Industry News Archives - Red-D-Arc Welderentals

21 Mar.,2023


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Lori Kuiper Featured on Arc Junkies


Red-D-Arc’s Orbital Welding and Pipe Product Manager, Lori Kuiper, recently sat down with Jason Becker to record an episode of the Arc Junkies podcast. Arc Junkies is a welding podcast that is on a mission to help, educate and inspire the next generation of welders. Lori was joined by Red-D-Arc’s Welding and Automation Specialist, Bryson Ward.  During the conversation, Lori, Bryson and Jason discussed a variety of welding topics and some of the latest trends in the industry. They also delved into Lori’s journey to becoming an expert in the industry and what it takes to build a solid career in welding today.

We’re excited to hear all of the wisdom that Lori and Bryson shared. The episode drops on Monday, February 20 so be sure to check it out. You can listen to Arc Junkies on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Labor Shortages in Welding: Is There a Solution?


The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.
Because welding is an essential part of manufacturing, many concerns are focused on the welding industry, which has been facing a shortage of workers for several years. The American Welding Society, an organization supporting the welding industry and its workers, predicts that the country’s workforce will need 400,000 welders by 2024.
Along with machinists, carpenters, and other tradespeople, the versatile, skilled welder who can handle several welding methods has suddenly become a scarce commodity. The demand for skilled welders has been outpacing the supply and continues unabated, leaving many wondering what happened.

What’s causing the shortage?

The causes of labor shortages in welding and other skilled trades can be attributed to several factors, but one of the primary causes stems from an aging workforce. Older tradespeople, many from the so-called baby boomer generation, are reaching retirement age faster than companies can replace them.
Over half of all skilled trades workers are 45 or older, and predictions indicate there will not be enough new workers to fill these openings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for welders are projected to grow two percent from 2022 to 2031, considerably slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 47,600 openings for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are expected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of the openings will result from the need to replace workers who either retire or find different occupations.
However, although an increased rate of retirements might be the leading cause of fewer welders, it certainly isn’t the only one.

A case of negative perceptions

Another issue outside the welding industry keeping young candidates away is a deep-seated negative view of the profession. Many believe welding is a low-level occupation filled with days of repetitive and monotonous tasks. Others envision welders working in dirty environments amid noxious fumes and unbearable heat. Still, others focus on the hazards associated with welding, such as burns from molten metal, exposure to UV radiation, or electrical shock. All of this, they believe, comes with low pay and little chance of career growth.
Changing these misconceptions is an essential first step in addressing the welder shortage.

College or trade school?

For many high school graduates, the path to a lucrative and rewarding career led them to a four-year college. And although that was the best choice for some or even most of them, there is little doubt that a percentage of those college graduates landed jobs they were ill-suited for or unhappy with. And those promises of endless weeks of hefty paychecks never materialized.
How did that happen? Although it’s easy to blame the high schools for eliminating industrial arts courses from their curriculum, schools have not abandoned the pathway to the trades and welding careers. Instead, they have consolidated their resources by sending students to local vocational education centers where skilled trades, such as welding, are taught by instructors with previous hands-on experience.
These so-called “vo-techs” also stay updated with technology in a way that individual school districts cannot because of budgetary constraints. Anyone working in manufacturing can attest to the relatively recent changes in equipment in the machine trades and automobile repairs, and welding is no exception.
The question is whether the skilled trades are being promoted vigorously in school systems as a viable career where young men and women, fresh out of high school, can learn a skill that could lead them to $100,000 per year in some industries. Meanwhile, skilled welders only need six months to complete their initial training, and many can work as apprentices and get paid as they learn, entering careers paying upwards of $100,000/year in some industries.

