American Welding Society Forum
It would be interesting to let welders apply their thoughts to the requirements for inspectors to maintain their qualifications. :)
If an organization wants to exceed the requirements of a code because they do something "special" they should.
I guess the good things about making the process documentation heavy is that need for documentation people can sometimes be filled with inspectors...provided they have the right "documentation endorsement"
Have a great day.
For a company to perform this repair by the codes in the US, they must be properly credentials AND have their own WPS.
Have a great day!
That is not a requirement in most codes. It may be a requirement on a WPS, company requirements, or even in project specifications. It is an extensively talked about subject and may have quite a few opinions.
Often times the number of 2-1/2 times the core diameter comes up. It is a "wives tale" level requirement if its taught as something a code said and does not tell you which code! That number can be found in some the AWS A5.x filler metal specifications but is only for certain tests to qualify the filler metals.
If you "know" that it must not be more than 3X, then you gained that knowledge somewhere. Take a look at that "source" and see if any references are made.
If you want to do some research on many of the fine opinions used in this forum, check out the search results in the following link or use the search menu at the top of the page. https://app.aws.org/forum/forum_search.pl?words=width&user=&board=0&field=subject&min=&max=&order=desc
No reference to a code makes things difficult. What code are you working with and someone may be able to point you to the information you need.
In some cases, a piping project may require NDE in accordance with the code of construction for the project. A common one is B31.3 in which NDE requirements are specified by piping class and also for welder verification.
For ASME B31.1, the nde is decided by the service conditions of the pipe and maybe diameter (I am not looking at a code and may be wrong).
Even with the code requirements, a customer may specify additional NDE if they choose to.
I have seen that going around. Ya gotta pick out the rules you like!
Please understand that your statement comes with some other requirements. If someone reads the statement without following up with the actual code requirements, then they could be mistaken.
I have used pro-write as a demo and noticed one or two little items but cannot recall them. With any welding related software, it's always good to know that the software is performing correctly as required by the code. If you have done that and are still not satisfied with what is happening, a call to the company is usually a good idea. I worked in customer support for another company and we got many calls in which the caller did not quite understand what the code "said".
The call will either result in the company telling you the code rules and how they match what the software (free knowledge) or they will tell you that it is a "bug" or something "they decided was better" or they will "get back to you".
Let us know how it goes but do take a look at table 4.5 before calling. I am pretty sure there is some info there about one of your items!
Have a great day.
It was a great holiday for us. Very relaxing.
I hope it was great for everyone else!
A procedure that meets the requirements of the applicable code and is suitable for satisfactory welding of the production joint.
To provide any more detail requires more detail.
You are correct. I was involved with the process performing inspection. They used FCAW-G if my memory is correct.
If the WPS states Short Circuit, is there a reason to doubt that? The Oscilloscope or High-Speed video would be a way to confirm that. Some 1200 FPS cameras can be inexpensive. They will not record the arc in high resolution but you can see the darkening around the area easily.
AWS Membership is required then I imagine you could call them for some help.
That is very interesting. my experience with Spiral Welded pipe has ben SAW only. 4.0 MM GMAW would be interesting to see.
The transfer mode is best established by observation as opposed to the theory since you are there to observe what is happening. An oscilloscope or even high-speed video could be used to observe what is happening if you are undecided between short circuit and globular. Because you are using 30% CO2 only then theoretically, spray does not occur. I, however, have never used 4MM GMAW so I am only speaking from knowledge of information read. I have observed metal transfer that looked like, sounded like, and welded like spray using 75/25 Argon/Co2.
Spray is pretty obvious when it occurs also.
A paper on the subject of transfer mode sensing can be read at http://files.aws.org/wj/supplement/WJ_1991_04_s91.pdf
which may lead you to more information other than opinions.
In my mind, your options are globular and short circuit if you are sticking to accepted "theory" but verification using theory is not as strong as verification using observation. There are variations of our standard "textbook" modes and many research papers on the process.
If you are trying to use the transfer mode as a basis for qualifcation ranges related to thickness, I strongly suggest verification of suitability on all thicknesses to be welded. I know that could be an expensive process on a spiral weld setup but for straight seams, it could be a little easer.
Sorry if I used big words! :)
As far as HT's went when I was active duty, advancement was very quick for the most part. The HT's that enlisted with guaranteed schools because of higher ASVAB scores would probably have a slightly better chance on doing well on advancement exams.
