Pickens Technical College’s Welding Pathway: The Rise of the Machines

In the Engineering and Technology Pathway at Pickens Technical College lies the Welding department, and amidst the helmets, aprons, and sparks flying is a group of soon-to-be professional welders prepared to take on a variety of jobs and challenges.

Of course, the welding industry is changing rapidly with the influx of new technology and concepts, especially artificial intelligence and automation. Welding is becoming safer, more precise, quicker, and generally more effective. The doors are opening as well for new and different welders to enter the industry. All this makes for an exciting time to be a welder in the United States.

Many workers in manufacturing, engineering, or construction industries around the world are worried about robots and computers stealing their jobs. It’s a natural concern to watch machines do your job faster and more efficiently than you, but those concerns in most industries are overblown. In the welding industry, the use of robots and machine learning concepts might make you even more important in the future, not less.

Automated Welding

You know all about automated welding by now. Welders have been dividing their efforts into automated and manual welding jobs for decades now, and automated welding concepts are now key lessons to be learned by all welders, including PTC students.

Automated welding technology is constantly changing, however, adding additional possibilities and features to the evolving welding profession every year.

This year, welding tractors capable of reaching difficult places are having their moment. Welding tractors are not new, but they’ve reached a level of accuracy and usefulness that will soon force new welders (you) to learn how to use them effectively.

A new design for automated tractor welders, as exemplified by Uniarc’s new model, the Oscimatic tractor, involves the use of magnetic attraction to move, rather than mechanical systems that break down easier. Its design only allows it to move in straight lines, up or down, side to side, which keeps it moving parallel to the weld joint and allows it to perform weld fillets without changing its position.

Automated tractors like the Oscimatic are designed to allow welders to perform work they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do faster and more efficiently than before. When operated by skilled welders, like you, these machines will allow companies to create more welding jobs, not less. These new machines and devices will need experts operating them who know how to weld and how to utilize the machine in the best way.

You’re already learning how to work with automated welding tools. The better you learn these competencies and build on them as new and better technology enters the industry, the better-positioned you’ll be.

Where to Go from Here

After you earn your degree from Pickens’ Welding program, you’ll be able to perform all the necessary welding techniques for a long and fruitful career. As you progress as a professional welder, you’ll have the opportunity to build on your experience at Pickens and be a part of the wave of the future of welding.

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