Georgia-Carolina Pipe Trades
Each year, apprenticeship programs across the United States and Canada set out the find top apprentice in each of the crafts. The ultimate goal is win and to advance to the national level, where apprentices compete in a week long competition to earn the titles of best in: HVACR, plumbing, sprinklerfitting, steamfitting, and welding.
In order to get to the International competition in Ann Arbor, these apprentices had to win a competition at their local training center, state competition, then regional competition. Win or lose, all of those who made it to Ann Arbor can hold their heads high as they had the opportunity to compete for the title of being the best of the best.
The United Association Instructor Training and Apprenticeship Contest is an opportunity for the skilled trades to unite around education. The event allows companies that may often be competitors to come together for the good of the industry's they represent, and provide training or help judge the competition.
Ready for a rewarding career as a welder? Already have some experience in welding and looking to progess in your field?
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Welders are skilled in the manipulation of metal through the use of extreme heat and gas torches. Union pipe welders work on an industrial and commercial platform constructing, filling, and repairing holes on pipes for heavy construction projects. Some welders even work underwater repairing oil rig foundations for ships. Due to constant high demand of welders worldwide, there is definite job security in this profession.
There are numerous specialties and certifications for many welding techniques. Depending on the project and metal used will determine which welding method to apply. Mig and Tig welding are among the most commonly used techniques. Mig welding is a type of Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) that uses a gun that feeds wire at an adjustable speed and flows an argon-based shielding gas or a mix of argon and carbon dioxide(CO2) over the weld puddle to protect it from atmospheric contamination. While tig welding is a type of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) which uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas such as argon or helium. These are only a couple of more than a hundred different weld techniques that can be learned.
Using blueprints, welders use their knowledge of metals and techniques to select appropriate materials and then cut, position, spot weld and prepare pipes for use. Depending on the malleability of the metal and the position will determine the difficulty of the weld. Aluminum is easily manipulated and requires extreme care to avoid imperfections whereas steel is less pliable and is easier to manage and manipulate when joining pipes together. Special attention to detail is needed when working with metal to help prevent overheating which can cause the metal to warp.
Welding equipment is usually maintained and provided by the union contractor. Every day welders are exposed to extreme heat through the use of power tools such as grinders and torches. To help ensure safety; they must wear masks, gloves, and fire resistant clothing to prevent burns. Some other safety hazards include: risk of injury due to improper tool use, inhalation of dangerous gases, and danger of falling from high platforms.
Most union welders work at least 40 hours a week with opportunity for overtime. During high demand and pressure for project completion, some contractors will employ welders for night shift to speed up production. Welders can work on a project site or at the company’s shop, preparing pipes for project layout.