Automation has begun to impact the metal fabrication industry, which includes stainless steel fabrication, aluminium fabrication, and steel fabrication. This tends to have a negative impact on workers as proved by a study that showed that most people think that they are at a risk of losing their jobs to automation. This is apparent when a lot of industrial processes, including metal bending and metal rolling, are being automated. Despite all this, the end goal should be a positive one where workers can coexist with robots and be productive.
An industry needs people who know about the job and are experts in it, no amount of automation can overcome raw experience. Employing a programmer to develop a system for the robot to weld is easy, however, dealing with welding problems or knowing about welds is a major detriment. This is where expert welders come in. They can tackle problems based on what they already know. Hence it is more optimal to train good welders in operating these robots as they are familiar with all the related intricacies of welding properly and correcting errors.
Bridging a Gap
It is of no surprise that traditional workers will not exactly welcome automation and manage robots to their job properly. However, some of the problems of traditional practices detrimental to the industry can be minimized and at the same time, the disparity between workers and the robots can be reduced by engaging the workforce with automation. Firstly, it is important to understand which shops, depending on the parts, will benefit from automation. For example, in the case of laser cutting and pressing brakes, a robot can carry out these tasks with great precision repeatedly. Therefore making it an ideal candidate for automating. However, in the case of an old plasma system, using a welding robot is not ideal. Secondly, a healthier work ethic can be promoted where, instead of trying to meet the bottom line and creating the bare minimum number of welds, welders can be encouraged to be more productive and treat the bare minimum as a beginning instead of the end goal. This is a mindset that cannot be changed by automation alone, and so encouraging welders to be more productive is a good decision. And finally, employing welders that have an interest in robotics and then training them to develop and maintain the welding system will be greatly beneficial as the robots will run on programs created by experienced welders.
Proper Communication and Garnering Interest
The worries about workers losing their jobs to automation can be mitigated by companies being more vocal about their intention. Automation is there to aid the workers, not replace them. Moreover, due to rising demands, automation is required to meet those demands. Therefore it is important to nurture welders who will learn to take care of the robots in the long run instead of despising them and will help make welding more reliable and productive.