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By: Sean Haberer

Published by: World Pipelines – April 2019

Novarc Technologies, Canada, describes recent welding innovation and the creation of a collaborative welding robot.

“The manufacturing industry has seen massive changes over the past few years, with many of those changes driven by industrial automation. The good news is that industrial automation is also helping to solve a number of difficult issues in manufacturing. One of those issues being the labour shortage currently being faced by the oil and gas industry, where skilled welders for pipe fabrication are in exceptionally high demand.

The labour issue is positioned to only get worse, as many welders are nearing retirement and fewer millennials are being trained to fill the gap and take over these skilled

The American Welding Society states that the average age of a welder in the US is 54 years old. Acknowledging that fact, the Society predicts there will be a shortage of 400 000 welders by 2025, and it is now accepted on a global level that the welding industry is facing a looming skilled labour shortage. Combine this demographic shift in the welding industry with a global ageing population and re-industrialisation, the demand for experienced welders is exceeding the supply.

Pipe shops are struggling to find skilled welders while facing the reality of an ageing workforce, meanwhile also trying to find cost-effective and innovative ways to increase welder productivity. The good news is that global challenges drive innovation.

A collaborative welding robot
Novarc Technologies invented the Spool Welding Robot (SWR) – the world’s first collaborative welding robot – to change the status quo. ‘Collaborative’ means that Novarc’s SWR is not designed to replace workers but rather to have a junior, less experienced operator work collaboratively with the robot, where he/she can supervise the robot as it tackles and perfects the manual welding process. This leaves the more experienced veteran welders free to tackle more sophisticated welding tasks, and afford the training required to bring less experienced welders up to speed.” Read more…