Learning to weld is no easy task. It’s important to instill good habits early in the training process. Doing so helps ensure that these individuals are well prepared not only to create quality welds, but can also help the welders gain the confidence they need to become increasingly proficient.
Following is a checklist of the fundamental elements of safety and operation every welding student should know.
1. Make safety a first priority: It is critical that welders protect themselves from the heat and electricity generated by the welding process.
- Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) include: flame-resistant gloves, safety glasses, a welding helmet and a long-sleeved welding jacket. Flame-resistant clothing and steel-toed shoes are also recommended. Both the American Welding Society (AWS) and OSHA offer guidelines for PPE for specific environments.
- Proper ventilation and fume extraction: Always train new welders to keep their heads out of the fumes. Explain the importance of reading and understanding the manufacturer’s instructions for equipment, your company’s safety practices, and the safety instructions on the label and the safety data sheet for the filler metals being used.
- Grounding of Equipment: Routinely check for proper ground connections. Standing on a dry rubber mat (indoors) or dry board (outdoors) can minimize potential for electrical shock.
2. Install Consumables Properly: Good conductivity (the ability for the electrical current to flow along the welding circuit) is an important factor in gaining good weld quality. New welders should always install their consumables – diffusers, nozzles, contact tips, collet bodies, etc. – according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, making sure that each component is securely tightened. (There’s an expert at every Central Welding Supply location to show you how.)
3. Cleanliness is critical: Cleaning the base material prior to welding, and as needed between weld passes, is absolutely essential. Dirt, oil, grease and other debris can easily enter the weld pool causing contamination that leads to poor weld quality and costly rework. (Requirements are different depending on the base metal. Aluminum and stainless steel include additional precautions.)
4. Always follow welding procedures: Welding procedures are the “recipe” needed to create consistent welds. Weld procedures include details such as the required shielding gas mixture, recommended gas flow rate, and voltage and amperage ranges. These procedures also provide information on the type and diameter of filler metal to use. Refer to equipment user guide for general operating instructions.
5. Understand the importance of filler metals: Filler metals are a critical, but sometimes confusing, component of the welding system. New welders can benefit from familiarizing themselves with the attributes of various types of wires, including flux-cored and metal-cored wires, as well as the techniques for welding with each type. Welders should always wear clean gloves when handling filler metals and store them in a clean, dry environment. See Hobart Resource on different filler metals.
6. Stay comfortable: Keeping cool and comfortable during the welding process can help welders lessen the chance of injuries associated with repetitive movement and reduce overall fatigue. New welders should be encouraged to play an active role in improving the safety and ergonomics of their welding workspace.
7. Know the material properties: Every material has different mechanical and chemical properties. Helping new welders understand the difference between materials — particularly how they react to heating and cooling.
8. Visually inspect the welds: Knowing how to conduct an accurate visual inspection of a completed weld is the first step in quality control. New welders should learn how to identify weld defects, such as weld porosity.
9. Learn how to troubleshoot: Being able to identify and rectify welding problems quickly is a key skill for new welders to learn. Good troubleshooting skills not only help reduce downtime, but they also contribute to good weld quality and productivity.
10. Maintenance makes a difference: Every part of the welding system requires maintenance to keep it operating efficiently and effectively. New welders should become familiar with preventative maintenance in the ongoing upkeep of the entire welding system. For example, regularly checking connections throughout the length of their gun or torch, including visual inspection of front-end consumables. Gas regulators or cables and hoses that show signs of wear should be replaced.
The best approach to training is to incorporate good habits that will keep the welder safe and comfortable, and provide the knowledge to address everything from maintenance to materials.
Source: Complete Article on Miller Welds