Welder Plugs and Receptacles: Why You Should Use Them
We’ve covered welding receptacles before here. However, that article was focused more specifically on pin and sleeve. In this post, we will take a step back and explain more generally about welder plugs and receptacles and 4 reasons why you should use them.
Besides your straight blade NEMA welder plugs and receptacles, all other options have enhanced safety features. For instance, Twist Locks allow for a locking mechanism while energized. Pin and sleeve welders usually cannot be disconnected under load which reduces risk exposure to arc flash.
After the plant is built, welder plugs and receptacles in industrial plants are used 1000:1 for temporary power over actually powering a welding machine. Said another way, there is a much higher probability that your welder receptacle is going to be powering a mixer or a power washer than an actual welder. An electrical engineer designing the load side power distribution for an industrial facility is going to include at least a few welding receptacles. It would be unwise not to. An electrician may be called upon to replace, upgrade, or add receptacles for electric welders.This provides ultimate flexibility to the plant and is why electrical designers prefer welding receptacles.
NEC article 630 is a helpful guide for electricians who are trying to correctly size or install welder plugs and receptacles. It is nicely summarized here. While we don’t try to get too technical, it’s important that there is a clear standard and operating procedure for all welders.
Different Product Options
Many of the products we cover in our Industrial Overview of Wiring Devices in North America holds true for welder plugs and receptacles.
Maybe the most common for commercial and light industrial is the Nema 6-50 50A 250V. A mated pair would look like this:
As mentioned above, Twist Locks are also an option but you may need an adapter that looks like this:
For higher amperage and voltage applications (typically more industrial), IEC pin and sleeve is common. You’ve seen these before but here’s what the welder receptacles and plugs look like:
Grounded/Class Rated Options
In heavy industry or explosion proof environments, you’ll find products such as Crouse Hinds Arktite welder receptacles. These are very expensive but usually the only option:
Summing it Up: Welder Plugs and Receptacles
You should now have a firm grasp on the safety, flexibility, standardization, and different product options available for welder receptacles and plugs in the market. Happy welding and feel free to tell us what we missed!