When you are using an arc welding machine, you will need to understand what its duty cycle is as it will help you preserve the life and quality of your tool. On this page, you will learn about what a duty cycle is and how it is relevant to MIG welders, specifically.
When you purchase a MIG welder, you will notice a specification on the packaging or in the manual called the duty cycle. This refers to the amount of welding that can be achieved in a given amount of time. The reason this specification is important is it informs the user of how long the MIG welder can work at its optimum level, since MIG welders, or any other welders, do not perform continuously as opposed to some other automotive tools that do.
A perfect example of a duty cycle can be found in the Eastwood MIG 175 Amp Welder. The MIG 175 has a rated duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps. This means that the power signal of the MIG 175 should remain on for 30% of the time and off 70% of the time at 130 amps of power. If you look at your welding time in increments of 10 minutes, the duty cycle is a percentage of that 10 minute increment. In other words, with a 30% duty cycle at 130 amps, you can weld for three solid minutes and should let the welder cool off for seven minutes. You can increase the duty cycle percentage by turning down the amperage output, but going above the amp output (in this case, 130 amps) will yield a lower duty cycle. If you exceed the duty cycle and the breaker is tripped, allow the MIG welder to cool down for at least 15 minutes. A rated duty cycle on any MIG welding machine is there to protect you and your welder from any long-lasting damage.
To learn more about MIG welding and for more automotive articles, be sure to visit Eastwood.com.