Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section. Here you can find answers to all the common questions related to our machines, accessories, consumables, and the electrochemical process in general.

COUGARTRON MACHINES & EQUIPMENT – ELECTRONICS, SET-UP, SAFETY

MACHINE (POWER) UNIT

What type of outlet should I use? Can your machines run on an alternate power source (generator)?

Our machines are intended for workshop use but you can also power them using a generator.

How much input power do your machines require?

This depends on the machine. InoxFury requires 16 amps for the 230V model and 32 amps for the 110V model. All other units run of standard 5Amp input.

Can I get an electric shock?

Yes, as is the case with most electric machines if you do not use them properly. However, if you follow the instructions and use the recommended PPE equipment, you will never experience an electric shock.

What is the duty cycle of your machines? We do a lot of weld cleaning, for how long can I use your machines on each occasion?

The duty cycle depends on the machine and the thickness of the material. Under the right conditions, every Cougartron machine has a 100% duty cycle.

What do I do if the machine overloads?

This rarely or almost never happens. However, if it does, it is because of one of these two things:

  1. You are using the machine incorrectly. Please refer to the user manual supplied within the starter set.
  2. You are using the incorrect machine for the application. Our smaller units are not designed for thick gauge material. However, if the machine does overload, you can simply turn it off for a few minutes to allow it to cool down before you continue with the operation.
I often weld on-site, are your machines light enough to be carried around?

The weight of our machines ranges from 8 lbs (InoxPower & InoxMuscle) to 70 lbs (InoxFURY). All of them are easily transported and used on-site. Cougartron InoxFURY, as our heaviest weld cleaner, is also equipped with puncture-proof wheels and a practical retractable handle for easier handling.

I work in a messy environment – what happens if the machine gets in contact with water or grease?

The interior of Cougartron weld cleaners is protected inside a durable splash-proof plastic case. This will, in most cases, prevent the penetration of water and other liquid materials from reaching sensitive internal components. However, you have to ensure that your machine is never submerged or exposed to running water. It is especially important to keep the connection joints clean and well-maintained. The maintenance schedule found within the user manual must be followed.

Where can I find instructions on starting and using your equipment?

Our starter sets contain printed quick start guides, user manuals, and USB drives with important documents in digital form. If you have any doubts or questions about how to operate and maintain your machine, you can always contact us at sales@cougartron.com or give us a call. If you bought your machine from a local distributor, you can contact them directly.

Do I need special training to be able to use your machines?

Operating our equipment is simple and easy, even for complete beginners. You only have to follow user manuals that are supplied together with the machines and, optionally, watch our useful demo videos.

Do the machines have fume extraction?

The electrolytic process produces only a small amount of fumes and vapors. For this reason, the machines are not equipped with a fume extraction system. The fumes are not poisonous since they contain mainly steam, but you need to make sure that your working area is always well-ventilated. If you are not working in a well-ventilated area, you should always wear a mask (as also noted within our MSDS files).

Do the machines have a fluid feed?

No. We have kept the equipment simple to ensure there is a minimum possibility of failure.

If my machine breaks, what is the first thing I need to do?

You can contact your local distributor or contact us directly via phone, e-mail, or by using the machine repair form found here. Ensure basic troubleshooting has been completed (e.g. check whether your unit is connected to a power source properly, make sure the connections are clean, etc).

BRUSHES

Do I also get brushes when buying one of your machines?

Yes, all Cougartron machine sets contain brush packs to get you started with effective weld cleaning.
Make sure that you look at the description on each of the machine´s product pages to see how many brushes come in a set. You can always reorder brushes via www.cougartron.com or from your local dealer.

Can I use any brush in combination with Cougartron weld cleaners or they have to be supplied strictly by you?

All our brushes are designed to provide optimal performance when used with the rest of our equipment. You can only use Cougartron-produced weld cleaning brushes in combination with our brush adaptors and shrouds.  If you use non-Cougartron equipment in combination with our machines, they will no longer be covered by our warranty.

