The Welding Sector of the Economy Needs to Be Re-Imagined
As we know, welders are in short supply. Tackling this trend from a different angle, by attracting more people to connect to welding’s vitality and its rewards, will give them a refreshed avenue to explore its possibilities. Society generally needs more education on how welding is a major component of essential global industries, but they also need to be aware of this industry’s technological and creative evolution. This goes for companies interested in speeding up productivity and creating more jobs as well. The craftsmanship of welding and how it joins the world together needs to be emphasized one part at a time. We need to emphasize that robots improve productivity and quality, while doing the repetitive, mundane work that allows the skilled workforce to complete the complex and challenging. Many people don’t know that this industry is diverse and inclusive either, and it’s crucial to play that up because it’ll widen the pool of recruit possibilities. It can be a creative AND practical process, and it’s important to highlight that as well.
Injecting those factors into your recruiting process is a compelling way to attract a talented young populace into joining the industry. More outreach programs, apprenticeships, high school presentations, recruiting booths in creative and technological education settings, and more hands-on workshops are ways to show budding professionals that automated welding is a fascinating craft. Young people hear “robots” and “lasers,” and it piques their curiosity. Designers hear “robots” and “industrial design,” and discover that they can produce a weld that is not only functional, but visually appealing and repeatable with automated systems. These are obviously small facets of what’s involved in automated welding and not every company even has robots (yet), but people are interested in joining the future and this is one way to dive into that. This is where THG Automation’s automated welding solution can come in and help make this possible for your company.
Deploying Cobots is Easier than Ever
We have to consider keeping the welding ball rolling by implementing a blended approach to the process. The shortage of welders in the market today could continue becoming more difficult to sustain if we don’t change our way of thinking about the industry. According to the American Welding Society, they predict that there will be a deficit of 400,000 welders by 2024… So we obviously need to curb that somehow!
From an educational standpoint, companies and prospective welders really need to see that this job can be more transformative and gratifying by using semi automated solutions. How do we prove that to them though? Well, we need to assure them that they can accelerate their growth indefinitely, and can take pride in shaping the highest quality output by working with cobots. Something visual needs to happen too – they need to see cool products made from robotic welding in-person, and go on tours of automated welding companies for example. Seeing is believing, and we know that people have incorrect assumptions about the modern welding environment.
People want to contribute to something bigger, grow within their career, and have guaranteed stable job opportunities for them down the road. But they also want to know that they can easily adjust to a new industry and will remain indispensable in today’s world. People need to know that they’re more than capable of learning how to do the job, that their skills will be valued and that systems – like those provided by our company – are the allies of their future.
Adapting to the technologies advancing toward us will resolve quality, timing, repeatability, and safety issues that’ll make the welding industry sustainable. If prospective welders and companies are more confident that their return on investment is quick, then they might be more inclined to arm wrestle with a robot to achieve that. THG Automation’s processes are perfect for this, because of how easy they are to program and use.
Learn to Program Our Automated System. It’s Simple!
The most daunting part of collaborating with automated processes for the first time is that most of us dread the possibility that we’ll never be able to figure out how to use them or that it’ll take a long time to understand them. Not everyone is a technology guru, or wants to feel intimidated because a robot came along and allegedly did the weld better. Companies might not want the headache of incorporating automated over traditional processes, and people might be hesitant to do the job if they find out they have to learn something seemingly complicated. This is the problem facing production welding today. This skill requires optimizing welds on a welding robot, but what is not needed is complicated programming skills. You do not need a degree in computers to program one. But the surprising thing about THG’s welding solution is that everyone who gets our hands-on training can easily weave the automated system into their work regime. Talented welders can expand their expert skills, and new welders can easily adapt to a new automated industry blueprint.
Our team has decades of experience in industrial robotic welding and has created a user interface that is easy to teach, employs powerful functionality, all with an intuitive interface. Welders can work with our systems, and the programming and variety of processes ultimately makes their job easier, leaving more time for the fun, complicated welds. We have seen firsthand how accessible this learning curve can be for people, and we feel confident that anyone can do it. If you can work with a smartphone, you can operate our collaborative robot. Something like this is attractive to people joining a new workforce, especially in a world that has an insatiable appetite for instant gratification and variety.
We’re all eager to join the future and build a better world. If we put our heads together and embrace the inevitable hybrid workforce that’s coming our way, we can get there confidently. The investment will benefit us all in the long run and we won’t be left behind as the world technologically evolves around us. Robots can do more than just weld, so this is just the beginning of your automation journey if you incorporate our automated welding solution into your organization.