When my enlistment came to an end, I requested NDT School. I was an E-6 and they wouldn't allow it because it was considered a "conflict of interest" because I was a Nuc welder. Never did figure that one out. The other thing was that if I were to make E-7, there was no assurance I would keep on welding so I was done.
How things are done now, I have no clue since my time was many years ago.
Regardless, getting all of the "details" worked out before signing up is important but recruiters are really only a notch or two from car dealers.
If the job to be considered is only a small percentage of the group, then that could be a positive or negative thing.
Positive, you are "special".
Negative, advancement is slow and trained and experienced peers to work with are few. If there were only 100 1316's in the Marines then I imagine welding was not a big demand skill requiring welding daily.
If someone wants to go into the military there are many choices. I consider the Marines to be best at what they do, the Navy best at what they do and so on.
Regardless, nothing beats working for less than minimum wage at a job you can't just "quit" for a boss that may or may not be any count.
There are a great many resources to help with study questions besides just looking for the "answer". The parameters that you list are ones that very few including myself would be familiar with.
These research questions are for learning typically. Understanding the topics related to the question are the "goal".
If I am wrong in my interpretation, please let us know the applications where you use 4.0 mm solid electrode and 170 cfh of CO2.
One of the best ways to answer this query is to setup using the parameters and test them out...unless this is a question for your learning. Then the study of some theory related to GMAW transfer modes is suggested.
My meaning was that one of the best parts of the Navy is the US Marines.
I never let credentials outweigh proof until the engineer of record says so.
If you ever need someone to review something many would be glad to help including myself.
And for performance qualification using ASME IX only, there is no amount of reinforcement restricted or required. Since 6G is referred to as the position, qualification would be the expected context.
Separate acceptance criteria outside the code for qualification would need to be referenced or whatever the manufacturer/contractor required.
It is old but the information remains important for sure.
Have a great day!
Regardless of conflict of interest issues, an acceptable weld is an acceptable weld. Should I notice one on steel being erected or any other product that is owned by the company that hired me, I will make someone aware of it.
Should that item be somehow attached to me, I must make that clear to whomever I report it to (which should be the organization that hired me)
The steel fabrication and erection industry is full of extremes on both sides. I see AISC fabricated steel with slag still on the welds and I see "mom and pop" shop items that look like they were done by a machine!
If items "comply", they comply. If they do not, they do not!
The issue of "conflict" is stated like this in QC1
11.4.1 The SCWI, CWI, or CAWI shall avoid a conflict of interest with the employer or client and shall disclose any business association, or circumstance that might be so considered.
Note that the word "Shall" is used. It is not optional.
The method by which the disclosure is made is not addressed. It could be verbal, phone call, email or in a report. So it is possible the inspector has complied with QC1.
It has been my experience that the majority of erected steel that I have inspected in my region has numerous conditions that do not "meet the code" and when I document issues that do not comply with the code, the erector or fabricator indicates that it's my issue.
My very 1st "special inspection" contained a statement similar to "...the last guy just looked for the burnt paint under the bar joists...". That statement was made after asking for a ladder to gain access.
If you're interested, here is some more "opinion" I have on the subject of inspecting steel and within this article there is another related link.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/special-inspections-followup-gerald-austin/
I have been in the welding industry for about 38 years and I can say that the most difficult industry to work with as far as quality and code compliance goes has been the structural steel erection industry.
I have worked both sides and actually got into inspection because of inspectors making up their own rules. I would challenge anyone that has held someone to something not specified. Unfortunately, the norm is not what is specified but what has been accepted in the past.
If there is an issue with your organization's welds, then focus on that. If an inspector is marking up things that he or she sees that are NOT related to what the code says, then focus on that. A report addressing documented conditions that counters what an inspector noted that contains code references and pictures can go a long way.
If I walk by a rejectable weld on a project, I should let someone know. How I do that and the amount of detail needs to be carefully thought out. Since 100% visual inspection may not be required by the special inspector, then only the fabricator and erector are responsible.
Sometimes reputations vary among the peer group. A great steel erector may look one way to a purchasing agent or engineer and yet another way to someone with up-close access to product.
Those are my thoughts but based solely upon my very limited experience in the wide ranging world of welding.
Have a great day.
For the codes in which the test positions are given a tolerance, then I would stay within that tolerance. For any others I would not apply the allowed variations for "welding position" and eyeballing or using a level would apply.
I'm was a welder in the US Navy. It was a great job.
