Will welding jobs be replaced by robots or machines?

Today, in order to compete in the global marketplace, thousands of companies are embracing automation. Robotic costs have been declining over the past few decades and the smaller companies are starting to use automation to help them compete against the midsize and larger companies. These larger companies, such as those in the auto manufacturing industry, have been using automation and applying robotics for decades in order to reduce overall costs and compete with other automakers on the global stage.

Robots are great for welding large amounts of repetitive parts, and they never take breaks, they are full-on 24/7 if you want them to be. However, they do need to be operated and programmed by humans. It has been said that one robot welding station can replace two human welders. Today, with the shortages in skilled welders, and the apparent low interest by young adults looking to enter the field of welding, then companies need to find a way to fabricate their parts and components.  Robotics and automation are used partly in fulfilling that need.

Will robots completely replace welders, no....this will not happen in the foreseeable future. Humans still outperform robots on parts that require complex decision-making, where there is lower volume and customization of parts and on construction sites. Robots cannot install and erect structural steel buildings or bridges, repair construction equipment in the field and, currently, they cannot think for themselves. The need for skilled manual welders is greater than ever as, with the ageing population, the average age of the welder today is 55 to 60 and, therefore, close to retirement. As a consequence, this is leaving a large gap in the fabricating workforce and an urgent need for welders now.

Bill Eccles
Vice President
PPC and Associates


The information provided is intended for general interest, to educate and inform our audience. The CWB and those providing feedback to the questions do not take any responsibility for any omissions or misstatements that could lead to incorrect applications or possible solutions that industry may be facing.

How-It Works content is submitted by Industry experts to the CWB Association and does not necessarily reflect the views of the CWB Group. When testing for CWB Certification or CWB Education, please refer to CWB Education textbooks or CSA standards as the official source of information.