The re-birth of the apprenticeship program

Once widespread in the United States and the industrialized world, apprentices are hired by an employer and become both workers and students. The apprentice receives on-the-job training (OJT) from experienced mentors and a Related Technical Instruction (RTI) program for formal skill building in the classroom.
Apprentice programs are designed in various ways. For instance, some are set up with three or four days on the job and one or two in the classroom, while others require full-time work with two evenings at school. Employers expect apprentices to be somewhat productive from the start of their tenure.
According to 2020 data and statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 221,000 individuals entered apprenticeship programs in the U.S. Over 636,000 apprentices were in the process of getting the skills for a new career in welding and other manufacturing jobs while earning money to build financial without accumulating student debt.
The good news about these programs is that there were 26,000 registered apprenticeships nationwide. Around 3,140 were established in 2020, representing a 73% growth from 2009.
As the four-year college remains entrenched in school systems, parents, and students, few are seriously promoting apprenticeships as another possibility toward a successful career. Suppose policymakers believe apprenticeship programs might be part of the answer to the labor shortage. In that case, they should earmark funds to market the programs and require government agencies to introduce them in their bureaus.

Overcoming the negative perceptions of the skilled trades

Even with the technological advances associated with welding and other skilled trades, and many young people entering them are out-earning their college-graduate counterparts, the trades are not seen as “cool” career paths by many. And that negative image, especially in welding, remains an obstacle preventing welding from becoming a more conventional career instead of an undesirable job.
Even though there are thousands of job openings for welders starting at $30 per hour and up, parents and students see welding as a career that confers a lower status than a college degree. Many do not understand that learning a trade through a vocational-technical education or an apprenticeship program could also set the stage for a college degree later.

One strategy to combat the welder shortage

As the welding industry struggles to find more skilled welders, another way is emerging that could make it possible to meet the industry’s needs with fewer workers: automation and robots. Although the need for welding is not declining, human interaction might be changing and making welding more appealing to young people raised on technology.
At first blush, programming robots to weld seems like the perfect solution, but it is not that straightforward since the upfront capital required for industrial robots must be justified. And welding is a low-volume business in many cases, and companies cannot validate the investment in automated equipment.
Also, after replacing human workers with robotics, you eliminated some of the need for welders and introduced a new requirement: skilled workers trained to operate and maintain the robots. In other words, the skills shortage remains but in a specialized area of the business.
Even if robots have the artificial intelligence for skilled labor, trained welders will still be needed on the shop floor to take care of equipment breakdowns and keep production moving.

What about cobots?

When you visualize robots in an industrial setting, there is a good chance you’re thinking about the behemoth welding robots in a cage in an automotive plant. There’s a reason they are isolated and fenced in away from humans: they are extremely dangerous and do not collaborate with their real-life counterparts in the plant.
Although many corporations still use those industrial goliaths, technological advances, including safety features, sensors, controls, and smaller components, have resulted in smaller robots that fit comfortably and safely with human coworkers.
Named collaborative robots (cobots, for short), these versatile and less-expensive machines are making robotics accessible to nearly any manufacturer looking to do various tasks, including welding.
Because of their intuitive software, cobots have fewer programming challenges, while integrated safety features allow them to work side-by-side with human workers. Cobots can be reprogrammed to do another when one welding operation is completed, making them flexible and cost-effective.

Do cobots have a future in welding?

Considering the advantages of cobots and the demands of the welder shortage leads to the conclusion that cobots could help the welding industry. However, implementing the solution will require significant capital expenditure from manufacturers, extra floor space, and trained programmers.
In some cases, weld shops could set up the cobot at an existing human welding station without making large-scale alterations or taking up precious floor space. Another benefit of using cobots is their ability to produce longer, continuous weld seams up to four feet long. That’s about twice as long as a human welder, reducing all those stops and starts and creating higher quality welds.
Despite rumors to the contrary, cobots are designed to supplement welders, not replace them entirely. Instead, their small footprint and agility make them ideal assistants for performing repetitive or dangerous tasks.
In addition to helping ease the welder shortage, the growth of cobots on the welding shop floor could also persuade millennials to consider a career path that was once regarded as unsuitable.

