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Sean BlakeWelding for the future is a key focus for 2019 and we are very proud to have completed the SAIW Future Welding Centre. The Soldamatic Augmented reality machines are in place, along with the Lincoln Realweld, which uses virtual reality to guide trainees while they weld real joints.

Our new SAIW Foundation Group, which started towards the end of 2018, will be the first to benefit from the advanced welder training techniques now available through the Future Welding Centre. The group of 15 new students will also be our first to be trained using the new QCTO Welder Programme, which is aligned with IIW’s Welder Programme and being delivered by SAIW in partnership with ArcelorMittal, which will take responsibility for the workplace experience modules.

In addition, based on the IIW Robot Welder curriculum, our Robotic Welder Training course is also going to start this year. With support from Yaskawa, four of our lecturers have already been trained on the use of the new Yaskawa MOTOMAN robot in the Technology Centre and, to take advantage of virtual reality, a Lincoln Electric Classmate virtual and real robot trainer complements the course. We hope to see growing interest in this area for future-minded welders seeking exciting careers in automated and robot welding in sectors such as the automotive industry.

After many years of discussion, delivery of advanced NDT techniques such as phased array, ToFD and digital radiography has now started. Two gentlemen from DGZfP, the German NDT society, have taken our people and some of the industry’s most senior NDT specialists through the new Level 2 Phased Array UT module, which will now be opened to all Level 2 UT professionals wishing to embrace new technology. As well as helping us though the first few phased array courses, the DGZfP will be back later in the year to deliver Level 2 ToFD and digital radiography courses.

Adding to the good news on the NDT side, our ICNDT MRA Schedule 2 certification has been renewed. We have been certified since 2016, and it is still pleasing to note that we continue to meet international standards. This gives our NDT qualifications awarded under the SAIW Certification Scheme full international recognition.

The new Comprehensive Inspector Programme has also been added this year, which means we are now able to train welding inspectors at all three competence levels. The IIW Comprehensive Inspection qualification lines up alongside Welding Technologist and Welding Engineer roles in terms of personnel requirements in international standards such as ISO 3834 and ISO 14731 for Welding Co-ordination. We hope to run several of the new courses this year in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Secunda.

Earlier this year we held the SAIW Welding Challenge, in preparation for World Skills Africa. More than twenty participants from every part of the country participated, drawn from SAIW, Necsa, ArcelorMittal, Swift Skills Academy and our TVET colleges. Congratulations to our winner, Stefan Lottering. Sincere thanks are due to our sponsors for the 2019 competition: CHIETA, Afrox, AFSA, Air Products, ArcelorMittal, Aveng Grinaker LTA, Columbus Stainless, ESAB, Lincoln Electric and WASA.

In these difficult times, we need to keep our eye on the ball with regard to implementing the best possible quality standards. This makes our weld inspection; company certification; and personnel certification programmes more important than ever. These programmes all overlap with each other and contribute to the common goal of raising quality standards in South Africa to international benchmarks.

It is a goal that drives everything we do.

Sean Blake

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