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# THE ECONOMICS OF HARDFACING

1.1 General

The importance of hardfacing is widely recognized. There are many documented instances of savings
that have been made in many industries by the use of hardfacing.

However, this does not imply that hardfacing is best in all instances and an analysis of the costs involved
in hardfacing and other alternatives should be made. The accurate calculation of costs involved may be
quite complex, as many factors must be considered to determine whether hardfacing is cost effective.

This section explains in detail the factors involved in costing. It is necessary that these factors be
understood since their importance will differ from job to job and from workshop to workshop. Labor and
overhead will always be major costs and will vary depending on company, size, complexity, technology
level and type of output.

It is essential that each organization keeps accurate cost data concerning their own particular operation
since reliable costing will be required for quotations, comparison between maintenance methods,
evaluation of design and evaluation of welding procedures.

While labor and overhead, and material costs are the easiest costs to identify in computing the
cost of any hardfacing application, the following factors should be considered, since they also
will impact the total cost of the job.

(a) Design
The design or geometry of the original component will determine the amount of weld deposit
required and ease of applying it.

(b) Position
The highest deposition rates are achieved in the flat and horizontal positions.

(c) Process
The welding process and process parameters (procedure) chosen will govern the time required as
determined by deposition rate, deposition efficiency and operator factor.

(d) Costs
Additional costs associated with the work such as transportation, machining, heat treatment and
inspection.
A comparison of deposition rates, expressed as pounds per hour, at different current setting is shown in
Table 1.1.A.

Table 1.1.A.
Current/Amps Stick Electrode Semi-Automatic Submerged Arc
110 1.8 - -
125 2.0 - 3
150 2.6 - 4
175 3.0 6 4
200 3.7 8 6
225 4.2 10 8
275 7.0 12 10
325 9.0 14 12
375 - 16 14
425 - 18 17
475 - - 20
525 - - 24

Deposition efficiency is expressed as a percentage and is determined by dividing the weight of metal
deposited by the weight of the consumable expressed as a percentage. Efficiencies will vary with
process as shown in Table 1.1.B.

## Table 1.1.B. Deposition Efficiencies

Process Deposition Efficiency %
Manual (flux-coated electrode) 60-70
GTAW (TIG) 95
GMAW (solid and metal-cored) 95
FCAW (open-arc or gas-shielded) 85-90
SAW (submerged arc) 90-95 (wire only)
Gas Welding (bare rod) 95

Operator factor or efficiency is expressed as a percentage and is the effective deposition hours divided
by total hours expressed as a percentage. Time study methods or arc monitors are used to determine
the operator factor and some typical factors are shown in Table 1.1.C.

## Table 1.1.C. Operating Factors

Process Operating Factor %
Manual 30
GTAW 20
GMAW 60
FCAW 60
SAW 65
*Semi automatic processes

Activities that affect the operator factor include: preparation, setting up, idle time, instruction, crane time,
preheating, deslagging, operator skill and degree of automation.
1.2. Hardfacing Cost Calculation
1. Flux Cost (submerged arc welding only) per lb of weld metal deposited
Unit Price (\$/lb) x Consumption Rate (lb/hr) Deposition Rate of Wire (lb/hr)
(generally 1 lb of flux is used for each pound of wire deposited)

2. Shielding Gas Cost (gas shielded processed only) per lb of weld metal deposited
Unit Price (\$/ft3) x Flow Rate (ft3/hr) Deposition Rate of Wire (lb/hr)
Example: Argon/CO2 @ \$.15/ft3
Flow Rate of 30 ft3 per hour \$0.15 x 30 = \$.64/lb
Deposition Rate of Wire @ 7 lbs/hr 7

## 3. Power Cost per lb of weld metal deposited

[Unit price (\$/kw hour) x kw per hour] Deposition Rate (lb/hr)
Example Power Cost @ \$0.126/kw hour
Kilowatts = (welding volts x welding amps) 1000
Voltage @ 21
Current @ 200 amps \$0.126 x 4.2 = \$.08/lb
Deposition Rate of Wire @ 7 lbs/lb 7

## 4. Welding Material Cost per lb of weld metal deposited

Wire/Electrode Price (\$/lb) Deposition efficiency (%)
Example Welding Wire @ \$5/lb \$5 = \$5.26/lb
Deposit Efficiency @ 95% .95

