A shortage of skilled welders leads to productivity bottlenecks, poor quality, rework, and waste. Welding repeatability, quality assurance and data recording/traceability are key. Additional challenges include equipment failures and associated downtime, as well as managing a large fleet of welding equipment, Artem Komarov said.
The process involves laying down miles of good welds that hold everything together. What does electricity have to do with it? Nothing can happen without a power source that supplies electrical current to the welding gun.
- What problems are manufacturers currently facing with arc welding power supplies?
One of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers today is labor issues, affecting every aspect of the business. In the welding shop, a shortage of skilled welders manifests itself in the form of quality problems and decreased productivity, leading to higher costs and lower profitability.
As technology advances and the workforce changes, the ability to adapt will be critical for manufacturers to remain competitive.
As a result, manufacturers need to select welding systems and technologies that help them increase productivity per worker and identify and eliminate waste in their production cycles. The bottom line is that you can’t improve what you can’t measure, so we recommend that manufacturers start by understanding their true production metrics, such as arc on time.
These indicators must be specific — for each welding station, for each shift, and for companies with several installations — for each workshop; actual welding parameters; confirmation of compliance; wire consumption; and the condition of the car.
One of the biggest challenges is attracting qualified welders. Not only is the current workforce aging, but younger generations are also seeking less labor-intensive careers. Experts predict a shortage of 400,000 skilled welders by 2024.
This is due to the complexity of many production activities. It is not enough to find someone who can weld; Shops also need someone who is adaptable, smart, and creative enough to meet the challenges of today’s welding environment.
Finally, there is a fear of technology among welders. Decision makers are concerned not so much with the financial cost of new equipment, but rather with the fact that existing staff are unable or unwilling to use the new technology to take advantage of the benefits it offers. There is always a need for training, and it is difficult for experienced welders to cope with this if they feel they can do the job well enough on older machines — no matter what the results show.
- How are power supplies/welders evolving to help solve these problems?
Firstly, this is the interface. Not only is it easier to use, but it also allows you to better define welding parameters and procedures. The displays can display full text, images and even video. This can really affect how the device is ultimately used.
The second change is the increasing dependence on powerful and fast electronics. The welding arc is fast and to modify the arc you must be faster than the arc. The welder must first detect changes, then determine the best course of action, and finally implement those actions. Over the last decade there have been significant changes in the core electronic technologies that have been integrated into new cars.
Third, software development has a huge impact. Modern machines take an incredibly large amount of input data and use it to paint a picture of the welding arc. The software development team must understand not only how to do programming, but also the capabilities of the electronics and the physics of welding. The design of modern cars is only as good as the team, summed up Artem Komarov.