Inverter welding machine test
Inverter welding is not a special welding process, but a special design of a corresponding device. The efficiency of the models is better than that of other power sources, so that dynamic welding processes can also be better controlled due to the higher working frequency. In addition, the units are lighter, which makes them easier to transport.
What is an inverter welding machine?
The welding inverter is a power source for welding. The devices can be used for all arc welding processes, such as MIG, MAG, electrode and TIG welding. Depending on the power output, the models are connected to the mains supply in three or single phase. The inverter outputs direct current, which makes welding easier than with alternating current. This produces a particularly uniform arc. Among other things, inverter welders are offered for the MIG, MAG, E-Hand and TIG welding processes.
How does an inverter welding machine work?
The inverter has the function of a switching power supply. First the mains voltage is rectified and then converted to a lower voltage via a transformer. Then the welding current is rectified again with the help of diodes. Here it is true that the higher the operating frequency of the inverter, the smaller the transformer inside the inverter can be. Different welding techniques can be realised.
With the so-called antistick, the set maximum current is delivered shortly before the short circuit, so that sticking or annealing of the electrode is prevented. With arc-force control, the arc that is created is electronically controlled. The set current value is continuously increased as the arc becomes shorter during welding. During hot-start, the sticking of the electrode is achieved by a short-term superposition of the welding current.
The possible applications
Inverters are mainly used where high mobility is required and large, heavy welding machines cannot be used. If inverters are used for MIG and MAG welding, they can be used to process sheets with a thickness of 0.8 mm or more. Workable materials are steels, nickel materials and aluminium, for example in automotive repair or industrial applications. Inverters for MAG welders can also be used for aluminium alloys. If inverters are to be used for electrode welding, the devices can even be used under water.
For example, the following areas of application arise:
- Pipe construction, joining of pipelinesContainer constructionWelding of heating systemsRepair of tanks and containersWelding of car parts
For whom are the inverters suitable?
The welding machines are suitable for do-it-yourselfers and manual workers who work at changing locations. Conventional welding machines are larger and heavier; they are not mobile. Those who weld frequently and have to transport the equipment should use an inverter. The inverters are also suitable for construction sites, as they are used outdoors and are taken out of the warehouse each time they are used or stowed away again after use.
What can be welded with an inverter welding machine?
The inverter can be used to weld connections of low-alloy or high-alloy steel. The device is also used for connections in plant construction, vehicle construction or apparatus engineering, for example for aluminium, nickel, copper and the alloys of these metals. If the inverter is used for electric welding equipment, then almost all metals can be processed with it.
Before starting work with the welding equipment, important health and safety measures should be observed. These include, for example, protecting the body from heat and radiation. Gloves as well as the welding shield are mandatory. Work clothing and work gloves should be flame retardant. Once the necessary measures for safe working have been taken, the welding equipment is connected to the power source. The earth cable is attached to the positive pole of the machine and then clamped at the welding workplace and the machine is switched on. The electrode holder must be connected to the negative pole. Finally, the welding parameters must be set. Depending on the electrode diameter, the amperage must be adjusted.
For metals with a diameter of 2 mm about 40 to 80 amperes are necessary and for a diameter of 6 mm about 220 to 360 amperes. After the amperage has been set correctly, a test welding is performed. Craftsmen take a sample sheet and test the machine by welding a few beads on a flat sheet or by tacking two sheets to be welded together. To do this, they tap the tip of the electrode on the respective spot until an arc ignites and immediately pull it away. Depending on the welding process used, welding with an auxiliary material can also be used instead of the arc.
If arc welding is used, then the electrode is again slowly guided to the relevant point and pulled back only half a centimeter. This way the arc is clearly visible and can be applied to the area to be welded, which is to be tacked. The electrode is carefully applied and you can feel it slowly burning away. After about three seconds, the user pulls the electrode away from the workpiece so that the arc is broken. Using a slag hammer and chisel, craftsmen remove the slag from the workpiece. If the electrode sticks to the metal, it is important to react quickly and remove the electrode.
The performance features
Many inverse welding machines can be infinitely variable and therefore fit a wide range of different applications. Due to their low weight, the devices are light and handy. They can be used for 2-stroke/4-stroke operation. Depending on the manufacturer, the models also have a high-frequency and LiftTIG ignition. Remote control connections as well as the possibility of foot regulation allow adjustments during work and digital displays for all parameters always give a good overview of the selected settings. Further advantages and performance features can be a preview and hold function as well as a job memory. Often 2 welding currents can be set separately and the start/end current or the setback time can be selected as required.
