Department of Defense Welding Instructor Germany
Hello I am one very happy customer here in Germany (DOD Instructor.) I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on this product.
Multiplaz should be at the top of any repairman or welders must have list. I need to point out a few flaws in marketing and design for this product though. I do not mean this as a put down, simply wishing to offer my advice.
My welding experience is on the repair side of the business. My brother was a BIW welder and calls himself one of the big boys, you know the type, big spool guys that do architectural, boat builder and pipe fitters. I’ve always done the odd stuff on the repair side of the biz because you just run into more interesting issues and it fits better with my mechanic's and machining skill sets. I do hold an AWS cert, DOD 2T (mobile equipment) and 2A (airframe) welding certs and a German TuV cert. And as you know I teach a pretty darn nice welding course for the DOD here in Germany.
Last week I was listening to my students and watching them. An order of welding material had just come in and we were opening the packages. All I could think about was getting some stainless rod out that I needed but the boys were going crazy for the decals that always come in the packages. They just want to paste them all over their helmets and tool boxes. They walk around later talking about buying a Miller or Lincoln but never one of our European models or even a Multiplaz. And the funny thing is that eventually they will, at least from the outset. Young people associate what they can visibly show off like a decal on their helmet with what they are loyal to. Now that may seem crazy, but I’ve seen this for over 10 yrs. now. Basically I'm seeing a huge lack of promotional material that these young guys can sink their teeth into, not just with MP but with my Euro vendors as well. Andre Citroen was the only corporate leader to get his advertisement put onto the Eifel tower. People went nuts about that and Citroen would respond, "talk good about me, talk bad about me, just talk about me" His promotion foresight led Citroen to be the top vendor of the era, even with the oddball cars Citroen built.
I have a dedicated roller cart, custom set up for the MP now. I keep MP front and center and use it while the kids are in the booths working. I can weld free air right in the shop without need for additional ventilation or worrying about arc blast in the open. It's a teachers dream. I demo it constantly and point out all that it can do. One example recently when we were building a dozen bullet traps for our ROTC here on campus. The kids were having an awful time getting the hardened backing plates nicely welded to mild steel sides. Crap loads of edge blow through, impossible to bring the weld up to the sharp pointed corners and so on. The MIGS were being too fussy and the stick welders too aggressive. We were getting so far behind that I just had the kids tack everything up and we used the MP to do all the heavy welding. Previous blow outs were simply welded right over in the weld stringers and the process went so nice that I was seeing student converts. Until, of course, decal day.
One of my students showed up to class one day spewing about some fools on the welding forums giving bad advice about the MP. Lack of certifiable welds was the theme. I hadn't done it before but knowing weld process and molecular bonding I knew that the MP should not have an issue with this. So we dug out the press dies and roller and I ran a few passes on different thicknesses of bar stock and loaded them up and each one passed the direct pressure/bend test. One of my kids wasn't so easily impressed, so we locked a piece and got a huge pipe and pretzeled the stock around the weld. As in theory, the metal would bend around the weld. We also did one cut before we ran out of time to check for porosity which I knew we wouldn't find, but they love to say on the forums.
So what's keeping these kids from buying in besides decals? Euro manufacturing standards. I've been here for over 30 years and I'm used to Euro designs. With the amount of visitors that I get through here, I get to show off the MP quite often. The one thing I always hear, particularly from the Americans is, "pretty chintzy looking". One day I was splitting some 6" hardened steel pipe with the plasma cutter and needed to get the ground line out to the work. The ground cable is just too short on the MP. I had a long heavy duty battery charger cable off a discarded unit, so I hooked it up directly to the MP and got about a two meter gain. Interestingly with that cable I was also getting quicker starts on the plasma arc, which I know in theory is wrong, but in practice is real. So I left the cable on. It was just more conducive to the abuses ground cables take than the wire that came with the machine. Now here is the interesting thing. As soon as I made that change, every person that looked at the MP said "Wow, that's a pretty heavy duty looking piece of equipment, where do get it?" WHAT, you're kidding me.. because I changed a cable? Yes indeed. People are used to smaller inverter welders now and the first thing they see are the cables. Nuts huh? Well now I'm looking at finding a small gauge, heavily insulated longer rod holder wire to compliment the "New Look". I'm just putting out there that impressions can be made by such simple things. The guide holder is also kind of wimpy so I'm making a nice billet piece on the lathe right now as well.
And lastly, I was always setting the fill caps down on my messy bench and they would get lost on the table. I painted them blaze orange and haven't misplaced one since. I was leery about MP when I was buying in, but it is proving itself (with a number of hours practice) to be the most versatile and capable repair welder I've ever owned. I hope my insight can help customers understand better the Multiplaz.