Baseball fans love watching their favorite player hitting a home run. Of course, they prefer seeing a grand slam: the maximum number of runs (4) with 1 swing of the bat. If you’re doing those things on a consistent basis, there are certain people who’ll be lining up to pay you large sums of money. If you’re exceptionally good at it, someone will want to make a movie about you.
Like Baseball, manufacturers would love to hit a home run, or better yet a grand slam– to create a giant gap between them and their competitors. So, this email is about a game changer for the welding industry: The Information Management System.
Software In Welding – Information Management Systems
The big welding machine manufacturers are attaching to some of their new equipment the ability to monitor welding operations from the computer. The software is continuously taking data from the welding machines. The Information System crunches the data and produces numbers that can be used as benchmarks.
These Information Systems come in 2 flavors: Basic or Advanced.
Where The Numbers Come From
There are 2 numbers that are obtained from the welding machine. There is no magic in the numbers nor from where they come.
The easiest number to understand is Arc On Time: how long were you welding.
Second number, Deposition Rate is a little more complicated. It takes data from 4 variables:
– Wire Feed Speed
– Density of Filler Metal
– Diameter of Wire
– How Long You Welded
From these 4 variables it calculates a deposition rate.
Those numbers create a Benchmark: the ability to measure whether you’re going forward or backwards. If you’ve never used Benchmarks in welding this’ll be a Home Run. If you’re already using Benchmarks, this’ll provide more insight in to your welding process.
Benchmarks and How They Affect Productivity
So, how does that help productivity? For example, compare 2 welders. Welder A has 10% Arc Time compared to B who has 18% Arc Time. The hard part will be in figuring out why there’s a difference. Is it lack of training? Or a lack of materials? The list goes on. Another example is if you have a good worker that is retiring, how’s that going to affect your operations? The numbers are going to help you.
We know progress is being made when welding sparks are flying. The boss of South West Airlines told his people, “When the wheels are in the air, we’re making money”. So all efforts were made to get the plane off the tarmac.
Benchmarks and Weld Quality
You know welding sparks doesn’t mean the job is being done correctly. But the Information System can tell if the welder is working within his given parameters. The System gives the number of how much weld is being deposited; too much or too little? Is the wire feeder running at the correct speed? The more advanced systems will detect if a weld has been missed.
Benchmarks and Reducing Costs
It’s great fun to beat up your supplier and try to get the last nickel out of his pocket but the real savings come from eliminating or reducing unnecessary costs in the welding process. So examine the numbers the software is telling you. Is there too much electrode (extra money) being put into the weld? The more Advanced systems crank out even more numbers: the amount of gas being used, the amount of electricity being consumed, etc –i.e. anything that can be measured
Benchmark and Training
We’ve all heard the complaints that not enough time was given to training. The Information system doesn’t replace a trainer but can be a very good assistant. The Basic system will tell if you’re welder is working within the acceptable ranges. The more Advanced system can be quite elaborate. It can provide pictures, video, instructions, and alerts when something hasn’t been done correctly.
Baseball has a wonderful stat called L.O.B. (it’s the number of runners who were on base when the inning ended). It’s telling the baseball manager how many more potential runs the team could’ve gotten, if they’d found a way to get them home.
This kind of Information systems are like runners on base. You’ve got the numbers, now how can you turn these into a Win. Wins in business are called Profits.
If we can help you, please give us a call.