- compact design low weight integrated transformer easy to transport can be used on construction sites
- higher price than conventional welding equipment due to numerous electronic components more prone to failure
What is tested?
An important point when evaluating inverter welding machines is the price-performance ratio. The models are usually more expensive than other welding machines, but they also offer better application possibilities and greater mobility. Regarding the price-performance ratio, craftsmen or do-it-yourselfers who would like to buy such a welding machine should take a closer look at the characteristics of the offer. It is important to compare them with other offers. Special features and extras also play a role.
Some manufacturers or dealers only offer the welding equipment. Others supply parts of the protective clothing or wires. Everything that is positive about a welding machine, such as the accessories supplied or the possibility of using several welding processes, is important. It is also important to know what experience users have had with the inverters, how the models have proved themselves in practice and whether the expectations of craftsmen and DIY enthusiasts have been met.
Care and cleaning
So-called welding protection spray can be used to clean the device. This serves to keep the nozzles on the device clean and to protect the workpiece from the effects of spatter. Since dust can, over time, disturb the electronics inside – because dust is conductive – the electronics can be cleaned with an antistatic brush. Blowing out with ionizing air is also possible. Conductive layers, such as metal dust, are cleaned with isopropanol. High-quality devices are often built dust-tight, which reduces the effort of cleaning. Only the air filter and the heat sink need to be cleaned.
Who repairs inverter welding equipment?
Due to the complex electronic components inside and the frequent transport, an inverter may need repair and maintenance. Dealers specialized in welding equipment supply spare parts and also offer repair services. These can be service offers of the manufacturers or electrical engineers who have focused on this area. When buying a new device, customers usually receive a warranty. If defects occur within the warranty period, the respective dealer is the contact person.
The inverters can operate with different amperage values. Many models have a maximum welding current, which can be set lower but not higher if required. Common devices work with 160 to 200 amperes. Less common are models that only supply 130 or 150 amps.
What does an inverter welding machine cost?
The price range for inverter welding machines is wide. Entry-level models are already available from 100 euros, although these usually offer a reduced range of functions. Professional units cost 500 Euro and more. Often users can use these models for several welding processes at the same time.
5 major manufacturers and their respective characteristics
Inverters are offered by manufacturers such as Güde, Itamati, GYS, Einhell and Lorch.
- Güde is a supplier of various machines and tools for DIY and craftsmen. The company exists since 1979 and sells its products in specialized trade, through DIY stores and mail order. Itmati’s trademark is the blue design, and the company operates several international production facilities. Itmati’s product range is aimed primarily at private users and offers equipment for home and garden owners. The product range includes numerous handicraft, electric and garden tools that make work more comfortable. GYS is a manufacturer specialising in welding technology, battery service and bodywork repair, and the company’s motto of easy handling is also consistently applied to its inverter welders. The company is headquartered in France and has been active on the market since 1964. There are cooperations with numerous car manufacturers and repair shops, so that GYS is primarily aimed at professionals and supplies correspondingly powerful welding equipment. Einhell was founded in 1964 and is considered a traditional German company. Initially the company produced electrical engineering, later tools and gardening equipment. Welding equipment is one of the most important products of the company, which has its headquarters in Landau an der Isar, while Lorch has its headquarters in Auenwald and has branches in several countries. The company mainly offers welding equipment for industrial applications and has taken a leading position among manufacturers of technical equipment with its own custom-made products and high-quality processes. Lorch has been manufacturing welding solutions for more than 50 years.
What accessories are available?
In order to achieve a good welding result, high-quality welding consumables are crucial. These include solid wire, cored wire and welding electrodes for cast iron or steel. Furthermore, work aids, torch holders, electrode holders, electrode dryers, forming technology, measuring and testing tools, slag hammers, pliers and welding mirrors can optimise the work results.
What to look out for when buying?
Before craftsmen buy a welding machine, they should have thought about some basic things. As there are different welding methods – depending on whether you are welding thicker or thinner sheets or processing aluminium – the model should be chosen to suit the job. So it is important to clarify which materials are to be welded and in which material thickness they are available.
If there will be significant variations and a very wide range of applications, then a combination device should be chosen that allows several welding processes. The required power should also be considered. For example, electrodes with 2 mm are suitable for thin sheets and electrodes with 2.4 mm for thicker sheets. Also ideal are machines whose welding current is infinitely variable, which have a long earth cable and electrodes of sufficient length.
5 good reasons for inverter welding machine
- Inverter welders are built to provide the required current directly.they are suitable for mobile use thanks to their compact design.the units allow clean and trouble-free work.many inverters allow the amperage to be regulated.the models often combine several welding processes.