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Arc welding

control Presentation
Pan Jiluan

Theoretical analysis


Although arc welding was invented approximately 100 years ago, many
aspects lack systematic theoretical analysis. In modern publications, there
is only a limited qualitative description of its static process and no scientific
analysis of its dynamic process. On the basis of control theory, the arc
welding process is viewed by the author as a control unit. The steps are to
define the mathematical expression of each element of the control unit, and
then take Laplace transform of the equations. By synthesising these Laplace
equations to obtain the interconnections of all the elements and the full
picture of the control unit, the mathematical representation of the dynamic
behaviour of the control unit can be easily derived.[1,2] Applying this theory,
a deeper understanding of the physical essence of the arc welding process
can be obtained; both the static and dynamic arc-length response due to
load disturbance can be analysed, and the direction and method for
improvement of the welding process can be established.

Welding with constant wire-feed rate

In this category of welding the wire-feed rate remains unchanged and the
arc length is regulated by the change of arc current induced by the change
of the arc length itself. In accordance with the assumption that the melting
rate is continuous and neglecting the effect of wire extension, the dynamic
equations of all the elements of the control unit may be established as
For the electrical circuit of the welding process

Self-regulation ability

During arc welding, there are many factors that disturb the arc length. How
does the system respond to these disturbances? How does the rate at
the arc length is restored to its normal value determine the stability and
quality of the welding process? Three causes of disturbance to the arc
are fluctuation of the line voltage, uneven wire-feed rate and fluctuation of
the torch-to-plate distance. The influence of the first cause can be easily
eliminated by proper design of the power source. Therefore, in the
text, the response of the arc length to the latter two causes of disturbance
are discussed.
According to Fig. 1.2, the response of the arc length due to wire-feed rate
disturbance may be expressed as:

Effects of major parameters

(i) Slope of the output characteristic of the power source.

From Eq. [1.8] it can be seen that the slope of the output
characteristic will
influence the damping factor. In the case of 1.2mm wire diameter,
ka = 0.716, kp = 0.0245, R = 19mW, and L = 0.3mH, the effect
may be shown
as in Table 1.3. It can be seen that the larger the slope, the smaller
damping factor will be. It is known that too small a value of z will
result in
overshoot during a transient process. According to control theory,
optimum value of z is 0.7 and thus the slope of the output
characteristic can
be derived as

unit become underdamped and increases the overshoot. If z and the

overshoot are kept unchanged, then wn will decrease and the transient time
will increase. From Eq. [1.11], it is seen that the attenuation factor is
inversely proportional to L; therefore an increase of inductance is
to the dynamic characteristics of the system. According to Eq. [1.8],
a decrease of L makes it possible to increase the slope of the output
characteristic of the power source while keeping z unchanged, which can
increase the attenuation factor and shorten the transient time. Furthermore,
according to Eq. [1.15], the effect of a disturbance to the arc length can be
reduced by increasing the slope of the output characteristic. It can be seen
that an increase of inductance is detrimental to the improvement of the
control characteristics of the welding system. In the case of short-circuiting
metal transfer, however, appropriate inductance is necessary to limit the
rate of the rising short-circuit current to reduce the degree of spatter

Welding with regulated wirefeed rate

In this system, changing the wire-feed rate
regulates the arc length; the wirefeed
motor used is generally a DC
servomotor.The mathematical equation
describing its dynamic function may be

Effect of wire-feed

The dynamic-characteristics parameters z, wn, wd, and s depend on

the time
constant of the wire-feed mechanism, Tm. The greater the value of
Tm, the
smaller the damping factor z will be, and the greater the overshoot;
system is likely to oscillate. Additional increase of Tm makes wn, wd
and s
smaller and the transient time longer, and thus worsens the
dynamic characteristics.
Decreasing the value of Tm improves the dynamic characteristics
of the system, or increases the control accuracy by increasing the
open-loop gain while the dynamic characteristics remain

According to Eq. [1.29], in order to decrease time

constant, Tm, a motor
having a small time constant, or rational design of the
mechanical parts are
effective. Decreasing the moment of inertia, J, and
increasing the viscosity
coefficient, f, also can decrease Tm. In addition, by using
a negative feedback control loop for the wire-feed motor, plus appropriate
elements and a brake mechanism, the time constant of
the wire-feed mechanism
may be greatly reduced.

When the wire diameter is decreased, the diameter of the arc column
decreases, ka increases, the damping factor z decreases, overshoot increases,
and oscillation may occur. In conventional systems having a regulated wirefeed
rate, the time constant is usually large; therefore, they can be used only
for large gauge wire. It can be seen, however, that if Tm is reduced significantly,
ka may be increased greatly, keeping z unchanged, so that the wire
diameter can be considerably decreased. wn, wd and s will increase and the
dynamic characteristics of the system will be greatly improved. Therefore,
the traditional idea that a regulated wire-feed system can be used solely
with large-gauge wire is correct only under certain conditions. In situations
where the time constant of the wire-feed mechanism can be reduced, the
system can be quite suitable for small-gauge wire.This can be realised easily
with the application of modern control techniques.

Welding with both regulated wire-feed rate

and self-regulation

In practice, a power source having a regulated wire feed-rate

system does
not have a completely perpendicular drooping characteristic
current). Simultaneous with regulation by feedback-control
functions, selfregulation
also plays a role in arc-length change. Therefore, analysing the
cross-coupling interrelationship between two regulation actions is
Of course, in practical applications only one regulation action
is dominant. In this section, the interrelationships of these two
regulation actions and the possibility for using both actions in one
are discussed.