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What Is Duty Cycle On a Welder ?


The percentile of time that one machine takes to safely function within a specific period and at a certain amperage is called a duty cycle. All types of welding machine units are required necessarily to be adjusted with thermal overload safety, which simply means that the machine will loosen up the ties or will cut itself off when interior systems reach a specific temperature so that no harm can be done. When the machine comes to a cooling temperature, it will turn on automatically.

Amperages matter a lot. The duty cycle changes at various amperages. Temperature also plays an important role as a larger amperage output, the unit will get warmed up fast and will cause the duty cycle to reduce. At lesser amperages, its duty cycle will surely increase.

Eg – let’s look at WF – 205MST machine.

  • The duty cycle at 200 amps will be 30%
  • The duty cycle at 145 amps will be 60%
  • The duty cycle at 110 amps will be 100%

The Importance Of Duty Cycle In Welding

The duty cycle of welding equipment is crucial. It is the percentage of time that an intermittently used gadget is in use as opposed to being idle. In essence, it refers to how long the welder can run for a certain period of time. It is a way to gauge a welder’s efficiency throughout a 10-minute cycle.

How To Calculate Duty Cycle

While the core formula (% of ‘on’ time during the test period) remains constant, there are some factors that might affect the results of a duty cycle test including;

The time frame used for measurement is generally a 5- or 10-minutes period

The environment’s temperature when the test was conducted (a higher ambient temperature is more demanding) whether the test was conducted using a fresh, cold machine or one that had warmed up after repeated use. Testing and already heated equipment place a great burden on its cooling system. The Australian standard AS60974-1 is based on European standard EN60974-1 which is the most extensively used standard for testing and establishing duty cycle ratings.

The performance of a machine in real life conditions is thought to be best predicted by this benchmark because it is so demanding. Weldclass tests all of its welforce equipment to this level

Using Duty Cycles To Judge The Performance Of a Machine

A valuable indicator of a welding machine’s output and capacity is the duty cycle rating, provided it is correct and not overrated. Duty cycle though should not be seen in isolation. There are additional things that should be taken into account when it comes to welding machines, just as you would not normally base your decision to buy a car just on its top speed in the same manner some important factors are to be considered when it comes to welding machines.

Is Duty Cycle The Best Way To Evaluate a Welder?

No, and yes! Duty cycle rating is a helpful indicator of how a welding machine will perform in terms of production and capacity, provided that it is correct and not overrated.

Duty Cycle, Maintenance, and Humidity

Amperage and voltage are two parameters that have an impact on the duty cycle, albeit voltage is rarely taken into account. The environment’s temperature and ventilation both matter. Without sufficient airflow, a machine is supposed to warm up very quickly and cool down more slowly, affecting the duty cycle. A machine that is backed up against a wall will have less airflow produced by the fan. Humidity affects a lot on machines, the same is the case with duty cycle.

Duty Cycles For Different Welding Processes

Even though duty cycle is never unimportant, different welding procedures will put varied demands on the welding machine’s productivity and duty cycle.

The following observations are made from a rule-of-thumb perspective, and many serve as a reference on how much weight to give a duty cycle rating when choosing a suitable welding machine compared to other characteristics and considerations

1. MIG Welding Duty Cycle

Because MIG welding is an automatic operation the filler metal is fed mechanically, for example, a MIG operator can weld continuously with little off or downtime in between welds

Of course, these changes depend on the application.

The duty cycle can be crucial in production settings for instance when jigs may be used to save setup and maximize welding time. It is wise to choose the proper welder that has too much capacity rather than just enough while choosing the proper welder. Your application for instance might need for production welding of steel up to 8mm thick. Although in principle a 200 amp welder like the Weldforce WF-205MST, might accomplish this, in a production setting a 250 amp.

The duty cycle may not be important for maintenance applications because welding time is often lower. Frequently the operator will only complete one or a few welds before stopping to perform other tasks before starting the next one.

2. TIG Welding Duty Cycle

Duty cycle can have a wide range of significance when it comes to TIG. For precise work on thinner materials and/or smaller parts, TIG is frequently employed. In this situation, the machine’s duty cycle may frequently never even approach its maximum value, and in fact, a lot of welding is done at low amperage, when the machine may have a duty cycle of 100%. Additionally, as TIG is a manual procedure (where the filler metal is manually filled), the ratio of welding on time to off time is smaller compared to MIG. A high-duty cycle becomes crucial in some TIG applications, though. TIG welding of pipe joints, which calls for a lengthy, continuous weld, is one example of this.

3. Stick Welding Duty Cycle

MMA requires a lot of manual labor (changing electrodes, chipping slag, etc), the operator often spends much less time welding than with MIG. As a result, the duty cycle is typically less important than it may be for MIG.

A duty cycle of 30% (in the instance of MMA) could be deemed excessive from this perspective. For instance, the weld force WF 135S, the smallest MMA machine in the weldclass lineup (140 amps maximum output), has the capacity to run standard 2.6mm electrodes virtually continuously and can readily run 3.2mm electrodes with a duty cycle of 100A at 60%.

Hard facing is one example of a stick application that requires a very high-duty cycle.

What Happens When The Duty Cycle Is Exceeded?

As all of the machines have the capability of heating up and bursting up harming a lot of people, things are different for the duty cycle. The great majority of the time, nothing disastrous occurs. The welding machine will simply overheat, switch off, and will remain off until it’s sufficiently cold. The duty cycle will vary depending on the amperage. The machine will heat up more quickly and the duty cycle will decrease at larger amperage output. The duty cycle will rise with lower amperages.


So, higher temperature duty cycles tend to cool down themselves and not burst open. Duty cycles, if their temperature rises, can shut down automatically and will be able to work again when they meet a certain temperature requirement.

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