Skill India initiatives of the Government of India have been looking at the various skill requirements for the manufacturing sector. With manufacturing sector looking up with Make in India stress, there is a huge need to fill the gaps in welding skills in the country. India is not alone with regard to the welding skill gaps. Across the world there is a strong emphasis on welder skill development considering acute shortage of skilled manpower. The younger population in the world has not shown inclination to acquire welding skills because this is indeed a demanding blue-collared profession. The estimated number of skilled welders required to be added in India is about 10 lakhs by 2020, and this requires concerted efforts across the country to meet such requirements. This paper looks at how WRI jointly with the government agencies have been attempting to impart welding skills to the youth, aiming at inclusive growth.
The necessity to give impetus to skill based development can be seen for manufacturing sector through a series of available data on demand and supply scenario. Industrialised nations fuel economy through infrastructural development driven by steel consumption amongst others. The projected steel output by 2020 for India is around 120 million tons. If this quantum is used for fabrication, the weld metal deposition required for fabrication will be around 24, 00,000 MT at conservative estimates of 2-3% of steel production. This translates into a weld consumables requirement of 30 to 35 lakh MT. India is still predominantly governed by manual arc welding processes, which means we required around 11.2 lakhs welders assuming a 70% manual arc welding. It is assumed that the other 30% will be met by semi-automatic and mechanised options. The total number of welder requirement to effectively utilize the steel supply to propel India’s manufacturing option will be around 12.8 lakhs. Thus in order to develop nation on all fronts to become the manufacturing hub, we need to train these many number of welders.
A recent batch of engineers certified by WRI after one year’s training
Considering the present capacity to train welders, we can look forward to Government and private Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) to provide the supply of manpower. With the present available institutions, we estimate that there will be around 20000 welders per year from all these organisations put together. Then we will be looking to bridge a gap of approximately 10 lakh welders by 2020 to meet the demand.
The demand cannot be met overnight and only through regular schooling. As an added initiative apart from the regular training institutes, we can also look at upgrading skill sets of different disciplines by offering them exposure and training. This can be ramped up in the coming years to offer multiple means to address the demand. WRI is in the forefront of welder training for skills and the following section offer a glimpse of wide range of WRI’s efforts in addressing the industry requirements at various levels of welding professionals.
Blossoming from a skill and an art, to science and technology, embracing multiple disciplines, and shining as a major manufacturing tool, WELDING, today enjoys a pride of place in the industry. Both the conventional and advanced welding processes are finding increasing application in Indian Industry. Accordingly, due recognition to the varied needs of the Indian industries, the National Committee on Science & Technology aptly recommended in 1972 the establishment of Research & Development facilities in welding science & technology in the country. The Govt. of India duly approved the recommendation for establishing the Welding Research Institute, as an adjunct to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s (BHEL) manufacturing unit at Tiruchirappalli. The Welding Research Institute (WRI) was thus founded in November 1975, with the active support of the Government of India through its designated agency, the BHEL, and with the technical and financial assistance under the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) through the United Nations Industrial development Organization (UNIDO).
Human Resource Development was one of the key servicing areas identified during the establishment of this Institute. Accordingly, programmes for training and certifying welding and NDT personnel at four different levels has been developed taking into consideration the needs of the various fabrication industries.
A batch of trainees being given theoretical inputs under the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Program
Broadly, the institute conducts various training programmes under the following categories:
Under each of these training programmes, different modules have been developed customising to technology and customer requirement. These training modules would cater to the fabrication needs of the industry and training is also offered at customer works on case to case basis.
WRI is having unique state of art welder training facility, equipped with the latest power sources & fume extraction devices, to train about 50 welders at a given time. The availability of this unique facility helps welders from within the country and abroad to come for the training and get qualified thereby enhancing their employability potential.
Training of welders for skill development is designed in the following two ways.
