Be it for TIG or MIG welding purposes, an inverter welder can be used to calibrate for different welding styles.
As they use smaller transformers, inverter welders are light in weight, versatile and efficient in completing the task with perfection. In addition to that, they use less power and are capable of operating on normal household current as well.
Inverter welders use latest silicon technology to ensure electronic control over the welding process. This technology involves rectifying the primary AC to CD current before current frequency increase. And finally, it will be rectified back to DC current to supply the electrode.
They contain silicon-based components which provide control over the frequency boosting and current rectification process. This helps with overload protection and controlling the output of the machine.
This particular welder works in this process – Initially, high DC voltage is supplied by rectifying high-input voltage of 110V – 240V. The control system present in the machine converts it back to AC. In addition to that, frequency is increased from regular 50 Hz to high value range between 10,000 Hz and 30,000 Hz.
Finally, the AC voltage (high-frequency) is finally converted back to DC voltage output between 20V – 50V which is supplied to the welding arc. Because of the high frequency, the size of the transformed is drastically increased which lets the welding machine to have compact size.
How Exactly Does an Inverter Technology Work in Welding Machines?
An inverter welder is a simple electronic device that helps to regulate voltage. They provide lower usable output voltage by converting the AC power supply. For instance, 240V AC supply is converter to 20V DC output.
They use a series of electronic components for power conversion process. Whereas conventional transformed-based devices mostly use single large transformer for regulating the voltage.
The inverter increases the primary power supply frequency from 50Hz up to 20,000 – 100,000Hz. It is done through a series of electronic switches that turn on/off the power quickly (in a millionth of second). This working mechanism of controlling the power supply before it reaches the transformer, the size of transformer can be reduced drastically.
Advantages of an Inverter Welder?
There are several benefits of using an inverter welder. We have mentioned some of them below for your reference.
1. Compact Design
Compared to conventional machines, compact size is one of the main and significant benefits of using an inverter welder. For instance, an inverter welder that is less than 5 kg in weight, compact than suitcase and easy to carry over the shoulder is capable of providing output similar to a 50 kg transformer-based machine.
Ideal inverter welding machines have about 80% to 90% of efficiency rating. Compared to conventional machines that have 50% efficiency, this one is much more beneficial. The less efficiency in the convention options is because the larger transformers in them have greater resistance which leads to power loss through heat dissipation.
3. Multiple Welding Processes
Stick welding process is most popular option in the welding world. However, methods like TIG and MIG can still be reliable for welding on different materials that are possible with an arc welder.
Before, different machines had to be used when you have to use the stick welding after using the TIG welding. Premium inverter welders let you use only single machine for different welding requirements.
Inverter welders come with simple components that help to adjust the process according to the task. Most of them come with a stick holder, MIG gun and other necessary cables. Instead of investing in separate components, you will all the essential equipment in just one purchase.
4. Arc Control
When compared to traditional arc welders, inverters provide good control over the electric arc. So, this will ensure viable welds because of stability and ease of controlled arc. The software of the inverter is customized based on the arc control. As the inverters have higher open-circuit voltage compared to standard machine, they are easy to operate and maintain.
5. Electrode Variety
Usually, standard machine completely relies on the AC for welding. However, inverters convert AC to DC, so you can pick up different electrodes to work with DC- and DC+.
Though you can use the electrodes with any current, the specialized ones are designed for certain tasks. So, if you just use the AC welder, then the welding jobs you can try are limited. However, with inverter welder, you can start the day with stainless steel welding and switch to aluminium rod welding within few minutes.
6. Duty Cycle
Usually, you can achieve higher-duty cycles with inverter-based machines because of the transformer size. Through the small components in inverter welder can overheat quickly, they also get cooled much faster. But in conventional transformper welder, the components are bigger so they store heat and take more time to cool down.
7. Power Consumption
Inverter welders can just use household current (110 volts) while the traditional arc welder uses 220-volt outlet. while operating an inverter option. You can happily plug into any household electric outlet for powering it up.
As the inverter consume lower power range for operating, you will get less power bills and save more money. So, you can try multiple inverter welders without worrying about blowing up a fuse. They are helpful for people who have a welding shop, then you can save up on the operating costs, especially if you use inverter welders instead of relying on traditional options.
8. Cooling Properties
The internal parts in the inverter welding machine can become overheated, especially if they have been working for several hours. If used continuously even with overheating, then it can lead to failure in some parts and leads to decreased lifespan of the inverter welder.
Just like desktop computer, inverter welding machines have a cooling fan to reduce the heat and protect the internal parts.
9. AC Conversion
Inverter welders convert AC to DC which is unlike the standard welder which uses AC and AC electrodes. Inverters are capable of taking high AC voltage input and convert it into lower SC output voltage.
