/off site. Not only that, but the weight allows the welder to adjust the tractor’s position easily, without the need for any extra equipment.
Welding tractors are a solution to hard automation that will integrate seamlessly into your welding process; giving you the added benefits of efficiency and consistency, but they aren’t for every welding application.
How long does it take you to set up an application to begin a job? How many resources do you have to pull in order to begin a process; is it convenient? Are you satisfied with how your equipment is being utilized; can you use it for other applications?
Want more information on tractors and if they’ll work in your welding process? Contact one of our reps today!