Resource Type: Case Study

Polaris Industries Switches to Advanced Welding Process for Reduction in Spatter, Distortion and Rework

About Polaris Industries

For more than 50 years, Polaris Industries, Inc., has manufactured snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, off-road utility vehicles and Victory Motorcycles for customers who thrive on adventure. In addition to these popular recreational vehicles, Polaris also has a new line of commercial-grade utility vehicles and equipment.

The Challenge

For years, the 1,900-employee plant in Roseau, MN, used a conventional CV MIG process to weld chassis, steering and suspension components. The company wanted to reduce spatter, distortion and rework that was hurting productivity and profitability. The welding at Polaris is particularly challenging because of the limited weld lengths. With lengths of two inches or less on most parts, the arc is only on for a brief period and does not have much time to establish itself. This challenge requires a machine that can quickly provide arc stability.

“Our operators were utilizing various modes of metal transfer depending on the particular preference of each operator. We were lacking repeatability from one operator to the next.”

Craig Cerminara, Welding Engineer

The Answer

Polaris converted to Lincoln Electric’s Power Wave® power source with Waveform Control Technology™. In making the switch, Polaris implemented the use of Rapid Arc™ – a high travel speed and low spatter pulsed spray transfer – that led to improvements in arc consistency, reduced weld spatter, and improved travel speeds.

“For Polaris there are numerous benefits with the Power Wave platform. It doesn’t matter what wire feed speed the operator sets; he or she will always run the same process and we will always get consistency in the welds,” said Cerminara. “With the Power Wave units, we provide a set range for our operators and then they can fine tune for their particular welding style.”

The Results

In just the first application where Polaris used Power Wave®, the company experienced a 35 percent increase in productivity, attributed to the elimination of post-weld clean-up operations and rework.

“The Rapid Arc™ process reduces the amount of heat input into the weld and therefore decreases distortion,” said Cerminara. “Spatter has also been reduced translating into a huge cost savings in labor and rework time.”

The improvements didn’t stop with the new equipment. Over a three-month period, Lincoln experts spent four days a week at Polaris training the company’s more than 250 operators on how to use the new machines and the nuances of the Pulsed MIG process.

“We’ve been absolutely pleased with the support we have received from Lincoln – everyone was professional and the response to issues was timely and useful,” said Cerminara. “I would not consider it a difficult transition moving from the CV to a Pulsed MIG process and attribute that mostly to the training provided.”