Robotic welding techniques offer much clear and qualitative output

With many development initiatives in various sectors like infrastructure, shipping, manufacturing etc have created demand for quality welding.
Robotic welding techniques offer much clear and qualitative output
With many development initiatives in various sectors like infrastructure, shipping, manufacturing etc have created demand for quality welding. With new technologies emerging like robotic welding and 3D manufacturing, certified welders have gained significance. R Srinivasan, President, Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) takes a close look current welding industry and areas of improvement.
 
What according to you is the current market scenario of welding industry in India?
 
The present government has introduced schemes to boost the industry, the major contributor being he 'Make in India’ campaign. The introduction of the GST will eliminate the multi tax problems and this will spur the growth. It would further encourage the industry to focus on upgradation and adoption to newer technologies. The overall welding industry has realised that with trained workforce productivity increases.
 
Today, India is the second largest steel manufacturer, is reaching towards Japan. The sector picks about 95 to 100 million tonne of steel every year. Out of which, around 3 million metric tonne of steel is consumed for welding materials. The government has set a target to supply 250 million metric tonne of steel in India by 2020-2022. With the set target, it can be said that there is a huge market for the welding industry in India. Besides, the growing infrastructure projects are another big business for welding. The government has directed all departments to complete the listed projects before 2022. This will strengthen welding industries. It is estimated that the industry will grow about 6-7 per cent over the previous years, which is in line with the international countries.
 
Where does Indian welding industry stand compared to its global counterparts?
 
It cannot be stated that India is lacking behind in welding, but definitely we need to upgrade ourselves. The Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) is largely focusing on the same. IIW is an institution of professionals from the welding industry of India. IIW is the only member of the International Institute of Welding in India, with headquarters in Paris. The Indian automobile sector is definitely closer to the international market in terms of quality. Infact, today, the international automobile companies are keen to have a space in the Indian market. So, we are competing with the world into this segment. 
 
However, in the heavy engineering sector, we still need a lot of infrastructure support. Unfortunately, for welding, there is no basic welding research centre in India, except Welding Research Institute (WRI) in Tiruchirappalli, India. We need to have a government established or government supported welding research centre. IIW is working very hard in this subject. If the government gives us clearance, we can work closely with the government and ensure a full-fledged welding research laboratory. The government has opened up huge opportunities through public private partnership (PPP) project, starting with defence. In the coming years, the atomic energy, aerospace segment will also boost. The industry is facing lot of challenges. 
 
The major challenge is the technological gap between India and the international market. The other challenge is the availability of skilled manpower, which is a problem not only in India but globally. The entire welding, fabrication and other segments are facing this issue. In order to overcome the challenge, Prime Minister is focusing largely to boost skilled man power in India.
 
What is IIW’s initiative in creating skill development in the welding and fabrication segment?
 
IIW has taken up a project of creating skilled manpower for about 5-6 years with the Government of India, especially with the Ministry of Skill Development. IIW has been appointed as the knowledge partner for the capital goods sector, the automobile and steel. We provide knowledge to the training centres of these sectors.  
 
Some of the initiatives that we have been part of are such as:
 
National Welding Training & Certification Scheme (NWTCS): This programme provides certification of welders at different levels and for various industry sectors as per distinctive NWTCS Certification Schemes under accreditation from QCI NABET as per ISO 17024:2012 Standard.
 
Welder Certification: IIW-India conducts certification of welders. This is done considering various international and national welding testing standards like ISO: 9606-1, ISO: 9606-2, ASME Section IX and AWS D 1.1. This too is under accreditation of QCI NABET  as per ISO 17024. This activity is conducted by ANB-India under the international section.
 
Sector Skill Assessments: IIW-India is an assessment body under NSDC Sector Skill Councils, Government of India, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship for PMKVY and other schemes. Apart from this, IIW-India also conducts Modular Employable Skill (MES) assessments.
 
National Skills Competition: IIW-India conducts ‘Best Welder Competition’ annually in various categories and winners are announced at National Welding Seminar.
 
Training of Trainers: IIW-India conducts training of the trainers for various sector skill council and other organisations.
 
What advancements have been brought in welding technology segment?
 
It is not only the welding that has significance, today the material that goes into welding is also important. India is a country with variety of temperature and climate. This leads to challenges and we have to overcome them. Advancements in technology is needed to reduce the manufacturing time. Once when the manufacturing and delivery time is reduced, one can achieve profitability towards the product. Thus, a lot of automation has been introduced in India and much more is expected.
 
Tell us about your views on the robotic automation.
 
Robotic welding techniques definitely offer a much clear and qualitative output. In India, most of the companies, who manufacture such equipment, depend upon small vendors. These vendors also have to equally upgrade themselves on par with the quality of the company to which they offer their products. So, to reach that level, funding is required. Today, the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) have lot of facilities, schemes, and incentives to upgrade themselves. Thus, these companies have to make the best use of such benefits. Today all the latest technology is available at the shortest possible times. It is only that the industries need to take big step towards technological upgradation of their facilities to meet the global needs and challenges.
 
What is IIW’s role in creating awareness on latest technology in the industry?
 
IIW have 14 branches. We organise free technical lectures, wherein we invite experts from the segment for a discussion. These lectures are not only to the members but all those interested in welding. Besides, we also have a seminar at national levels and at branch levels. IIW organises short duration welding workshops in various small industrial pockets. We organise two national events-National Welding Meet (NWM) and National Welding Seminar (NWS). IIW also organises International Welding Congress every three years. The National Welding Meet is usually held in cities other than the four metros. This will give an opportunity to the welding professionals present in these cities to get proper exposure to the technological developments that are happening and to interact with experts of the field. 
 
IIW organizes exhibitions for the benefit for the small and medium scale fabricators of welding sector, to see the latest developments in the field of welding and in welding automation.
 
What is IIWs role to maintain quality in welding?
 
Firstly, India needs to upgrade its scale of quality. The European market has issued directives on several quality standards. A company which is certified under ISO 3834 can only service and supply the welded products to EU. This is a mandatory requirement. This has given rise to the Indian manufacturers to upgrade their quality, skills and get the certification of approval.
 
IIW from India are authorized to assist the industries who are willing to comply the EU requirements and certify them. In most of the cases, we also undertake training for companies and then upgrade their quality standards. We are not directly involved in any manufacturing activities, but act as an umbrella, representing the small, medium, and large scale segments. IIW have a pool of experts available to help and assist the industries and to solve their issues relating to welding advancements. The experts use IIW as a forum to impart knowledge, and create awareness on the skill development program.
 
We have also opened up student chapters in some of the engineering colleges wherein the students can better understand welding sector and look forward as a career. Today, the general opinion of the public is that they are still not aware of welding as a career.
 
I would only like to emphasis on the fact that welding science and welding engineering has great carrier opportunities to the young engineers. We are proud that one of the milestone achievements for welding segment was the recent satellite, which off loaded 100 satellites in orbit. The satellite was fully welded. The company’s like Bharat Forge, BHEL, L&T, Godrej and more industries were all involved in this project. What a pride moment for the welding industry is this!
 
 
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