Analyze your arc welding cost

Practical Welding Today July/August 2007
August 8, 2007
By: OTC Daihen

Daihen Graph

Typical graph showing estimated cost comparisons for proposed and existing welding methods

Looking to purchase new arc welding power sources or robots in the near future? Need to justify your costs to get your budget approved? Read on to find out how to simply calculate return on investment (ROI) as well as expected savings.

Our extensive research on arc welding cost shows that one of the best ways to compare costs is to calculate the required cost for making 100 feet of weld. Key factors include overhead and labor costs, the actual welding travel speed, consumable costs, gas costs, and welding method. Based on this, we have developed a program that calculates the ROI time and estimated savings. The user simply inputs their actual data into a spreadsheet, and the program displays the results.

From our weld cost analysis studies, the following are a few general observations:

1. Shielding gas cost typically has a very small impact on overall cost.

Surprising to many in the welding industry, shielding gas constitutes very little of the overall cost of producing a weld. Even when cutting the gas-cost dramatically, the savings are often much less than performance gains, such as increasing travel speeds and / or reducing spatter.

2. Filler metal cost has a variable impact on overall cost.

Mild steel MIG wires are relatively inexpensive when compared to Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and especially other exotic alloys like INCONEL® or Hastelloy®. Choose a wire that offers a balance of the best quality weld at the maximum travel speed possible.

3. Labor & overhead have a huge impact on overall cost.

Arc welding is basically an expensive but very necessary process, and the old adage "Time is money" is key: the faster you move the welding torch, the faster the welds are completed. This translates to reduced labor & overhead costs, which by far constitute the largest portion of the overall cost of producing a weld. A small increase in travel speed, as an example, can provide dramatic savings. This alone can be a deciding factor for purchasing new equipment or implementing a new arc welding process.

4. Daily & annual savings speak the most.

Our program also calculates the estimated daily and annual savings you can expect from comparing arc welding processes. These savings are calculated by factoring in the hours worked per shift, the number of shifts per day, the number of workdays per week, etc.

5. Learn more than just your weld cost.

This valuable tool is also a great resource for budgeting consumables required for a given project, such as how much filler metal and shielding gas will be needed, as well as the cost per project. This type of useful information can be very beneficial in helping you create accurate pricing of your product(s) to ensure you stay competitive and profitable.

Ready to get started using the weld cost analysis? Simply register on our website at, and we will send you a free copy of the program which includes instructions. OTC DAIHEN also offers more extensive programs for Robotic Production and Cost Analysis.

Take action and start justifying your costs today!

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Practical Welding Today was created to fill a void in the industry for hands-on information, real-world applications, and down-to-earth advice for welders. No other welding magazine fills the need for this kind of practical information.

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