Do you know the old saying: “having the right tools makes a job easy?” Well, a big part of having the “right tools” is making sure the tools in your arsenal are in proper working order, so when you step up to do a job, your tools actually work. And as unexciting as it may be, this means keeping up with regular maintenance.
This is especially important when it comes to your welding machine, as improper, incomplete or totally neglecting maintenance can not only result in equipment failure but also lead to serious safety hazards including severe injury or even death – suffice it to say: the importance of maintaining your welding machine is NO JOKE!
Not to be melodramatic, but this is serious business, as welding machine equipment failure (often resulting of poor maintenance) is one of the most common causes of welding accidents.
The good news is, with a little forethought and some basic planning, welding machine maintenance is really not very difficult.
General welding machine maintenance boils down to maintaining and keeping on top of three key elements:
Electrical Systems Shielding Gas Cylinder Establishing and Adhering to a Routine Maintenance Schedule
Electricity obviously plays a big roll in the welding, as electricity is the primary power source for most welding processes, oxy-acetylene gas welding being the only exception. The dangers of electricity are significant, and the consequences of accidents resulting from issues with electricity include debilitating injury or death.
These risks necessitate regular inspection of all electrical components incorporated in your welding machine, including the following routine practices:
Disconnect all power units and blow out or vacuum the machines interior at least once every six months.
Check and clean (with a wire brush) the wire feeder and drive rolls (replacing if necessary) at least once every three to four months, in addition to inspecting and cleaning (or replacing if necessary) the inlet and outlet guides.
Arrange for the welding gun and liner assembly to be serviced by a technician at least once a year.
Inspect all electrical cables at least once a month for signs of wear, including cracks and breaks, immediately replacing any cables with excessively worn or damaged insulation.
Inspect electrical safety equipment on a monthly basis to ensure circuit breaks and interlocks are functioning properly.
Shielding Gas Cylinder Maintenance
Cylinders should always be stored in a cool, dry environment, and in an upright position.
Regulators and valves should be inspected and tested at least once every six months to ensure there are no leaks or breaches that are causing incorrect pressure readings.
Hoses should be coiled up for storage to avoid damage created by prolonged kinks when hoses are improperly stored or stepped on when left on the ground. Any creaked or damaged hoses should be replaced immediately.
Routine Maintenance Schedule
8 Hours Maintenance
Wipe up oil and fuel spills immediately
Check fluid levels (oil & fuel)
Service the air filter (refer to engine manual for specifics)
50 Hours Maintenance
Service air filter element (refer to engine manual for specifics)
Clean and tighten weld terminals
100 Hours Maintenance
Change oil filter (refer to engine manual for specifics)
Clean and tighten battery connections
Clean cooling system (refer to engine manual for specifics)
200 Hours Maintenance
Replace unreadable labels (order from parts list)
Replace fuel filter
Check valve clearance (refer to engine manual for specifics)
250 Hours Maintenance
Check and clean spark arrestor
500 Hours Maintenance
Tape or replace cracked cables
Clean/Set injectors (refer to engine manual for specifics)
1000 Hours Maintenance
Blow out or vacuum inside equipment. During heavy service, do this monthly.
By creating and staying on top of a regular welding machine maintenance schedule, you’ll not only ensure your equipment works when you need it most and lasts for many years to come, but that it also operates at peak performance, guaranteeing your safely.