Keep Cables Short and Small
Smaller, shorter and lighter power cables offer greater flexibility to welders, making it easier to maneuver the equipment without excess stress on the wrists or hands. A good rule of thumb: Select the smallest and shortest power cable that still meets the needs of the application.
Smaller, shorter cables also can minimize clutter in the weld cell, by preventing excessive coiling and minimizing tripping hazards. Less clutter and coiling also reduces the chance of poor wire feeding, which could cause downtime and hinder productivity.
Lastly, when using fume-extraction guns look for a vacuum-hose swivel feature on the rear of the handle. This feature improves flexibility and reduces welder fatigue.
Reduce Strain with the Right Neck
Many GMAW and flux-cored guns come with rotatable and flexible necks in various lengths and angles. These neck types allow the welder to select the one best-suited to access the weld joints required for an application.
For example, rotatable necks find use when welding out of position, even overhead. They do not require the welder to change the welding-gun handle or position, so he can hold the gun in a that is most comfortable while also gaining access to the weld joint.
Similarly, flexible necks can easily be adjusted to fit different welding angles and reach difficult joints that may be restricted or otherwise awkward to reach. This feature also helps minimize straining to reach a particular weld joint, reducing the opportunity for fatigue or injury.
Some welding-gun manufacturers also offer neck couplers. These accessories allow the welder to connect multiple necks together to comfortably reach weld joints that are particularly difficult to access.
Staying Cool and Comfortable
To complement ergonomics efforts and further increase welder productivity, metalformers should also seek s to reduce heat in the work environment, particularly when welding reflective materials such as aluminum or stainless-steel alloys. To minimize the impact of radiant heat from the arc and workpiece reflecting back to the welding-gun handle, welders can select a longer welding-gun neck, which will move the handle further from the arc.
Another option for reducing welder exposure to heat from the arc is to install a neck grip on the welding gun. These high-temperature silicon-rubber grips slide over the neck and offer the added benefit of increased control. They allow welders to rest the neck on their hand or forearm, using it as a pivot point to maneuver the gun more comfortably.In the end, equipping welders with easy-to-maneuver equipment is the first step in achieving good ergonomics, a safe work environment and optimum productivity. More comfortable welders are more content welders, who will reward their employers with greater throughput day in and day out. MF
See also: Bernard Welding