One thing to think about is the drastic change in lifestyle coupled with the fact that you are there to fight and die for your country. I am a cold war era veteran so my experiences are very mild compared to the many men and women who served before and after me.
Too bad about the "boat" thing. The Navy has about the best of everything including the US Marines.
You are best to keep on researching. Talk to recruiters but remember they are sneaky creatures!
Where is boot camp, what schools am I guaranteed based on my ASVAB, does my selected MOS/Rating restrict me to certain duty stations etc..
None of the US Codes I am aware of place requirements on the lab doing the testing. The testing is often done by the manufacturer or contractor.
If I were a company having someone else doing the testing, I would want to see their procedures and equipment used. Maybe an audit of some type.
If this is ASME Code work, then having the codes is a place to start to qualify the WPS. There are a few grades for the A-216 however you don't have to use the actual material for qualification of your procedure. SA/A216 is very widely used in steam and water lines. The code of construction that applies to the piping system should also be consulted before fabricating any components along with the design drawing and any customer provided specifications.
As far as welding goes, you would start with qualifying your procedure using the rules in ASME Sec IX for the process you are using. You can then write a WPS that covers exactly how you want to complete the weld. The ranges for the variables that can be used are all in ASME IX.
In addition to the WPS being qualified by testing, the welder must be also. If you follow the correct ranges as allowed by the code, you could qualify both a WPS and Welder at the same time.
With any code compliant work, it is suggested that more than what metal sticks what metal together be looked into. Both are just carbon steel and nothing special to weld but the statement "under ASME CODE" makes it something else.
Find an "R" stamp holder.
If you cannot tell if a student has learned to weld because of removing reinforcement then there are issues.
If a cap is too high does that REALLY mean someone can't weld ?
I usually find the non welders waaaaaay before the cap stage.
Companies can add whatever they see fit to a test. That's one reason THEY should test any employees. Even if just visual. Some want someone else to do that work for em.
I think doin em 12 inches off the floor is a great way to show students or experienced welders a little challenge...or maybe make em mirror weld em all.
Welders have to test all the time. I think its somewhat crap that people.wanna go above and beyond many things when it means nothing. I can tell if a person is a decent welder way before the bends happen. But I just follow the code.
An inspector or fitter or millwright can wprk 10 jobs a year and never take a test. Some welder has to show his skill to everyone wanting to flex their "quality muscle".
AWS has modifed the standard for AWS certified welders and its comical for me to read. Its gonna be special.
Not sure what you are asking. The statement "CJP groove welds qualified on pipe shall also qualify for plate and vice versa." is pretty clear if that's what it says.
In most code committee minds, the product form has little to do with the ability of the process to join two materials together.
For performance, that is different.
Your statement that a "... PQR run on Plate can be used for pipe in production...." is not corrrect as you would NOT use a PQR for the production welds. You would use a WPS that is qualified and that qualification is documented on a PQR.
In AWS QC47, there is a restriction on grinding that completely prohibits power tools altogether except for tacks. So now the AWS QC47 committee is "smarter" than all of the codes that do NOT prohibit power tools. Hmmmmm, I wonder how they got so smart.
So when this specification comes into force, many things will change. When that will happen, nobody knows.
So then there will be two levels of AWS Certified Welders. There will be the Pre QC47-Grinding Allowed welders and the QC47 welders that could not grind.
It would be my preference to see a restriction placed on how soon someone can take the CWI exam after taking the "learn how to pass the test" courses offered by so many but that's an entirely different topic...but similar in "mentality".
Edited:Changed the word code to specification.
I have administered a few tests as a test supervisor at ATF's. I have developed the written quality systems for a few current ATF's Being an ATF currently does not change any criteria for completing an actual weld under supplement G. Other supplements have specific requirements and augment the requirements of referenced codes.
The scope of supplement G is
"This Supplement to the AWS QC7-93, Standard for AWS Certified Welders, provides a welder certification method not specifically based on a code but which may be acceptable for various codes. The rules for performance qualification are as defined by the applicable specification referenced in the WPS or as defined by the employer in the WPS or accompanying documentation (acceptance criteria)."
Many codes could be used and you are referencing AWS D1.1.
So D1.1 is the issue and being an ATF currently has no bearing on the allowing of grinding or any acceptance criteria. That has been addressed numerous times. However, AWS QC7-93 also states the following.
"G5.2-3 If during qualification testing the Test Supervisor determines that the welder does not exhibit the skill required to perform the test satisfactorily, the test may be terminated."
