Fabricators, contractors and other manufacturers often fight weld quality and maintenance problems that result from primary voltage fluctuations, or “dirty power.” Problems with dirty power can occur in the many applications, both in the shop and on jobsites in the field. Dirty power is the result of unreliable primary power: large motors starting on the same primary power line, utility brownouts or spikes, and generators that do not regulate auxiliary power voltage. This reduction in power quality or fluctuation in voltage can hamper the use of electrical equipment, including welding equipment and plasma cutters. In addition, the need on many jobsites to move welding machines from one location to another, or from one jobsite to another, can pose an increased potential for dirty power.
Dirty power can impact weld quality in numerous ways. For example, a power surge or dip can cause the arc to flicker or the power source to shut down for self-protection. In some cases, the welding operator may not even know the welding arc was affected by dirty power until the weld fails to pass inspection or requires rework later. There are solutions and technologies available that can help users avoid the problems caused by dirty power and improve productivity, efficiency and weld quality. In addition, some available welding solutions provide the ability to connect to almost any input power, which means contractors never have to worry about what type of power they will encounter on the next jobsite.
OVERCOME DIRTY POWER ISSUES
Power management technology can eliminate dirty power woes and smooth out power fluctuations to give contractors and welding operators the freedom and confidence that come from knowing a stable, consistent welding arc is available almost anywhere. One such technology is Auto-Line™ power management technology that is available in select welding power sources, including our XMT® line. Auto-Line automatically and continuously adjusts for voltage surges and drops, to provide a constant, steady arc and help ensure quality welds. The system does this regardless of input voltage, provided it is within the operating range of the equipment being used.
Auto-Line can be used with single-phase or three-phase electrical service between 115 VAC and 575 VAC (this range may vary, depending on the model). The key element of this technology is known as a “boost converter,” which provides a regulated source of power to the actual inverter section of the welder or plasma cutter. It boosts and regulates the voltage applied to the inverter section, which means machines using Auto-Line are not directly dependent on any one specific primary line voltage, but rather operate over a range of input voltages – and they can even use “dirty” power with dips and spikes. This ensures that users are always drawing welding or cutting power from a regulated, stable voltage source within the machine, resulting in steady performance even during fluctuations or instances of dirty power.
QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY BENEFITS
As a result, business owners, contractors and welding operators can count on a consistent arc and high weld quality, even on outdoor jobsites, which helps the welding operator be more efficient and productive for a positive impact on the bottom line. The technology also adjusts automatically to different voltage inputs to allow weld operators to focus on arc-on time under the hood. When there is no manual linking required, it saves time and makes installation easier. This system also lowers a welder’s primary amperage draw, which allows business owners and contractors to use more welding machines on the existing electrical service for improved efficiency and productivity. And when contractors or manufacturers are constructing new facilities, the use of this technology can result in planning for a smaller, more cost-effective power distribution system since more welding machines can be connected to utilize that power.
MAXIMIZE EFFICIENCY AND PERFORMANCE
For shops that want to overcome unpredictable issues with dirty power in their facility, or for those that encounter a wide range of outdoor jobsite variables in regards to power, a power management technology such as Auto-Line can help provide improved arc quality, greater flexibility and simplified fleet management. When operators can count on arc quality nearly anywhere, they can consistently produce high-quality welds, experience less downtime and boost efficiency. This solution frees business owners, contractors and welding operators from primary power limitations and allows for uninterrupted production.
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