AWS Welding Summit 2022


Come join us at AWS Welding Summit 2022 in The Woodlands, TX on August 24 – 26 8:00AM – 4:30 CT

Red-D-Arc’s Lori Kuiper, Product Manager of Orbital, Heating & Pipe, will be speaking on Pre & Post Heat Treatment and Emerging Trends in Welding. This will contain data that is valuable to your businesses future success. Afterwards, connect with Lori Kuiper and national account managers Chuck McCabe and Jonathan Forte.


Sourcing Welding Equipment During Supply Chain Interruptions


There are no shortage of reasons for current supply chain issues and correspondent price increases, but it would be safe to say that we’ve never experienced anything like this in recent history.

For contractors, fabricators and other industry segments that require welding services, it’s more viable than ever to consider equipment outsourcing as a means of fulfilling existing orders and contracts, not to mention the ability to quote on new business opportunities without having to worry about having access to the most suitable equipment in sufficient quantities.

The basic tenet of rental versus ownership, is the idea of paying for equipment use, without the complexities and inconveniences of the cost of equipment ownership. These costs are often referred to as “hidden costs” as they are frequently overlooked when determining the total cost-of-ownership. To cite just a few examples, fleet owners not only have to arrange for back and forth transportation of equipment to their job sites, they also have to arrange and pay for storage and servicing of the equipment when not in use. If the equipment becomes out of date due as a result of being superseded by a new product, or if a new welding process is required, they can be stuck with obsolete or non-suitable equipment that has to be disposed of, or at the very least, loses some of its utilization potential. For servicing, maintenance and troubleshooting challenges, paid in-house personnel or outside service shops need to be retained and relied on to keep the equipment up and running, as well as certified or calibrated to meet published operational standards.


Welder shortage: Key is efficiency, not automation


Note: This article first appeared in BIC Magazine

In industry, a growing trend is the idea to use orbital welding as a solution to the mounting problem of welder shortages. It is a well-known fact there are just not enough pipeline welders to go around (no pun intended). By 2020, the American Welding Society expects the U.S. will face a shortage of 290,000 welders. Companies in other business sectors — from food service companies to banks — attempt to solve labor issues and increase efficiencies by utilizing automation to replace workers. Is automation, specifically orbital welding in this case, the way to improve operating factors and productivity?


Welding Equipment Assists With Offshore Wind Farm Projects


A Red-D-Arc customer based out of the UK was awarded three large offshore wind farm projects …all commencing simultaneously. This manufacturer was comfortable taking on so many large scale, specialized projects because they have a reliable, knowledgeable, tier 1 supplier capable of meeting all of their welding and weld automation equipment needs! Red-D-Arc was able to quickly accommodate all of the welding equipment requirements for the project, providing more than 150 welders and a variety of weld automation equipment. The equipment consisted of multi-operator welding paks, diesel welders, advanced power sources, wire feeders, submerged arc welding packages, and rotators.

Two Red-D-Arc technicians were assigned to the facility to install, service and maintain the equipment to minimize downtime. The facility allocated a permanent workshop and storage container for back-up equipment which could be used to quickly replace any equipment as necessary. With Red-D-Arc’s support, the customer was able to work on all three projects simultaneously and avoid lost time due to equipment breakdowns.

Dry Ice Blasting – Save Money, Reduce Waste and Increase Efficiency


A project manager approached Red-D-Arc with an interesting challenge. Their power plant stack had a failing paint system which needed to be prepped for repainting in order to prevent further corrosion. They needed a method of prepping the surface of the 60 foot tall stack which could be performed without the use of scaffolding and would not produce any residual waste, since it might interfere with sensitive components.

Red-D-Arc’s Blasting Specialists suggested dry ice blasting (DIB). Dry ice blasting is an environmentally sustainable cleaning and surface preparation method. It uses dry ice pellets which requires absolutely no clean up, unlike traditional surface preparation methods like grit, HP water and chemicals. Not to mention, dry ice blasting is very fast, effective and inexpensive.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes Found by Welding Inspectors


Welding inspectors have a responsibility to the company they work for and the general public to ensure that weld quality is satisfactory.  Failure to fulfill their duties can result in property damage, injury, and death.  Most welding inspectors, therefore, take their job very seriously.  Welding inspectors spend years honing their ability to detect and size welding discontinuities and defects.  While they must be proficient at identifying all discontinuities and defects, some of these weld irregularities are more readily detectable than others.

