"If it's not broke, don't fix it," is a common mantra and, unfortunately, one that can lead to you losing your competitive edge. The reason: what was state-of-the-art five years ago may bear little resemblance to today's equipment and the advantages of their offerings. This is especially true in the area of welding.
"I bought this welding machine 10 years ago," you may say. "It's still working fine. Why buy something new?"
Well, what if with new equipment you could increase productivity by 30%? Or what if you could reduce manpower needs by 50%? What if you could shorten prep time, increase deposition rates, decrease training time, and/or reduce weld defects and rework time? What if that machine you purchased 10 years ago is actually costing you money ? not because it's not working ? but because a new machine could pay for itself in six months and start increasing your bottom line?
These are important questions that represent common issues for decision makers. In fact, Miller Electric surveyed some of its welding customers in the construction and industrial areas and found that the same Key Business Issues (KBIs) kept reoccurring.
- These KBIs include:
- Reducing weld costs
- Increasing productivity
- Increasing operator efficiency
- Justifying the cost of equipment purchases.
These KBIs are so prevalent and pervasive that Miller Electric has structured its Results Web site (http://www.MillerWelds.com/Results) along these four categories. The site's purpose is to provoke thought and prompt visitors to reevaluate their own operations, while encouraging dialogue among its users. It does this by examining how others addressed these common issues and how today's technology improved their bottom line.
Take, for instance, the case of AZCO, Inc. of Appleton, Wis. AZCO is an integrated construction company that prides itself on its limited reliance on subcontractors. At any one time, as many as 500 AZCO employees may be working on construction sites ? power plants, foundries, food and beverage facilities, for example ? around the county.
Since AZCO typically sees a project through from start to completion, any one site is likely to see AZCO ironworkers, pipe fitters and boilermakers take part in the project. Each of these groups may rely on a different welding process (flux cored, Stick, TIG) and prefer different arc settings in any one process. In constructing a power plant, pipe fitters may come in first to weld underground piping (Stick and/or flux cored). Then ironworkers may come in to erect the structure (again using Stick and flux cored, but perhaps desiring different arc characteristics); then the boilermakers will come in to weld (DC-TIG, Stick) the boiler tubing.
It's up to Mike Lang, AZCO's tool/warehouse manager, to make sure that when each group goes to work it has the necessary equipment on site. Meeting all of their welding needs isn't easy. Multiply those considerations by numerous sites around the country and you'll see the magnitude of Mike's challenge.
He solved part of the challenge by choosing Miller PipePro 304 welder generators, which met the demands of the various trades by providing an equally superior arc in each process. Now a pipe fitter, ironworker and boilermaker could share the same machine, simplifying logistics and removing the need for a separate machine for each.
For a while, Mike used the PipePro 304s mounted on trailers that were towed to various job sites. Then he decided to further reexamine his operation and, in doing so, discovered that the PipePro 304 had enough generator power to operate an XMT 304 inverter-based multi-process welder. (The welder component of the PipePro 304 is based on the Miller XMT 304 multi-process welding power source.)
By pairing a PipePro 304 and an XMT 304 on a skid of his own design, he was now able to use one welder generator to power two superior-quality welding arcs.