4 Essential Welder Skills
Welders are key to creating countless products, tools, and structures used every day, such as skyscrapers and other large construction projects. According to a 2021 report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 84% of the world’s current skyscrapers were built within the last twenty years, signifying the importance of welders in the construction industry.
But welding isn’t limited to building construction —far from it. Because their skills are so valued and essential, welders can find work in a variety of industries assisting in the production of anything from cars to cans.
There are many types of welding jobs, but skilled positions such as those building skyscrapers have a higher requirement for education and experience. To stand out from the competition, it’s worth it to build foundational welder skills. For those looking to take up a welding career, consider the benefits of completing a welding training program.
What Is a Welder?
Welders are skilled trades workers who use specialized equipment and extreme heat to fuse two or more pieces of metal. After the metal is fused, welders can shape, cut, and polish it to create a metal fixture with a specific purpose, such as a can, a car part, cutlery, and beyond. This is a process called fabrication.
After structures or fabrications experience a prolonged period of exposure to the natural elements or to heavy usage, they may become faulty or unreliable. This is when welders will also help with repairs, either by replacing components with new welds and fabrications or patching over portions that have been damaged.
Welders can work in a wide variety of settings: on assembly lines; large scale or specialty projects such as bridges, buildings, and high-end cars; and more. Skilled welder positions typically have a much higher level of educational requirements.
Welders read various schematics, such as blueprints or technical drawings, to determine how to effectively build a component or fabrication. They use these outlines to pinpoint the exact locations, proportions, and types of welds necessary for each piece of metal, ensuring the fused metal will be stable and hold as long as possible without needing repair.
Welders will select metals based on how pliable they are and how well they handle stress, which requires an intimate knowledge of different metal properties. Then, depending on the particular materials and project needs, welders choose the proper welding procedures, such as metal inert gas (MIG) or tungsten inert gas (TIG) techniques.
Welders are responsible for safety, both for themselves and their projects. They’re responsible for properly using protective equipment, such as goggles and gloves, alongside ensuring the work environment is properly ventilated. Welders also ensure welded pieces comply with assembly and safety guidelines, as improperly welded material could break under strenuous conditions and cause injury or damage.
Welders perform quality checks at all stages of the welding process.
- Before: to ensure there are no defects in the metal that could cause breakage in use
- During: to make sure the metal is not overheating or being improperly applied
- After: to check the weld to make sure it meets compliance standards and to clean off excess material from the welding spot left by metal slag or spatter
Given the utility of welding and how it’s used to create a wide variety of metal components and installations, welders can find work in a number of industries, such as aerospace, construction, automotive, or general manufacturing. Some welders work for companies that focus exclusively on repair and maintenance services. Welders can also work as self-employed contractors.
4 Welder Skills
Considering the wide variety of locations and projects in which welders can work, welders should look to develop a variety of skills to meet the demands of different employers. Similarly, welder skills can help professionals stand out amongst the competition.
Here are a few foundational skills that can be used in any aspect of a welding career.
1. Metallurgy Knowledge
Skilled welders should have a comprehensive understanding of different types of metals and which might be used under certain conditions. Certain metals have different melting points or levels of pliability, which make them more useful for certain projects and hazardous for others.
For example, aluminum is lightweight and can be used in a number of environments, making it a common choice for welders. However, not all aluminum is the same. It is designated into different grades, which each have different properties and uses.
2. Quality Control
A weld that is poorly executed, uses improper metals, or uses damaged metals could cause structural problems later on as more strain is put on the weld. Ensuring welds meet compliance standards helps keep the project safe. It also serves to prevent damage or injury later on that could pose a liability to both the welder and the employer.
Welders need to keep in regular communication with other welders to let them know of any changes in their tasks due to weather or a work situation. They also need to communicate with supervisors or project owners to ensure tasks have not changed or to update them on the project’s progress or delays.
While it’s possible to perform the same task every day, welders may have to change work environments or materials fairly regularly depending on the tasks for each project. Being able to adapt on the fly to new situations is a key component of most welding careers, and doing so can provide an advantage when applying to a wide variety of welding positions.
Benefits of a Welder Training Program
Welding effectively requires a combination of complex skills, including technical knowledge and intrapersonal skills. A training program enables students to develop technical skills, like metallurgy knowledge or equipment usage, while also building hands-on experience with welding equipment. Training programs can also teach how to properly read and interpret blueprints, different types of welding like MIG and TIG, and how to meet critical safety requirements.
Build Your Future Career Skills
Consider the benefits of the Fortis Welding Training Program in helping you build critical welder skills. This program can help jumpstart your welding future, with courses covering subjects such as blueprint reading, fabrication techniques, and equipment usage and maintenance. In addition to technical skills, Fortis helps you build communication and team skills through group projects.
Discover your welding future at Fortis.
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