Multi Process or Individual Unit?
If you have taken a look at the new units coming out from all companies in the last few years, then you know that the term “multi-process” seems to be the new buzz word in the welding industry. Though multi process units have been around for literally decades, the practicalities of them were limited because of their large size and weight. They were really only an option for the large professional shop. They’d sit in the corner on large casters until they were needed in which case someone would roll the giant welders out to where they were needed.
Needless to say, most of these were 3 phase machines. Some of these might be as large as a refrigerator. So for most people, a thought about the possibility of owning multi process units never crossed their mind. Enter the age of inverters. They are reduced in size by 90 percent in some cases. They are lightweight, economical, and fairly reliable. The possibilities of what you can do to “bend” electricity are almost limitless when it comes to welding. These units have now been offered in a multitude of variations in multi process arrangements: TIG/Stick/MIG Stick, MIG/TIG/Stick, and TIG/Stick/Plasma.
In the inverter import Market, a popular one has been the TIG/Stick/plasma and now the MIG/TIG/Plasma. Everlast has been one of the first to introduce these processes in an IGBT inverter arrangement that is geared toward the non-commercial consumer.
The customer now faces possibly too many choices. The obvious favor slants toward multi process units for convenience and reduced overall cost. There are other considerations though such as the overall design and purpose for which it is intended to be used by the manufacturer, service and even reliability.
Reliability is a huge factor because the more you put into a welding unit; the less reliable it tends to be. More parts equal more worries. Along with that is that if you were to have to have a unit repaired at a facility, you’d lose the use of all the other processes while it is for repair. Certain processes lend themselves to being combined in one single unit better than others because of the technology involved to accomplish it. TIG/Stick and MIG/TIG/Stick units are probably the best multi process units for general purpose work and fabrication because the processes are easily accomplished with a single unit and are similar enough not to need a bunch of extra parts.
The TIG/Stick/Plasma units tend to lean toward extra parts. These are typically geared toward a portable repair business and not necessarily a fabrication unit designed for production. When considering the choice, be sure to take into account all aspects. Don’t leave one out. Separate, Single units have their place. The capabilities are not compromised by putting too many diverging features in a unit. They are dedicated, single purpose of course, but typically are fine tuned for the best output for the process they represent.