Frequently Asked Questions
The term duty cycle is used to describe the amount of time spent depositing weld metal (the arcing period) as a percentage of the total time taken to complete a weld. In the USA, the duty cycle is called the Operator Factor.
With the MMA process, frequent interruptions are required to allow for slag removal, inter-run dressing and changing the electrode. Consequently, the duty cycle can be quite low.
At the other extreme, a high duty cycle is possible from a programmed robot because it may be able to weld continuously for long periods with only short interruptions to allow for the work-piece to be manipulated.
While the duty cycle for each welding process will vary according to factors such as type of work, access to joints and the working practices of a particular organisation, it is possible to allocate some typical values such as those shown in the table below.
Some typical duty cycles for workshop welding
|Welding process||Duty cycle|
|Typical (%)||Range (%)|
||15 to 40%
|MIG/MAG (GMAW) - semi-automatic
||15 to 60%
|MIG/MAG (GMAW) - automatic
||50 to 100%
|FCAW - semi-automatic
||15 to 55%
|SAW - mechanised
||40 to 90%
It is important to note that the term duty cycle is also used to rate welding power sources and refers to the maximum welding current that they can be used for a particular operating time.
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