You often come across the term Duty Cycle when you deal with the electronics equipment and as well as in welding.
There are many terms in welding which are usually unknown to the common people, and they every so often get confused between them.
Duty Cycle is one such term, but it has its own importance in analyzing the product’s efficiency and quality. A slight change in the duty cycle heavily influences the total performance of the device.
If you are confused with the term or have just started learning to weld, this article is going to be very helpful for you as we have described the duty cycle and its role in the simplest possible way.
By reading this article you will get the required knowledge of the term and you will be able to perform well in the welding field.
So what exactly is a Duty Cycle? In general terms, the Duty Cycle is defined as the percentage of the time the circuit is on over a certain period. It is commonly denoted as D and is also known as Duty Factor.
The basic concept of the Duty Cycle remains the same; however, the definition slightly changes accordingly as per the equipment and use.
For example, the Duty Cycle of motor and Duty Cycle of ultrasound will have different meanings and calculating formulas.
Duty Cycle in Welding
In the case of welding, we can define the Duty Cycle as the time percentage at which the machine can operate or weld at its best at the given power supply for a certain period of time.
When you go for buying a welding machine and equipment, you may have seen in the products specification section written that its duty cycle is 300 Amps @ 50%. It simply means that the product can operate 50 percent of the time at its best if the current supply is 300 Amps.
The duty cycle of welding machines typically calculated for a time period of 10 minutes. So if a device operates at 300 Amps @ 50%, the 50 percent of 10 minutes will be minutes, which means that this particular welding machine will work safely for 5 minutes, and for further five minutes, it will switch to cool-down mode.
The excellent quality welding machines come with an integrated thermal overload protection system, and it ensures that the machines stop working once the temperature limits cross, and it begins the cooling process.
As the temperature comes in the safe range, it restarts the process again until switched off. If your machine does not have an automatic cooling feature, you really need to take note of the duty cycle and make sure that it does not overheat, catches fire, or become failed to operate.
What Causes The Change In Duty Cycle?
The rate of the duty cycle depends on the current power source. The higher the rate of current, the more it heats up, so we can say that it is inversely proportional to the rate of supplying current. If we lower the current amperes, the duty cycle rate will increase.
The other factor that helps in determining the duty cycle is the specific temperature at which the duty cycle is calculated. Welding at lower temperatures increases the rate of duty cycles.
International Electrotechnical Commission – IEC is the European Standard body that is accepted in most parts of the world to determine the duty cycle of the welding machines and products. It computes the duty cycle on the basis of the real-world situation and environment.
Assessing the Performance On The Basis Of Duty Cycle
Duty Cycle is not the only factor but is one of the key factors in determining the quality and performance of the welding machine.
It also depends on the type of welding process; for example, when you are working with the MIG welding technique, Duty Cycle is essential to note as it is automatic and does not require manual operations.
In the case of the Stick welding method, the duty cycle is not that much important as it includes manual operations such as changing the electrodes.
Similarly, in a situation where you are required to work for a more extended period of time or to work on a bigger project, you will prefer a welding machine with a high duty cycle so that it can work in the best conditions for most of the time and does not need frequent cooling.
What Percentage Is Rated As Good?
So how much duty cycle is rated as good or useful? Again it relies on the condition and the welding technique you are using.
If you weld as a hobby at home, a 20 to 30% duty cycle is good, but for a professional and where you need to work longer, you need a high rate of the duty cycle.
For automatic welding processes such as MIG/MAG Welding, a 90% duty cycle can also be is rated as acceptable and good.
By now, you have sufficient knowledge about the term “Duty Cycle” and what role it plays in welding; most of the time, the duty cycle is mentioned in the specs section of the product.
It will help you in purchasing the appropriate welding machine as per your need and requirement. Besides, it is also very important to know about the duty cycle for your safety as it helps you in dodging the hazardous welding incidents that otherwise may cause harm to you.