Selecting The Correct Welding Equipment: Aluminum Welding

When it comes to selecting your next piece of welding equipment, there are many different choices. Let’s take a look at how you can choose wisely for your repair facility.

One of the first things you need to think about is, what are the vehicle maker requirements for welding equipment. Most of the aluminum intensive vehicles have part restrictions so that only an OEM certified collision repair network facility can order parts. If you want to become part of the OEM certified collision repair network you would need to look into what welder is part of that particular network. Ford is the major exception to this rule, having no part restrictions.

The welding wire diameter that is typically recommended by vehicle makers is 1.2 mm, though depending on the type of repair, the recommended diameter may be 0.9 mm. As a general rule, most vehicle makers require a welder that is 220v. It will need to be capable of welding in pulse mode (pulse spray-arc transfer), and will often come with a synergic adjustment.

With aluminum welders there are some additional features you will most likely hear about. Push/pull machines have a set of rollers that "push" the wire out of the machine while another set of rollers at the gun "pulls" the wire out of the machine at the same time. This feature is great when you have a long cable or you are using 0.9mm welding wire. There may also be push/pull welders that use four rollers. These are used to place less tension on the welding wire that could cause breakage or deformation of the welding wire.

You may also want to consider some additional training for your technicians. Aluminum welding has different techniques and requirements than traditional steel welding, and if you treat aluminum welding the same as steel welding you will have issues with the welding process.

After taking these considerations into account, the next step in the process is to talk to the supplier of the welder. Asking these questions will ensure that you find the right tool for the right job on a steel welder.

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