4 Tips For Designing The Electrical System For A Welding Workshop

Posted on: 19 May 2017

Welding workshops can be a simple yet lucrative business because the same shop can service automobiles, boats, heavy equipment, and more with specialty repairs. However, building a workshop with an inadequate or poorly designed electrical system will only hold your business back as it grows. While the exact electrical demands of your equipment depend on its size and fuel source, these four electrical design tips work for all types of welding workshops.

Choose Grounded Plugs

Permanently wired welding equipment is installed with a separate physical grounding rod, but most workshops prefer to stick with corded equipment for the sheer flexibility of being able to move units around as necessary to different booths. Most corded welders are designed with a three-pole plug which includes a grounding rod in the form of the round third post. Even if you plan to use double-insulated welders that don't require grounding, it's better to install grounded plugs that accept all three poles so that future equipment works without the need for new outlets and wiring.

Raise the Rating

Simply adding up all the amperage requirements of welders, ventilation systems, and other equipment in the workshop won't give you the right amount of total power needed for the space. Overcurrent protection should be built into the electrical wiring supplying the welding equipment, so you'll need to set the value for this based on the total load plus a certain percentage set by the local electrical code. It's always better to go up a rating category when your calculations fall between two categories so that you can prevent dangerous overcurrent conditions from damaging the welding equipment.

Control Excess Frequencies

Welding equipment that relies on tungsten gas as a fluxing gas, also known as TIG welders, produce a particularly high frequency of electrical interference during operation. Even when designed with double insulation to eliminate the need for grounding, these welders can interfere with the reception of other equipment in the shop, including telephones. Grounding this equipment with either an appropriate socket or a separate grounding rod is a good idea.

Add External Disconnects

Finally, welding equipment without emergency shut-off switches built into the unit should be attached to these kinds of safety devices at the socket level instead. Adding simple cut off switches to every outlet is the safest way to make sure your workers can always cut the power to a welder that is malfunctioning without having to get close to the main unit.

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