IoT in welding is playing important role

It is said that the growth of manufacturing sector is closely linked to the developments in welding technology. Demand for high-performance welding for improving productivity is growing. To fulfil the requirement, vendors are focusing on manufacturing intelligent welding machines with Industry 4.0 compatibility.
IoT in welding is playing important role It is said that the growth of manufacturing sector is closely linked to the developments in welding technology. Demand for high-performance welding for improving productivity is growing. To fulfil the requirement, vendors are focusing on manufacturing intelligent welding machines with Industry 4.0 compatibility. Welding automation and digitization will be the enablers for the growth in the future, says V V Kamath, Managing Director, Fronius India Pvt Ltd. In this exclusive interview with Rakesh Rao, Kamath explains why intelligent welding machines are a better bet and how his company is helping customers to gear up for the future.

How is Fronius fulfilling the welding requirements of the manufacturing sector? Which industries are driving demand for your welding solutions?
Sustainability is the cornerstone of our corporate values and we practise eco-friendly on-site production measures. We understand the perspective of our customers /their challenges and needs in their manufacturing environment not only in welding equipment but also strive to increase their productivity and/or optimise their total costs of the manufactured products. Our sustainable solutions and robust innovative technologies play an important role in the manufacturing sector.

Fronius is a global player in the automotive and engineering segments. In India, we are strongly positioned in most of these segments.

What are the key challenges before the welding industry? How is your company helping them solve these challenges?
There is a drastic shortage in the number of young people wishing to learn the welding as a trade and this is not a phenomenon reserved for us as Indians, it is a world-wide epidemic. For too long now welder education has relied on a pre-historic course methodology to train our students. Now with our advanced technologies, Fronius innovative intelligent welding machines can bring back the training methods back into the 21st century and also have a training tool that will not only attract the youth of today but also allow them to learn quickly. Virtual Reality (VR) is a platform that they not only understand but also feel at home with as they are getting trained with our Fronius Virtual Welding Simulators.

Are you seeing traction for robotic welding growing? What is driving the demand for robotic welding?
Yes, the demand for robotic welding is growing. The ambition for robotic welding is to become collaborative, intuitive, self-monitoring and agile, exhibiting human-like characteristics. Ultimately, the vision is to “uncage” robots, enabling them to move on from being traditionally separated from people for safety reasons and allowing them to work alongside their human counterparts in field of welding. The technologically advanced welding power sources can also lead to higher robotic self-awareness, by improving workplace safety in the collaborative robotic welding environments.

Any plans to launch new products in India in the coming months? If yes, please elaborate
Fronius constantly evolve with innovative technologies and Internet of things (IoT) have incorporated machine learning and big data technology, harnessing the data, welding machine-to-machine communication and automation technologies that will have a good development in future for the industrial settings. The driving philosophy behind the IoT is that intelligent welding machines are better than humans at consistently capturing data and we will focus on this technology. This captured data can enable companies to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner, saving time and money and supporting business intelligence efforts.

What are the main hurdles for the growth of the welding industry in India? What are probable solutions for it?
India’s growth in manufacturing sector is closely linked with a rapid development of the welding sector. As a result, in India, many upcoming fabrication projects and welding-intensive jobs in production and erection are facing a tremendous shortage of trained certified welders. Often, it’s a bottleneck for the realisation of projects. There are simply not enough well-trained welders in India, which is true also for the demand of West Asia and even throughout the world. With our shortage of skilled workers, training and technical education has to be geared up to meet the demands.

How is your company helping in skill development in the welding industry?
Our nation is growing, and we need skilled tradesmen and women to help build our infrastructure, automotive, aerospace, marine, rolling stock, heavy engineering etc. Fronius is closely associated with our technical institutes for upgrading the skill and knowledge of students with our latest technologies. Our innovation and skill centers across India also conduct need-based training programs on promoting welding.

Is rising raw material prices a concern for the welding industry?
The pandemic has significantly slowed down the shipping speed, and various raw material suppliers were also increasing prices. Since the second half of 2020, the bulk purchase prices for a wide range of raw materials have risen sharply. This is a prevailing concern for welding industry.

What are emerging trends in the welding industry?
The changes in the products offered by the global welding safety market are directly related to the innovation in the welding equipment. Manufacturers introduce new products to cater to the changing demand and safety requirements from the customers. For, instance, traditional welding helmets or passive helmets have a dark lens that does not change or adjust according to the type of welding arc. So, the welders need to lift the helmet to adjust the welding machine on the metal sheet and lower it before welding. Manufacturers have introduced auto-darkening welding helmets to address this issue. IoT in welding is also playing important role and manufacturing of intelligent welding machines with Industry 4.0 compatibility is also a significant development. Further the high-performance welding is another emerging trend for improving productivity.

How important is the auto industry for the growth of the welding industry? Will the rise in electric vehicles affect the demand for welding?
In the automotive assembly areas and production lines, they have started using artificial intelligence (AI) applications in several ways. These include new generations of intelligent series of welding power sources, smart robotic welding equipment, human-machine interaction, and advanced quality methods. The change from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is being mandated because of the clear need to reduce carbon emission output and mitigate the increasing warming of our planet. The automotive industry is meeting the challenge to design and manufacture the next generation of EVs by embracing emerging science and technology of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Arc Additive Manufacturing (AM) along with implementation of the digitization to meet these challenges.

What are your growth plans for your company?
Fronius is more technology-focused and adopt to implement advanced innovative technologies in GTAW, GMAW twin-enabled production systems to improve the productivity. Welding automation and digitization will be the enablers for the growth in the future.

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