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Modern welding technology is the singular most vital bond between the development and upcoming growth virtually in all types of industry

Image: iStock

Metal Forming Developing the skills in Welding

Jul 24, 2017

The welding sector in India currently faces the demand for specialised welding personnel who are trained, skilled and qualified. The article discusses ways in which welders can upgrade their skills so that they can become readily employable, from manual to semiautomatic, mechanised, automatic or robotic-welding.

Being a populous nation, there is a record number of unemployed young aspirants in India who have a strong quest to become an active participant in contributing to the development and economic growth of the nation. Hence, there is an ongoing focus on developing the skills and expertise of this available manpower in India where excellence is just a mission for inventiveness and password for value addition.

Scope of welding

Modern welding technology is the singular most vital bond between the development and upcoming growth virtually in all types of industry. Thus, youngsters can very well look for their career opportunities and play a vital role in diversified capacities such as fabrication welders, maintenance welding specialists, quality control technicians and welding engineers in India and abroad.

Welding may look very small but exists as a vital activity for fabrication and maintenance to enable plants and machineries to be efficient. Thus, a large group of specialised welding personnel need to be trained and qualified recurrently in an intimate skill and expertise required for specific industrial application to be employable in fabrication or maintenance shops. There are more than a few stages of skills and methods of welding that need to be mastered so as to enable and bring a visible change in projects.

Emerging trends in selecting welders

Traditionally, the trend was simply to ask welders to demonstrate their skills to deposit a sound weld by an accepted WPS (welding procedure specification) of industry. However, a new emerging trend is catching up fast worldwide by the introduction of international ISO/EN standards asking welders to pass out the additional oral or written test with multiple choices in objective type questions, including computer observation/ demonstration basics and followed by the practical welding test. Testing the job knowledge, which is restricted to the routine matters only, it concerns the immediate applied welding process and procedure only. Thus, the new model is emerging out in industry to utilise only the smart welders in near future.

Structural welders need to upgrade them further to become all position X-ray quality sheet, plate, pipe, and tube welders by conventional manual-gas & electric arc welding. Besides conventional welding, there is also ample scope to absorb added skills related to FCAW, SAW, GMAW (MIG/MAG) or GTAW (TIG) welding processes currently prevalent in industry to become readily employable, from manual to semi-automatic, mechanised, automatic or robotic-welding. As a welder, there is also further scope to work as a welding-operator and supervisor in the upcoming high-tech industry.

Meeting global quality standards

It is not the personnel alone, but also the technology of welding as a whole that has been classified as a special process; thus, most industrial houses are spirited by getting themselves certified appropriately in accordance with the ISO 3834-2 certification to put a system at work for the following motives:

  1. To enhance business share opportunity around the world;

  2. To affirm world-class quality only by adopting the best welding practices laid down in ISO 3834-2 standard;

  3. Understandably, high profile independent verification system, in compliance with standard ISO 3834-2, enables industry to become an authority in welding;

  4. Certified welding industry is responsible for quality co-ordination and requirements to heighten quality & production;

  5. The certification goes a long way in positioning the industry en bloc visibly on global welding map for quality, ethics, cost and productivity

Thus, a variety of carrier opportunity exists in welding right from an ordinary to high-quality sheet, plate, pipe, or tube-welders from down hand to all position by the diverse welding method and procedures for ferrous and non-ferrous group of materials. However, looking towards the intricacy involved in most fusion welding due to the choice of metal thickness, joint-design and process prerequisites, a great deal of cooperation is justifiably inevitable. Regardless of how good the welder may be, he will not be held responsible to find solution on his own; in fact, they need to be trained, qualified and inspired often by none other than their own immediate supervisory staff so as to meet the definite prerequisites of design. This has become even more relevant now in an era of high-tech, high-quality and cost-competitive marketplace. Irrespective of their size or ownership, the catch-22 like situation continues to exists even today, more often at the level of supervision rather than with the welders performing at the grassroot level.

Measures to deliver with ease

There is an urgent need to devise in-house industry specific induction training programmes cautiously favouring the basic demands of fusion welding for supervisory staff to bring adequate awareness and bring an overall change and create a work environment, which is more favourable and facilitates their own workforce to deliver with ease. There is no doubt that the task of learning to manage welding, either on shop or on site, will greatly favour the groups responsible for design, planning, purchase, quality assurance, production and quality control and will help co-operate fruitfully for the set common objective.

Documentation is the real crux of ISO 3834-2 standard, devising appropriate systems of storage, handling, welding, quality control and inspection, including traceability, even after the work done by the group. This ISO standard has been evolved after decades of experience gathered from the actual welding-shops/sites. Thus, the manufacturers who intend to be globally competitive will require employing specialist welding-engineers and coordinators to develop a number of documents i.e. planned welding procedure specification, welding procedure qualification record, approved welding procedure specification, and welders approval test certificate, meeting the specific order of design. Such documents are not made just to submit for periodical audit but also to be understood by all and applied by the group at the grassroot level in particular.

Hence, realising the true potential of forthcoming innovation in technology of welding & inspection, institutions closely associated with industry need to come forward to fulfill the mission of dispersing knowledge and skills preferably in vernacular dialects, to reach out to the levels of youngsters and enable the ‘Make in India’ slogan a reality. Such missionary approach alone will be proved pivotal for industry and the nation as a whole and will occupy a reputable place in industrialised group of nations.

The article is authored by Narendra H Singh, Chief Consultant & Trainer, Institute of Welding & Testing Technology

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  • Welding may look very small but exists as a vital activity for fabrication and maintenance to enable plants and machineries to be efficient

    Image: iStock

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