There is a demand for heavy equipment and trained heavy equipment operators. The manufacturing of heavy equipment requires skilled welders and specialised welding tools.
The construction and manufacturing industries also need consistent welding quality. These results can only be achieved through the use of specialised mechanical welding equipment.
Modern manufacturing welding procedures use semi-automatic, machine, automated, and robotic welding equipment.
Working with this equipment means different considerations on top of typical welding safety. Read on for important tips on how to keep yourself safe in the workshop, assembly line, or factory when working with heavy welding equipment.
The Five Main Welding Processes
All control of the welding equipment is performed manually. This includes the manipulation of the welding machinery and manipulation of the work-piece. Manual welding is the most versatile but also the riskiest type of welding, due to the heavy involvement of the welder.
Semi-automatic welding employs the use of equipment that controls some of the welding processes. The electrode feeds automatically to the arc while the welder manipulates the welding gun. Most welders prefer semi-automatic welding to other types of welding.
Machine / Mechanised
A gun, torch, or electrode holder is manipulated by a mechanical device that is operated by the welder. This mechanical device can also be a robot. Mechanised welding allows for safer and faster welding.
All welding activity is done by machinery, which can be adjusted between, but not during, the welding process. The operator simply needs to switch machinery on and off and watch for any issues with function or quality.
Automated welding is ideal for welding that needs to be repeated on multiple pieces with the same results and quality. This is important in factories or assembly lines.
All welding activity is done by a robot/machine similar to automated welding. However, the machinery is robotic and, therefore, is pre-programmed with specific behaviours. This programming minimises the involvement of a person in the process.
Steps for Heavy Equipment Welding Safety
Guard Your Machinery
Uncrewed stations are a danger to nearby workers, yet this is the workplace violation most perpetrated by workers.
Machinery and robotic equipment may be capable of managing the welding work. But, as with all electrical and robotic equipment, glitches and malfunctions are possible.
It’s crucial that you always guard and supervise the work station equipment to minimise any damage or accidents in the event of a malfunction.
Take Extra Care When Interacting with Machinery
No matter the type of machinery, there is a necessity to perform maintenance, testing, or programming regularly; and this has to be done manually by you or a skilled professional.
This is the time when most accidents occur, as it is at this point when you will need to make yourself vulnerable and interact directly with the machinery.
Know Your Safety Codes - Such as the America National Standards Institute Safety Code
The ANSI Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes has been written to specify safe welding practices. It’s available for free to read online. First published in 1944 after World War II, this code was revised many times. It was most recently in 2012, to include all modern changes in technology.
Safety Equipment for Heavy Equipment Welding Safety
Different types of welding machinery should be used together with specific safety equipment. These items can be used to create a safe welding cell that can easily and safely be operated, manned, and reloaded by you or an employee.
In the case of robotic, automated, or mechanised equipment, some of these safety devices, could include:
Safety equipment may be expensive, but it can save more than its cost in litigation and compensation fees for injured workers. These resources from the United States Department of Labor prove the value of workplace safety equipment.
Welding is a dangerous business. Working with automated machinery and robots comes with added complexities which you or your employees should be aware of.
Although the equipment may now perform some of the more dangerous tasks, you always need to be vigilant. There are still enough on-the-job injuries that highlight a need to improve workplace safety.
Author bio - Nina is a freelance writer specialising in a few niches, including Home & Garden. Writing engaging and high-quality content ranging from interior design and landscape architecture to commercial construction and heavy equipment.
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