Welding is an activity that is carried out very frequently in the industrial, construction, mechanical, automotive and many other work areas. The demand for welding work is high, so it is very important to take into account all safety aspects and specifications for the execution of this type of work.
Welding is done with the implementation of welding machines or welders. These machines have a motor and elements or components that are responsible for receiving, processing and transmitting the electric current to carry out the welding work. The manufacturers of this type of machine have established a series of specifications or characteristics for each model, which will allow the correct use of the welding machines and the perfect execution of the welding work. One of these specifications is welding service factor, which is a very important feature and must be taken into account at all times by the machine operator.
What is the welding service factor?
The welding service factor is also called “Duty Cycle” or “Run Factor”. And it consists of the time that a welding machine or welder can work continuously based on a total period of 10 minutes. The service factor is expressed as a percentage.
To detail a little more the definition of the service factor, we will present an example:
The welding machine in our example works with an output current of 200 amps and its service factor is 40%. This means that the welding machine is designed to work continuously, without pause and with the indicated amperage for 4 minutes. These 4 minutes represent 40% of the total period of 10 minutes, therefore the machine must stop working for 6 minutes.
4 minutes soldering + 6 minutes resting = 10 minutes
Why should the welding machine be allowed to rest?
While the welding work is being carried out, the internal components of the machine become hot due to the high currents that circulate through them. This heating takes some time to raise the temperature of the sensitive components, to values that can destroy them. Therefore, welding work can be carried out continuously for a certain time, but then the machine must be rested to prevent its components from being destroyed by extreme heating.
What happens if a current lower than that indicated for the welding machine is used?
To answer this question, we will use the previous example of the welding machine. The output current for this machine is 200 amps, if this machine is used with a lower current, the heating effect on its internal components is also lower, which would allow the service factor to be extended a little more than the 40% established in machine specifications.
In the event that the amperage used for the machine is 100, half of what is indicated for the welding machine, then its service factor rises from 40% to 80%. In other words, the welder can be used continuously for 8 minutes instead of 4 minutes.
Importance of welding service factor
This number, expressed as a percentage, represents important information for users of welding machines. Its importance can be evidenced at the time of acquiring one of these machines, during its use and during the maintenance process.
When buying a welder, it is really important that the service factor is taken into account and verified. If it is required to use the welding machine for minor work, such as home repairs, the service factor is not required high, with 30% or 40% will be sufficient. If the welder is needed for professional work, a service factor greater than 50% is recommended. There are welding models that have 80% and even 90% service factor, these are recommended for industrial work. A high service factor also indicates that the welding machine is built with high-quality materials and has a good cooling system.
Of course, the service factor influences the price of the welding machine, so it is recommended to make the respective comparisons at the time of purchase.
During the use of the welding machine, the service factor must always be kept in mind. This will allow the welder to be used properly, avoiding taking it to the extreme of its capabilities and causing damage to its internal components. Using the machine properly will help maintain and possibly extend its life.
Although for many it is an unknown characteristic of welding machines, the welding service factor represents a considerably important value that every welding user must know. Ensure the proper use and useful life of your welding machine, knowing its respective service factor.