Welder Jobs Are Changing

For the Welder, as for any other job, the impacts of automation, computerization, artificial intelligence and robots will have a big impact within the foreseeable future. Changes in the world, being driven by technological advances, are busy entering an exponential phase. Within the welding industry we have certainly seen this progress as well. Very few large scale pipeline jobs are now performed with manual welding. That type of work has largely been automated. Most Welders in the automobile industry do not take lunch breaks or holidays, or even go home at the end of a shift, because they are robots.

This begs the question: Is welding a good career choice? While predicting the future is a rather difficult endeavour, we believe that a skill based career such as welding, should offer many opportunities into the future. It is the intention of WelderDestiny to act as support to those in the welding industry, by helping you adapt to the changing job requirements during “the rise of the machines”.

First Station on Laybarge Firing Line - Pipe Preparation and Loading

Who Will Benefit From WelderDestiny?

If you want to learn how to do some basic home welding, then this website is not for you. There are many other websites that can better help you achieve that outcome.

If you are a professional within the welding industry, then I invite you to join us here at WelderDestiny, as we endeavour to provide the resources to help you through the coming upheaval in the job market. Here we can develop the resources together, that will stand you in good stead to not only be valued as a hands-on Welder within the new workplace paradigm, but also help you to be highly sought after even within an environment dominated by automated systems and robots.

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You can take a look at "The WelderDestiny Compass" back-issues by clicking here.

Will Human Welders Survive?

Welding has a number of advantages over other types of jobs when competing for work against machines. These are:

  • Welding is a skill. Machines are great at knowledge based work, but not so great at skill based work, especially where high dexterity levels are needed.
  • A Welder does a lot of his/her work under “field conditions”. Robots are good within controlled workshop conditions, but not so great under less controlled conditions found out in the field.
  • Even when automated welding systems are used, they still need supervision to make sure they are not “going off the rails”. People with the right knowledge and experience will be in demand for this type of supervisory work.
  • A number of the world changing technologies, such as additive manufacturing, (also called 3D printing) are closely aligned with what Welders are already doing. Welding really is the original additive manufacturing process. As a Welder you not only join metals, but add to them and build them up. This is none other than a manual form of additive manufacturing. A lot of additive manufacturing machines will be using welding like processes to melt and fuse metals. Your skills may enable you to be at the forefront of these types of developments.

Welding Knowledge is Not Enough

To be able to navigate the stormy waters of change into which we are heading, we will need to understand more of the world than just the world of welding, so we will spend a lot of time looking at how the world works from an economic, social, political and psychological perspective. In that way we can apply those lessons to how we need to adapt within the job market to remain relevant in the coming years. In this regard I urge you to subscribe to the newsletter, where we will be tackling these important topics. When you subscribe, you will also be sent a spreadsheet you can use to perform the calculations for performing dissimilar metal welding. (Based on the Schaefler diagram.) You will find the newsletter subscription box prominently displayed on this page.

If you do not know what a Schaefler diagram is, then take this as a challenge to find out. (There is a page created that explains it all, so just click here to get the low-down.) Our number one approach to surviving and indeed thriving in the new paradigm is constant learning. Whether you are considering becoming a Welder, or you are an experienced professional, you will not thrive within the coming environment without embracing a learning attitude to life. None of us will, regardless of our job descriptions!

It is not the intention of WelderDestiny to teach people basic welding. Rather, WelderDestiny is aiming to help career Welders improve their job knowledge, and to provide practical resources, so that you can take full advantage of opportunities in the rapidly changing workplace.

The WeldNet Welding And Materials Engineers

Based in Perth, Western Australia, The WeldNet offers metallurgical and welding engineering consultancy services both within Australia and overseas.

The WeldNet provides a professional approach to metallurgical and welding engineering tasks, and seeks practical and cost-effective solutions to meet national, international and client specifications. We pride ourselves on being able to offer a total package of welding engineering management and coordination.

The WeldNet draws on personnel with significant experience in construction and fabrication for the oil and gas, mining and petrochemical industries. Our small consultancy team of welding and metallurgy engineers has over 200 years of combined industry experience and provides a personal service tailored to your needs. We can even offer 24 hour cover and emergency response if needed.

Join Us on a Voyage Through the Storms of Change

The ubiquitous nature of computers, networks, sensors and data are leading us into an age where a technological advance in one industry is quickly incorporated into other industries. This is changing the way that the world works at an ever increasing pace. As more and more computers and robots take over the work done by humans, we face a very uncertain future in all walks of life, including within the field of engineering. We steer into that uncertain future as we might steer a ship into a dark and threatening storm. There is no certainty about the final destination when we slowly emerge from the storm clouds. We may be blown way off course, or we may end up smashed on an unseen reef or rock. The only thing that is certain is that the trip will be rough. It may also be the wildest and most exciting ride imaginable.

