What Is Duty Cycle In Welding? And, How To Calculate The Duty Cycle?

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Are you new to the welding field? If yes, then you may not have any idea about its terms and conditions. However, the duty cycle is the common term that everyone knows whether you are a welder or not. Everyone has a different approach to their concepts. Professionals or expert welders always calculate the duty cycle during their welding task as they find it essential.

However, those who are entirely familiar with the welding process and have some experience can virtually run the operation. But duty cycle is a part of welding that refers to as self-explanatory.

So, what is duty cycle in welding? Duty cycle refers to the safe performance of the welder within a given amperage, at a 10 minute period of time. For example, a welder with a 50% duty cycle needs to be rested for 5 minutes after operating 5 minutes of welding.

How to calculate the duty cycle? 

How To Calculate The Duty Cycle?
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It is not a tricky task to calculate the duty cycle. The quick and straightforward method is to note the time and see how long the machine remains while testing. Mark this time in percentage. Now you need to focus on some variables that may change the ratio.

Every welding machine has a different testing time, like 5 or 10 minutes. This time can lower or increases the duty cycle. Environment conditions also affect the duty cycle calculation test, like heating temperature welding machines become warm in less time. Moreover, the machine condition also affects that whether it is fresh or heated previously before the test.

So ensure that you are calculating the duty cycle of a welding machine in ambient temperature to get accurate test results.

Moreover, you can calculate allowable duty cycle through the below formula:

Allowable Duty Cycle (%) = [Ratted Welding Current (A) / Max welding current of usage (A)]2 x Rated Duty Cycle (%)

For example: When a power source of a rated output 250A and a rated duty cycle 60% is used at 300A, the allowable duty cycle is given below:

Allowable Duty Cycle (%) = [250A / 200A]2 x 40% = 63%

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How Do I Figure Out A Welder's Duty Cycle? 

You can quickly figure out the welder duty cycle if you have the proper guidelines. The welder duty cycle is the number of minutes that the machine takes to provide the weld. It would help if you took all the precautionary measures to figure out the welder duty cycle. Some factors affect the effectiveness of the duty cycle calculation like surrounding air, amperage, welding current, and many more.

The duty cycle didn't determine the actual performance of the welding machine. But it can be changed according to the amperage and welder current.

However, calculate the duty cycle of the welding machine and check its performance time.

Is Duty-Cycle the best way to judge the performance of a welding machine?

The duty cycle is the indication or test of a welding machine regarding its performance and output capacity. The duty cycle provides an idea about how the welding machine will work. But many of you may not understand this concept. Keep in mind that the duty cycle has nothing to do with its time of work or machine capacity and output.

The duty cycle is considered the judgment criteria to know whether the welding machine is up to the stated situations. You can not make a clear statement regarding the welding machine through its duty cycle. Is it clear?

If not, I will provide you with another example. Can you access the car quality by testing its speed?

Similarly, you can not judge the welding machine with its duty cycle results as there are many other factors that you need to consider while buying the welding machine. Power supply, welding machine efficiency, operating capacity, welding power, and many more are essential to judge the performance and quality of a welding machine.

The Importance Of Duty Cycle In Different Welding Processes 

Welding has different processes or types that require various types of welding machines. Every machine has different duty cycles that represent the additional capacity of welding at certain conditions. So it is essential in every welding process. You should know the meaning of the duty cycle in MIG, Stick, or TIG welding procedures as an expert or occasional welders.

What does the duty cycle mean on a MIG welder?

MIG welding is an automated welding process that is specifically designed for the state of the art. The duty cycle in MIG welding enables the welder to complete their task in a lengthy job. It allows the welders to work for continuous operations without taking a break and complete significant jobs in less time. The substantial ratio in MIG welding machines means that welder can use a more extensive working capacity and run the operations uninterruptedly.

What does duty cycle mean on a Stick welder?

Stick welding is a manual process that uses alternative equipment like slags and electrodes. But it is a fact that welders spend less time in welding than MIG welding technique even though it is a manual process. So duty cycle in stick welding is not as important as in other welding machines like MIG welders. Stick welding machines require 180 amps for maximum output. But the duty cycle of 100 amps refers to as the 60% that is enough to run the 2.6 mm electrode. So stick welders also have short duty cycles than other machines.

What does duty cycle mean on a TIG welder?

TIG welders have a varying duty cycle depending on the welding material, like thin or trim material. Moreover, TIG welders never come to close contact with the welding material to attain the desired limits of the duty cycle. These machines can perform extensive welding at low amps and 100% duty cycle.

TIG process includes the manual operation for filling the filler, but some high duty welding tasks include the pipe joints for continuous welding operations.