Are your brushes (e.g. Powerbrush) compatible with all weld cleaners?

This ultimately depends on the machine’s power output. For example, Cougartron Powerbrush is compatible with all weld cleaners that can operate at 0-30 Amps. InoxFURY can provide a much higher amperage (up to 200 amps) so we always recommend using a specially-developed InoxFURY 200A Triple brush assembly in combination with this machine.

Here are some of the rules to follow:

  • Cougartron Powerbrush – Used at 0-30 Amps with Cougartron InoxPower, InoxMuscle, Plus, and ProPlus.
  • Cougartron Superbrush with Hex crimp – Used at 30-80 Amps with ProPlus and InoxFURY
  • Cougartron InoxFURY 200A brush – Used at 80-200 Amps with InoxFURY
How durable are your brushes? Do I have to replace them often?

We did some basic calculations here and found that you can, for example, clean 8200ft of stainless steel welds using a 10-Pack of our Powerbrush brushes. However, your actual brush consumption always varies depending on your production.  Examples of this are weld type, weld color, desired finish, etc. You can also watch this useful video on how to extend the longevity of our brushes.

Do I use different brushes for weld cleaning and polishing or are they multifunctional?

All Cougartron brushes can be used for weld cleaning (passivation) and electropolishing.

LIQUIDS

Your liquids are also called ‘acids’ – are they dangerous? Will they damage my skin or clothes?

Not all acids are equally toxic or toxic at all. For example, the pickling paste is highly toxic due to its ingredients (hydrofluoric and nitric chemicals). On the other hand, there are acids that are classified as corrosive and those that are known as irritants. Our CGT-550 weld cleaning fluid is classified as corrosive acid. By its ingredients and strength, it is similar to your ordinary household cleaning products and can cause mild damage to sensitive skin if improperly used. CGT-350 is even milder and will only cause minor irritation if it comes in excessive contact with your skin.

All acidic properties of our liquids are neutralized with the application of proper neutralizing fluids (CGT-N1, CGT-N5) after weld cleaning is done.

What about the fumes, are they safe to inhale?

Excessive inhalation of any type of chemical evaporation can lead to mild dizziness, irritation, and similar side-effects. However, electrolytic weld cleaning fluids are significantly safer which means that, within reasonable limits and the correct PPE, their evaporation is harmless.  As a safety precaution, we always recommend working in a well-ventilated area if you intend to use our equipment for a prolonged amount of time.

Are electrolytic fluids any different than the pickling paste?

Pickling paste normally contains dangerous nitric and hydrofluoric acids that have been proven harmful to both the human body and the environment. They can penetrate the skin and cause significant damage to your bones and internal organs. On the other hand, electrolytic fluids are made of food-grade phosphorus-based compounds that pose significantly less threat to your health.

What are the requirements for wastewater disposal?

No excessive waste is created during the electrolytic weld cleaning process. However, it depends to some extent on the user. If cleaning is done tidily, then there is very little wastewater. The same goes for neutralizing – if you apply a neutralizer properly, you will not have to deal with any waste acid. We also always recommend that you speak with your local waste disposal company to ensure you are adhering to local safety and legal standards.

What sort of protective equipment do I need to wear? Are gloves necessary?

Compared to other solutions for industrial weld cleaning and passivation, our fluids are far safer and pose no real threat. However, it is always recommended to protect your eyes and skin from coming into contact with any type of chemicals. Therefore, you should consider using protective gloves and safety goggles.

How soon should the acid be removed and the neutralizer applied after cleaning is done?

Electrolytic acids are mild and will not damage the surface of the steel if you do not remove them immediately after weld cleaning.

However, we do recommend that you apply the neutralizer as soon as possible to restore the pH neutrality of the surface and prevent the appearance of characteristic white acid marks.

Ideally, you should wipe the surface with a clean cloth before and after generously applying the neutralizing fluid.

Click here to see our detailed guide for proper surface neutralization after weld cleaning.

Do I need to use both cleaning acid and neutralizer every time?

