“As long as two metals are to be joined, welding will be there”, says Chellappan Raghavan, Head Welding business Academy/ Marketing at Fronius India. In this Skill Talk, Chellappan Raghavan, welding expert from Fronius India shares his views on evolving welding technology, improved welding training, career opportunities in the domain for the youth and the required skillset from the students. Read on to know more.
Q: Since you are an expert in the domain of welding technology, could you tell us how the trend in welding technology changed over the years?
A: Welding was earlier considered to be an art that is skill-based. The welder, welding engineer and those involved in the welding field were highly skilled earlier and the industry was dependent on that skill. Today, welding is more of science and technology.
The skilled manpower has come down over the years and many Engineers have chosen various other domains like software. Therefore, welding as a field had to depend more on science and technology than on the skill. Thus, the welding technology is upgraded every day with newer technologies which is very less skill dependent.
For example, the earlier welding equipment needed a welder with a very steady hand to achieve a quality weld bead. But now with newer intelligent technology and with new algorithms in welding technologies, a welder even with not-so-good hand-skill can do welding.
Many advanced simulation software that can help in finding the heat input, failure analysis, calculating the weld designs, etc. made the job of welding engineers easy. The trend in welding is the Cyber-Physical Production System (CPPS) and this is dominating the field. The welding technology is changing at a rapid rate.
Q: Could you tell us in brief about digital welding and robotic welding? What kind of training do students need to undergo to join such fields?
A: Traditionally the Robots were made for handling. Ten to twelve years ago, the welding machines were integrated into a robot but the welding was not fully adopted or made to suit to Robotic welding and there were lots of gaps.
Today, the welding machines have been developed to suit Robotic welding. Also, the Robots were developed to suit the welding field with hollow arms, various positioners, etc. Now, the welding machines are the masters, and robots are following the Arc due to Technology. For this, the communication between the Arc to the Wire feeder, welding system, and the robot needs to be in real-time. This is possible with the advanced processors and is a reality today. Now the communication between the Robot and power source is in Fieldbus instead of analog. Also, to meet the Industry 4.0 and to meet the Robotic welding challenges many developments have happened with the Cyber-Physical Production systems.
We now have better collision systems to protect the human and machines, Seam Tracking technologies to meet the variation in joints, better and dynamic wire feed systems, Arc assisting system, etc. Still, the robot operator needs to know the welding basics to make the proper distance between the torch nozzle/tip and job, torch angle, etc. Also, the Robots have been developed to handle better coordinate and movements, accuracy, simplified programming techniques, etc.
In the coming days, the Collaborative Robots (COBOTS) are being explored to reduce the Robotic Teaching methods and to work in hand with the operators without much safety guarding. But the path accuracy of the Robot and toucher working environments need to be studied over the coming days.
The Robotic Integration and automation in welding will be the future. The Robotic field offers very good job opportunity and the students to understand the Industrial Automation Course, which covers the PLCs and automation products training, this is mandatory to make an entry into automation. For welding automation, the Basics of welding knowledge and Robotic programming knowledge is preferred.
Q: Given your expertise and experience over the years, how has the welding training changed?
A: When we took training, we used to weld every day with our hands and weld even at customer premises to experience and feel the welding. We had very limited sources and materials to read and understand. But today the courses are customized as per student’s needs. The IIT’s classroom training is available over the click of the button over NPTEL sites.
The Fronius used virtual training with tradition and technology together. For one to learn the welding, hand speed, torch and work distance, and torch angle are the three important basics. We are keeping this as basic using a ghost to guide the students or beginner in the Virtual welding.
Also, we have introduced Gaming apps “Welducation” for the Students to play and learn in their smartphones. We have launched the “Weldconnect” Apps for the welding engineers and operators to get the right weld parameters. The virtual welders and welducation apps have a welding quiz for the students to learn. We also use blogs for the users to understand and learn the welding.
Within Fronius, we use more of e-learning courses and online knowledge verifications to improve our employees to learn to save the travel time and learn during leisure times.
Related Article: Fronius India prepares youth for Industry 4.0 in welding – Read More: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/webinar-on-robotic-welding-systems-and-industry-4-0/
Q: What are the innovative initiatives and measures taken by Fronius India to continue welding training during the nationwide lockdown?
A: From day one of the lockdown, we were running online courses for our employees. In the first week, it was mostly for internal employee training with virtual meetings. Then we conducted webinars to reach out to the customers for the engagements. To keep the students engaged and interested in welding, we conducted webinars on basics in welding and welding as a career. Also, we have engaged with our business partners and last but not least our family members also. We have conducted various motivation programs for them as well.
Q: What are the new emerging job roles and fields in the domain of welding? What are the skillsets required by students to get into such roles?
A: As long as two metals are to be joined, welding will be there. Hence, the welding is an evergreen job and it needs people all the time. With the Indian government’s initiative of Make in India, many welding job opportunities will be emerging. In order to meet the global market, an export market we need to do quality work and quality does not come without quality people.
The Aerospace, Shipbuilding, Defence and Railways will offer new jobs either directly or through the supplier industry. Apart from that Yellow Goods, Construction and Infrastructure, Automotive and supplier industry, Robotic and Industrial Automation also offers job opportunities.
Students may have to have the willingness and the right attitude to work. Today the industry needs the right attitude people and later they will be ready to invest in training them. Students must focus on developing good communication skills, behavioral skills, personality development along with technical skills.