Many welding companies focus on getting their welding equipment and consumables at the best possible prices in a quest to reduce the cost of welding. While this is admirable, the focus should be on the big picture, which is getting productivity savings. By reducing costs in welding operations, the company can realize productivity savings year after year, even when the prices of consumables and equipment go up.
Cost-cutting measures in operations that don't compromise output quality are beneficial to a business. There are several factors ranging from consumables use to operational efficiency that can significantly reduce or increase the cost-effectiveness of a welding project.
This article will share the top five ways that we found helpful in significantly reducing costs in welding operations and realizing productivity savings.
1. Attract and Retain Skilled Welders by Improving Your Work Environment
The success of a welding business highly depends on the skill level of its employees. While it saves on time and money that would otherwise be used in training unskilled workers when you hire skilled welders, you still need to invest in proper, continuous training. The training is to help newer welders understand welding processes better and stay updated with the technological changes to better meet customer demands, which will pay off in the long run.
With well-trained welders, the right consumables, the right equipment, and technology for the job, there will be fewer work disruptions, reworks, and few consumable changeovers. Give your workers incentives, too, like gloves, helmets, or a temperature-controlled work environment. An improved work environment and culture will attract the best, skilled workers, translating to efficiency in operations and reduction in overall costs.
2. Reduce Welding Consumable Changes
Consumables form a significant part of the manufacturing cost in welding. These include electrodes, electrode holders, jigs, arms, alloys, welding guns, etc. Some operators tend to change the consumables way too soon, like after every shift out of habit and not a necessity. This wastage in consumables change can cost you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands depending on your volume of work.
It also costs you in terms of downtime from the unnecessary changeover time taken by the operator. You can reduce the loss in time and money from excessive consumables changeovers through proper operator training as an experienced, well-trained welder will know when to change any of the consumables.
Limiting access to consumables can also help prevent unnecessary wastage. Also, cut back on time and energy needed to retrieve supplies and improve productivity by having your consumables storage closer to the welding point.
3. Maximize Efficiency in Welding Procedures
Even the most skilled, industrious employee cannot accomplish much with an inefficient system. Take time to survey your processes for any possible ways that you can employ to improve efficiency. Check factors like transfer mode, feed speed, and voltage that affect efficiency. For example, frayed cables, loose cables, or loose connections can create erratic arcs and voltage losses.
It is necessary to have a proper preventive maintenance program in place. That way, you significantly prolong the consumables’ life and reduce your manufacturing costs. While the program requires an upfront payment, the cost is easily recovered when employees spend more time working and less time troubleshooting welding issues.
You can choose to invest in new machines that come with the latest, improved technology as it is likely to need less maintenance, is more productive, and ultimately cost-efficient. Ensure parts and pieces used in welding are delivered in an organized way to your shop. It will save your employees time spent looking for specific parts for the welding process. Before getting started on a welding project, sort out and arrange all welding accessories, parts, and consumables in an orderly manner and within the welder's proximity.
4. Ensure the Welding Work Environment is Safe
Workplace injury data on disabling, non-fatal injuries costs, both medical and indirect, are pretty sizable. These direct and indirect workers’ compensation costs range around $250 billion. Invest in measures that improve your workers’ safety and avoid incurring costs on their treatment and recovery for injuries suffered in the line of work. Indirect costs that the business suffers while the employee stays at home recuperating can be huge.
You can automate the welding process and even incorporate some robots in the welding operations. Robots do not tire even after working for an extended period as humans do, reducing their concentration and increasing chances of causing errors and accidents at work. Robots will improve worker safety, augment weld consistency, squeeze in opportunities for added value, and save you money.
Always have your workers’ safety as a top priority. Invest in high-quality gear, take workers through pertinent safety guidelines, and have comprehensive safety plans in place to prevent workers’ injuries and save on medical costs.
5. Avoid Overwelding
Overwelding happens when you use a weld larger than it needs to be. This is especially common with inexperienced welders. Overwelding happens in cases where the welder wasn't working with a specified size in a design, or the welder just wanted to play safe and create a big weld nugget. This resource drain results in higher costs since it entails more labor, electrodes, and weld time.
There are many other ways to reduce your welding costs. It is up to you to determine which strategy works for your welding business without compromising the quality of results you deliver to your customers. If you have some tips besides what we have listed above, kindly share this article on social media and add your own input. Standby for more helpful articles on our blog for the resistance welding industry.