We would like to believe that we know how this will all turn out, but there are so many forces working together to lead to the perfect storm, that such a sooth saying ability is beyond us mere mortals. Such abilities are the realms of the prophet or God. As we are neither of these, the only thing we know, is that we are certain of nothing. Even in that uncertainty we sometimes doubt ourselves. This does not mean that we do not endeavour to glimpse some gentler path through the storm. A path that may both ease survival and, just maybe, lead to some profit along the way.

Sailing Into the Storms of Change Together

The Nature of Change

As the industrial revolution changed the world from an agricultural society to an industrial one, so the current information revolution will also change our industrial society to something completely different. As farm workers watched their jobs being replaced by machines, and feared for their futures, so we industrial workers are watching our jobs being replaced by computers and robots. There are some very smart people warning us not to go down the road to the “rise of the machines”. We fear this road ourselves, but we also know that it is inevitable, just as it was inevitable (in hindsight) that the agrarian society would be replaced by an urban, industrial society. That transition was rough, but after the worst of the storm clouds had cleared, people in general were better off when measured by typical quality of life metrics. There was less hunger, better health and longer life expectancies. That appears to be the nature of progress in the long run. While there may be brief periods where technological progress leads to a reduction in quality of life, in general there appears to be a steady improvement, as measured by the normal metrics. Arguably this is the inevitable outcome of a free market system. In the future we will certainly look at these arguments, and speculate on exactly how free our markets really are!

We believe the same will again happen with the information revolution, but as was the case in the past, there will be a lot of fortunes made and lost during the stormy transition. This transition may be the last great opportunity, for some time, to establish inter-generational dynastic wealth. We will try our best to make sure we are in the most seaworthy vessel possible for taking on this treacherous journey. We invite you to join us on this voyage. The voyage will not be a cruise, but if nothing else, it will be exciting and at least give some element of hope of a destination that is better than our point of departure.

In our newsletter we will endeavour to shine the searchlights of knowledge, and possibly wisdom, (Although we are sure to fail in that objective at least as often as we succeed.) into the inky blackness of uncertainty, to plot as sure a course through the storm as possible. At times we may believe we are hearing a saving voice beckoning us closer into a safe harbour, only to find it is a siren song drawing us onto treacherous rocks. Especially at those times, the constant vigilance afforded by our searchlights, will give us the best chance of not only surviving, but also thriving. Open mindedness and awareness of our own fallibility will be our most trusted travelling companions on this voyage. Constant course corrections will be inevitable.

Instrumental in Enabling the Changes

As technical professionals we are not only directly exposed to the great changes bearing down on society, but we are in fact instrumental in enabling the process. From this perspective of being both exposed to the storm, and also trying to harness the buffeting winds and waves of technological and societal changes, we have perhaps the best view for positioning ourselves for a positive outcome.

As technical professionals, and particularly fabrication professionals and Welders, we will try to analyse the bigger trends and forces shaping our world, and seeing how these will change our industry and jobs. This will not be done merely as an intellectual exercise, but rather to equip ourselves for the uncertain journey ahead. If there is one thing that is certain, it is that we will have to adapt. It is better to adapt in a pro-active fashion than to wait until we have no choice. By unfurling our sails and making the best use of the winds of change, we may just be able to keep ahead of the worst of the storm that will buffet and possibly sink the unsuspecting among us.

Arriving at Our Destination

Identifying Trends

In our newsletters we will look at the main forces leading us into this perfect storm. Forces such as those from technology, economics, politics, philosophy and even psychology. In taking such a wide view of our situation, our objective is to identify the bigger trends so that we can then focus on the immediate actions needed to steady the boat as we progress, and to profit from the journey when possible. We know that no technology is successful without general acceptance from society, and acceptance from society will not happen without the necessary economic, political and psychological foundations in place. As such it is not the intent of this newsletter to be reporting on specific news or refinements in welding and fabrication technologies. (There are many places that offer that service.) We may however touch on these if they pique our interest, or have the potential to result in immediate and significant change to our industry. Our main aim will be to prepare ourselves, as knowledge workers within the welding and fabrication industry, to thrive within our new reality. We invite you to join us on this voyage of discovery. A journey which we hope to not only survive, but also turn to profit.

You can join us on this voyage by subscribing to the WelderDestiny newsletter. You will find the newsletter subscription box prominently displayed on the bottom of this page.

 The WelderDestiny Compass: Weekly e-zine Subscription

You can take a look at "The WelderDestiny Compass" back-issues by clicking here.