MIG Welding Consumables Reduce Wire Feeding Issues and Downtime

When MIG welding consumables aren’t properly installed or maintained, it can result in wire- feeding issues and weld quality problems. Troubleshooting and correcting these challenges can cost hundreds of dollars — and hours per day — in a manufacturing operation.

Welder bent over MIG welding part on table
Consumables that simplify the installation process and help eliminate errors reduce downtime for changeover and troubleshooting and decrease costs.

As the industry faces a shortage of skilled welders and those entering the profession have less experience, it may be more common for welders to incorrectly install MIG gun consumables and liners.

Consumables that simplify the installation process can help eliminate errors, reduce downtime for changeover and troubleshooting, and decrease costs.

Learn how new consumables available in the marketplace can help address wire-feeding problems and the role they play in maximizing throughput and productivity.

The cost of poor consumable performance

Not addressing poor consumable performance can result in, among other problems, lower-quality parts and expensive rework.

Wire-feeding issues are some of the most common complaints in the welding industry. Often, improper trimming or installation of the MIG gun liner is the cause of these problems.

As with other consumables, the MIG gun liner wears out over time and must be changed periodically. Typically, replacement liners are longer than necessary and must be trimmed appropriately for the style and length of the MIG gun. Trimming the liner to the proper length can be difficult. In some cases, the welder may change the liner without taking the time to complete the proper steps of installation or may not know the proper steps.

This can result in a host of problems. A liner that is cut too short can lead to the issues a lot of welders experience: wire chatter, erratic arc and burnback. A too-long liner, which happens less frequently, results in a tight fit and can cause the wire to weave and curve as it feeds through the gun. If the operator continues to weld without diagnosing the cause of any of these problems, it may result in bad welds that require rework or result in scrap.

It seems to be common in the industry that welders typically change the contact tip at the first sign of trouble with the welding gun, and this may help for a short-term fix. But if the liner is the root cause, the problem will repeat itself, leading the welder to use more tips than if a correctly trimmed liner was installed. This increases costs due to wasted consumables and downtime for changeover.

In some operations, welders don’t install or trim liners. Instead, MIG guns are taken to a maintenance department whenever a liner must be changed. This adds downtime and costs and decreases throughput in the operation.

Error-proof liner replacement

Image of AccuLock S Consumables family including contact tip, nozzle, diffuser, liner and power pin
Improper trimming or installation of the MIG gun liner is often the cause of wire feeding problems. AccuLock S consumables from Bernard takes the guesswork out of liner trimming and installation in semi-automatic welding to simplify the process and reduce downtime.

Solutions that are designed to address liner trim length errors and poor wire feeding can reduce troubleshooting, downtime and rework — ultimately saving money. 

The AccuLock™ S consumables system from Bernard® take the guesswork out of liner trimming and installation in semi-automatic welding operations. The system offers an error-proof liner replacement process that eliminates measuring and incorrectly trimming liners.

In contrast to most MIG gun liners that load from the back of the gun, AccuLock S liners load through the neck at the front of the gun. The liner is then locked and trimmed flush with the power pin at the back of the gun, which eliminates the need to measure.

This design also eliminates doubt about proper liner length — and the time spent troubleshooting liner trimming issues — because operators can simply look at the back end of the gun to see that the liner is correctly trimmed and in place.

With traditional MIG guns, welders can’t see if a liner is cut too short, since the end of the liner that’s been trimmed is hidden under the nozzle and gas diffuser. A welder would have to remove all the consumables to see the liner inside the gun.

Optimize wire feeding

In addition, the system optimizes wire feeding because the liner is locked and concentrically aligned to both the contact tip and the power pin without the use of fasteners. Capturing the liner at both ends of the gun keeps the liner from extending and contracting based on gun position — and it allows for a flawless wire-feeding path.

Typically, the longer the welding gun, the more the cable bends and twists. Even when a traditional liner is perfectly cut and installed, the liner gets pushed forward and back inside the gun as it’s used, since the liner is affixed at the back end of the gun but free floating at the front end of the gun. This liner movement can result in wire chatter and erratic arc.

When the liner is affixed at both ends of the gun, as with the AccuLock S consumables system, welders are assured the liner won’t pull back, or push into the contact tip — allowing for smooth, uninterrupted delivery of the wire to the weld pool.

And because the liner is concentrically aligned with the contact tip, it creates less mechanical wear on the tip’s interior diameter, possibly leading to longer life by reducing the risk of keyholing associated with misaligned liners and contact tips. Reducing keyholing also lessens the opportunity for an erratic arc, excessive spatter and burnback, all issues that shorten contact tip life.

Cutaway graphic of AccuLock S Power Pin Assembly showing liner trimmed flush
AccuLock S consumables are designed to eliminate liner trimming errors and optimize wire feeding to help operations reduce downtime, costs and rework — maximizing throughput and efficiency. 

Maximize performance and life 

Additional features of the new consumables system also contribute to optimized MIG gun performance:

Cool, connected contact tip: Sixty percent of the AccuLock contact tip is buried in the gas diffuser to protect it from heat damage. As the shielding gas flows through the gun, it cools the contact tip tail inside the gas diffuser, which helps reduce heat and wear. These features differ from traditional tips that screw onto the gas diffuser with little to no portion of the contact tip exposed directly to the shielding gas as it exits the diffuser to the arc. A tapered design of the consumables tightly locks the conductive parts together to minimize electrical resistance and further reduce heat buildup.

Versatile nozzle: A patent-pending nozzle design allows operators to choose thread-on or slip-on — with the same nozzle part number. Typically, nozzles are either thread-on or slip-on style, a choice that often comes down to welder preference. A thread-on nozzle is locked in, while a slip-on nozzle can be adjusted to different heights and easily pulled off.

With AccuLock S consumables, the same nozzle can be used as a slip-on or thread-on nozzle, and the change is determined by using a different diffuser. This allows operations to greatly simplify their consumables inventory and changeover, with fewer parts to manage. In addition, a steel retaining ring and friction lock on the diffuser help prevent the nozzle from unthreading or loosening when it’s threaded on. This also helps eliminate the potential for gas leaks at the back of the nozzle or insufficient gas coverage of the weld — a common occurrence when traditional thread-on nozzles loosen over time.

Coarse threads: The AccuLock contact tip features coarse threads, making it less likely to become cross-threaded and also requires fewer turns to install or remove — speeding up tip replacement. One full turn disengages the contact tip from the diffuser.

Reduce wire-feeding and weld quality issues

Significant time and money can be spent troubleshooting weld quality problems and wire- feeding issues, such as erratic arc, bird-nesting and burnback. In addition, many welding operations are dealing with increasing welder retirements and turnover, which can increase troubleshooting time associated with less experienced welders installing consumables.

The AccuLock S consumables system is designed to eliminate liner trimming errors and optimize wire feeding to help operations reduce downtime, costs and rework — maximizing throughput and efficiency.