Orbital welding machines are critical assets for completing high-specification projects to the required specifications and on time. If an orbital welding machine is damaged or otherwise unsuitable for service, it could mean that no welds can be completed until it is repaired or a replacement arrives. Since orbital welding machines cannot be picked up at the local hardware store or repaired by any technician, it may take some time for a repaired unit to be returned or a replacement unit to arrive.
The best way to keep orbital welding machines running smoothly is to perform proper maintenance routinely. An orbital welding machine maintenance checklist for operators helps ensure that orbital weld heads and power supplies are in good repair before welding begins and that they stay that way. If a piece of equipment is not in good repair, a maintenance check can help the operator identify minor issues that can be easily corrected before they permanently damage critical components. Identifying wear early allows welding machine service to be scheduled at a time that will not impact project operations and completion.
When to Use Manufacturer Services
It’s important to note that the best maintenance and service for an orbital welding machine comes from its manufacturer or an authorized service center. Orbital welding machines have tight engineering tolerances and use highly specialized material types in complex assemblies. A qualified service technician trained by the manufacturer is the best person to perform scheduled maintenance or repair on these machines.
Orbital welding machine operators should stick to basic checks to ensure that the machinery is working properly in order to avoid damaging orbital weld heads or power supplies. This usually involves ensuring that weld head positioning is correct and that all fittings are connected properly before welding begins.
Using an Orbital Welding Machine Maintenance Checklist
An orbital welding machine maintenance checklist should start like any arc welding machine daily inspection. Start by making a visual inspection of the machine and the work area to look for any obvious sources of trouble and for signs of possible maintenance issues.
Operators should ensure that:
- There is no obvious damage to the weld head or the power supply. Dings and dents should be noted and investigated to make sure they do not impede welding.
- The weld head is clean and free of grease or oil. Any grease or oil that is found should be cleaned using only isopropyl alcohol.
- There is no conspicuous wear on the weld head, consumable parts, or moving parts. Signs of wear should be investigated to ensure they will not impede welding and logged into a maintenance record.
- Relevant maintenance logs and records for the weld head and power supply show no outstanding maintenance issues, like being overdue for routine maintenance like air filter changes or calibration.
Once this initial visual check is completed and the operator has verified that there are no outstanding issues to address, the orbital welding machine can be safely set up. Before beginning to weld, the operator should confirm that:
- The weld head head is properly calibrated with the power supply, which typically includes travel speed and wire feed speed.
- The weld head has free movement around the entire diameter of a pipe or tube. The operator should ensure that the weld head will not collide with workpiece support or other impediments while it welds.
- There is no binding or tension in electrical or gas line connections that could pinch and damage the lines while the machine operates.
- There are no bent pins in the electrical connection between the power supply and weld head.
- Electrical connection points have no signs of damage or wear to the connection.
- Electrical cords and cables have no wear through the insulation or cuts that penetrate the insulation.
- Coolant is running through coolant lines and those lines are free of leaks. If a leak is detected, then the line should be drained and the source of the leak remedied before the lines are reconnected. Parts affected by the leak should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.
- Gas hoses have no leaks and gas is flowing at the desired pressure and rate.
- The machine is set up to perform the weld in accordance with the weld parameters specified for the weld.
- Weld ground cable is securely fastened to the part or part support.
Gas line integrity should also be checked once a quarter. This can be done by charging the line with higher pressure gas and monitoring the regulator. The pressure should stay stable for at least 30 minutes. If it does not, there is likely a leak in the line.
Following an orbital welding machine checklist with these simple basic steps daily will help keep your machine operating smoothly and will make it clear when professional maintenance by trained service personnel is needed. This ultimately improves welding productivity by avoiding unnecessary downtime.
Calibrating Your Orbital Welding Machine
The interior elements of a welding power supply system have many components for modulating and regulating the flow of electrical current to ensure welds can be completed within specified parameters. Some welding power supplies also require arc voltage and oscillation parameters to be calibrated. These need to be calibrated annually to ensure that the current actually generated by the power supply matches the power supply input. This calibration is best done by qualified technicians trained and certified by the welding equipment manufacturer. Operators should ensure that equipment is being calibrated on schedule or more often, as needed.
Taking preventative measures by doing maintenance checks helps prevent unexpected critical failures that can delay projects or put them past deadlines.
Orbital welding maintenance checklists should focus on simple periodic checks that ensure that orbital welding machines being run do not have maintenance issues. Taking preventative measures by doing maintenance checks helps prevent unexpected critical failures that can delay projects or put them past deadlines. Following an orbital welding machine maintenance checklist is an inexpensive way to keep your orbital welding operations running smoothly.
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