Welding Guide to Power Efficiency

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Welding Guide to Power Efficiency:

When buying a welding machine, people seldom attach importance to energy efficiency. They are more obsessed with the operational welding costs that include gas, wire, rods, labor, and the overhead expenses. There is no denying that most welding power sources do not fare well when converting incoming line power to welding output power and in fact, only 60% to 70% efficiency is the norm. 

Certain practical studies reveal manufacturing units can save a huge sum annually if due attention is paid to the power consumption aspect of welding machines. 

There are instances when the annual expenditure towards power consumption by a welding machine exceeds its original purchase price. Manufacturers with multiple power sources and/or high duty-cycle applications are understandably eager to calculate the energy efficiency of a welding machine while purchasing it. 

Intending buyers of welding machines should obtain information on power efficiency across a range of welding outputs, as well as power used while idling - from the welding machine distributors. Local power utilities will then be able to furnish details about the cost of energy in cents/kW-hr. 

The details will facilitate calculation of energy efficiency and energy costs to operate the welding machine. It will also be highly useful to ascertain from the utility if they offer any special rebate schemes to motivate manufacturers to replace aging and old technology equipments with energy efficient advanced machines. The advantage of present day energy efficient welding machines is you can obtain a quick return on your investment - thus amply justifying the cost of up gradation.

Many manufacturers of welding machines are also becoming increasingly alive to the issue of power efficiency. Suppliers of welding machines agree that their buyers should not be driven to erode profits from their bottom line. Manufacturers of welding machines are coming out with improved transformer that deploys electricity a lot, lot more efficiently than earlier models.

Please remember that energy efficiency is an equally important factor even when a welding machine is kept idle for bulk of the time, because the machine tends to draw power regardless whether it is operating or not. Suppliers of welding machines are beginning to bestow attention to this "idle efficiency" aspect as well. 

It is good to know that conventional welding machines convert incoming line power to welding output power with up to 70 percent efficiency. But the new generation solid-state machines are far more efficient, leading to 80 percent efficiency. Inverter-based welding power sources are still better, operating at an average efficiency of up to 85 percent resulting in a huge reduction in utility bills. 

It is interesting to note that each year the U.S. consumes about $15 million worth of electricity for welding against an overall figure of $99 million used worldwide. To increase energy efficiencies and reduce electrical costs for welding, an inverter is indeed an attractive option.

In fact, substituting conventional welding machines for inverters may save manufacturing companies meaningful sums per year, per machine. Research tests by independent agencies have repeatedly endorsed the view that replacing an old power source with an energy efficient inverter provides a healthy return on investment.