The role of neutralizing fluids is to remove all traces of acidity from the surface and to restore its pH neutrality.  They will also prevent the risk of white marks and stains from appearing on stainless steel after the electrolytic treatment. These marks are a result of the acid drying on the surface. Therefore, it is advisable to always treat the surface with a neutralizer after you are done with weld cleaning, polishing, and marking.

Can I use the same fluid for cleaning and polishing?

CGT-550 is the fluid that can be used during both weld cleaning and electropolishing. CGT-350 is cleaning only fluid.

What is the difference between CGT-350 and 550?

CGT-350 is a milder version of the CGT-550 fluid and is recommended for welds and surfaces that are not heavily oxidized and contaminated. Unlike its stronger counterpart, CGT-350 is not suitable for electropolishing.  CGT-350 is also classified as non-dangerous fluid and can be transported by air.

Can I replace neutralizer with water?

No, the water is absent of the necessary chemical formula for successful surface neutralization.

Where can I get the safety information (MSDS) for the fluids?

All Material Safety Data Sheets are readily available on our website within the Download area. If any of the MSDS files are missing in your language, you can always contact us at sales@cougartron.com and we will do our best to equip you with proper documentation as soon as possible.

How long will my cleaning liquids last? Do I have to re-stock them often?

According to our calculations, you can clean ~5000ft of stainless steel TIG welds using a 1.3 Gal of our CGT-350 weld cleaning fluid. Use this figure only as a loose benchmark since your actual consumption will ultimately be influenced by a variety of factors including weld size, weld type, steel type, brush type, machine model, and your work habits. Your consumption rates may be lower or higher than those stated above.

EQUIPMENT CARE AND MAINTENANCE

How should I clean the machine unit? Can I use running water?

The machines should be kept clean as much as possible. We recommend paying special attention to the connection points for the cables. To clean the machine properly, wipe it down with a cloth that has been dampened with a neutralizer.

Do I have to clean every piece of the equipment after each use?

You should clean your brushes (together with the shroud and the wand) after every weld cleaning session. This will increase the lifetime of the parts and you will decrease your costs in the long-run. Click here to read more about proper brush cleaning and maintenance practices.

Where and how do I store my brushes?

After washing and drying your brushes, always store them in their original container. Make sure that they are protected from cross-contamination and not exposed to moisture.

How to store liquids – are there any temperature requirements?

The liquids should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. They should not be exposed to frost since this can affect the performance of the fluid.

How do I maintain the weld cleaning brush?

Weld cleaning brushes and brush accessories such as shrouds and wands should be cleaned after each use. Ideally, they should be cleaned under running water. When done, store them in their original packaging or a dry protected container. Watch our video and read more on how to maintain the brushes for longevity here.

WELD CLEANING & PASSIVATION (THEORY & PROCESS)

Isn’t electrolytic weld cleaning slower than pickling?

Not anymore. We now offer machines that can clean welds faster (and safer) than the pickling paste.

It usually takes anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours for the pickling paste to provide results after application. Then, you also have to remove all the remaining paste and clean the surface. Depending on the results, you might also have some rework on your hands. The other consideration is the size of the part you are cleaning. If it is large and you have to take it to a designated area for cleaning, then you also have to consider the transport time.

By comparison, the Cougartron method instantly cleans and passivates the surface and can also be done directly after welding while the weld is still hot.

Can your equipment be used in the food & drinks industry?

Yes, electrolytic weld cleaning is suitable for surfaces and constructions intended for transportation and storage of food and drinks.

Will your machines distort the steel surface?

The heat generated during the electrolytic process is not strong enough to affect the surface in this way. No surface distortion happens.

Is your cleaning method really as effective as grinding and mechanical polishing?

It is even more effective as it guarantees surface (re)passivation in addition to weld cleaning. The process is less laborious and absent of noise and vibration.

How do I know if I am using the correct power settings?

This is down to the material you are cleaning. The thicker the material and/or darker the weld, the more power you will need.