The inverter welders have special software technology which converts and regulates the current. This software helps in regulating the voltages rather the transformers that are used in traditional machines. The inverter’s transformer is light and small which lets the inverter to be portable, compact in sizes and travel-friendly.
10. Usage of Generator
While handling welding jobs outside your shop or customer’s location, you may require a generator if you don’t have easy access to an electric outlet. Generators are available in different capacities and sizes. Usually for traditional welders, only larger generators are capable to provide enough supply.
Another problem that welders usually face in outside welding jobs is the power fluctuations in the generator which is not so common in the standard outlet. If there is a fluctuation in the middle working on a welding project, then you may not be able to control the weld pool or arc.
With an inverter, generator fluctuations don’t have any impact on the weld quality. Latest inverter welders come with IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) which handle the voltage regulation of the machine which help you work with a generator with fluctuated power output. Traditional welders can get damaged during power fluctuations. However, inverter welder uses IGBT software to manage any voltage changes.
Drawbacks of Inverter Welders
Just like any other appliance or equipment, even the inverter welders have disadvantages. Though they outweigh the benefits, they are worth knowing.
1. Unreliable Cheap Inverter Welders
As you may be already families, cheaper options are mostly unreliable and never last a lifetime. You would be lucky if cheaper option last even for few months before failing. When it comes to repair costs, they can be pretty costly which is almost half the machine value. While shopping for inverter welders, you may have to spend extra money initially but they will last a lifetime.
2. Higher Repair Costs
Most of the standard AC welders have same design since the last 50 years. They are mostly affordable and more prone to repairs. However, inverter models are a bit complex and are designed with electronics and software which lack in standard options.
Once the warranty expires, you may have to a little extra cost to get service for an inverter welder. One method to just avoid such repair and service costs is to choose an extension to the warranty received during the purchase. Some brands let you purchase do that when you purchase the model.
3. Less Durable
Though the machine has compact design that is helpful and practical to work on off-site option, they are not tough and bulky as AC welder. Inverter welders that are light in weight usually are susceptible for damage because of the dusty and heavy-drop environment.
If the inverter has accumulation of airborne dust particles like the ones available in grain silo, then the machine’s electrical components inside it can be damaged and may possibly fail as well.
Are Inverter Welders AC or DC?
Usually, the welding machines take AC input power supply but turn it to DC output form. Some of the latest machine can provide AC and DC output.
This is achieved through the step-down transformers and rectifiers present within the machine. They transform the input AC to necessary DC voltage for welding process. This sometimes prevented them for AC welding purposes.
Developments in the welding technology have let the new models in including the options to perform both DC and AC welding based on the materials and their welding requirements.
Because of this, most of the welders are now using inverter welders that have dual AC/DC operating modes This gives them complete flexibility in using the inverter welder on different materials without any issues.
How Long Does an Inverter Welder Last?
Usually, inverter welders come with a shorter lifespan which can get further decreased if you don’t store or maintain it properly. Since it has sensitive and higher number of components, it can get damaged pretty easily if you don’t take proper care. Usually, an inverter welder lasts for 5 to 6 years.
Inverter welders relatively have new technology which undergo a lot of advancements and development. But because of the electronically controlled design, you can get the software updates and make upgrades in the future without any expensive components.
When you compare the traditional transformed welding machine, the inverter model comes with a shorter lifespan. The sensitive components and pricey technology are expensive to either replacement or repairing, which makes it pointless to spend money for that. So, you may end up taking care of the maintenance and storing the machine in the right way. Or else, you will experience with major problems later on than anticipated.
Your inverter usually lasts between 5 to 10 years based on the brand you invested. If you to invest in a product that lasts for a long duration then you may have to spend some of money on it.
How to Use an Inverter Welding Machine?
Compared to traditional transformer welder, inverter welding machine are considered to be easy to operate and install. If you are not aware of inverter welding machine, then you can check the manual which comes with. Or else, you can check the YouTube videos. Below are some of the steps you need to consider for learning the basis of the right process to use an inverter welding machine.
- First, you have to connect the inverter welder to an electric socket. After that make the ground, negative, and positive connections to the work bed.
- Now take a look at the welding gun tip to see if the metals have been fused using the tip in the previous process. If yes, then you have to carefully using a plier eradicate the unnecessary material.
- You should wear safety equipment like gloves, helmets and shoes for protection.
- Select the necessary settings and tools to start the welding process.
- Clean the workpieces and place them adjacent to each other where they have to be welded. After that file the materials so that they form a V-shaped depression.
- You have to slowly move the inverter welder along the V in unidirectional way so that it can form a joint.
- File and grind the extra weld for smooth and uniform finish.
What Are the Applications of an Inverter Welder?
Using the advanced welding technology like IGBT, mosafet and others, welder welders are capable of working on stainless steel and iron welding requirements. They are suitable for welding stainless steel products, welding iron doors and several others. They are also convenient to weld household items, construction and industrial welding requirements as well.