Visual weld inspections can help determine if your equipment needs maintenance.

Welding services are essential for the assembly of systems across all industries that rely on metal construction. And for high-specification or high-volume projects such as petroleum processing and transport, industrial plant infrastructures, shipbuilding, and aerospace applications, these services can be expensive. To maximize ROI and profitability, companies must control their welding expenses. 

The greatest threats to cost control for welding are bad welds, which require rework and downtime that necessitate unnecessary costs. In many cases, equipment malfunction or failure is the root cause of both of these contingencies. The best way to avoid these issues is to develop and institute an effective machine maintenance schedule.

Arguably, the most important component of this schedule is a preventive maintenance program for welding equipment based on regular inspections. If performed properly, basic inspections can identify and predict machine elements that may need attention long before any negative impact on weld quality is evident or machine failure occurs. Let’s take a look at the essentials for a maintenance program and how to execute it. 

The most important part of any maintenance regimen are the actions taken before any issues arise.

The Basics of a Preventive Maintenance Program for Welding Equipment

The most important part of any maintenance regimen are the actions taken before any issues arise. However, preventive maintenance measures must be targeted to the actual equipment used in order to be most effective. For example, there are distinct differences between manual and mechanized welding processes. Therefore, the best preventive maintenance program for welding equipment will depend on the system being used. The basics of a preventative maintenance program for orbital welding equipment are discussed below.   

Orbital Welding Equipment Preventive Maintenance Essentials

Whether fusing pipes with homogeneous or heterogeneous filler or leveraging the advantages of autogenous welding, preventive maintenance for orbital welding should be based on the following important criteria: 

Pillars of a Preventive Maintenance Program for Welding Equipment
  • Understanding how your equipment operates

An essential asset to being able to inspect and evaluate your welding machine is having an understanding of its operation and the major elements that affect the process. This includes knowing how the weld head, wire feeder and liner, power supply, and controller work collectively to create the weld. 

  • Knowing the operation lifecycle of devices and parts

Being aware of how long major and minor devices and parts should last before replacement is recommended by the manufacturer can be even more important than understanding how they operate. It may be tempting to try to exceed these recommendations, especially when no obvious wear and tear is evident, but this should be avoided as it can result in unexpected failures and downtime.

  • Knowing the turnaround time for major maintenance 

Regardless of how well-built any piece of equipment is, major maintenance will be required at some point. The key is to anticipate this and schedule time for these inspections and overhauls so they are minimally disruptive. Awareness of the turnaround time for major maintenance activities minimizes disruptions. 

  • Collaborating with the equipment manufacturer and/or service provider

One could argue that collaboration with your equipment manufacturer or service provider is the most important aspect of a good preventive maintenance program, because it enables you to make the best use of the expertise and advice from providers with a detailed knowledge of your equipment. 

Adopting these essentials provides you with all the resources needed to enact an effective preventive maintenance program for your welding equipment, as presented in the section below. 

Executing Your Preventive Maintenance Program

Precise, high-quality welds do not occur by happenstance. They are the result of synchronization between a good welder or technician and the right orbital welding equipment in good working order. Keeping equipment in good working order is not a given unless preventive maintenance actions are regularly scheduled and executed. Some recommendations are given below.

When to PerformPreventive Action
Before each useInspect connections and connectors
Inspect cables and electrode holders
Check Tungsten & replace if worn
Make sure you have enough filler wire to make it thru the next weld
DailyCalibrate the weld head 
Check & replace any worn consumables parts
Make sure shield gas is set correctly and you have enough in the bottle to make it thru the shift
While in operationInspect weld quality
Monitor heat
For each wire reel replacementEnsure liner and wire size are matched
Blow out liner and cable
Inspect wire feeder mechanism
Inspect drive rollers and clean, if necessary
Weekly or monthlyBlow out machine to remove debris
Inspect water & gas hoses for leaks 
Check & replace coolant as necessary 
AnnuallyFull machine inspection
Power Supply calibration
As recommended by manufacturerTest and/or replace regulator
Test and/or recalibrate weld head

The actions above are not all-inclusive; however, they are all recommended for the maintenance of orbital welding equipment. To ensure that the preventive maintenance program for your welding equipment is optimally effective and specific to your equipment and project schedule, consult with your orbital equipment manufacturer or service provider.

Arc Machines, Inc. specializes in high-quality, precision GTAW welding and is dedicated to working with you to get reliable results from your machinery. We have several service and support options available to meet your specific needs. For inquiries regarding products, contact For service inquiries, contact Arc Machines welcomes the opportunity to discuss your specific needs. Contact us to arrange a meeting.

The Guardians | Arc Machines, Inc.

The Guardians team is just one of Arc Machine’s ways of guaranteeing the success of our products and your operation. They’re not only experts in the use of our products, but also in creating specialized services and training for your company’s needs. Reach out today for more information on any of our products or their applications.

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