Can I clean both TIG and MIG welds using your equipment?

Cougartron ProPlus and InoxFURY can clean both stainless steel TIG & MIG welds. The other models (InoxPower, InoxMuscle and Cougartron Plus) are suitable for TIG weld cleaning.

You mention stainless steel a lot, is this the only metal type that can be treated?

This is the material we focused on when developing our products. However, in principle, we can clean all conductive metal surfaces due to the nature of the electrolytic process. Some of our customers have used Cougartron equipment on mild steel, copper, aluminum, brass, and other metals. Still, our machines are primarily intended for stainless steel and we guarantee 100% successful results only when it comes to this type of metal surface.

What does it mean actually when you say that your machines will clean and passivate the surface ‘in one pass?

These processes occur simultaneously when it comes to electrolytic weld cleaning. By removing contamination from the surface, we are at the same time restoring its protective passive layer due to the unique combination of electricity and fluid.

I experience a lot of discoloration problems with my welds, can your machines help?

Cougartron weld cleaners will effectively remove all forms of discoloration appearing after TIG and MIG welding. Lighter colors such as yellow are easier to clean and you can use any of our weld cleaners to eliminate them successfully if they appear after TIG welding. Darker colors appearing on MIG welds are best treated using either ProPlus or Cougartron InoxFURY. Our machines will also remove surface rust from older welds too.

I weld a lot of pipes, can I still use Cougartron machines there or are they only fit for sheet metal?

You can use our equipment to clean welds appearing on both sheet metal and pipes. With our Pipebrush PRO, you can clean the inside of tubes and pipes.

How often do I have to dip the brush while cleaning my welds?

When you start to see excessive arcing at the tip of the brush, it’s time to dip again.

When there is not enough liquid on the brush, weld cleaning performance will be reduced, and the brush will start to burn away. The brush should be wet at all times during weld cleaning.

What exactly is CougarSense?

CougarSense is Cougartron’s proprietary CPU-based power control technology which allows the users to precisely and accurately control the electrical current being sent to the weld cleaning brush.

Can I clean SS Duplex welds using your equipment?

Cougartron ProPlus and InoxFURY are both capable of cleaning and passivating stainless steel Duplex TIG welds. However, if you are working with heavily oxidized MIG welds, InoxFURY is the only machine that can provide the desired result.

How soon should I clean my welds after welding is done?

The sooner, the better. Corrosion and other forms of contamination can progress quite quickly so it’s always preferred to protect the surface adequately as soon as possible. You can start cleaning even if the area is still warm from welding, our carbon brushes can handle the heat.

Can I use Cougartron machines to clean inside corners and tight spots?

Using the right brush set-up, it is possible to reach very tight spots and corners and successfully clean welds located within such areas. There is a huge variety of available brush accessories at your disposal, including our useful angle adaptors.

Can I use Cougartron for cleaning prior to welding?

Yes – Cougartron machines will remove all traces of grease, oil, and adhesive materials from the surface. This has a positive effect on the quality of welding and makes post-weld cleaning even more effective.

MARKING (THEORY & PROCESS)

Which metal types can be marked using Cougartron marking machines?

Stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, brass, nickel, titanium, and almost all other conductive metal surfaces. However, if you wish to mark a metal surface not found on this list, please contact us for a custom solution.

Is electrolytic marking removing any of the steel surface?

No, electrolytic marking leaves a dark imprint on the surface without removing any of the material. The marks are usually only 0.001’’ (thousandth of an inch) deep.

Will I be able to mark on pipes or curved surfaces as well?

Yes, of course. You can mark on a very small radius too, but you need to make sure that you can actually place the marking stencil on the surface you wish to mark.

How hard should I press when marking?

It’s not necessary to press hard. Use a firm touch so that the current can pass through the fluid over the entire surface area of the marking electrode.

How permanent are electrolytic markings? Do they come off easily?