In line with the above policy, WRI has trained and certified around 700 ITI qualified men welders & 50 School dropout women welders in three phases under the sponsorship by the Dept. of Science & Technology. Similar programmes has been conducted for 150 ITI welders in association with TAHDCO, 50 ITI welders in association with RDMA, Government of Tamilnadu and 346 ITI welders and 246 School dropouts in association with Tamilnadu Skill development Corporation (TNSDC). Apart from enhancing the skills of the candidate, the Institute has been stretching to be in link with potential employers, so that these welders can present themselves for getting a suitable employment in the industry, thus enhancing their employability. All these programs were aimed at employability of a section of population who are underprivileged and lacked exposure to skilled employment opportunities.
In the above training program, it was highly challenging to train a candidate from ITI stream, Mr A. Rasli, who had lost his four fingers (except thumb) in an accident in his childhood. Earlier, he had sufficient skill in SMAW process, which requires single hand coordination. To make him suitable for highly demanding eye hand coordination for all types of welding processes, we took up the challenge of specially training him. It is fully to his credit that he has mastered the feeding of TIG filler wire by mounting a cloth support in the left wrist and piercing a holding hole in his overall to continuously feed the filler. With all these impediments, he has successfully welded RT qualified pipe joint with GTAW root pass. It is heartening to note that learning and imparting skill is beyond physical limitations and dedication to task can achieve wonders. Mr Rasli stands as a shining and inspiring example for people to follow their dreams and make them a reality.
National / International Recognitions
WRI has been recognized by various national and International certifying bodies like Central Boiler Board, American Welding Society (AWS) to test and certify welders as per these standards. WRI has been recognized as a “competent authority” to train & certify welders as per IBR. This is a unique recognition serving as a highlight to the infrastructure and technical competence of WRI in welder training. The Educational institutional membership of AWS has been awarded to WRI.
To cater to the demands of a Globalized economy, and the increased need for certified welding professionals as per international standards, WRI has drawn up plans with reputed international institutions/bodies for the conduct of such programmes in India, for the benefit of our welding professionals. In line with this WRI’s training school has been approved by the American Welding Society (AWS) to train and certify welders under their “School Excelling through National Skill Education (SENSE)” membership Scheme. This makes WRI eligible to train & certify welders at 3 levels (Entry level, Advanced level, and Expert level) and welding professionals as per AWS standards. Through these programmes WRI trained personnel would be able to achieve international recognition, thus enhancing their growth opportunities. All these recognitions have been given to WRI after stringent evaluation of the facilities and the training methodologies adopted at the Institute.
The special feature of these programmes is that while the welder is given ample opportunity to develop his skill by welding practical, theoretical inputs on the Dos and DONTs in welding are also given to the welders during classroom sessions. A comprehensive book on welding has been brought out by the institute and is given to all the welders as reading/reference material. This book describes pictorially the various nuances of welding viz. welding process, consumables selection, joint design, defects, welder qualification, safety etc. and is easily grasped by the participant to enhance his / her knowledge in welding processes, consumables and joint selection, defects qualification and safety aspects.
There are two facets in which important developments are happening in Welding technology. On the conventional welding requirements, the demand is to address expertise in welding newer materials, dissimilar combinations, higher thicknesses and faster production. Some of the important materials to be addressed for welder’s skill include Cr-Mo steels, maraging steel, Inconel alloys, Aluminium, Titanium, Zirconium and Armour steels. They find applications in power, shipbuilding and defence sectors which account for bulk of the manufacturing sector’s demand.
The other development is in the mechanisation of welding operations. Almost all developed nations move towards mechanised and robotic operations for their fabrication demanding the welder to be not only aware of the process but also of the operating machine. Here the consistency of the output is to be ensured for production lines in automotive and transport sectors through Mechanisation. This may demand not just the welding knowledge, but also operator level training in Solid state welding and its allied processes.
In view of the above, training of sponsored welders in special materials and processes are also imparted to meet specific demands of the industry on a case to case basis viz. Welding of titanium tubes, Maraging steels, Armour steels and Al & its alloys etc., for the Shipping, Automotive and Space applications.