A thing to consider whenever rejecting a test is what the welder has been told, what the code allows, what additional requirements you have agreed to. Should you reject one of my tests based upon excessive reinforcement and all other code requirements were met, I would take pictures, request a copy of the documentation, write a complaint to the facility representative or whoever is defined in you written quality system, and file a formal complaint with AWS.
What I do is this. I make sure the welders are aware that
1) I have the right to stop the test
2) They have the right to file a complaint
3) Acceptance criteria is AWS D1.1
4) I want to see the root pass and final pass in the as-welded condition. Grinding may be performed after at the discretion of the welder.
5) If excess reinforcement is present on the final layer I will not reject it based upon that alone and they will be required to correct it after visual inspection.
6) I may observe them at any time during welding and may exercise my right to stop the test if it appears necessary.
On the side when I am the test supervisor and I choose to stop a test it will be heavily documented, photos taken, and the welder will almost ALWAYS know that there is a problem brewing before it becomes too late.
It may be excessive grinding, inability to maintain a consistent bead or layer contour, discontinuities on fill passes, safety issue etc... But there will almost always be a warning or awareness of my concerns. Safety may be excluded from warnings.
There is some judgment that comes into play. If I suspect excessive grinding because of poor passes, then I observe the testing a bit closer.
I am also the technical manager for one ATF in a full-time capacity. In the cases where we test employees for a company, I make sure that they understand that only the applicable code criteria applies to the test unless they provide something else.
I have rejected tests of perfectly fine welders because they had to make more passes on the test than allowed by the company provided WPS because of the need for verbatim compliance with the WPS.
If the ability to make a sound weld is interpreted by the amount of reinforcement left before any grinding and that's the ONLY thing wrong with a persons test then some thinking is required.
As a company representative giving a test, I have the flexibility to test however I like for potential or currently employed welders. THAT IS NOT the same as testing people at an ATF.
The technical manager or facility representative at the facility should be consulted to make sure everyone is on the same page including the welder when it comes to acceptance criteria outside the code or documented requirements.
You ask "Am I being too picky by wanting to see welds that aren't ground down on the cover pass?" My answer is no based upon the question.
If you are rejecting welds that exhibit excessive reinforcement and restricting activities that are allowed by all documented requirements, then YES. You are binding something that exceeds the requirements of the code.
All of the above is my opinion and my experience is limited to only my experience so take that into consideration with any "internet opinions".
There is a common belief among welders that one progression is "worse" than others or that some codes restrict the use of downhill or uphill altogether.
ASME Sec. IX does not prohibit downhill nor do any of the codes of construction. API 1104 does NOT prohibit uphill welding.
As with all welding in accordance with a code, the things that are required are a WPS qualified for the production joint and a welder qualified for the production joint. They both must overlap for what is done on THAT specific weld and that's it.
Procedures are not "industry-wide" as each company is responsible for their own in almost all cases.
The documentation that supports uphill or downhill is the code that applies to the work that you are doing. Unfortunately, as a welder, you may often never see the secret "documentation" as sometimes it doesn't exist or is in control of the all powerful and all knowing QC inspector.
Have a good one.
PWHT for A514 is a dangerous process and in almost all cases, should be avoided. Cracking from heat treatment can occur if conditions are suitable.
Is that something you perform?
Selling anything to anyone can be difficult. I became a member over 30 years ago because I wanted to be a member of a "group" with the same interests as I had. I wanted the Welding Handbooks, the Welding Journal and that was enough for me.
I maintain my membership now because I want to help support the only welding organization in my country. I like to be a part of some "group"...well AWS meets my requirements. Meetings when I can make them are an event that I truly look forward to even if only 4 people are there. I like being in that group of people with common interests.
My interest in welding was and still is the "root cause" for being a part of this group. I have let it lapse a few times over the years due to not paying attention to things so I am not the poster child for AWS Membership for sure.
There is no individual selling point that jumps out at me other than being as deeply involved with a trade that I have truly enjoyed from my HS years through today. Though I truly like to support my lovely wife with the money that my trade has provided, I would weld for 50k a year before I would do anything non-welding related for $200k a year.
Though I have saved the cost of membership in book discounts this year, that won't enter my mind when I renew. I have never considered $ as a benefit in membership.
If I could bottle up my "feelings" about welding and give that to students vs my knowledge, they would outpace my rate of progress over the years. I think we all have different levels of "passion" for things and based on that level, we "participate" accordingly.
