Upgraded Alcotec 4000 Series wires

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To increase production efficiency in high-volume MIG aluminum welding, AlcoTec, an ESAB brand, has upgraded all its 4043 and 4047 aluminum MIG welding wire products with a proprietary and patented surface treatment technology.

The enhanced AlcoTec 4000 series wires exhibit smoother feeding performance and fewer tangles when compared to three other leading brands of wire, including those treated with a graphite-based solution.

“We enhanced the surface condition of AlcoTec 4043 and AlcoTec 4047 wires to improve wire feed performance in robotic applications and feeding systems with long gun lengths. When uptime counts, users can count on more uptime with AlcoTec,” says Joe Cacioppo, Director of Wire Global Product Management, ESAB. “Because of this superior surface condition, AlcoTec 4000 series wires can travel over each other more easily when required, which minimizes wire tangling inside a bulk drum. They also deliver more consistent and reliable feeding to solve such problems as a chattery arc, weld bead discontinuities and burnbacks.”

The 4000 series aluminum wires are widely used in automotive applications such as electric vehicles (EV) battery trays and bumper assemblies, as well as for bicycles and general fabrication. AlcoTec 4043 and 4047 MIG wires are available in diameters from 0.030 in. (0.8 mm) to 1/16 in. (1.6 mm), spool sizes of 1, 5, 16 and 20 lbs., and AlumaPak™ bulk drums of 50, 180 and 311 lbs. AlcoTec wires are made at ESAB’s facility in Traverse City, Michigan.

Solving a Traditional Challenge

Compared to 5000 series wires, traditional 4000 series wires are softer, have less columnar strength (e.g., they buckle easily) and more relative “stickiness” against itself or other surfaces. This softness makes them more difficult to feed over longer distances, and the stickiness can make drum payout more challenging. The relative stickiness of the traditional 4000 series also leads to the wire sticking inside the gun liner, creating a build-up and sudden release of wire tension that results in a phenomenon called arc chatter. Chatter may be more pronounced with long cable lengths and cables that go through sharp turns. such as over the side of a robotic cell’s protective enclosure.

“Historically, industry had accepted the difficulty of feeding 4000 series wires,” notes Cacioppo. “Since no one can change inherent properties associated with alloys, ESAB focused on creating a new generation of wire surface treatments to create the best surface conditions possible. Given their proven performance, AlcoTec’s new surface treatment technology can unlock new areas for cost savings and greater productivity.”

A 5000 Series Solution

AlcoTec also offers 5000 series aluminum wires manufactured with a patented manufacturing technology that minimizes or eliminates the shaving problem historically associated with these wires. AlcoTec 5356 greatly improves wire feedability and arc stability to produce a clean, high quality aluminum welding wire that will not clog gun liners. This results in less wear and tear on contact tips and liners that do not have to be replaced as often as a result of wire shaving (view video of head-to-head shavings tests). In addition to reduced contact tip and liner replacement costs, AlcoTec 5356 wire also reduces downtime, ultimately extending the life of the welding gun and increasing throughput.

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