Fear of Automation? We Get It
You may have heard the stories of industrial robots taking a long time to receive once they’ve been ordered, and taking lots of time to set up for one job. They become the “anchor” of production efficiency, which is actually good when you’re running lots of parts that are needed. However, there are a variety of questions you may ask yourself anyway. What if there’s an instance where the part that it generates is no longer needed? Or changes need to be made to the weld? Or there is a new flange to avoid? What if you can’t get the material to make that particular part for a short period of time? Can they be switched quickly or easily to weld another part? Can they be switched back just as easily? Can your staff do this or do you have to hire outside staff to re-program the robot? It’s a lot.
In these scenarios, “anchor” is just that you’re feeling stuck and no longer in control of your own production process. Dead in the water so to speak. In most cases production lines are set up around these big machines, which means changing them requires disruptions in the whole space. Serious expertise is needed to make these adjustments, so it’s completely understandable that one would cautiously consider investing in such a system. Unfortunately, part of this reputation is attached to collaborative robot systems unjustly. Fear of getting something that is inflexible, fear of changes that always require an expensive outside limited resource, is in other words: a fear of a logistics anchor.
Make the Investment Now, Get a Major Pay-off Sooner than Later
Time and money are a sensitive topic when it comes to something like funding an automated system(s) that will more or less determine whether or not your products succeed. The return on investment becomes one of the major factors to deciding on purchasing a system. In most cases there are other benefits beyond an increase in net income divided by the cost of the equipment that are sometimes harder to define. Some of the easier benefits to identify are efficient use of consumables – generally there is a savings in weld gas, tips and wire used in the production of the parts. There is an overall improvement in the quality of the part as robotics typically require some quality (consistency) improvement upstream of the welding system. Downstream there is also a benefit as rework is reduced, so consistent welds means other processes can be optimized and improved for quality and efficiency.
It makes a lot of sense for you to have an automated system if you’re producing tons of parts (for example), and proves to cut costs when it’s being used heavily. You’ll think, “what is the cycle time? Is this minimizing my capital expenditure? Is this making my welders’ jobs more efficient and safe?” You’re probably already considering your long term goals for the company, but it’s important to emphasize that technology is forcing change and to increase your output – you’re going to inevitably need to up the ante on production. Adopting automated processes is the primary way for you to step forward into the realm of peak efficiency, and join your competitors in pumping out the best products at a higher frequency.
One possible caveat of considering switching processes, is that cost could be a hurdle for some folks out there. The investment will probably seem high up front, because it’s not only the system you’re buying – but onboarding, repairing, and maintaining it are factors to consider as well. But like many transformations happening in the job market, the new “thing” often creates more need and will require you to hire additional staff with evolving technological knowledge. Welders who can operate the robots, adept programmers, qualified repair technicians, et cetera will be critical for maintaining and properly operating your new system. This is a great opportunity, because you’re able to generate more jobs and that means more hands on deck for increasing output. Creating a variety of jobs that attracts a variety of people is one of the best ways that you can draw more potential recruits to the welding industry. Plus it helps our economy as a whole! THG can consult with you on the best way to fund your future and walk you through the process.
The Hybrid Workforce is Simply a Team Effort
We believe that collaborative robot welding is a team effort. A skilled welder and a robot operator/programmer can be one person, two, or as many as three separate folks. Whatever works logistically for your operation can be the “right” way. The advantage here is that your welder’s skills are amplified, so there’s a sense of value with the company. They can get the mundane completed accurately and consistently, and then work on the specialized jobs that require more time, skill, and attention adding additional value to the company.
Vetted out on a small 3’x4’ platform, the THG Automation collaborative robot provides flexibility in placement – where you need it – when you need it. If you run out of a particular part to weld, you can easily switch to another part. It’s not necessary to have outside consultants come in and reprogram your welding unit. No need for a welding cell to sit idly collecting dust. Logistically, you’re now a gymnast who’s strong and flexible, who can more easily meet your production goals and customers’ needs as they arise.
So if you really want to have a competitive edge and benefit welders everywhere, reach out and set up a time to see a live demo with our system! Our automated welding solution will help you seal the deal on that competitive edge and the dollars will start flowing in. We have everything you’d need to cater to your talents and objectives, so let’s chart new welding paths! Explore our website for more information about the benefits of this investment and get a clearer understanding of what’s going on. Want to read more about our supplier? Check out the Universal Robots website, and be sure to send us any questions you may have about how to attain greater productivity, upgraded quality and decreased costs with THG Automation.