## 5. Labor Cost per lb of weld metal deposited

Labor Charge (\$/hr) [Deposition Rate (lb/hr) x Operating factor (%)]
Example Labor Cost @ \$25/lb \$25 = \$5.95/lb
Deposition Rate @ 7 lbs/hr 7 x .60
Operating Factor @ 60%

## 6. Overhead Cost per lb of weld metal deposited

Overhead price (\$/hr) [(Deposition Rate (lb/hr) x Operating factor (%)]
Example Labor Cost @ \$10/lb \$10 = \$2.38/lb
Deposition Rate @ 7 lbs/hr 7 x .60
Operating Factor @ 60%

## 7. Total Cost per lb of weld metal deposited

Flux Cost + Gas Cost + Power Cost + Material Cost + Labor Cost + Overhead Cost

Total cost to deposit one pound of hardfacing alloy (.64 +.08 + 5.26 + 5.95 + 2.38) = 14.31

## Width of hardfacing (in) x Thickness of hardfacing (in) x Length of

hardfacing(in) x Total cost/lb (7 above) x 0.3 = Total hardfacing cost

## Metric Equivalent - Width of hardfacing (cm) x Thickness of hardfacing (cm) x Length of

hardfacing (cm) x Total cost/kg (7 above) x .008 = Total hardfacing cost

This calculation provides the means to determine the total cost of depositing a hardfacing layer of a
given thickness based on a given width and length, with the deposited cost per pound previously
determined.

The determination of the cost advantage of hardfacing over replacement enables management to reach an
informed decision on whether to hardface a particular component.

The cost advantage (CA) of hardfacing compared with a new component, in \$ per unit output, is given by:

OPN OPR

Where

## PCN = Prime cost of new component (S)

= Cost of new component + downtime cost (new)
PCR = Prime cost of hardfacing (\$)
= Cost of hardfacing + downtime cost (hardfacing)
OPN = Work output during life of new component
OPR = Work output during life of hardfaced component

Where there is a positive cost advantage, hardfacing is likely to be the best solution, and an indication of
the annual cost savings can be determined.

This simple equation for cost advantage does not take into account factors such as plant depreciation and
replacement, cost of capitalization, taxation benefits, and other factors that may affect the decision.

Most of the data needed for the above calculation is relatively easy to obtain and will be available as
predetermined costs in many shops. The cost of hardfacing can be calculated using the method shown in
Table 1.3.

Other factors may require consideration, such as the value of work output for the hardfaced component
which may not be known and has to be estimated initially.
1.4. Annual Cost Savings and Extra Expenditure

Where significant extra expenditure is required to implement a new hardfacing repair method which has
a positive cost advantage from equation 1, a supporting case will normally be required by management.
Data required will include the annual cost savings and extra expenditure.

The annual cost savings (CS) expressed in \$/year by using hardfacing instead of a new component is
given by equation 2:

Equation 2: CS = CA x PR

## CA = Cost advantage from equation 1 (\$/unit output).

PR = Production rate (Averaged over the year including downtime, and here
assumed equal for both new and repaired components) (unit output/year).

Example 1 Shear blade for Cold Punching (18 mm) Mild Steel

New Component

Installation cost =\$20/hr x 0.5hr = \$10
Downtime cost =\$210.00/hr x 0.5hr = \$105
Prime cost - new =215

## Work output - new =2000 cuts

Cost per cut =0.1075

Hardfaced Component

## Cost of hardfacing (see 1.2) =\$60

Installation cost and downtime cost =\$115 (same as new component since a second blade had
Prime cost - hardfaced =175

## Work output - hardfaced =11,500 cuts

Cost per cut =0.0152

2000 11500

## Note: The figures shown are hypothetical.

This shows a positive cost advantage, meaning hardfacing is beneficial. A reduced prime cost for the
hardfacing method contributes to this advantage, but the increased work output is the major contribution.

If the usage of the shear blade increases to 46000 cuts per year the savings increases as follows:

= 0.0923 x 46000
= \$4246 (i.e. annual saving by using hardfacing instead of new component).

At the exit from the furnace is the clinker crusher, on which the hammers had to be changed every
month. The shutdown of this crusher to change the set of 36 hammers caused a production shutdown
lasting 2 days.

## Annual loss through 12 shutdowns \$417,000.

After a careful study, a hard overlay using a continuous wire was applied and enabled the service life of
the hammers to be prolonged by 100% - i.e. from one to two months. Downtime and production costs
were halved and productivity increased.