The impact of welders in our society often goes unnoticed. Without welding and metal fabrication, however, many industries would cease to exist.
Welding is the “glue” that holds critical components together and makes it possible for manufacturers to build everything from storage shelves to submarines and everything in between.
The American Welding Society (AWS) decreed April as National Welding Month to help bring awareness to the industry. The annual observance has been in place since 1996, and the theme for 2023 is “Be Part of the Future of Welding,” emphasizing the importance of welding careers.
The American Welding Society suggests that the industry has a shortage of between 300,000–400,000 welders. The average age of a skilled welder today is about 55; as they retire, the need will likely intensify. Young people who are seeking a sustainable and satisfying career should consider precision welding, not only for ample job opportunities but because it is an enjoyable and fulfilling career.
While some are concerned that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could threaten their jobs, those who perform custom welding have little to fear. Welders at Fox Valley Metal-Tech play a crucial role in producing highly complex components for commercial industries and our nation’s military. Simply put, a robot can’t do the type of precision welding that is performed here.
Interested in a welding career? Discover what sets the welders at Fox Valley Metal-Tech apart from the rest, and why we celebrate them every day of the year.
All welders can make a difference and be proud of the work they do; those who work on projects for our nation’s military, however, can have a heightened sense of purpose. Welding for defense work requires much tighter tolerances than work done for commodity products, and a welder needs to have an acute attention to detail. Working on projects that might go on an aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine, for example, often brings a greater sense of accomplishment, and welders know they can’t cut corners because lives may be on the line.
Metal fabrication companies that truly honor their welders will invest in their facilities to ensure optimal working conditions. Fox Valley Metal-Tech’s state-of-the-art facility provides the latest technologies, tooling, and equipment. A top-quality air filtration system minimizes dust and smoke, and climate control is appreciated throughout. It might be a hot summer day and a welder can still perform their work in air-conditioned comfort. Fox Valley Metal-Tech has one of the cleanest, most well-lit and organized production floors in the state, dispelling metal fabrication myths that suggest the work is dirty and grimy.
Experience levels vary widely among welders. Some people learn from a parent or take shop class in high school, or may attend a vocational welding school. The more experience a welder has, the more likely they are to get a jump start on their career and wages. Even with experience, however, most welders that start at Fox Valley Metal-Tech will require additional training for the first few weeks before they can start working on projects.
Because weldments and assemblies are produced for both commercial and military applications, welders must be qualified in both AWS and NAVSEA standards. It’s rare that a welder can walk in off the street and adhere to the highly technical processes and procedures that have been developed by Fox Valley Metal-Tech through the years, let alone be both AWS and NAVSEA certified.
That’s why we invest in welder training. A welding trainer is responsible for working with candidates to determine their welding aptitude and develop a training program to help them succeed. Training will often include:
Once a welder completes their training, they’ll be able to work on the shop floor with basic projects, then work their way up to more complex weldments as they become more skilled.
RELATED: Learn About the NAVSEA & AWS Certification Process
Some outside the metal fabrication industry might be surprised at the level of creativity and artistry that goes into welding. When you look at the craftsmanship that goes into the products made at Fox Valley Metal-Tech, there’s no denying that the welders are artists in their own right.
Just like any masterpiece, a welder might have a signature way of performing their craft. While they are still required to follow a proven process and deliver a product exactly to spec, a keen eye will be able to distinguish their weld from someone else’s. It’s a badge of honor for most.
There’s no doubt that welding and metal fabrication professions are in high demand and can be extremely rewarding. If you’re looking for a welding career at one of the top metal fabrication companies in Northeastern Wisconsin, check out our opportunities below.