Finding the welding business problems and turning them into chances
One of the biggest threats to the welding business is expected to be robotic automation, although it will take a long time before robotic automation becomes cost-effective. Robot programming is, as of now, manual. Researchers are looking for ways to automate the process of training robots. There will be immense cost benefits once robots are trained enough. Further, robotics is not yet within the reach of small and medium-size manufacturers because of exorbitant cost. But like the price of personal computers keep continuously falling, similar price decreases may allow robots to one day dominate factory floors.
It is a fact that the welding business has expanded tremendously over the last few decades and today welding involves 140 different processes and materials welded range from metals, polymers, and ceramics to composite materials, from PC chips to trans-Atlantic ships.
Welding, simply stated, is materials joining process and researchers are constantly finding newer and more cost-effective methods of welding for the industries and customers to benefit. Emphasis is being laid to automate the welding process. The businesspeople have been seeking fresh ways to automate welding since automation will prove cost-effective for high production runs, such as mufflers and car bodies.
The three issues that confront welding business today may be identified as - Minimizing of welding cost, augmenting productivity and shortage of skilled manpower. Different organizations view these problems differently and each from its own perspective. For instance, while one company seriously chalks out plans to reduce welding costs, the other company places greater importance on productivity factor to achieve the same ends.
The one welding trade problem that most professionals are agitated about is shortage of trained welders. This problem may get further aggravated as qualified and well-trained welders keep retiring and with no competent welders to take their place. The industry is rapidly losing welders. Analysts blame this trend, at least partly, to a lack of job pride. More and more career-oriented people forsake welding profession and opting for different fields where skill requirements will be less, physical risk factor low and wages more attractive.
Earlier, welding workers had greater employer loyalty and worked for the same company for many years and at best, worked for only one or two companies during their entire career. Corporations today are more focused on maximizing profits and employees are encouraged to leave for greener pastures. Companies want to get away by paying as little as they can and employees want to make as much as they can.
There are also some problems with regard to welding equipments as some of them cost more to repair than to replace. Equipment manufacturers, on the other hand, claim they are trying to make cheaper machines so they can sell it for less, because that is what the industry wants. Part of the reason why equipments are made with shorter life span could be the fear of obsolescence as consumers keep rethinking their purchasing strategies. Some industrialists favor leasing welding equipments rather than buying them. Soon the welding equipment manufacturing segment may face recession.
Welding is a part of the manufacturing process, but people say it is a small percentage. The scenario can change if there is higher demand for welded products. There will be a need for more welders if the demand for welded products goes up and the entire welding trade can once again prosper.