Electrolytic markings are extremely durable and permanent. Practically, the only way to remove them completely is to also remove some of the surface using a grinder. A Scotch Brite pad will remove the dark surface of the mark, but the marking into the metal is still visible.

I forge stainless blades as a hobby, can I use your equipment to decorate them with a custom logo (makers mark)?

Yes, our MK12 marking machine is quite useful when it comes to logo marking on different types of stainless steel surfaces. You can see some of the examples here.

I am not sure what stencil tape to use, how can I be sure?

We offer different stencil tape widths depending on the size of the marking you need. So if you have lettering that is ½ inch in height then we have a tape that is 0.7 inches wide. The biggest tape we currently offer is 4 inches wide.

Can I use one of the Brother printers for marking?

No, the printers are used to print your custom stencils, which are then placed on the work surface.

How long will marking fluids last? How many markings can I do with a single bottle?

This depends on the size of the stencil/surface area. However, you should be able to do at least 250-400 markings using a 1Pt bottle of our CGT-S1 marking fluid.

Can I use the MK12 machine to both mark and etch the surface?

Yes, you can purchase an adapter that converts the MK12 from a marking machine into an etching machine. (WELC4079)

Some of my marks faded after using your equipment, what seems to be the problem?

The felt needs to be wet at all times during marking. This will ensure that your marks remain crisp and permanent.

What is the difference between carbon felt and the white felt?

The white felt is supplied as standard and is fine for most applications. The carbon felt is used for high-volume marking and will mark faster. It is also used in situations when you need to mark large areas. However, it is important to always use the yellow membrane together with the carbon felt. Otherwise, the stencil can be damaged.

Is surface neutralization necessary after marking as well?

Yes, surface neutralization is necessary after every acid-based process. It also leaves the surface clean.

I bought one of your weld cleaners, how can I use it to mark on stainless steel as advertised?

You need to purchase an additional marking set compatible with your weld cleaner to start marking.
Basic Etching Set can be used with all the machines. If your ProPlus has been purchased before November 2019, then you will need a different marking set called the ProPlus Etching set. Click here to view the marking process done with the help of a weld cleaner.  

Do you have a step-by-step tutorial on how to use your MK12 machine?

You can read the user manual supplied with the MK12 machine or watch one of our useful demo videos.

Where do I get the marking stencils from?

Marking stencils are either disposable (printed using one of the label printers found on our website) or multi-use (produced by Cougartron according to your design and specifications). All you need to do is email your artwork to sales@cougartron.com. This can be in almost any format so long as the resolution is good. Standard artwork file types we accept are jpeg, png, pdf, and so on.

I made a mistake with one of my designs, what’s the best way to remove a mark from the surface?

The only way is to grind the mark away. Always ensure you position the stencil in the right place on the surface prior to marking. If you are concerned about the stencil moving you can fix it in place with some tape.

Are electrolytic marks food-safe?

Yes, they are food-safe on stainless steel surfaces.

Can I mark on painted surfaces, i.e. on a car?

The paint will block the electrical conductivity of the surface and thus prevent proper marking. The metal has to be stripped completely for the process to work.

Can I mark on anodized aluminum?

No, the anodized surface is not conductive enough for the marking to be successful.

Can I produce different color markings using your machines?

Not at the moment. You can either produce black (dark) markings or white etchings.

I need to mark the back of a watch. Can I use your equipment to mark on such a small surface?

Yes, the size is not a problem. You just need to make sure that the surface is not coated since this reduces the electrical conductivity. Additionally, the watch must be water-proof since you will be using marking and neutralizing fluids during the process.

ELECTROPOLISHING (THEORY & PROCESS)

How do I activate the polishing function when using your machines?

The polishing mode can be activated using the appropriate button on the control panel of your machine unit.

Can I use all Cougartron weld cleaners to polish stainless steel?

Apart from the InoxPower, you can use all other Cougartron weld cleaners to polish stainless steel surfaces.

What is the actual difference between cleaning and polishing modes? They both remove rust?

