Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Which Welding Cable Are You?

Have you ever seen the noxious quizzes, particularly on social media sites such as Facebook, that allure you to tap the link to see "Which State Are You?"  or even better "Which Disney Character Will You Marry?"   Guilty as charged..I have sat glued to my LCD screen taking social media quizzes and then posted the result to Facebook like some kind of victory badge.  As I recharge the lost brain cells in this process we switch to the quiz, "Which Welding Cable Are You?"   This may not be a quiz, but it is certainly a question we have attempted to answer on a daily basis.  Identifying welding cables in the field can be challenging particularly if you are dealing with a customer via email or on the phone and cannot personally inspect the welding equipment.  There are, however, a few things that you can do to correctly identify your customer's cable sight unseen.

Measuring the cable.  This is probably the simplest way to identify a welding cable in the field.  Utilizing a tape measure, having the customer measure the length of the cable hole center to hole center will provide the overall length.  Identifying the circular mill size or width of the cable can be determined by measuring the circumference of the cable even with the nonconductive black hose covering.

Visual identification.  All welding cables should be clearly stamped with the circular mill size and length.  A visual identification will tell you if the nonconductive black hose covering is clamped on or sits loose.  If the covering is clamped on with bands, the cable is water cooled.  If the covering is sitting loose on the cable it is an air cooled cable.

Terminal ends are a little bit more tricky to identify; however, once it is established whether the cable is air cooled or water cooled, the terminal ends are a little easier to identify.

Copper terminals are always utilized on welding cables; however, they may be silver plated.  The terminals are all engraved with the circular mill size on one end.  Over time and with use, this may become a little more difficult to see, but it should still be visible.  Measuring the flat surface of the cable is important as well as identification of the holes (for attachments onto the machine and with water ports).

Charts for weld ampacity.  When the information above is unavailable, it is possible to configure the weld ampacities and identify an appropriate cable utilizing a formula:

To determine the required MCM rating, it is first necessary to know: (1) the duty cycle, (2) current to be used and (3) length of the cable to be used, measured bolt hole center to bolt hole center.
Once this has been determined, proceed as follows:
1. Find the closest duty cycle shown on the multiplier chart to the left. Take your current level and multiply it times the multiplier shown. This will give you the continuous duty current of the cable.

2. Refer to the chart below. Looking up from the length of your required cable, find the angular line closest to the continuous current level you just established. Then follow the angular line to the right for the MCM rating.

Identifying a welding cable for a customer can be frustrating when you are behind a computer or on the phone; however, asking a few simple questions, much like the noxious quizzes in social media, you can identify the correct welding cable. With technology and "Smart" phones, mobile photographs can also be extremely helpful to identify a part.  Technical support from the team at CAL is always available when you need a behind the scenes "expert" to sort out the correct cable information - let us make you the heroine in your customer's "Welding Cable Quiz".

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