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Connecting the Dots on Safe Welding

25 Jul 2008


Before Welding check your area is safe

Inverter welding machines offer greater flexibility

Know what you are welding


The ability to produce strong results from welding is vital for any modern workshop, but how are good welding practices maintained and passed on to learners? MPD caught up with Phil Jones, Head Welding Tutor at the NZ Welding School to find out how to stay smart and stay safe when using welding equipment. 

How important is it for an operator to learn how to use different types of welding equipment (MIG, TIG, Arc)?

The use and knowledge of the various types of welders and their applications is no different from any tool in your toolbox. Each has a specific function, knowing when and how to use which process will help you perform a repair job correctly and safely.

What are some of the most common safety mistakes people make when using welding equipment?

Not knowing what they are welding. Our world is made up of a multitude of different materials and not using the correct welding process or filler material could result in an inferior weld, which could potentially result in disaster.

Once a weld is complete what are the best ways to test it?

Here in NZ we use a range of standards to measure the quality of a weld, undertaking a training course will help a welder understand what is expected from the type of weld they are performing. There are companies that specialize in weld testing, which is a science in itself.

When purchasing welding equipment what are some key things to look for?

What do you really want it for? There is a huge range of welders available on the market today, ranging from the cheap stuff from your local hardware merchant right up to the top of the line all bells & whistles gear from welding equipment suppliers. If you’re only doing odd jobs, then a cheaper welder may be an option, but if it’s for continual use, then like all tools you get what you pay for, so its best to invest in a quality welding machine.

What should operators do to maintain their welding equipment?

Read the manual. Like any tool regular maintenance is required, the manual supplied with the weld machine will outline what is required. Replace any damaged parts and especially if electricity is involved, have it checked by a qualified electrician.

What are the advantages of using an Inverter Welding machine?

Mainly flexibility and control. Electronics have progressed a long way over the last few years. Inverter welders are becoming cheaper and more readily available. They offer a greater level of control to the welder, but remember you still need to understand how to control the weld pool when welding and if you can’t do that, then clever electronics won’t save you.

How can panel beaters and mechanics insure that younger staff are taught good welding habits?

Younger staff and apprentices really need to undertake training courses, so they can achieve unit standards in the various welding techniques required for their daily work.

Are their any key techniques good welders should always brush up on?

We never stop learning, watching other welders, attending training courses and reading industry related articles help you keep up with the changing face of welding today. Drills means skills, the more we do the more we learn, both consciously & unconsciously. We have to remember that you can’t be too safe, so be aware of the environment you are working in, assess the hazards and undertake the task safely.

Are their any problems specific to automotive welding and how can these be solved?

Training & Qualifications. Undertake the appropriate training for the welding you are doing and where required obtain the appropriate welding qualifications. There have been too many accidents related to poor welding or weld design, like everything in the engineering industry, it needs to be done once and done right.