Despite being highly marketable, welding is an underappreciated skill in the working industry. With increasing technological advancement, comes the increasing employment rate of all manufacturing industries except welders, solderers, and cutters (read more). Welding and related manufacturing professions are expected to grow by six percent from 2018 to 2028—a significantly low increase compared to other occupations.
There has always been a shortage of welders, especially now that the world is in the middle of an industrialization phase. As infrastructure crumbles, so as the number of skilled trade workers in the manufacturing industry. To address this, welding associations are implementing new programs to destigmatize and attract recruits for the industry.
Non-profit organizations such as the American Welding Society Foundation are focusing their efforts in research and education. They are pushing to make education a priority by providing scholarships and mentoring programs. They are also highlighting the job’s perks such as stability, high wages, and acquisition of a lifelong skill. Other initiatives like the Women Who Weld are breaking stereotypes by encouraging women to enter the male-dominated profession.
To give you a little background on the industry, here are a few basic facts on the welding profession.
What is welding?
A little history: The delicate process involved in welding is already a hint that it originally came from the art community. The first-ever welded piece of work is the Iron Pillar, a thousand-year-old art from Delhi, India. To this day, it is still used by the art community in creating massive sculptures and arches which can be seen around the world.
Welding is the process of permanently joining two pieces of steel through extreme heat, pressure, or both. It can be used to join metals, thermoplastics, and sometimes wood to create a new object or structure. The fused metal or thermoplastic are called “parent material”.
Special materials require specialized processes other than heat and pressure. Some of them require the addition of gases and other metals to form a much stronger bond. The materials that are added are called filler or consumable. The added consumables should have the same composition as the parent material to form a homogenous weld.
Welding is a hazardous job, thus requiring the use of protective equipment such as specialized jackets, helmets, and gloves. Before buying such pieces of equipment, make sure to visit reliable sites such as https://weldingmachinereviews.com/ to know which brand and design will suit your needs.
How does it work?
There are a variety of processes and methods involved based on the type of joint or material to be used. But the basic act of coalescing metals involves three techniques.
Gas or Oxyfuel
This is the oldest and most common type of welding technique. It uses the heat emitted by flames to melt and fuse two metals. The heat-based technique works by the combustion of a flammable gas such as acetylene or gasoline. Acetylene is more commonly used since it can reach a heating temperature of 3100-degree Celsius.
Upon combustion, the high-temperature flame will be put on a joint to gradually heat metal until it melts and forms a weld pool. The welder will then slowly withdraw the flame, allowing the metal to harden. This process is commonly used in joining sheet metals, thin metals, and ferrous and non-ferrous material fusion.
This is the process of fusing two metals by heating them up to their melting point. The fusion method is achieved through the use of an electric arc. An electric arc is a strong plasma discharge, often caused by an electrical gas breakdown. It is powered by an AC or DC supply which creates and expels extreme heat around 6500-degree Fahrenheit. Its concentrated weld point will melt and join metals (or other materials) to form a strong, metallurgical bond.
Arc fusion is usually used in shipbuilding and automotive construction. There are also different types of it, such as plasma arc, flux-cored arc, and shielded metal arc.
This new and expensive technique uses a high-energy laser beam to provide a powerful and much-concentrated source of heat. Laser-based techniques can melt and weld metals or plastics with little to no distortion. Its laser beams are incredibly focused to the point where it can fuse metals without punching through it.
Laser-based fusion is used in constructing materials that require speed and finesse such as fine jewelry making and the aeronautics industry. Its precise work and several advantages make it an expensive but worthy investment in the manufacturing industry.
Career and profession
The average welder has an hourly rate of $15, while those with specialties are paid more by the hour. Difficult and rare jobs such as underwater welding have an annual pay of $100,000.
A welding career does not require a college degree. Professional training can last up to seven months or more depending on the program you entered. Some also require apprenticeship training, as well as a theoretical and hands-on examination. Aside from the manufacturing and repair industry, professional welders can also find career opportunities in the academia, robotics, military, and engineering department.
The ease of entry and huge demand in the welding industry makes it a formidable career choice. Aside from the high salary, it is also a great skill for someone who wants to start their own business. Welding business is easier to set up and grow compared to other types of businesses. It is also an opportunity to give colleagues an environment where they can perfect their craft.
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