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ESAB is a world leader in welding and cutting equipment and consumables. We offer a complete line of fabrication solutions for virtually every application.
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Knowledge is power and that’s true in the world of fabrication. Shops can harness data generated by welding machines and put it to use to improve productivity, quality, efficiency, compliance, and more. In fact, thanks to today’s technology, enormous amounts of valuable data can be captured – quickly and easily – changing the way welding companies, large and small, do business.Yet, what does this mean for your day-to-day operations? Here’s a look at some of the top benefits of data-driven fabrication.
You can only control what you measure. It’s where ESAB Digital Solutions comes in and can provide critical baseline data and insight into your operations. As this data is accessed, it can then be compared across projects, teams, and machines to ensure:
With ESAB Digital Solutions, exact weld parameters are not only documented but also recorded as cuts are being made. For instance, you can set up a welder at a specific station, so you can determine if their welds are on spec or to evaluate how the deposition rate changes over time. These parameters can be checked and verified whenever needed and also compared alongside other parameters to make improvements.
For the welding operator, they can view this information – all of which can be gathered at a high sampling rate – in real-time. They can instantly see currents, amps, travel time, wire feed speed, and heat input. As a result, issues, like porosity in a part, can be found almost immediately in the exact area in the weld where it’s located, leading to improved quality overall. Data can be as granular as necessary, all at a glance, to meet the needs of specialized manufacturers.
Oftentimes, problems in production go unnoticed until they escalate. However, with data-driven fabrication, a pattern will emerge quickly. ESAB Digital Solutions makes this entire process easy, so costly bottlenecks are identified and overcome.
For example, is there a machine on the line that’s going down more often than others? Are there issues with amperage? What about wire feed speed, or energy input in a particular station? ESAB Digital Solutions give you a roadmap that helps you evaluate your whole shop and see how each station, machine, and welder is performing. Once any issues are resolved, weld efficiency can improve, optimizing the time, resources, and expertise of the welders on the production line.
When you have software in place, you can see which machines need to be serviced and when. You can also find issues immediately, so there’s less downtime.
In fact, with ESAB Digital Solutions, if a machine stops, you’ll know right away and can tend to it, whether it has a broken part or simply needs to be calibrated. This way, you’re not wasting a lot of time and resources getting it back up and running.
Over time, you can also identify if one particular machine is having recurring issues and make more informed purchasing decisions, as a result. You can even see what the most common issues are across machines and make decisions about how to improve efficiency.
Once you know the key performance indicators you want to manage, you can gather data for those particular areas with ESAB Digital Solutions. For instance, if arc time, amount of wire and gas consumed, and the number of parts you’re finishing in an area is important to you, you can gather data on each of these factors, so you have accurate productivity numbers.
You’ll have a clear sense of how much one shift is welding versus another or how fast a particular part is welded when compared to a similar one. You can better manage your team and better quote projects in the future, as a result, all while overcoming major pain points.
In a word: visibility. Data-driven fabrication from ESAB Digital Solutions gives you better visibility to assess and understand what’s happening on the shop floor. It gives you details and information, so you understand what’s happening at each workstation, with every welder, and on the production line overall.
Over time, it can help you make better business decisions, such as whether to hire additional welders or re-assign existing ones. You can also remedy small problems before they turn into more expensive issues.
Take, for instance, the issue of productivity. If you’re like most managers, you assume your welders are performing at a certain level; say spending 20% of their time welding. Typically, though, those projections are not accurate. Once measured through a data management system, like those offered through ESAB Digital Solutions, you might find out welders are spending less than 10% of their time – or even closer to 5% of their time – welding.
Once you’ve identified an issue with productivity, you can then find the source of it. When you’re tracking your welders’ activity, you’ll know if they’re spending too much time waiting for parts or if there’s a hold up somewhere else in the production line.
Over a period of weeks, you can then see just how many hours each day your welders are sitting idle or running to get parts. With this high level of visibility, you will then be able to make improvements that impact your entire operation’s productivity levels.
Another area where ESAB Digital Solutions can be valuable is with documentation and traceability. Depending on the project or the client, you might need to know exactly which welder was working on what part, what the filler metal was, and what specifications were followed.
Oftentimes, companies spend hours and even days gathering this information in spreadsheets. Not only is this cumbersome and time-consuming, it can also lead to typos made from manual entries that cause big headaches down the line.
With ESAB Digital Solutions, all the details you need – about a welder, apart, or a project – are at your fingertips. You can gather them together in a matter of minutes, instead of days.
Not only that, but if an issue arises on a project you worked on – whether it was for a building or a bridge – you’ll have documentation and evidence that all parts followed the standards set forth in the WPS. Since the information is all digital, it’s also a click away and you’ll have the paper trail needed to protect your company and your team, with everything completely secure.
Every shop is different and will require different data sets to assess. However, whether yours is large or small, actionable data will help you to boost productivity, maintain the highest levels of traceability, and avoid hassles and headaches. You’ll be able to run your operation as efficiently and profitably as possible with ESAB Digital Solutions in place.