Glad the Workforce Development path is working for you. I made a pretty big change a few years back to work in that arena and it has been a learning experience.
The welding industry...even when its bad its good ! I love it and I know this shallow response to your very detailed question may not help but because I'm a part of this group, any interaction I can get in on is good!
Have a great day!
A search on the membernetwork returns just over 29k results when CWI and SCWI is checked.
You are definitely in the area for pipeline experience. Unfortunately, I have NO experience in that industry other than witnessing a few welder tests. Your "...I'm certified through NCCER." statement caught my eye as NCCER has no welder testing "program".
Even the craft certification for welders in non-existent based on multiple conversations I have had with them.
The saddle test is much different than a groove weld and a 6G is much different than having to do a 5G and 2G. The latter is more difficult. The 6G just makes it where you can do one coupon but is by no means harder and sometimes people who have passed that test feel they have "mastered" the weld test process but its far from so.
I think you're going at it the right way as far as pursuing some helper positions but don't rule out other welding jobs that may help you build your skills well above what you learned in school.
Normally there would be a piping specification for each line type that addresses supports including any need for pads.
The codes will address the minimum spans and a few other engineering details however what the pipe is supported on is another level of detail.
There is a sample in the back of the 2016 code that may help you. For sure, each variable that applies to the process needs to be recorded.
That's a "nominal" response! :)
How about a PIC and a code for reference?
I would not have a problem with it myself provided a good groove was provided but in the context of all of our "rocket science" type inspections, it sure does leave some things "open". With a matching WPS, all is good.
On the "thinking" side of it, A guy could reject a weld prep for being one degree over or under the tolerance but the "good" prep made it past the ever vigilant inspector only to have a backgouge done thats way to narrow for its depth.
Codes in and of themselves are pretty poor quality systems. And even those are seldom complied with in quite a few cases.
Sometimes my brain just leaks out stuff when I read something on a forum.
If you gouge the beveled side of the joint after applying the backing weld, what controls are in place to assure a suitable (prequalified) joint detail?
Just a little something to think about.
The concepts about the welding symbols are great, however, the way its "Detailed" has no bearing on it being prequalified. Some space could be saved by just saying "Back Weld" or "Backing Weld" in the tail can straighten some things out with much less real estate used up.
I'm not sure if there are any notes or references in the code or not but in "practical" sense, if a single bevel joint is fitup and tacked of a certain configuration and then its "altered" before welding and were all about accurate documentation representing what was done, did the joint really match the "detail".
I too agree that SG-AC-25 will produce spray transfer.
As already indicated, the increase in Argon will help. As the Argon percentage goes up, the transition current (changes from globular to spray) goes down.
You could use globular transfer mode. In my opinion, alternative gas is the best way to overcome the issue of stability if needed.
Im gonna try out some SC-AC-15 in my little shop that I use for welder qualification testing. That will cover all of my GMAW needs and also some FCAW wires.
I enjoyed it too. Hope you have a safe trip.
I think it was accidentally released. I happened to be searching for it regularly and it showed up at IHS.
I have QC47. Purchased it at IHS. It was pulled.
I attended my 1st online committee meeting this past week. I was hoping to go to Miami soon but don't think its in the bank account at home or my employer. May have to withdraw.
Have you tested welders before? For a company or otherwise? That may help me better answer your questions. What is your experience related to the topic? If you have no experience in the matter, I suggest working with someone who does. The CWI credential does not reflect an aptitude or ability for anything. In many cases, its just a certification that one passed a test on a given day.
I passed HS English and have even been using the language my entire life, however, I have no knowledge of diagramming a sentence and wouldn't know a dangling modifier if I ran into it. Though I use the language and am around it, I am by no means qualified to "inspect" others use of the language and tell them if it "complies".
There are a couple of concepts you can consider.
1) A facility fully equipped and available for an organization to perform large-scale testing.
You could charge "rental" for the space and equipment, and then have add-ons for arranging/performing inspection and testing of completed welds.
This will take a considerable amount of equipment investment.
2) A facility that charges "by the test".
With this option, your initial investment for equipment can be low. Understanding that most decent employers perform their own testing is worth considering. If you build a good relationship with them as an organization that can test people in a manner that meets their requirements, where codes allow, you could perform the testing for them.
Do not think "Build it and they will come!!!!"
I have helped a couple of AWS ATF's get started but not all function well due to the fact that they are schools and other than "free money" from grants, they are limited in resources as far as people who have experience in industry testing welders. Many instructors are "single industry" experienced and may not have ever looked at a code.
