View Full Version : Skilled Tig Welder Salary
12-05-2007, 04:27 PM
I was wondering if you guys know what a top salary for a TIG. welder should be, working with stainless steel only. The person does not have to be certified, all they need to be is a very skilled TIG welder. They will be working for a new company with full benefits.
12-05-2007, 04:29 PM
In Houston, Texas, 23 to 25$ per hr. John
12-05-2007, 11:02 PM
I call on a stainless steel only fab shop, they predominantly do work for the pharmaceutical industry. Their top tig guys are in the $17.00-$19.00 range plus benefits. We are in a smaller city in the midwest, but I could see where the larger cities would need to pay better. I also call on 3 ethanol plants, the guys that travel from job to job working ethanol plant construction are getting $24.00-$30.00 per hour, plus $65.00-$80.00 a day per diem, but they also don't have much for benefits.
12-08-2007, 06:55 AM
All of our TIG welding will be repeat welds maybe 1000 each time, and a lot are autogenous welds, with salary's up in the $30 mark it would make sense to get a robot welder in, we should recover the cost in about 35 weeks. Anyone use robots here.
12-08-2007, 10:06 AM
I don't think you want a robot...maybe an automated machine though. Look to spend $35k for a cheaper model that is sufficient for only tubing.
They don't pay for themselves as quickly as you may think, as opposed to a skilled welder. For every minute that machine is working, you also are paying a man to stand there and watch it.
Also consider that while you want a guy skilled only in stainless, to find somebody highly skilled in one metal that has no experience with others is sometimes rare. Check into salary.com and they can give you more info about payrates in your area.
In my area, top pay for welders is about $21-27/hr...and that depends on where you are more than hw good you are. In other words, if you can get lucky enough or know the right people to get you into a govt plant, you can get up to $27. otherwise, you'll be around $19-21. If you're not highly skilled, you'll likely be down to $17 or under.
12-09-2007, 09:24 PM
We use a robot to weld the same weldments we also weld by hand. This is with pulse-mig on light gauge aluminum extrusion. Same process for both the robot and the humans. On deciding to buy the first robot, it was upper management's intention to replace all manual welders with robots. We had 4 manual welders at that time and it was purported (probably by the robot sales people) that one robot would be able to replace 3 manual welders. The company had intended to buy a second robot if the first one worked out well. Fortunately, they waited on the second one. More on that later.
The robotic welding arm and AC MIG-pulsed welding machine and related computer controls, etc. cost us about $100,000 about 6 years ago. It's a Deihin robot and an OTC welder. Tooling/jigs for the robot were another $50,000, from a different company in CA.
A new semi-automated double miter saw that could cut accurately enough for the robot to make good welds and fast enough to keep up with demand for cut parts from both the robot and our 3 manual welders was about $10,000. The old saw we had, which was some 20 or more years old, did not cut accurately enough for the robot to make the welds, however our manual welders were welding the same parts cut by that saw with minimal problems.
We wasted many, many hours trying to get the robot to make satisfactory welds on the parts cut with the old saw before management finally decided we needed a new saw to make this happen. There was also a problem with the original tooling one of the companies involved in the manufacture of the robot provided. We spent many more hours trying to make them work for us before management finally decided to send the robot out to another company in-state to have the tooling re-engineered and new tooling made. Once we got all that straigtenend out, the robot was up and running. It was about over a year's time from the time the robot purchase order was made to the time that we were able to successfully produce welded parts with it on a consistent basis.
It still takes a skilled welder, earning his normal welding pay, to operate the robot, set parameters, troubleshoot problems, etc. When the robot is running at full capacity with no problems, it only welds about 1.5 times the frame production our human welders normally weld in the same 8 hour day. The robot operator is paid the same as our human welders. Obviously, the sales staff were over-zealous in their claim the robot would be able to replace 3 manual welders. Realisticly, we are saving about 4 hours per day of welding pay by using the robot, provided the robot is running at full capacity that day. I suppose by now we have at least broken even on the total cost of the investment and cost of running it (more on that later), versus the the cost of labor saved by using it.
The quality of the robotic welds are normally very good, provided there are no problems with cut quality, fit-up, mechanical or computer glitches with the robot's various systems, a less experienced operator filling in when the usual operator is out, etc. However, the robot's good quality welds are no better than what our human welders normally do.
Any little problem can throw off the robot and halt or greatly diminish production, sometimes only for an hour, sometimes for a day or two, and a few times it's been down for a week or more waiting for parts or a factory service technician to fly in from accross the country (at significant cost to us once the warranty ran out), while the human welders just keep on welding at their usual pace. It is the responsibility of our robot operator to repair any bad welds the robot makes. On a bad day when the robot is making many weld errors, due to whatever problem, the operator spends alot of time fixing welds by hand, taking him away from producing parts on the robot, as well as the additional time it takes him to troubleshoot and fix whatever the problem is. Some days, the robot operator has no choice but to shut it down and weld the frames by hand untill the problem can be fixed.
Meanwhile, the manual welders keep the production going. The amount of 'down time' the robot has logged over last 6 or so years we have been using it is qute high. We quit keeping track of it a long time ago. The amount of 'down time' the 3 new Millermatics have experienced over the last 3 years has been very little. One machine has been out for service twice so far, a loss of about 4 days the second time. The first time we got a loaner from the supplier the same day we sent ours out, so about one day of downtime fooling around trying to fix it ourselves before sending it out.
About 3 years ago we replaced the 3 aging (nearly 20+ years old) manual welding machines (feeders and torches were worn out, power supplies were still working fine) with new Millermatic 350P's with Python push-pull torches, at a cost of about $15,000 for all 3 machines.
Analyzing the robot investment versus the manual welding machine investment, the robot, though a 'good idea', just wasnt the best decision for us. We use it, it does help, but I don't personally think it was worth the all the cost.
12-09-2007, 11:04 PM
... I suppose by now we have at least broken even on the total cost of the investment and cost of running it (more on that later), versus the the cost of labor saved by using it. ... Analyzing the robot investment versus the manual welding machine investment, the robot, though a 'good idea', just wasnt the best decision for us. We use it, it does help, but I don't personally think it was worth the all the cost.
I did some math since writing the above reply, comparing the cost of the robot investment versus the labor cost saved by using it and, I was wrong to say we have broken even on the robot. Actually, after 6 years, we still have not recovered our initial investment in the robot. We need about 4 more years to show a monetary gain with it. By that time it will be about 10 years old and I can forsee it beginning to need rebuilding of some of the mechanical. The robot was definitely not a wise financial decision for our company :(. Happily, I didnt have anything to do with that decision :).
12-10-2007, 02:31 AM
Uhhmmmm yes maybe I should reconsider this then, based on that information. The thoughts came from when I visited a factory making stainless steel welded tube and saw them weld all the tube.
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