The industries that use welding to manufacture their products are the driving force of a modern economy. They are largely responsible for the infrastructure, capital goods, and commercial products that sustain a relatively high standard of living for billions of people across the world.
Welding related industries construct power plants, factories, warehouses, bridges, vehicles, and pipelines. These essentials generate, store, and distribute food, fuel, and products to a multitude of families and businesses. These industries also manufacture a host of commercial products without which modern life would be unrecognizable. Everything from computers to coffee pots are welded or manufactured with welded machinery. In fact, the average car alone contains between four and five thousand spot welds.
Leading the Way
The vast host of welds that hold our material life together are produced by over half a million welders spread across many industries as diverse as aerospace, construction, and medical equipment. These welding related industries employ a large portion of U.S. workers and generate a significant part of the nation’s wealth. Manufacturing alone employs more than 12 million people and accounts for 12% of GDP.
Welding related industries also lead the way in the development of technologies and processes required to meet the challenges that lie ahead. In 2014, the automotive industry spent about $120 billion in research and development. That’s about 16% of the total amount spent on R&D across all industries worldwide.
Advances in welding itself have had transformative effects on industry. From the advent of arc welding at the turn of the previous century to the laser cutting process of more recent years, innovations in welding have repeatedly facilitated the development and efficient production of innumerable parts and products.
For example, in an effort to produce more fuel efficient vehicles, General Motors recently developed an aluminum spot welding process featuring a new type of electrode. GM’s patented aluminum welding technology provides a unique manufacturing advantage because it allows the company to meet its fuel economy obligations without retooling.
Advancements in welding technology continue to stimulate growth and employment opportunities in many different industries.