Attract Young Generation with Welding Cobots

Welding, an age-old craft that forms the foundation of structural stability, stands at the edge of an evolution. Join us as we explore the future of welding in this blog post, where we take a closer look into the way welding cobots are reshaping the industry.

Current Welding Landscape

Welding, an important part of the manufacturing and construction industries, it has been the key to keeping structural integrity. However, it is dealing with an upcoming challenge—a rapidly aging workforce.

Statistics from the American Welding Society (AWS) reveal that 43.2% of welders are over 45 years old, indicating a pressing need for new talent.

The younger generation, though, seems to be distant from the field, largely associating it with outdated practices, an unglamorous working environment, and difficult manual labor. To spark interest and attract fresh talent, the welding industry needs a transformative shift, and automated welding emerges as the way to trigger this change.

The challenge posed by an aging welding workforce extends far beyond the borders of the United States. While the U.S. is a notable example, the issue is global in scale. In many industrialized countries, welders are the essential support of construction and manufacturing industries, and the demographic shift towards an older workforce presents a significant challenge.

A demonstration of welding in a workshop without using a welding cobot

Statistics from the European Union reveal similar trends. In countries like Germany, well-known for its engineering and manufacturing expertise, the average age of a welder is approaching towards the mid-50s.

The situation is like a problem that’s getting worse with time because the know-how and experience of these experienced welders are about to leave the workforce in the next few years.

In Asia, where industries are growing fast, the same thing is happening. In places like Japan and South Korea, the welding industry is dealing with two problems: older workers and younger people not being very interested in it. As industries keep growing, there’s a pressing need to make young generation interested in welding again.

The aging workforce is a universal concern, one that demands a global solution. Using automated welding systems can play a significant role in addressing this challenge.

Welding Cobots as a Fresh Perspective

In the welding world, automation isn’t just about robots taking over. It’s about making welding cool for tech-savvy young people. A lot of welding is still done the old-fashioned way. But now, we’re bringing in modern tech like laser welding and welding cobots.

This is changing how we see welding. It’s not just a simple job anymore; it’s a smart and exciting challenge that matches the high-tech world we live in today.

Welding cobots blend technology that fits with the digital age. Unlike old-school industrial robots with complicated controls and rigid routines, cobots are made to work with human welders and have user-friendly interfaces.

This tech combo makes learning about automated welding interesting and helps welders learn and improve in a fun and interactive way. It changes the image of welding from a dirty, manual job to an exciting and intellectual profession that matches what the new generation wants.

A teach pendant from a welding cobot system showing SmoothTool software start page

One of the most compelling aspects of welding cobots is their ability to democratize advanced welding technology – they make high-tech welding accessible to all.

Unlike industrial robots, these cobots aren’t limited to huge production lines. They can easily fit into operations of all sizes. This flexibility doesn’t just get people excited; it lets welders tap into their creativity by using cutting-edge tools that can handle all sorts of projects.

By merging traditional skills with modern tech, welding cobots introduce a fresh wave of creativity and job satisfaction into the welding field, particularly for Generation Z and beyond. This change blurs the line between manual work and modern technology, creating a world where both coexist seamlessly, providing a unique blend of human knowledge and technological excellence.

Understanding the thoughts and desires of the digital generation is crucial when attracting a younger workforce to the welding industry. This generation, often referred to as Generation Z, consists of individuals born between 1997 and 2012. They are true digital natives, growing up in a time of rapid technological progress and constant connectivity.

To attract this generation to welding, it is essential to align the profession with their values and aspirations. Studies and surveys have unveiled insights into the mindset of Generation Z:

Technology Enthusiasts:

Generation Z is characterized by their unwavering enthusiasm for technology. They are early adopters of new devices and applications, and they expect their workplaces to be technologically savvy.

Creativity and Innovation:

This generation values creativity and innovation. They are drawn to careers that offer opportunities for problem-solving and creativity.

Work-Life Balance:

Achieving a work-life balance is a priority for Generation Z. They seek careers that offer flexibility and the possibility of remote work.

Continuous Learning:

Lifelong learning is integral to their worldview. They are eager to develop new skills and stay updated with the latest trends and technologies.

Social Responsibility:

Generation Z is acutely aware of social and environmental issues. They are more likely to be attracted to professions and industries that prioritize sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

By incorporating welding cobots, the industry can customize its products to connect with the goals of today’s young generation. The easy-to-use interfaces and the tech-savvy nature of cobots match the values and expectations of Generation Z.

Welding Cobots: Meeting Generation Z’s Expectations

Statistics and empirical data provide important insights into the role of automated welding in attracting new talent to the welding profession:

  • A study by the American Welding Society (AWS) found that companies that invest in automation and modern technologies have a higher rate of welder retention and are more attractive to new talent. Young welders prefer workplaces that offer exposure to innovative technologies.
  • Automated welding processes are more efficient than manual welding. The increased speed of project completion attracts new talent, especially those who value efficiency and productivity.
  • Welding cobots has led to the development of educational programs that cater to the digital generation. Vocational schools and technical colleges offer curricula that include training in automation and automated welding, further enhancing the profession’s appeal to young individuals.
2 developers are working with welding cobot's software from Smooth Robotics

The Socioeconomic Impact of Welding Cobots

Welding cobots go beyond just their economic impact – they have a deep influence on society, changing how welders view and participate in work.

