Your reputation relies on your techs performing at their best. It’s true in all aspects of your shop. But it’s especially true when it comes to welding. An unfinished or botched weld job can compromise your customers’ safety like few other mistakes. And here’s the thing: most common welding mistakes are completely avoidable, and it doesn’t take much effort. There are several things you can do for your shop to ensure your techs are performing safe, quality welds that get your customers’ vehicles back to OEM standards. Just following these simple recommendations can take your shop’s welding game up quite a few notches.
Upgrade your shop’s infrastructure. If you’re not running a 220v system, consider an upgrade. Even though your welding machines may run on 110v, they use so much of the current that your “finished” welds may be incomplete.
Develop the habit of checking settings. This is the easiest and least expensive way to ensure your welds aren’t doomed from the beginning. The first thing a tech should do before ever firing up their welding machines is to simply check the settings before they begin a weld. If multiple techs use the same machines, it’s imperative. After all, you don’t know what the last guy had as a setting. And even if there’s just one tech to a machine, it should be checked before each job. You never know what might happen between jobs, and it only takes a few seconds. If you find that a setting has changed, that few seconds just saved you from putting a bad job back on the road.
Insist on clean workspaces. This is true for any welding area. You simply don’t want metal dust and debris from your last job to sully the surface of the next job. And while this is true for steel welding, it’s especially true for aluminum. Even slight oxidation on aluminum can cause subsequent welds to fail.
Spot-check your techs’ welds. Getting a different perspective on anything can be helpful. But this is especially true with welds. Have experienced welders check the welds of less experienced techs—as well as each other. They can point out any deficiencies that a tech may not have seen, but that he should pay attention to in the future.
Have techs’ vision checked. There’s a lot going on with your techs’ eyes while they’re welding. They have to read the arc and follow the joint profiles, and they have to do that while looking through a shaded lens. It’s not easy—especially when an older tech’s natural vision begins to deteriorate. If a tech can’t see, a good weld is almost impossible. Techs should have annual vision exams to ensure good vision. If that exam results in a tech needing new glasses or a new prescription on their current glasses, don’t let them weld until the problem is corrected. Welding helmet magnifiers—similar to the lenses in reading glasses, but they’re inserted into the mask itself—are also a viable solution for some techs.
Get techs the proper equipment and training. Techs need to be prepared to perform repairs on all types of materials using the most technologically advanced equipment possible and the most up-to-date techniques for that equipment. Chief offers both. We carry an extensive line of welding equipment—from spot welders to MIG/MAG welders to aluminum welders. And our Chief University two-day course on Welding Technologies will cover everything from basic setup to the most complex welds.