Engine-driven welder/generators are one of the most common welding-related pieces of equipment found on service trucks and construction sites. There are some heavy-use applications -- such as pipe welding, MRO and structural steel -- that may frequently require multiple welding arcs to be running at the same time. At that point, your options are to run an inverter-based welding system off the welder/generator’s power (or off the site’s power if you’re on a site with power), add another welder/generator, or use a dual operator welding system.
Dual operator systems offer a number of advantages and, like standard welder/generators, offer industrial-grade generator power for running tools on site. Benefits include:
1. Improved productivity: a dual-operator engine-driven welding system can offer two independent welding arcs up to 400 amps (no interaction between the arcs), and the ability to parallel both independent welding outputs to create an extremely powerful 800 amps of welding power for running large electrodes, stud welding and carbon arc gouging (up to 3/8-inch carbons). There is no interaction between the two arcs, so welders don’t have to worry about interference.
2. Powerful generator power: Using the Big Blue 700 Duo Pro as an example, one 5,500-watt-peak/4,000-watt-continuous single-phase generator is fully independent of weld output and offers peak performance even when welding at 700 amps (no interaction between arc and generator). The second generator (27,000 watts peak/20,000 watts continuous) provides more robust power for high power needs on site. Contractors can even add inverter-based power sources to allow even more welding arcs to be run off of a single machine.
3. Lower cost of operation: A dual-operator system offers a lower capital investment, reduces overhead and associated maintenance costs, and can retain a higher resale value than two separate machines. The greatest cost savings, however, come in fuel savings. A dual-operator system can reduce fuel use by 35 percent over two comparable independent machines, saving hundreds of dollars annually and potentially more based on use.
4. Less equipment to transport: Transporting and organizing equipment for larger sites can be challenging. A dual-operating system can weigh hundreds of pounds less than two comparable units and takes up a considerably smaller footprint on trucks and on site. The reduced weight helps reduce wear and tear on transport vehicles. Set side-by-side, two comparable engine-driven units would sit approximately 53-inches wide and 56-inches deep. The dual-operator system with the same output would sit about 29-inches wide and 65-inches deep, saving a considerable amount of space.
5. Reduced noise: Running one engine-driven unit compared to two will substantially reduce the amount of noise in the work area, leading to improved communication and a more comfortable work environment.
6. Reduced emissions: Running one engine rather than two results in a lower level of exhaust emissions, minimizing the impact on the environment.
Post by Joe Gitter, product manager for Miller Electric Mfg. Co., based in Appleton, Wis.