Realize this, business and industry will often indicate they would "like" some type of service or resource in the region. This "LIKE" does NOT mean they will use it or support it.
If you are going to test individuals or even people for a company (not advised unless they have a WPS but just my opinion), you will need WPS's. Sure D1.1 and a few other codes allow for "prequalified" WPS's. But other codes do not. So knowing the "need" in the region can help you prepare for what code books you want to buy.
I have been working on a website for gathering and sharing knowledge related to the subject but have yet to get anything complete. I am intending to move forward a little quicker on the subject. The site is weldingclassroom.org and there is a registration form at https://wp.me/P8Uwjj-3b
. I only have a few pcs of content related to setting up a test facility but your welcome to look around.
I'm not so sure about that "short order". :) I guess in comparison t0 a document approved in 89, its a good description for one dated 2016 but yet to be released. I bought one online but it has now been removed.
In the new standard, the requirement for anyone to be a full time employee or have ANY experience is now removed. The exception for the test supervisor having the currently non-existent "endorsement" is understood but that person may be a contractor or employee.
So a one person "organization" could do it all as I see it. That may or may not have been the intent. The requirements for assuring personnel have suitable "education, training, technical knowledge and experience" is a BIG loophole since nothing defines any of the requirements. (Except for the "qualifier). I thought about asking for an interpretation but have yet to decide if that's worth the potential damage to my perception of how things should work.
With some organizations, the current experience requirement of 5 years and full time employee for the technical manager is a problem. That problem will go away now and anyone can be considered qualified under the ever accurate perception of "management".
"Ooooooh look, Bobby the student has completed our 2 year degree program and passes and AWS certified Welder Test, lets hire him so he can be our long term employee and we can fine tune him into the ways of academia and also be over our ATF."
It is going to be interesting as it is a considerable change in requirements. Having recently joined a committee and as an observing applicant, I can say that I have a better understanding of some of the things I see. ;)
As QC4 is written now and from what my brain understands, there is no requirement for the Technical Manager, Facility Rep, Test Supervisor, or Quality Manager to be a separate person. It also doesn't require anyone to be an employee other than the technical manager. So an individual could perform all of the functions as needed and for the sake of keeping things a little less "fox in the henhouse", use an outside source as the quality manager.
I'm not sure all "labs" do a much better job from a few that I have seen. So working with one should be accompanied with caution.
They have absolutely no "requirement" for a documented system for what they do from material control, to verification of identity.
I'm not saying some labs don't do a good job. Some go overboard rejecting welders that make welds that meet the written requirements. Others have not a clue about filling out a welder performance qualification test record. And some do fine.
I'm currently working on a training session for "Welder Qualification Testing" to help some "Certified" individuals become more knowledgeable about the process. Hoping to do classroom training in one session followed by actual testing.
I think a few D14 codes refer to the AWS Certified Welder Program but none require it as you indicated.
I can't think of any pitfalls or ramifications that exist that are any way different than what we would come across inspecting. In both cases we "certify" that something met the requirements of a written specification. I never sign for "Manufacturer or Contractor" unless I am their representative. I will create a form that certifies I observed all testing, performed inspections, and all code requirements for performance testing were observed. But the ole "Manufacturer or Contractor" line doesn't get my name.
It would be very difficult for one to have all three of these and be able to give a true comparison. They are all lower price import machines that may have very similar components and capabilities. I have a longevity Plasma, DC Tig/Stick machine that has continued to be able to weld for 8 or 9 years. However The ESAB 235ic I got a few months ago has more arc time on it and welds the same.
The longevity machine no longer plasma cuts and power output has gone down about 25%.
One machine cost me $500.00 ish and the other $2000 ish.
Check out the manufacturers ebay and amazon reviews may be a good way to go.
Most of the "Combo" machines that include a plasma cutter are imports from various manufacturers and distributors overseas.
I for instance have a Longevity Stick/Tig/Plasma that is about 9 years old and still welds (at a reduced output) and also will no operate in plasma mode. But I paid around $500.00 for it and it has long since paid for itself but is pretty much useless for anything but lower amperage welding.
Had I bought a conventional transformer/rectifier that was just for stick welding, it would still be welding today at full capacity and would probably continue to do so for many years to come.
I recently purchased a CC/CV (Stick, DC Tig, or wire fed process) ESAB machine and its been great.
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