April is National Welding Month and to celebrate, we’re taking a closer look at this integral step in the vehicle manufacturing and repairing process.
To make this month even sweeter, Solera is in the middle of a major construction project on our new CESVI LIV North America center, a research and training site for automotive professionals. Welding courses, hands-on training and specialized curriculum will be available throughout the year at the center. See the news coverage of our groundbreaking here.
Outside of large manufacturing outfits, welding is still a human process that requires a high level of skill and technical proficiency. But as the industry’s workforce ages, the need for expert welders increases. Here’s your guide to why the world needs Grade-A welders, and what industry partners can do to promote this coveted skill.
The auto industry relies on welding expertise
Welding is critical for collision repair. The various types of welding require different levels of skill and technical expertise, even on a single vehicle. For example, the 2018 Honda Accord has 66% spot welds, 27.3% steel MIG welds and 6.7% MIG brazing, according to Identifix. That’s three separate techniques to master. Many shops do not have the capacity for high-powered, industrial equipment such as lasers or robotics. Repairing a vehicle after its been damaged in an accident takes a skilled welder with an eye for precision.
Training is a top priority
According to I-CAR, 69% of technicians lack welding training or certifications. There’s a major gap in welding education, and an even greater gap in representation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2% of all welders are women. Meanwhile, the profession is seeing an increase in demand. Luckily, welding training is becoming more accessible with trade programs and specialized courses offered through industry partners.
Solera is piloting its own research and training center, its first in North America, to educate and equip the next generation of automotive repair professionals. With state-of-the-art resources and innovation labs, the CESVI LIV center will be at the helm of vehicle repair knowledge and safety implementation, acting on the data and findings from hands-on, real-time experiments and road tests. The most valuable course for students will be the welding inspection course, where technicians will learn how to determine if welds are quality or not based on OEM specifications and the American Welding Society standards.
If you’re a great welder, you’re probably a great partner
Patience is a virtue; we all know that. What we didn’t know is that to be a good welder, you need to have lots of patience for your craft. Welding is a skill that will develop over time, much like any other. Technicians are challenged to follow the design of the vehicle as closely as possible when working on a repair, so closely studying welding techniques is critical to a quality overall fix. You won’t be the world’s best welder on your first try—you do need to put in a lot of hours in the shop to be decent at welding, and there’s always more to learn. Staying humble and eager to improve are essential to building up your skill.