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Arc Welding Application Notes

A rc w e ld in g is d e s c rib e d a s u s in g a w e ld in g p o w e r s u p p ly to c re a te a n e le c tric a rc b e tw e e n a n e le c tro d e a n d th e b a s e


m a te ria l to m e lt th e m e ta ls a t th e w e ld in g p o in t. T h e p ro c e s s o f a rc w e ld in g is w id e ly u s e d b e c a u s e o f its lo w c a p ita l a n d
ru n n in g co s ts .
A rc w e ld in g c a n u s e e ith e r d ire c t (D C ) o r a lte rn a tin g (A C ) c u rre n t a s th e p o w e r s o u rc e to c re a te th e a rc . T h e a rc p ro c e s s
n e e d s a la rg e a m o u n t o f c u rre n t, u p to 5 0 0 A , b u t a t a re la tive ly lo w a rc vo lta g e ; 1 0 to 4 0 V , w ith a ty p ic a l h ig h vo lta g e m a in
p o w e r s u p p ly , a n d 2 3 0 to 4 0 0 V , th a t m u s t b e re d u c e d . In a ll m a n u a l a rc w e ld in g o p e ra tio n s th e m a in ris k is e le c tric s h o c k ,
m o s t lik e ly fro m c o n ta c t w ith b a re liv e p a rts o f th e w e ld in g c irc u it. A p p ro p ria te p ro te c tiv e c lo th in g a n d g ro u n d fa u lt p ro te c tio n
is th e firs t lin e o f d e fe n s e in th e e v e n t o f a n e le c tric a l h a z a rd fro m s tra y c u rre n ts . B a d e q u ip m e n t c a n b e re p la c e d in a s h o rt
tim e ; h o w e v e r, fire a n d s e rio u s in ju ry o r d e a th c a u s e d b y a g ro u n d fa u lt c o u ld s h u t d o w n a fa c ility fo r s e v e ra l d a y s o r w e e k s .
H o w to a v o id e le c tric a l s h o c k :

A lw a y s u s e a lo c a l g ro u n d fa u lt c irc u it in te rru p te r (G F C I) w ith w e ld in g e q u ip m e n t a n d ,


p rio r to u s e , a lw a y s te s t th e G F C I fo r p ro p e r o p e ra tio n .

U s e w e ll-in s u la te d e le c tro d e h o ld e rs a n d c a b le s .

M a k e s u re w e ld in g c a b le s a re d ry a n d fre e o f g re a s e a n d o il.

K e e p w e ld in g c a b le s a w a y fro m p o w e r s u p p ly c a b le s .

W e a r d ry h o le -fre e g lo v e s , c lo th in g s h o u ld a ls o b e d ry .

In s u la te w e ld e r fro m th e g ro u n d b y u s in g d ry in s u la tio n s u c h a s ru b b e r m a t o r d ry w o o d .

G ro u n d fra m e s o f w e ld in g u n its .

