Welding is one of the most important trades in the world of construction and manufacturing, whether it’s used for cars, buildings, or ships. It’s also a trade that’s changing very rapidly. Currently, there’s a severe shortage of welders in the United States. It’s estimated that there are vacancies for as many as 291,000 welders in the US right now. However, with the rise of technology, more and more of that work is being automated.
Because of the lack of skilled labor, the construction industry is taking a hard look at the way welders are trained and onboarded. Many companies feel so much pressure about getting welders out into the field that they’re shifting from older kinds of welding to newer ones. For example, some businesses are going from stick and TIG-style welding to wire processes. Recently, there have been big advancements to wire processes. Pulsed MIG is one type of technology that can be three to four times as fast as stick or TIG processes. This improved efficiency is a big win for investors in projects and for construction companies. Moving on from stick process welding can also mean eliminating stub loss.
Automation is improving, too. Some new welding devices are able to be controlled remotely. These are becoming more and more popular on job sites. Remote control welding devices offer better control of parameters during the welding process. With this technology, less time is wasted adjusting the power source. It’s also helped to eliminate some injuries caused by slip and trip hazards. Changes including digital interfaces have also made common welding equipment more user-friendly. This ease of operation has also helped the people running projects to save time!
Robots are also having a big impact on the way welding works. They’re becoming more and more common in the auto industry, among others. The interfaces for using these robots are much less complicated than they used to be. In some cases, handling robots are now being used with welding robots. This removes safety concerns associated with human workers, in addition to removing the obstacle of labor costs. There are also still jobs involved in the industry, particularly in using and maintaining the robots. These new careers tend to be more on the programmer side than on the skilled labor side. Still, it’s hard to beat the precision of human engineering. Robots are making welding and construction easier, but they’ll never fully replace skilled labor from real people!