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Understanding The Different Duty Cycles

The duty cycle is the crucial factor for a successful weld. It is essential to calculate the duty cycle that helps you understand its performance. Every welding machine has a different duty cycle, so we discuss the various capabilities and meanings.

What does a 20% duty cycle welder mean?

Duty cycle calculation time is expressed as the percentage of the particular welding plate. Small welding machine commonly has the 20% duty cycle at the maximum current and amperage. Commonly small welders have 150 amps and 2 minutes from 10 minutes, referred to as 20%. However, this 20% means that the welding machine can operate regularly at 150 amps.

What does a 60% duty cycle welder mean?

The welding machine's duty cycle also refers to the power cycle within the fraction of the period during which the system is active for the weld. 60% of the duty cycle means that the machine is functional for 60 % of the time and becomes at rest for the remaining 40% time. This 60% is from the fraction of particular minutes, seconds, day, and weak depends on different intervals.

What does a 100% duty cycle welder mean?

Duty cycle is the welding machine specification according to which it works at a particular temperature or current. A welding machine with a 100% duty cycle is worth buying due to its efficient performance at given amperage and current. So it is essential to buy the best machine with a 100% duty cycle.

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Tips for Dealing with Overheating 

Welding machines have massive heat production, so you need to follow some tips to prevent overheating. Sometimes you have small welding machines to complete your task, but that also get heated. You may have a hard time with small welding machines due to their lower duty cycle. But it is a fact that beginner welders may have a challenging time dealing with the powerful engines that get heated.

So here are some tips for dealing with overheating. Ensure that you follow them strictly during the welding operations.

  • Set heating alarm

Every welding machine has a heating protection alarm. So set the alarm before starting the weld. Ensure that you put it before 3 minutes of welding. When it starts producing the sound, ensure that you switch it off. Moreover, you can set 30 seconds timer before it goes off. This mechanism helps to save the wear and tear of the welding machines. After cooling the welding machine, you can restart it and set the timer again.

  • Clean the fans of the welder

Welding is a challenging operation that causes many splinters. You may think that these fragments didn't get inside the welding machine. But it can quickly get inside the vents and fans of the welding machine. You may notice that your welding machine gets heated more frequently than a regular machine. It is due to the dirt inside the welding machines. However, take some shop air to clean the dust. After clearing the welding machine, you will notice a clear difference in weld results and heating time.

Welding machines have narrow vents that quickly fill up with dirt or dust and need frequent cleaning.

  • Keep welding machines in well-ventilated areas 

Welding areas are condensed with a lot of crap. So in crowded places, you need more time to cool them. So it is advisable that work in well-ventilated areas, so the airflow freely around the machine. It helps to cool down the engines quickly. Moreover, you can take one more prudent step to cool down the devices. Take a fan and adjust it to where it directly flows the air around the welding machine. This mechanism helps to increases the airflow around the welding machine and cool it quickly.

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How To Increase The Duty Cycle Of A Welder? 

Every welding machine has some specific duty cycle. It represents the performance capacity of the welder.

But you can increase it by following a specific procedure. First of all, calculate the duty cycle of the welder by setting the timetable of 10 minutes. These 10 minutes ensure the welders can safely work and check the performance. After this period, ensure that you provide sufficient time to rest or cool the machine. After getting the time of welding and relaxing, you can estimate its duty cycle.

When you have the welder's duty cycle, increase it using the low amp's power. Keep in mind that the high amperage power of the welding machine created too much heat and didn't provide the exact results. Low amperage of welding machines helps to increase the duty cycle by 20 to 30%. Moreover, some welding machines offer a 100% duty cycle at lower amperage.

So by reducing the amperage of the welding machine, you can increase its duty cycle. Some welder manufacturers increase the duty cycle by using a specific cooling system. So if you use a fan, then it also helps to increase the duty cycle.


So by summing up the above discussion, it is clear that the duty cycle is an essential factor in estimating the power of the welding machine. So you need to calculate accurately for the best weld results.

I hope this article helps you in understanding the duty cycle and have a great welding experience ahead.


What Happens If I Exceed My Duty Cycle?

If you have an exceeded duty cycle, then don't worry. There is nothing wrong with your welding machine. The welder shut itself down and didn't start working unless it is completely relaxed for the nest operations.

What is a good duty cycle?

Duty cycle refers to the specification of a welding machine that defines its performance in a specific time. In simple words, the welder can produce the best weld in a particular period in a specific amperage. You can take the best machine as the welder provides the 30% duty cycle at 150 amps. It means that the welding machine takes a rest of 7 minutes after welding operation of 3 minutes.

What factors affect the duty cycle?

Different factors impact the duty cycle of welding machines. These factors include the amperage, surrounding environment, welding current, airflow, and atmosphere. So you need to maintain these factors at a constant level to get accurate duty cycle results.

Last Updated on June 16, 2021 by weldinghubs

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