Cooling is possibly the most important factor in electrode life. Proper water tube location will insure water flow as close as possible to the working face with the proper flow and temperature water. In each resistance welding application after the weld schedule is determined and the proper pressure, current and time (PCT) are set another important factor for electrode life is water cooling. Even with the proper setting every electrode will see very high temperatures and forces on its face. Over time this creates the traditional mushrooming of the weld face. To slow this face wear down we must reduce the time at high temperature that the weld face sees. Proper water cooling of the electrode is critical.
Water for the electrode should always come directly from the water manifold and not be plumbed to use water from another weld machine component. Cooling water is the most important item to insure electrode life. Therefore the amount of water and its temperature are very critical.
To adequately cool the electrodes we need to minimize their time at high temperatures so we need a lot of water flow. RWMA recommends 1.5 gallons/minute at the coldest temperature water available. Any compromise does not mean you will produce discrepant welds. It only means you will not produce as many good welds before dressing of the electrodes is required. This means down time in your production schedule which means fewer parts out the door each day. The recommended water flow rate is 1.5 gallons of water/minute per electrode. You can successfully produce good welds at 1.0 gal/min and 0.5 gal/min.
Water flow measurement is critical to insure that the components of the resistance welder and especially the electrodes are receiving the proper amount of cooling water during operation.
Open Drain - The simplest method if you are using an open drain is to run the exit water line from each component on the welder into a bucket for one minute and measure the water in the bucket. the ideal amount for the electrodes is 1.5 gallons/minute.
In order to lengthen electrode life, cooling the electrode is essential. The water temperature should be the colder the better for electrode life. A large amount of cold water is a requirement. The best temperature for the electrode is the coldest that you can provide. If your plant had a source of water from a well this would be perfect since the water would be about 50 something degrees Fahrenheit year round. While this is great for the electrodes, this temperature for the electrical equipment and electronics is not good during a humid summer. Electronics does not do well with condensation dripping all over it. Transformers may not hold up if they are sweating. So even though the electrodes might do well the weld machine might do poorly with lots of condensate.
Do you have a question that is not covered in our knowledgebase? Do you have questions regarding the above article? Click here to ask the professor.