A duty cycle is the percentage of time that a piece of equipment is designed to operate. For example, the new Safelock gangway system has improved its duty cycle to withstand 100 to 150 trucks per day.
A pump designed to operate for half an hour out of 60 minutes has a 50 percent duty cycle.
The often mentioned industrial equipment where the duty cycle matters most is the welding machine. In welding, a duty cycle is a rating that specifies how long a welding unit can be used at its full output current before breaking it. The duty cycle is based on a duration of 10 minutes. A worker can only use a welding machine with a 60 percent duty cycle at its full-rated output current for six out of every 10 minutes. If the duty cycle is exceeded, the welding machine can overheat. The duty cycle may be extended at lower current settings, and the welder can operate with the power source for a longer period.