How to Use Data to Optimize Your Company's Welding Process

How to Use Data to Optimize Your Company's Welding Process

ESAB's WeldCloud - Optimize Your Company’s Welding Process, Boost Productivity and Profitability

Controlling costs and improving productivity is always at the top of your list. These can be difficult to achieve, though, without easy access to good data. Even if you’ve taken steps to improve certain areas, like quality issues or bottlenecks, if you’re not monitoring and measuring your efforts consistently, you won’t know whether or not they’re working.

There is one simple solution to tackling these many challenges: digitizing. When you have data on hand, you can track nearly every aspect of your operation, down to the materials used to weld a part and the welder who worked on it.

You can also step back and see the bigger picture perspective across your operation with far more ease – based on real-time information – so you can make informed business decisions. This high level of visibility will help you to improve throughput and quality across your whole operation.

At ESAB, we’ve developed an online management system – WeldCloud – that makes this all possible. It connects welding power supplies to a software platform that manages every inch of data. Information can then be easily analyzed to maximize productivity. It can also be used to inform future decisions, making your company more competitive down the line.

5 Ways WeldCloud Can Help You Grow

With data from WeldCloud, you can optimize your company’s welding process – and increase productivity and profitability – by:

#1: Improving Quality

Every time a welder completes a pass, a trove of data is infused in the weld. That data has a lot of power and with WeldCloud, it’s easily accessible. This can help to overcome issues, like porosity in a part, before it impacts the entire line or jeopardizes a project. Over time, you can use the data to improve quality across every part, each workstation, and your operation as a whole.

#2: Saving Time

Your welders spend a lot of time determining the best possible welding process for a given application. There’s a lot of data to be considered before making a decision and it then has to be tested on one machine. Once a welding process is finalized, WeldCloud can then send the process to the cloud and push it out to all the machines in your shop. This will save a tremendous amount of time.
Not only that but there’s two-way communication between the WeldCloud platform and your machines. The platform can push settings, such as a new weld parameter combo, to each machine and the machines can send data back to the platform. This all reduces training time for your welding team, all while ensuring parts are consistent.

#3: Identifying Breakdowns

When there’s a problem, you’ll know it with WeldCloud, no matter how large your operation is. Through it, your service and maintenance team can access data, so they know at-a-glance where all the machines in the fleet are – within a few feet thanks to the GPS locator – and what they're doing at any given time. If one breaks down or has any issues, WeldCloud alerts technicians immediately. They can then provide a quick and accurate diagnosis and fix it as soon as possible. This helps to minimize lengthy downtime.

#4: Improving Output

It’s critical to increase productivity while maintaining a high-quality output. WeldCloud makes that possible by equipping your operations managers with data to find new productivity drivers. For instance, they can easily:

  • Measure each welder's arc-on time
  • Establish a productivity baseline
  • Identify important trends or patterns
  • Measure progress toward goals
  • Develop reports with data that can be presented and analyzed
  • Make plans for action and improvements

This data is accessible via a user-friendly, simple-to-navigate interface. It’s also available anytime from anywhere, whether you’re at work, at home, on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

#5: Tracing Problems

Traceability is a mission-critical aspect for every welding company. With WeldCloud, you can quickly and easily trace back to welds that have been created and access a range of details.

If there’s a problem with a particular part, for instance, you can quickly see everything, from who welded it and when to what materials they used. For your quality assurance engineers, it makes troubleshooting easier and faster. They’re also able to repair issues and prevent future problems.

Want to Boost Your Welding Process? Follow the Data & Start Small

Digitizing welding provides visibility into what’s happening in each weld cell. As a result, with WeldCloud, you can track key data, like filler metal, electricity used, voltage, arc-on time, and shielding gas used. You can then leverage this information to improve overall throughput and productivity.

Consider these real-world examples of how other companies are using WeldCloud to optimize their processes:

  • With WeldCloud, Särkinen, a Finland-based company serving the heavy metal industry, began to measure arc-on time for each welding operator and shift, capturing welding data in the process. After analyzing it, they were able to increase arc-on time by 20% across 20 manual welding stations, which is more than double the industry average of 8-10%.
  • WeldCloud helped ADR Group, a leading axle supplier, to compare operator-reported welding performance with the actual production data captured in real-time directly from the welding plant. Using this data, the company evaluated its heavy production processes and was able to optimize welding practices and achieve a 19% reduction in downtime.
  • Instead of taking days to print, sign, scan, save and merge records for 600 welds into a single PDF, Braskem, a petrochemical company in Brazil, created a digital file in only 10 minutes with WeldCloud.

If you’re just beginning to think about digitizing data, it makes sense to start small. For instance, you can begin with one area of your facility or one production line. You might want to start with the welding operation or cutting area, digitizing those spots first and then progressing to larger areas over time.

Once you begin the process with WeldCloud, you can then start monitoring data and put it to use in a range of useful ways, from boosting throughput and getting rid of bottlenecks to reducing costs in your operations. You’ll also know exactly where problems start, so you can fix them before they escalate. From the smallest parts to your largest workstation, you can optimize results across all stages of welding.