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The typical welding engineer has many responsibilities. Welding engineers use a variety of professional tools, machines, and other types of equipment to execute different welding tasks. Some of the main duties of these engineers are to optimize welding processes, plan for strategic improvements, and maximize company profitability.
Welding is the process of permanently joining materials such as various types of metals together. In the metal inert gas welding process, electricity travels in an arc from a welding rod to a piece — known as a workpiece — that is being welded. The current melts a filler metal and a portion of the workpiece, which creates a pool of molten metal. A permanent weld is produced when this pool is allowed to completely cool. Many methods of welding employ shielding gases such as argon, which surround the electric current as it streams over from welding rod to workpiece.
Welding engineers are expected to carry out many activities while on duty. Aside from staying on top of his or her regular work activities, a welding engineer is expected to keep up-to-date with the latest welding concepts, technology, and techniques. These engineers are often in charge of monitoring processes and materials to detect problems that may arise in the future. They also are usually in charge of performing regular maintenance and inspections on welding equipment and materials.
Welding engineers may develop new welding application, procedures, and techniques to fabricate metals more efficiently. They may work with other personnel and people from outside agencies to exchange ideas and advice. A welding engineer may also be involved in researching and investigating old and new welding equipment to gain insight into possible technological advancements. These engineers are often employed to establish procedures that a company's welding personnel can follow.
The welding process involves a lot of math and dealing with numbers. Welding engineers should be knowledgeable on certain subjects such as algebra, arithmetic, geometry and calculus. A welding engineer must undergo extensive training in a number of subjects, including physics, electricity, photonics, welding systems, and chemistry. They are exposed to the many different types welding processes and materials joining processes.
The process of welding materials can be very dangerous. Most welding engineers have undergone extensive safety training to promote a safe work environment. They handle devices that conduct powerful currents of electricity and many work with potentially dangerous shielding gases. These engineers must possess a thorough understanding of how to properly operate such devices to help maintain a safe work environment.
Some people are under the impression that a welding engineer and a certified welder are the same, that both terms describe the same job position, but this is not true. Correctly using these terms can be confusing since the positions are often referred to by the wrong titles.
A certified welder has been trained to make certain types of welds and may be certified in the operation of specific machinery as well as being trained in the skills necessary to do particular tasks or jobs. A welding engineer is someone who has obtained a degree in engineering, and he is trained in the use of the sciences as they relate to welding.
The demand and pay for welders and welding engineers is high. I have a friend who trained as a welder, and he travels all over the United States working on different work sites. While my buddy is a welder only, he workers with engineers who have more responsibility in seeing that the jobs are progressing properly and all the welding equipment and practices are up to standards.
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