Automation empowers welders to handle a wider variety of projects, showcasing their skills and increasing job satisfaction. It also opens doors to more creative and challenging tasks. Additionally, integrating welding cobots creates a safer work environment, reducing exposure to risky conditions and improving the well-being of welders.

Despite concerns about job loss, welding cobots actually enhance job security. Welders who acquire skills in operating and maintaining these machines become invaluable assets to their companies.

Automation and technology are appealing to younger generations, and welding cobots blend traditional welding with modern tech, making them an attractive option for those who are tech-savvy.

The Global Adoption of Automation in Welding Industry

The widespread use of automated welding shows how this important change is happening all over the world.

Across continents, countries recognize the significance of welding cobots to address the challenges of an aging workforce and meet the evolving needs of the market.

  • China: China, with the world’s largest manufacturing sector, has witnessed a rapid wave in the adoption of welding automation. The Chinese government has incentivized the integration of automation into manufacturing processes, aiming to improve efficiency and product quality.
  • Europe: In Europe, the welding industry is experiencing a notable shift towards automation. The European welding industry, known for its commitment to quality and precision, is actively embracing automation to remain at the forefront of technological advancements.
  • North America: The United States and Canada are also undergoing significant changes in the welding industry. Major corporations are investing in automation to streamline their operations and remain competitive in the global market.

Training and Education for the Future

Realizing the full potential of welding cobots calls for the development of robust training and education programs. These programs should cater to both experienced welders looking to enhance their skills and newcomers just entering the field.

  • Upskilling Experienced Welders: For welders with years of manual welding experience, the transition to welding cobots is essential. They need access to training programs that introduce them to the operation and programming of automated welding systems. This retraining ensures that their expertise remains relevant in today’s industry.
  • Educating the Next Generation: Educational institutions must adapt their welding curricula to the changing landscape. They should incorporate training on automation and welding cobots, equipping young talents with the skills they need to excel in the modern welding industry. Vocational schools and technical colleges play a crucial role in laying the foundation for future welders.
  • In-House Training: Companies investing in automation should give high priority to in-house training programs. These programs empower their employees to become skilled in operating and maintaining automated systems. Collaboration with manufacturers of welding cobot systems can facilitate this training, ensuring a smooth transition into the world of automation.
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The welding industry is at a turning point, with a clear direction towards automated welding. To secure its future and inspire the next generation of welders, the industry must adapt to the changing landscape, focusing on innovation, efficiency, and training. By investing in welding cobots and emphasizing comprehensive training and education, the welding industry can redefine itself. It can continue to be an important part of modern infrastructure and overcome labor shortage.

SmoothTool Cobot Welding Package

Embracing and investing in welding cobots and advanced machinery isn’t just a strategic move; it’s forward-thinking and visionary. These technological advancements are a response to the shortage of skilled welders and are reshaping the welding profession.

At this point it is important to mention our cobot welding solution SmoothTool. SmoothTool represents a harmonious blend of automation and human expertise, offering a glimpse into the exciting future of welding. It supports various welding techniques such as Metal Inert Gas (MIG), Metal Active Gas (MAG), and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), providing a comprehensive solution for a wide range of applications.

What truly distinguishes SmoothTool is its ease of use and accessibility. It empowers operators to quickly grasp how to program it, eliminating the steep learning curve often associated with automation.

  • The Programming Flange: Programming flange empowers operators to ‘teach’ the cobot how the weld should be performed. It captures and links the positions and movements of the welding arm to the control box and programming software, ensuring a seamless transition from concept to execution.
  • The Intuitive Programming Software: Operating on the teach pendant, SmoothTool guides welders through the process of configuring parameters for the weld. It facilitates the step-by-step teaching of the cobot, ensuring precise execution. The software additionally allows welders to review the tool path in the 3D Viewer without actual runs, ensuring efficiency and precision.

Conclusion: Shaping the Future of Welding

In conclusion, the welding industry is on a transformative journey, one that promises to reshape its image and secure its future. The challenges posed by an aging workforce and the declining interest among the younger generation call for an immediate action.

Automated welding offers a dynamic solution to these challenges. These technologies enhance precision, efficiency, and safety while promoting creativity and skill development.

The integration of automation is not just an economic investment; it is a socioeconomic transformation that empowers welders, enhances job security, and attracts a new generation of digital natives to the welding profession.

A welder with a welding cobot performing welding tasks in company workshop

The statistics and empirical data shared in this blog post make a strong case for the benefits of using automation in welding. The potential for saving money, creating jobs, and becoming more competitive is truly significant.

Additionally, automation encourages a culture of innovation and progress that has a broad and positive impact on various industries and society as a whole.

At the forefront of this transformation is the SmoothTool Cobot welding package. With its ability to handle different welding methods, user-friendly programming, and collaborative features, it’s a real game-changer in the welding world.

It connects the dots between different generations, providing an entry point for young talent and a way for experienced welders to level up their skills.

In a world that’s increasingly turning to automation, the welding industry has a chance to reinvent itself by embracing technology and innovation. Opting for automated welding isn’t just about staying relevant; it’s also about attracting fresh talent and maintaining a vital role in today’s manufacturing and construction.

The future of automated welding looks promising, characterized by precision, creativity, and a harmonious fusion of human skills and technology.

With solutions like the SmoothTool cobot welding package, the welding scene is all set to ignite the passion and curiosity of a new generation of welders!


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