This month in our continuing series on the Precision TIG® 275 and 375 units, we take a look at ease of set-up. The two previous articles focused on the unit's superior arc performance, thanks to Lincoln's Micro-Start Technology™, and innovative value features, both important factors for day-to-day welding. But the Lincoln Electric team of design engineers wanted every aspect of interacting with the Precision TIG® to be simplified - even one-time set-up.
In developing this product, Lincoln Electric confirmed through extensive interviews with customers, distributors and sales personnel that setting up many of the TIG machines on the market today proved to be frustrating and time-consuming. Welding facilities desired a machine that could be set-up with minimal effort by a shop maintenance person or skilled trade worker. With this goal in mind, Lincoln worked to ensure that its Precision TIG® models would lead the industry by being less frustrating, less time consuming and less complex to set-up. With simpler set-up, operators could get down to the real business at hand - welding.
There are five areas we will examine where the Precision TIG® offers a set-up advantage over competitive models:
1. Input power cable connections
2. Torch connections
3. Mounting ease to undercooler cart
4. Separate output stud for stick welding
5. Ready-Pak™ pre-specified, pre-assembled and pre-connected versions
1. Input Power Cable Connections
To access the power leads for some competitive TIG models, the operator has to remove the entire case side. Other models feature an access panel usually located at the back of the machine under a hinged door. These panel doors typically are not designed to remain open; instead, they have a tendency to fall closed and get in the way. With the Precision TIG® units, the input power connection panel is located high on the machine for a comfortable working position. In addition, it is housed under a removable panel door found on the left side of the machine. Unscrew two screws to remove this large panel door. Clear instructions are mounted on inside of the door for easy reference. In addition, well-labeled, intuitive connections make the input power easy to connect. Cables enter the machine straight from the back; there is no need to bend the cables at a sharp angle to make the connection. With the Lincoln Precision TIG®, operators don't need ring lugs or ring terminals to make the connections - they just strip the insulation off the wire and tighten down - it's that simple.
Power Factor Correction is standard on the Precision TIG® 375. Those who purchase the Precision TIG® 275 model and wish to add optional Power Factor Correction will find installation an easy task. The machine has a small compartment below the reconnect panel that allows an operator to easily install the Power Factor Correction kit in under five minutes. With other units, installing Power Factor Correction might mean drilling holes in the case and mounting each capacitor individually. However, the Precision TIG's modular design means electrical and mechanical components can be added with minimal effort.
2. Torch Connections
The torch connection box (patent pending) on the Precision TIG® is located high on the machine - not low to the floor like on most other TIG machines. While competitive units have a panel door that falls closed easily and gets in the way, the Precision TIG® has a panel that swings open horizontally and stays open and out of the way. The panel door has a magnetic latch that keeps the door closed after all connections have been made. This assures that connections are concealed and protected. In addition, a decal on the inside of the door details all torch connections for easy reference.
All Precision TIG® cables and connections use standard fittings that mate to the industry standard fittings for torch connections. Torch connections exit from the front of the torch connection box, while water and gas input connections enter from the back of the connection box. No adapters are needed for a water-cooled set-up - everything is simple and intuitive with three discrete fittings for each of the torch connections. To further enhance ease of set-up, hoses are color-coded to match the inputs on the water cooler cart. Unlike systems requiring power block adapters, the Precision TIG's three discrete fittings and color-coded connections are nearly foolproof. No complicated connection or plumbing diagrams are necessary. All of these details help to minimize the risk of mis-connection that could damage your torch.
In addition to being designed for use with the Lincoln integral under cooler cart, the Precision TIG® models can also be easily connected to a stand-alone water cooler.
Other Water Coolers
For those who choose a stand-alone water cooler, no additional solenoid is required. As an added convenience, a 115v receptacle turns on Lincoln or other coolers only when the operator strikes an arc. In turn, the water cooler is automatically turned off at the end of a timed post-flow period following the extinguishing of the arc. This approach prolongs the life of the cooler since the pump and motor do not continuously run.
The Precision TIG® also makes it simple to use tap water from piped-in shop systems for those shop or vo-tech environments that prefer this option. Some other TIG machines on the market require optional solenoid kits to be internally mounted, which involves removing the machine's cover. With the Precision TIG, an optional externally mounted solenoid kit simplifies installation. This kit mechanically mounts to the machine's standard CGA-type water inlet fitting. Electrical power for the solenoid is supplied at the machine's standard 115v receptacle located near the water inlet fitting. There is no need to have an authorized technician internally install this capability, as is necessary with some machines.
The Precision TIG® easily adapts to air-cooled torches with a simple thread-in adapter that is included for 9 or 17 series torches. An optional thread-in adapter is also available for a 26 series torch. These simple adapters allow the standard fittings on each torch type to match with the standard fittings on the machine.
Together with the Precision TIG's torch holster, the connection box provides a straightforward, clutter-free cable management system for the unit.
3. Mounting Ease to Lincoln's Undercooler Cart
The Precision TIG's specially designed base easily mates to an optional undercarriage / cooler cart with four simple bolted connection points. To install the optional undercarriage cart, an operator simply lifts the machine and assembles the two components using the mated pre-configured mounting pattern. When used together, the Precision TIGv and matching UnderCooler Cart present a well integrated set-up with a minimal shop footprint.
When using the UnderCooler Cart, incoming power and water hose connections are easily made at the back of the connection box located on the side of the machine. An integral plastic non-corrosive water cooler reservoir and pump are located in one of the cart's two slide-out drawers. The Precision TIG under cooler cart is also designed to use regular distilled or tap water in non-freezing environments, which eliminates the need to purchase special coolant.
4. Separate Output Stud for Stick Welding
With the introduction of the Precision TIG®, Lincoln has created a totally new design for TIG /Stick power source output stud connections. Most TIG machines use an adapter block to make the TIG welding connections. This block is mounted to the same shared output stud as the stick electrode holder cable, resulting in tangled cables and clutter. However, Lincoln Electric has separated the work cable and electrode holder for stick welding from the TIG torch connections. This approach provides an easy, straightforward way to simultaneously connect both stick and TIG cables without the use of an adapter block.
What this means is that operators no longer have to reconfigure the machine every time they want to switch from TIG to Stick welding. With the Precision TIG, the operator sets up the machine for Stick welding one time and it remains connected, allowing the operator to easily and quickly switch between stick and TIG processes.
The machine also offers built-in strain relief for the work cable and electrode holder so that the cables will not loosen if they are pulled. A specially designed door that covers the work cable and stick electrode connections is equipped with friction washers. This enables the door to remain open and out of the way while the operator makes the connections, as well as remain firmly closed after the connections have been made. A sloped panel design further enhances access and visibility in this area.
5. Ready to Weld Package5. Ready-Pak Version
For the ultimate time saver, Lincoln offers its Precision TIG® in a Ready-Pak version. This is the easiest way to purchase a welding system. With a single order number, purchasers receive a pre-specified group of system components, including the power source, UnderCooler Cart, TIG torch and other accessories. The Cart is pre-assembled and the torch and water cooler are even pre-connected. The operator only needs to connect the input power, add water or coolant, supply a bottle of shielding gas and the unit is ready to weld. Plus, a Ready-Pak makes the purchase decision easy by taking the guesswork out of figuring out which torch and accessories are the best match for the power source.
This multi-faceted machine is just another example of Lincoln's design innovation and close attention to detail. Not only is the welding superb, but users will be set up quickly and welding in no time. Lincoln is the industry leader in solutions, value, features - and easy set up.