Welder training at WRI involves hands on methods on actual material for a duration of 6-8 weeks providing an opportunity for the welder to learn the process and methods. However, the skill based training technique demands that the shortcomings of the trainees be assessed quantitatively to improve and hone skills. This is evaluated by the trainer on continual basis and is discussed with the trainee as feedback. In different stages of welder training, it is important for the trainee to be acquainted with the nuances of materials and machine handling to optimize the skills. It is necessary but expensive to use raw materials, consumables and machine hours for such initial phase learning requirements. As an alternative to such demands, a virtual learning initiative could be supplemented for welder trainees to enhance their skill sets. A virtual welder training involves the use of a computer based software system where the welder is acquainted in a real life welding environment in the absence of actual raw materials and consumables. The virtual welder trainee uses a torch and welds on a simulated environment that are connected to the system through multiple sensors. These sensors measure vital information on the trainees’ eye hand coordination, consistency in weld travel speed and angle of torch etc., which are typically subjectively assessed. Thus the difficulties that each trainee faces can be uniquely recorded and remedial measures be suggested. This exercise marks the beginning of the training program and thus helps to evaluate and customize the approach to be considered for each welder trainee. Apart from quantifying the skill sets, it also saves power, raw materials and consumables used in training. The trainee gets to know the prerequisites in terms of posture, handling and consistency and prepares himself accordingly.
On a relative level of performance, it is also possible to rank the trainees based on the performance. All these developments in processes / requirements can be incorporated as software updates thus facilitating the availability of latest technologies to the trainees.
Welding Research Institute has been conducting training programmes in welding and Inspection including Non Destructive Testing for the technicians and supervisors. These programmes enhance and improve the testing and interpretation skills of the technicians so that they are better placed in the industry with regard to NDT techniques, welding processes quality control. Certification programmes up to ASNT Level II in various non-destructive testing methods like Ultrasonic Testing Level II and Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing level II are conducted at the Institute. These certification programmes are so designed that the candidates get hands-on experience in the field of non-destructive testing and practical welding so that on completion the individual would be in a position to take up positions as Inspectors / Instructors in the fabrication industry.
Short-term programmes on specific topics such as weld design and distortion, welding & inspection and certification programmes for welding inspectors, etc. are conducted at the Institute for experienced and practicing welding personnel. These programmes are more focused and would normally involve discussions and experience sharing sessions so that all the participants are benefited by the interactions.
WRI has so far conducted around 971 such short-term programmes to date. Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has also recognized the Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI) programme of WRI for their Clients
WRI is conducting a post graduate certification programme, along with PSG College of technology, Coimbatore on Welding & Quality Engineering. While the theoretical sessions are conducted jointly with the support of PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, the practical sessions and “on the job” training are realized at WRI / BHEL, Tiruchirappalli. To make the students industry ready, they are also trained & qualified to Level II in the four standard NDT techniques (LPI, MPI, RT, &UT). This helps to enhance their employability potential, to cater to the demands of a globalized economy, and the increased need for certified welding professionals as per international standards. This unique venture between the educational institute and a research organization primarily dedicated to welding is probably the first of its kind in the country. The curriculum is so designed such that young engineering graduates with advanced welding engineering concepts and their applications can be readily employed in fabrication industries to take up responsible position. It is only natural that they get placed well at the end of the programme.
WRI has successfully used its unique positioning as an application oriented research Institute to spread its knowledge in the field of welding to establish itself as a premier world class Institute benefitting thousands of skilled personnel in Welding Engineering. It also provide training & testing facilities from Welders to Engineers at all levels engaged in Structural fabrication as well as in specialized areas such as welding in boilers & pressure vessels, aerospace, ship building, automotive, Oil & Gas, Railways and defence sectors. The School of Welding at WRI – the training arm of the Institute is practically a ONE STOP SHOP for imparting knowledge on welding and its allied fields. The systematic training imparted has been recognized by the industry worldwide and WRI trained welding personnel are positioned in key areas practically in all parts of the globe. In this endeavour, WRI is also proud to be associated in nation building of National Skill Development and Tamil Nadu Skill Development initiatives.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
© Divya Media Publications Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved