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Innovations Power Up the Arc

Advances increase both power and performance in arc welding, including the ability for users to cut through thicker material, as well as gain better control at the arc to improve safety and productivity. 

Posted: October 10, 2021

The FreedomDrive offers a reliable and efficient way to weld in push-pull applications.
Users can now “parallel” power from two iSeries power sources to cut non-ferrous metal up to 6.25 inches. The development offers the flexibility to use two systems together or operate them independently.
The AugmentedArc program now offers a Distance Learning Mode, adding more flexibility for students to complete assignments.
Lincoln Electric’s redesigned CheckPoint Weld Data Monitoring solution offers improved dashboards and reports to make the most of real time weld data.


Abicor Binzel FreedomDrive™ – Push-Pull System

ABICOR BINZEL’s (Frederick, Md.) FreedomDrive™ push-pull system frees the welder of the typical heavy, bulky handheld push-pull gun, providing a more comfortable, reliable, and efficient way to weld in push-pull applications. It utilizes an assist drive approximately 6’ downstream of a standard, lightweight gun handle. The assist drive is powered directly from select push-pull ready power sources, or by a separate ABICOR BINZEL power control box. In either case, the assist motor will feed slightly faster than the main wire feeder, which places tension on the weld wire through the rear cable assembly. This allows the wire to be fed over longer distances than a typical push-pull gun. The FreedomDrive comes in 20’ and 30’ length options, and the AT/WT guns that come with it use the same handle and consumables as the ABIMIG® AT/WT guns.

New 600- And 800-Amp Options Available for Automated Plasma Systems

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products (Annapolis Junction, MD) has launched enhanced versions of its 200-, 300- and 400-amp versions iSeries high-precision plasma power sources to double cutting output to 400, 600 or 800 amps, respectively. ESAB is a world leader in the production of welding and cutting equipment and consumables.

The new capability, standard on iSeries systems, requires using matching consumables, a connection kit with cabling and associated software for the controller.

Users can “parallel” two iSeries power sources to cut non-ferrous metal up to 6.25 inches; the system offers the flexibility to use two units together or operate them independently.

“This new capability features some modest software and hardware enhancements, but the challenge was developing the new 600- and 800-amp consumables for stainless steel and aluminum,” explained Dirk Ott, vice president of global plasma automation.

Consumables are the most highly engineered components in an automated plasma cutting system, and achieving optimal cut quality and speed requires changing consumables to match the application. ESAB offers consumables for outputs from 15-to-800 amps.

Target applications include fabricators and steel services centers that use two torches on the same gantry and those cutting sections of stainless steel and aluminum material up to 6.25 inches (160 mm), which are primarily in the power generation, pressure vessel, chemical and petrochemical processing industries. Users of 600- and 800-amp systems primarily want faster cutting speeds on non-ferrous material that ranges from 2-to-4 inches (50 mm-to-100 mm). As an example, the 600-amp system cuts 3 inches (75 mm) stainless steel at 13 inches per minute using H35 (the H35 process uses 35 percent hydrogen/65 percent nitrogen for the plasma gas and nitrogen for the shielding gas).

“Putting two plasma torches on the same gantry to cut identical shapes is a common strategy to increase productivity in high-volume applications,” Ott said. “When fabricators want to double output to cut thicker materials or increase cutting, all they need to do is switch consumables. We made this easy because our 400- 600- and 800-consumables all use the same torch. With the quick-change consumables cartridge, users can change consumables in less than 30 seconds.”

The Water Mist Secondary (WMS) process, which incorporates nitrogen as the plasma gas and ordinary tap water for shielding, produces superior cut quality and a lower cost per cut on stainless steel and aluminum. On stainless steel, the WMS process cuts up to 300 percent faster and lowers cost per cut by 20 percent or more compared to systems that use Argon-Hydrogen (H35) for the plasma gas. Previously the technology could cut material up to about 1.5 inches, and the increased WMS output up to 800 amps for cutting non-ferrous* material is up to nearly 5 inches. Ott said no other manufacturer offers a system with these capabilities.

* Automated plasma cutting on mild steel is generally limited to thicknesses of 50 mm or less; on thicker material, the oxy-fuel process offers similar cutting speeds, good precision and lower cost of operation.

Augmented Reality Welding System Adds Enhancements

Miller Electric Mfg. LLC (Appleton, WI) has introduced new enhancements to the AugmentedArc® Augmented Reality Welding System, which is a welding training solution that closely simulates live-arc welding. The training helps students evaluate and refine their techniques, which results in reducing training time, minimizing material costs and increasing productivity.

AugmentedArc is integrated with free teacher software, a user-friendly and flexible learning management system that allows instructors to create a virtual classroom with customized curriculum, quizzes and weld exercises. Better yet, instructors also have the ability to view real-time results to track student progress.

In March of this year, a software update (version 2.1.0) became available featuring Distance Learning Mode, which added more flexibility for students to complete welding assignments and apply their learnings. With Distance Learning Mode, the AugmentedArc system can be placed at any remote location and can be used offline for home use or on-the-go learning.

Lincoln Electric Launches Fifth Generation of CheckPoint® Weld Data Monitoring

Lincoln Electric’s (Cleveland, OH) fifth generation CheckPoint Weld Data Monitoring solution features a fresh redesign to further improve the ability to turn weld data into action. Available as a standard feature on existing and new Power Wave® and PIPEFAB™ welding systems, CheckPoint is a cloud-based platform that can be easily accessed on a web browser, allowing users to quickly connect and visualize weld data.

The redesign includes improved dashboards and reports, all purposely designed to help users make the most of the real-time weld data they collect to drive productivity, quality and efficiency around the clock. Lincoln Electric’s 20-plus years of weld data collection experience were put into the biggest redesign of the CheckPoint Weld Data Monitoring solution to date. Among the upgrades are improved dashboards that provide essential, industry-specific key performance indicators to track productivity, including trend projections, operating factor, and real-time OEE calculations. Users can also take advantage of real-time shift planning to help visualize shift schedules and planned downtime.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, automated joining, assembly and cutting systems, plasma and oxy-fuel cutting equipment, and has a leading global position in brazing and soldering alloys.

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