Mr. Rahul Pathak is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, India and also holds a Master of Welding Engineering degree from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. He has close to 3 decades of experience in the welding industry. Read on to know more about his journey and growth in the industry.
Did you know that a car on an average has 10,000 welds? From toothpaste tubes to beverage cans to phone powering cells, welding is an indispensable part of our lives.
Many metals including the exotic ones such as gold and platinum and almost all alloys are welded to enable their use in multiple fields and applications.
Mr. Pathak is involved in the conceptualization, manufacturing and execution of automated welding systems and robotic welding systems in various industry segments such as automotive, nuclear, aerospace, defense, construction-mining and general industry segments. He has developed various automation and industry specific applications and solutions for more than 25 years. He has developed and manufactured robot cells that are CE certified (for the European market) as well as UL certified (for the American market).
My first contact with welding as an application and useful everyday tool came when I welded our fence using the shielded metal arc process, normally seen on the roadside repair and maintenance workshops. Little did I realize then that I would make it a career.
During my undergraduate course in mechanical engineering, welding happened to be a very small topic, despite its prevalence in our day to day lives. This intrigued me further and then I decided to pursue my post graduate studies in welding engineering in the US. I dreamt of doing something different, which led me to work in a company in the field of batteries which power our heart pacemakers, defibrillators in emergency rooms in the hospital as well keeping astronauts alive in the spacesuits with the help of low magnetic signature cells. Welding saves lives every day! Even more important in these tough COVID challenging times!
After returning to India and joining my present company, I have steered various projects in the sectors of automotive, defense, nuclear, general industry, construction and aerospace. Our teams have delivered very special projects all over the world.
As such, welding as an application is universal, not studied enough and is an indispensable manufacturing process. However, rarely in the industry would you see a title as “Welding Engineer” on your business card. But this is something I have been proud of since my first job, and now, here I am as a Vice President, and still very much a welding application engineer at heart and work. Yes, being a welding engineer can be very much a rewarding and satisfying career option, provided it is backed with the usual qualities that success necessitates- hard work, perseverance, dedication, honesty and sincerity.
Welding contributes to the safety and security of our nation too, both physical security and in terms of energy, and we have completed several projects in our national interest. As an example, the Indian Government could not import equipment from the western world due to sanctions, and our team took up the challenge to develop products that would overcome this. After a few months of tireless efforts, we developed the first indigenous nuclear waste disposal automated equipment and is being used even today. There are several more applications in defense as well.
In the automotive world, most welding takes place with robots. Robotic welding is the norm, where you need the knowledge and synergies of the robot operation and the welding process. One is not enough without the other. And the robot cells that are used every day have a lot of safety features to ensure that this welding operation carried out is as safe as driving a car with a seatbelt, if not more! The welding world has come a long way.
I have given various talks on technical topics in this field all over the world, and everywhere I see a paucity of quality welding engineers. Please consider this field to pursue your dreams, the boundaries are limitless.
In summary, and as I see it, there will never be a dearth of jobs for a good welding engineer, simply because they are very hard to come by. It is important to shed the image that welding is dirty business. Some of the welds happen in a complete atmosphere-controlled environment.
Go for it! Dream on! Please consider being a welding engineer!