Welding scope in aerospace and beyond
September 1, 2023 11:40 am
In a realm shaped by rapid technological strides, the global robotic welding market is undergoing a profound metamorphosis, driven by the relentless advance of automation, training and environmental consciousness, underscoring the role of skilled welders in shaping a sustainable future.
In an era of rapid technological advancements, the global robotic welding market is undergoing a monumental shift driven by the relentless march of automation technology. A recent comprehensive report from Fortune Business Insight has illuminated the trajectory of this transformation, predicting that the market will catapult from its $5.80 billion valuation in 2021 to a staggering $9.76 billion by 2028. This ambitious growth is expected to be propelled by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent during the forecast period spanning from 2021 to 2028.
The burgeoning potential of this market has been recognised by industry giants, new entrants, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The field of welding, long considered a specialised craft necessitating skilled labour, spans industries as diverse as construction, manufacturing, automotive, shipbuilding, aerospace, oil & gas, railways, and even small-scale grill factories. The ubiquitous need for welders underscores their critical role in shaping our modern world.
Across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, both developing and less developed countries contribute significantly to the annual pool of welders. However, the focus has shifted toward cultivating highly skilled welders capable of seamlessly adapting to multifaceted roles. While traditional methods like TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding have been cornerstones in industries such as aerospace, the advent of MIG (Metal Inert Gas) synergic cure and robotic welding systems has ushered in a dynamic shift toward more efficient and adaptable techniques.
Aerospace industry and welding technology trends
The aerospace sector, known for its unwavering commitment to precision and safety, is seeing a compelling fusion of advanced welding techniques with the trajectory of technological evolution. As Dr. T.J. Prasadrao, Executive Director at D & H Secheron, attests, this amalgamation is set to yield more consistent and dependable welding outcomes. This is particularly pivotal in an industry where even a minuscule flaw can have dire consequences.
One of the primary vehicles driving this transformation is automated processes and robotic welding. Robots with unwavering consistency and precision have emerged as quality welds with near-zero defects. Their tireless work ethic and ability to operate with high accuracy and speed position them as formidable assets in augmenting efficiency. Nevertheless, while robots have proven their mettle, they may not be a panacea for welding needs. Complex tasks and custom jobs still require the skilled human touch, necessitating a hybrid approach seamlessly integrating manual and robotic welding.
Empowering welders through virtual horizons
In a world where molten metal and sparks have long defined the art of welding, a quiet revolution is unfolding, driven by cutting-edge technology. As the sun sets on traditional methods, Sumon Mitra, the Director of Sales at Cloos India Welding Technology Private Limited, envisions a new dawn for skilled workers. A series of welding robotic seminars, robotic courses, and hands-on practical sessions will shatter the boundaries of conventional training.
But this is only the beginning. Rituraj Bose, the Honorary Secretary General of the Indian Institute of Welding, envisions a greener future for the welding industry. With conviction, he champions the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) into the training curriculum. “Virtual and augmented reality,” he asserts, “hold the key to unlocking environmentally friendly welding processes.”
In this new world, trainee welders wield AR headsets. Virtual tools and materials replace their tangible counterparts, sparing the environment from the ecological toll of traditional training methods. As they immerse themselves in a simulated welding environment, these future welders find themselves free from the constraints of real-world consequences. AR becomes their mentor, a tireless guide through the intricacies of the craft. It watches their every move, casting a watchful eye on their progress. When errors occur, AR nudges them onto the right path, offering real-time insights for improvement. This symbiotic dance between technology and trainee expedites skill development, carving a faster path to mastery.
AR turns geographical boundaries into mere lines on a map. Welders from around the globe converge in virtual spaces, united by their pursuit of excellence. Training methodologies become standardised, ensuring every aspiring welder receives the same high-quality instruction, regardless of where they stand on Earth. And the very essence of welding is that these AR-powered simulators accurately replicate the experience. The future of welding is here, and it’s not just about machines; it’s about empowering welders to reach new heights through the virtual horizon.
Cobots in aerospace
Within the aerospace sector’s unique welding challenges, Collaborative Robots or Cobots shine as game-changers. These robots are meticulously designed to reduce programming complexities and manoeuvre through intricate spaces. Often replete with intricate shapes and contours, aerospace components pose challenges for even the most skilled human welders. Armed with specialised tools and programmed acumen, Cobots can easily navigate these spaces, extending their reach to the most demanding areas. Integrated sensors and programmed inspections further bolster their contribution to superior quality and consistency.
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Amidst these technological leaps, it’s imperative to spotlight the indispensable role of skilled workers. Automation doesn’t intend to replace them; it’s designed to amplify their capabilities. Workshops, seminars, and training sessions have emerged as critical platforms for raising awareness and understanding among skilled workers. These initiatives demonstrate automation’s advantages, offer live demonstrations and hands-on experiences, and enlighten attendees about the impact of automation on productivity and safety.
As the welding landscape evolves, the need for continuous training becomes even more pronounced. Industries are actively seeking proficient welders who are adept in environmentally conscious practices. The long-term benefits of investing in training centres are becoming evident, facilitating cost savings, reduced training expenses, and democratising access to welding education.
Safeguarding the future
In an age where the sparks of innovation illuminate the welding landscape, a pressing question looms: Where are tomorrow’s skilled welders? Amid the allure of air-conditioned malls and the allure of food delivery gigs, some might dismiss the art of welding as a relic of the past. Yet, as the global environment grapples with pollution’s relentless advance, the role of proficient welders takes on new urgency.
In a world where welding is no longer confined to mere craftsmanship but blends seamlessly with science and technology, the call for continuous training echoes with newfound significance. Practical experience, nurtured within technology centres, has become the compass guiding aspiring welders towards becoming adept professionals. In a realm marked by advancements, being relevant means adapting to change and refining skills in step with evolving welding processes.
Amidst this transformation, a larger narrative unfolds. The planet groans under the weight of pollution from myriad human activities – from towering industries to rumbling vehicles, even down to the sparks of welding itself. Industries worldwide strive to temper their environmental impact through countless measures. Yet, the welding deserves dedicated consideration.
It’s within this evolving landscape that the concept of continuous training takes root. While the initial costs may loom large, particularly in developing nations, the long-term dividends are undeniable. As training expenditures diminish, students can seize opportunities previously beyond reach, bridging the global chasm between the demand and supply of skilled welders.
In essence, the arc of change beckons welders to embrace the dual roles of custodians of tradition and pioneers of innovation. It calls industries to view training as an investment in a sustainable future, where skilled hands wield torches that shape progress. And it implores the world to see that while technology races forward – its very soul is still rooted in the hands of those who meld metals, forging the structures of tomorrow.
Sumon Mitra, Director- Sales, Cloos India Welding Technology Private Limited.
Skilled workers can be invited into the different welding robotic seminars, robotic courses & practical sections to increase awareness.
Dr. T.J. Prasadrao, Executive Director, (Technical), D&H Sécheron.
Automation has become a potent catalyst for elevated productivity and efficiency in welding operations, translating into swifter welding durations.
Employing welding simulators for training eliminates material expenses, consumable costs, and environmental pollution.