Bobcat Series: What Has Changed?
Welder/Generators offer a huge advantage for anyone who has to work away from conventional power sources or can’t access a 240 volt plug. Over the next two months, we’ll be covering both the Bobcat and Trailblazer welder/generators, helping you to understand which machine is best for your particular industry and application and how they’ve changed over the last few years.
The Bobcat is one of the best-selling engine driven machines on earth. But a lot of changes have been made to the Bobcat over the years, which many welders don’t know about. On top of that, Bobcats have a number of options, from their caliber of power to the type of engine they use. Knowing the difference is incredibly important, especially considering how long these machines will last with the right care.
New Start/Stop Remote Control
One of the newest features for Bobcats is the ability to remotely switch your machine on and off. Now you might be thinking, is that really a big deal? That entirely depends on how you’re using your engine driven machine. For welders working in construction or maintenance, it’s a game-changer.
Consider this: Most welders don’t turn their engine driven machine off and on between setting up for different welds. This means that it’s only being used about 30% of the time it’s on. That ends up being about $1,500 a year in unnecessary fuel and maintenance costs, just from leaving your welder/generator on when you don’t need to.
With the start/stop remote, turning the machine off and on isn’t an issue. And you might say, “I’ll just make sure that I turn my generator off while I’m not using it.” But here’s the simple truth: If the welder/generator is more than 10 feet away, people simply just don’t do it. It's not worth the time and energy to make multiple trips. With a simple remote, that walk to the machine can be accomplished with the single tap of a button.
It should be noted that the start/stop remote won’t work with every Miller Bobcat. It must be a model with remote start/stop technology integrated in, such as the welders below:
One final note on this in comparison with the Trailblazer: The new Trailblazer series includes WIC (Wireless Interface Control) remotes that allow for an even greater amount of remote control over your welder/generator (adjusting amps, etc.). If you’re working long distances from your engine driven power source, you should definitely check out the Trailblazers with WIC as well.
Size Vs. Power
The Bobcat series consists of a few different models, such as the 225 and 260. The main difference between these models is the amount of amperage and volts they’re able to output. For instance, the Bobcat 225 can output up to 225 amps, and the Bobcat 260 can output up to 260 amps (hence the naming convention of the machines). That increase in power comes with a very slight increase in mass, with the 225 weighing in at 485 lbs and the 260 at 501 lbs. This tiny increase in weight equals a large increase in power, meaning you should generally take the amount of amps you’ll need into priority first before worrying about size and weight.
Overall, the Bobcat’s size and weight are incredibly manageable compared to traditional welder/generators. This is important for any industry, but especially pipe welders, ranchers and maintenance where you’re having to travel on a huge variety of different terrains and road types. Not needing a highly-specialized (expensive) vehicle to carry around a gigantic welder/generator can be incredibly freeing for your mobility and your wallet.
Be Vawy, Vawy Quiet
Miller has taken a page out of Elmer Fudd’s book these days with their machines, focusing on getting it as quiet as possible. For any welder working in construction, manufacturing, fabrication or repairs, this will allow a lot more flexibility to your work and schedule while increasing safety.
Older welder/generators had their engines towards the back of the machine, resulting in less efficient airflow and a whole lot of noise. The new Bobcats now have their engines rotated towards the front of the machine, making them much quieter than older and competing models.
Another benefit of the new start/stop remote is that it’s quick and simple to turn your machine off when not in use. This will make the worksite a whole lot quieter. However, even when turned on and running, the bobcat is quite a bit quieter than traditional welder/generators, producing only about 72 to 73 dB of sound (depending on the model and engine option you choose).
What this means is that you’ll be able to have more control over when and where you use your engine driven machine. You’ll be able to get started earlier during the hot summer days and go longer at night when people would normally be upset by loud noises. If you’re working in commercial welding or welding near people’s houses, the low noise levels can often be required for certain jobs.
It should be noted that because the Bobcat does not feature the Trailblazer's Auto-Speed™ Technology, the noise of the engine will only fluctuate between full throttle or idling. If sound is a big concern for you, the Trailblazer has four different RPM levels, meaning the sound never gets louder than what is required for your power needs.
Getting your engine driven machine started can be a real pain, especially in cold weather. The Bobcat’s hands-free starting automatically sets the proper air/fuel mixture and eliminates the need to manually engage the choke.
Besides powering it’s own dedicated multi-process machine, the Bobcat produces 9500 continuous watts of power (or 11,000 peak watts). This means you can run lights and another machine such as a grinder from your generator as you weld. It’s perfect for jobs on the ranch or mobile repairs where your welder/generator is all the power you have to get the job done.
To GFCI or Not To GFCI
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interruption) is essentially an extra precaution designed to improve safety when using auxiliary power. Most of the Bobcat machines have two versions, one with GFCI and one without. Which type you need will generally depend on your industry, particularly in manufacturing, construction, maintenance and anywhere else with more regulations. GFCI can be required by OSHA depending on the industry. In some areas, having a GFCI means you aren’t required to do a MSHA tool and cord test.
A new welder/generator is one of the best areas that you and/or your company can invest your money at the end of the year. The benefits to both cost-savings and safety will continue to make an impact through the life of the machine (which, if you’ve bought quality like a Miller Bobcat, will be a very long life indeed). For more information on the Miller Bobcat series as well as the best place to buy on the web, check out Welding Supplies from IOC’s complete engine driven collection. Make sure you join our loyalty program as those reward points will pay off quick!