Controls & Transformers

Questions and Answers

Controls in the marketplace control percent heat. Others control current. Many offer the option of controlling heat or current. Constant current is a common option on many current based controls. The question posed is should we base a weld schedule and ongoing process control on percent heat or current. The answer is simple. Joules Law shows us that current is the most important factor.

 Joules Law

In the formula (I)current is squared. It has the most affect upon the heat.
Therefor we should monitor and control this factor CURRENT throughout the process.

Let’s first define Reactance. Reactance is an induced magnetic field around a conductor which resists change.


It is associated with AC circuits.  The constant changing of the sine wave causes the induced magnetic field to build and become an energy drain.  Reactance is a component of the impedance of the total circuit. This magnetic field is also affected by the throat size and any magnetic materials in or near the throat.

Throat Size


Material in the throat comes into play when as a series of welds are made and the welded section progresses into the throat of the machine. If this is a magnetic material, reactance will be increasing and progressively reduce the current flow.

MFDC and DC are considered to have zero reactance. This means there are no throat effects when running magnetic materials into the throat of the machine.

The voltages will vary depending upon the machine components and design but commonly at the open electrodes ready to weld the voltage will read about 2 volts. Depending upon the input transformer voltage and the machine this range could be 2 – 5 volts. Many MFDC transformers in the field have 9 or 13 volt outputs. Due to inherent machine resistances this voltage will drop and is frequently measured at 2 volts at the electrodes.

The Resistance Welding Manufacturing Alliance “RWMA” defines duty cycle in the Resistance Welding Manual, 4th Edition, Section 19-3. It reads “Since resistance welding equipment is used intermittently, the rating is based on a 50 percent duty cycle over a one minute (60 sec) integrating period”. This value was determined long ago and has served the industry well.

Resistance welding transformers are manufactured with very little space between windings and between the primary and secondary coils. To provide electrical integrity they must be separated by insulation. This must be maintained throughout the life of the transformer. This insulation is very thin but can last for a very long time if not abused by heat, moisture or physical damage.



Transformer with Labels


As transformers age or a machine is being recommissioned the condition of the transformer should be considered. Is it in good shape and ready for another long model run? The question can be evaluated and tested. A transformer manufacturer has the proper test equipment to do this and can evaluate and potentially repair, if necessary.

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