1. Surface Porosity

Porosity is gas that has been trapped in the weld; this results in cavity formation within the weld.  Porosity can cause reduced weld strength.  Welding inspectors who are not trained in other forms of nondestructive testing are limited to viewing the surfaces of welds.  So while not all forms of porosity can be detected by a welding inspector, porosity that extends to the surface of the weld can.

New Red-D-Arc Branch in Regina, Saskatchewan


Red-D-Arc has opened a new Branch in Regina, Saskatchewan to serve the growing demand for welding, weld automation and power generation equipment rentals in Western Canada.

Cody Sauer is the branch coordinator at the new Regina location. Coming from the oil, gas and potash industry, Cody is very knowledgeable and looking forward to helping our Saskatchewan customers with their welding needs.

The next time you need welding equipment or advice in the Regina area be sure to stop by the branch, or give them a call at 306-522-1874.

Induction Heating Speeds up Repair of the World’s Largest Rock Crusher


Red-D-Arc staff at the Moncton, New Brunswick branch recently helped a customer save time and money repairing the world’s largest rock crusher through the use of induction heat. The hydraulic cylinder that operates the pressure plates used by the enormous rock crusher needed to be brought to a temperature of 500 °F and that temperature needed to be maintained for 3 full days. This was required in order to allow welders to repair the lifting tabs on the cylinder. Normally 3 workers would have used blow torches to heat the metal which would have taken 2 weeks or longer. Red-D-Arc Induction Heating Equipment allowed them to get the job done in less than half the time. Induction heating has many applications in construction, shipbuilding, hydro dam maintenance and bridge building. Red-D-Arc technicians are recognized in the industry for their innovative application of this technology, ready to meet any variety of customer challenges. (more…)

Airgas/Red-D-Arc’s Weld Efficiency Analysis


Welding equipment and operations can be expensive, but these costs can be lowered by making a few minor changes. Many fabricators and manufacturers are aware they have problems in their operation but struggle with quantifying the real costs associated with those problems. Some things to consider when trying to lower your costs but increase efficiency and productivity are: the type of equipment you’re using, how old the equipment is, labor costs and properly equipped welding stations.

The Airgas/Red-D-Arc Weld Efficiency Analysis program can help you find hidden costs robbing your profits. This free program helps customers understand and control the hidden costs associated with many welding operations. We will analyze your welding operations and compare your results to peer benchmarks and best practices. A three-and-a-half day class is also available, designed to help you learn from experts, reduce your operating costs by 20% or more and improve quality …all without any capital investment.

Learn more about the Airgas/Red-D-Arc Welding Efficiency Analysis program.

Read more on welding efficiency

Global Welding Equipment Market 2015-2019


Research and Markets, a leading market research firm, has released a research report titled Global Welding Equipment Market 2015-2019. The report highlights the growing need for the automation of welding processes. An analyst involved in creating the report commented: “One key trend upcoming in the market is the automation of the welding equipment. There has been a continuous shift from manual to automatic welding in the welding industry in recent years. The need to automate manufacturing processes is one of the major requirements of the Global Welding Equipment market.”

As a leading supplier of weld automation equipment Red-D-Arc is ready to meet the ever-evolving needs of the welding industry. We are your one-stop-shop for sales, lease and rental of welding positioners, manipulators, turning rolls and other weld automation products, available through our global distribution network. We also design and build complete turnkey weld automation packages which can include integrated controls – such as digital touch-screen interfaces and camera systems – for your complete project requirements. Our team of engineers will provide you with weld process recommendations and set up all your equipment for optimized reliability, functionality and productivity.

Learn more about Red-D-Arc Weld Automation products and services.

For more information on the Global Welding Equipment Market 2015-2019 report visit the Research and Markets website.

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