N e v e r c h a n g e e le c tro d e s w ith b a re h a n d s o r w e t g lo v e s .
F o rtu n a te ly , g ro u n d fa u lt p ro te c tio n is e a s y to a p p ly if y o u u n d e rs ta n d th e b a s ic s . S im p ly p u t, a g ro u n d fa u lt o c c u rs w h e n
e le c tric a l c u rre n t fin d s a b rid g e to g ro u n d v ia w o rn in s u la tio n s , c o n d u c tiv e d u s ts , w a te r o r o th e r s o ft g ro u n d s , in s te a d o f th e
n o rm a l p a th b a c k to its s o u rc e . M o re th a n 8 0 % o f s h o rt c irc u its in e q u ip m e n t a re g ro u n d fa u lts , a n d 9 0 % o f th e s e e v e n ts a re
d u e to in s u la tio n d e te rio ra tio n o n w ire s a n d c a b le s . In c a s e s w h e re w o rk e rs a c c id e n ta lly b rid g e p o w e r a n d g ro u n d , c u rre n t in
th e m A ra n g e c a n s e n d th e ir h e a rt in to v e n tric u la r fib rilla tio n .
A G F C I fu n c tio n s b y m e a s u rin g th e o u tg o in g a m p e ra g e to a p ie c e o f e q u ip m e n t a n d c o m p a rin g it a g a in s t th e re tu rn
a m p e ra g e . If a d iffe re n c e (le a k ) o f > 5 m illia m p s o c c u rs (o r s e t h ig h e r fo r c e rta in e q u ip m e n t), th e G F C I s to p s th e flo w o f
e le c tric ity to p ro te c t e q u ip m e n t a n d w o rk e rs fro m p o te n tia l e le c tro c u tio n .
A v o id in g e le c tric a l a c c id e n ts a n d e q u ip m e n t d a m a g e a re k e y s to re d u c in g lia b ility a n d in c re a s in g p ro d u c tiv ity . M in im u m
g ro u n d fa u lt p ro te c tio n c a n b e in c o rp o ra te d in to th e m a in p o w e r d is c o n n e c t d e v ic e a n d c o u ld b e c o n s id e re d a d e q u a te fo r th e
e n tire s y s te m . In s u c h a d e s ig n , h o w e v e r, a n y d o w n s tre a m g ro u n d fa u lt c o u ld trip th e m a in p ro te c tiv e d e v ic e re s u ltin g in a
c o m p le te s u b s ta tio n p o w e r o u ta g e . T h e N E C s p u rp o s e , in its o w n w o rd s , is th e p ra c tic a l s a fe g u a rd in g o f p e rs o n s a n d
p ro p e rty b u t n o t n e c e s s a rily e ffic ie n t, c o n v e n ie n t, o r fo r g o o d s e rv ic e (A rtic le 9 0 .1 A , B ). In o th e r w o rd s , s y s te m
re lia b ility is le ft to c o m m o n s e n s e a n d g o o d e n g in e e rin g d e s ig n p ra c tic e s . F o r th is re a s o n g ro u n d fa u lt p ro te c tio n o f th e
c irc u it m a y b e h ig h ly d e s ira b le a n d re c o m m e n d e d fo r re lia b le a n d c o n tin u o u s o p e ra tio n .
A ls o , in o rd e r to c o m p ly w ith O S H A R e g u la tio n s re c e n t c h a n g e , c o n s tru c tio n -lik e w o rk u s in g te m p o ra ry p o w e r
a rra n g e m e n ts w h ic h ta k e s p la c e in th e n a tio n s m a n u fa c tu rin g p la n ts , re fin e rie s , p ro c e s s in g fa c ilitie s a n d o th e r lo c a tio n s ,
m u s t b e d o n e w ith w o rk e rs u s in g G F C I p ro te c te d e q u ip m e n t.
W h y U s e T e c h n o lo g y R e s e a rc h C o rp o ra tio n (T R C ) H D -P R O S e rie s ?
T R C e n g in e e rs d e s ig n e d th e H D -P R O m o d e ls s p e c ific a lly fo r h ig h c u rre n t, ru g g e d e n v iro n m e n ts a n d
th e s e m o d e ls a re fie ld -p ro v e n in a ll k in d s o f to u g h a p p lic a tio n s . T h e e n tire H D -P R O fa m ily (1 2 0 V /3 0 A to
6 0 0 V /8 0 A ) is d e s ig n e d to trip w ith in 2 5 m illis e c o n d s a fte r g ro u n d fa u lt d e te c tio n a t a n a d ju s ta b le
s e le c te d trip le v e l o f 6 , 1 0 o r 3 0 m A .
B e fo re th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e H D -P R O S e rie s , fa c ilitie s w ith h ig h c u rre n t h ig h v o lta g e e q u ip m e n t o r
th re e p h a s e s y s te m s e m p lo y e d e xp e n s iv e g ro u n d fa u lt b re a k e rs a t th e s o u rc e o f th e b ra n c h c irc u it, o r
w e n t w ith o u t g ro u n d fa u lt p ro te c tio n , le a v in g p e rs o n n e l a n d e q u ip m e n t u n p ro te c te d .
C ircuit breakers can withstand high current levels but have short m echanical lives and were not designed for
switching duty. Localized ground faults, with circuit breakers, either shut down the whole branch circuit or were
overloaded because the available devices were not portable and were often too costly.
T h e H D -P R O S e rie s u tiliz e s c o n ta c to rs th a t a re fu lly ra te d fo r m o to r s w itc h in g d e m a n d s . In a d d itio n to b e in g fa r le s s
e xp e n s iv e th a n th re e p h a s e b re a k e rs , th e H D -P R O m o d e ls p ro te c t e xp e n s iv e h ig h c u rre n t h ig h
v o lta g e e q u ip m e n t a t th e p o in t o f u s e w h ile o ffe rin g s u b s ta n tia l s h o c k p ro te c tio n fo r p e rs o n n e l.
T R C is a n in te rn a tio n a lly re c o g n iz e d le a d e r in e le c tric a l sa fe ty p ro d u c ts
th a t p ro te c t e q u ip m e n t, p re v e n t e le c tric a l fire s a n d p ro te c t a g a in s t
e le c tro c u tio n a n d s e rio u s in ju ry fro m e le c tric a l s h o c k .