The Benefits of Miller’s Suitcase Wire Feeders

February 03, 2023 · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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The Benefits of Miller’s Suitcase Wire Feeders

The semi-automatic wire-fed process known as self-shielded flux cored arc welding (FCAW-S) easily exceeds the efficiency and productivity of manual processes such as stick welding/SMAW. However, the construction, pipe welding, and field fabrication/repair industries have expressed some hesitancy to the widespread adoption of FCAW-S. This hesitancy is largely the result of concerns regarding the durability and performance of the equipment used to feed the wire.

The line of “suitcase” style wire feeders offered by Miller Electric are worth considering, as they have been designed to address industry concerns and provide other value-added features that allow you to confidently implement the high-productivity FCAW-S process.

Location Flexibility

Suitcase feeders are most often used for field welding. These applications often require frequently relocating the feeder to the joints to be welded. Unlike stationary benchtop feeders, weight is a key consideration in the design and selection of a suitcase-style wire feeder. Miller Electric’s Suitcase X-treme 12VS feeder weighs under 40-lbs without wire, which helps ease the burden of transport.

These feeders are also suitable for applications other than self-shielded flux-cored arc welding. They feature an internal gas solenoid and connections that allow for the use of the external shielding gasses required for gas-shielded flux cored (FCAW-G) or MIG (GMAW) welding. Suitcase-style feeders are popular in large-scale industries such as shipbuilding but are a popular choice in any application where you anticipate moving between the field and shop.


Field welding demands equipment that is resistant to the elements and the nature of the job such as equipment being dragged, dropped, or exposed to sparks. Working out in the field or at an unprotected jobsite leaves room for disruption of the equipment. Mud is common at field sites and often working under a shelter isn’t feasible. However, protecting the wire is critical to consistently producing welds of high quality. The flame-retardant and crush-proof cases of the Miller Suitcase feeders have a gasketed seal to provide complete protection to the wire and feeding mechanism inside. This additional feature makes this equipment both protected and durable for a variety of locations. 

Consistent Wire Feeding

Protection from the elements is critical to good weld quality, but so is consistent wire feeding. Problems are minimized by maintaining a good preventative maintenance schedule that addresses worn contact tips and liners before they become a problem. However, the Miller Suitcase wire feeders have design features that can help minimize unexpected downtime due to burn backs and bird nesting. First, this equipment features a wire pressure knob with a scale to help ensure that wire drive roll tension is set consistently and not excessively. Second, the inlet guide of this equipment directs the wire into the feed rolls is designed specifically to help minimize wire drag.

Easy Parameter Adjustment & Simple Operation

Field welding on the job site might involve tackling welds that are significantly different in design or position. Operators could try a “one size fits all” approach to setting welding parameters, assuming the welding procedure allows doing so. However, this can lead to producing welds that are sub-optimal. Sub-optimal welds might require rework due to excessive spatter, less-than-ideal weld profiles, or poor fusion among all the possibilities.

The alternative is walking back and forth between the workpiece and power source each time a new joint is encountered or enlisting the help of a stationary assistant. However, a more productive solution to achieving optimal weld quality is available for rent from Red-D-Arc.

The ArcReach Suitcase 12 wire feeder from Miller Electric features ArcReach technology that allows adjustment of both wire feed speed and voltage at the wire feeder using only the durable power cabling. Conventional equipment only allows adjustment of the wire feed speed at the feeder unless a delicate control cable is used (assuming the equipment possesses the capability).

While wire feed speed is an important adjustment that controls amperage (and depth of penetration), wire feed speed should be adjusted in conjunction with voltage to ensure optimal results. The Miller ArcReach Suitcase 12 wire feeder makes adjustment of weld settings easy thanks to large and bright digital displays and large, accessible, yet protected adjustment knobs.


Wire feeders have had their fair share of critiques over the years. Because of concerns about subpar feeding capabilities and durability, many fabrication and construction job sites hesitate to adopt these machines. However, The wire-fed processes can be significantly faster than the manual processes without a loss in weld quality.

 This equipment should not be a barrier to maximizing productivity. The durability, capability, and performance of the Miller Suitcase series of wire feeders help to ensure that your transition into and time spent with the wire-fed processes is as smooth as possible. Contact us today to learn more about the features of each wire feeder to determine which model is best for your application.

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