Figure 1. WeldSim software redeveloped by Aachen University and VTT.
highlighted by the fact that big main manufacturers have outsourced their production to SME-sized subcontractors and system suppliers, in which case the client of the welding companies is domestic, even though the product is exported), but Asia has risen after Europe and the Nordic Countries to the fourth most important market area ahead of North and South America. The most important problems in the welding industry were discovered to be: 1. a large number of project products, which leads to small manufacturing series (typically < 5), 2. the dominant role of manual welding (degree of automation < 20%), which is partly due to R&D (products not suitable for automation) and faults in job planning (large portion of position welding), 3. low welding output (< 500 g/h) and 4. difficulties hiring welding manpower and shortages in basic welding education.
It was positively noted that welding quality management is in a good shape in Finland: a quality management system, a named and qualified welding coordinator and a welder qualification system are in use in most of the companies. The conditions of welding automation have also improved: welding companies are able to influence product design, the number of accurate component manufacturing methods has increased and the growth in production volume has enabled profitable automation. The main development aims for the future are: 1. marketing 2. better manufacturing networks, 3. assembly (from welding component manufacturers to system deliverers of assemblies) and 4. the welding itself, especially increased automation. The development of welding technologies was not seen as that important.
Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)