Welders are some of the most skilled individuals in the marketplace. They go through intense training and subject themselves to danger on a daily basis in order to create the structures and products we often take for granted as part of daily life. Because of the dangers associated with welding and the time professional welders invest in training, hiring welders can be an expensive feat for firms and manufacturing companies. For this reason, among others, robotic welding, or robotic automation, has become an attractive alternative to a human fleet of workers.
While the invention and rapid development of robotic welding has been a source of joy for many manufacturers, it’s been cause for concern within the welding industry. What does the rise of robotic welding mean for the future? Do welders still have the same chance at career longevity? The short answers are yes and yes, but there’s more to it than that.
The Effect of Robotic Automation on the Welding Profession
Robots make everybody nervous because they seem to be replacing humans in the workforce at alarming rates. But there might not be a reason to fear. Professional welders, like the welders from Lincoln Electric, are taking the opportunity to incorporate robotic automation into their daily work life and train welders how to instruct manufacturers on the use of their welding robots. Just because robots can do work doesn’t mean they can do it without human input. Manufacturers still need to know how to run their welding robots, and welders can teach them that.
What’s more, robots need maintenance, and welders can help in that area, as well. Since monitoring robotic automation is less dangerous than doing the welding yourself, employees who fill this function can work for less but still make a decent living. This helps manufacturers and welders alike.
Welders Are Still Essential
There’s often some misconception surrounding what a robot can and cannot do. Welding robots are only brought in to complete repetitive tasks that are easy to do but require manual labor. A welder teaches the robot what to do, and the robot can complete that task endlessly. These repetitive tasks can be done faster and with less risk by an automated robot than they can be by a human, saving time and money.
However, there are still plenty of tasks that require far more skill, attention to detail, and expertise than a robot can manage. For these jobs, welders are still in high demand and will be for years to come.
The Future of Welding in a Robotic Age
While change can often be alarming, there’s no reason to assume that robots and humans can’t work side by side in a cooperative and positive way for the foreseeable future. If anything, robotics might give professional welders a chance to use their skills and experience to complete highly complex and intricate work instead of having to spend their time completing simple, rote tasks that a robot could easily accomplish. In other industries, such as the medical industry, professionals are learning to incorporate robotics in a way that raises the overall quality of their work. Robots are now aiding, and in some cases carrying out, surgeries. However, that doesn’t mean that surgeons are out of work. In fact, skilled surgeons with robotic knowledge are in high demand because they help hospitals and care centers merge medical knowledge with technical capabilities.
The same is true for welders. As long as the welding industry adapts to this new technology and learns to use it to their advantage, there’s no reason to fear. Welders with technical knowledge will be in greater demand as technology progresses, which creates new employment opportunities for a fresh generation of welders. Ambitious new projects that would be far beyond the budget of most manufacturers in the past are now possible thanks to the time and money saved by robotic welders.
Flexibility, Not Fear
In business as in life, flexibility and adaptability are the keys to survival. Welders who choose to embrace new technology, incorporate it into the skill set they already have, and merge the two areas of knowledge will see unlimited possibilities unfold. If anything, robotic welding clears the way for unprecedented innovation