Unlike weld cleaning which does not alter the surface, electropolishing removes a microscopic layer from the surface, reducing surface roughness. If you electropolish for long enough you will end up with a mirror finish. Electropolishing will increase the passive layer and protect the surface from corrosion. Both methods will remove surface rust.

Can I polish the surface without cleaning it first?

Yes, this is possible. However, depending on how dirty the surface really is, you can expect faster results if you first clean it before polishing.

Can I achieve mirror finish using your machines?

Yes, but keep in mind that this approach is not recommended for large areas or very rough surfaces. This type of finish is achieved if you use the polishing mode for a longer period of time during your session.

Do I have to use a brand new brush when switching to the polishing work mode?

No, this is not necessary. You can use the same brush and the same fluid (CGT-550). The difference between polishing and cleaning is caused by a change in electrical current.

Do I have to neutralize the surface after electropolishing?

Yes, the surface must be neutralized after polishing as we use the same type of liquid as during cleaning. This will eliminate all acid residue remaining after the use of polishing liquids.

Will electrolytic polishing distort the surface?

No, the surface will not be distorted in any way.

Which metal types can be polished using your equipment?

You can use Cougartron machines to polish stainless steel surfaces only.

I have to polish several larger metal parts, will I lose too much time if I use your equipment?

For larger parts it is often more effective to have them electropolished in a bath. Our method is meant for more localized or remedial work.

MACHINE SERVICE, SUPPORT, AND WARRANTIES

If my machine breaks, what is the first thing I need to do?

You can contact your local distributor or contact us directly via phone, e-mail, or by using the machine repair form found here. Ensure basic troubleshooting has been completed (e.g. check whether your unit is connected to a power source properly, make sure the connections are clean, etc).

How easy is to replace damaged machine parts?

This can be organized by your local distributor or by one of our repair centers.

How long do I have to wait for my machine to be fixed?

This depends on the problem, but normally it can be turned around in 24-48 hours. On certain occasions, you can get a replacement machine until your unit is fully repaired.

Can you collect a broken machine and then return it to the same address?

Yes, we can arrange this. If the machine is outside the warranty, we will charge the shipping to you at cost.

How long is the warranty?

The warranty lasts for one year. By registering your machine, you can extend the warranty to two years for free. You can find the registration form here.

What if my machine gets broken after the warranty expired?

We can still repair your machine – at your own cost.

I am having problems with using your equipment, what’s the fastest way to reach you?

You can visit our contact page and leave your details (phone number and email). We will try to contact you back as soon as possible. You can also call us directly during regular office hours:

Opening hours – 6 am to 5 pm Monday – Friday (not including Bank Holidays)

Closed Saturdays

Closed Sundays

PURCHASE, SHIPPING, AND RETURN POLICY

Can I buy all your products online?

Yes, all Cougartron machines, consumables, and accessories are available online.

Do I need to register to shop on your website?

You don’t have to register to order from our online store. However, this limits the number of payment options at your disposal.

Do I have to pay immediately or after receiving the order?

You will not be able to complete the ordering process without paying at the checkout.

My order failed, what do I do?

Make sure that all the information you submitted during checkout is 100% correct.
The address and postcode must be valid in order for the system to properly calculate the shipping fee.
If the process failed during payment, check your credit card balance or consult your bank for more details.

If the problem persists, please contact us and we will do our best to examine the situation as soon as possible.

Do you only offer ground shipping?

We offer various shipping options. Ground, Express and 2nd-day air.

Can I use your webshop if I am not located in the US?

Our cougartron.com website serves our customers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Visitors from other countries around the world can order all Cougartron products online using our new international webshop found at cougartron.com/int.

Can I track my orders?

You will receive an email once your order has been processed internally. If you do not receive this within 24 hours, please contact us at sales@cougartron.com

How do I return a machine?

You can contact us at sales@cougartron.com  to initiate the process and consult with our team members.

Didn’t find your answer?

If your question isn’t answered here then please head over to our support page and raise a ticket so one of our very helpful team can assist you.

Alternatively, use the contact form on this page.