The Welding Institute has been keeping in contact with our Members across the globe to see how the Coronavirus outbreak is impacting different corners of the world. This Insight looks at Paul Staines’ perception of how COVID-19 has affected the manufacturing industry in the UK as well as his personal experience of strategising for his return to work.
Paul is a Senior Controller of Production Engineering at Unipres UK Limited, where he oversees the assembly shop, which comprises of ‘resistance spot welding, projection welding and arc welding technologies.’ He is a new Member of The Welding Institute, only joining earlier this year, but has worked in the industry over the past 10 years.
Paul reflected on the change that the UK experienced during late March, describing how he ‘began to see the true effects with our main customer ceasing production.’ He explained that he ‘was worried about the effects this would have on our industry and the global economy,’ adding that the ‘UK was not ready for such a pandemic.’ On a more positive note, Paul highlighted how he has ‘learned a great deal about how important the manufacturing industry is, as so many manufacturers with various capabilities have pulled together to manufacture visors and other PPE for the NHS.’ He continued on to say that ‘this has been an incredible effort which I personally pay tribute to, it shows how dynamic manufacturers across the nations can be, and I feel very proud to be a part of it.’
Acknowledging the vast numbers of people within his company and across the UK being placed on furlough within the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Paul explained that he ‘was one of the few members of staff that worked through the pandemic, making the necessary changes to the way we operate due to the outbreak of the virus.’ He continued by saying that ‘it has been a busy period to say the least, as we are currently installing RSW robots and assembly processes in preparation for new model production.’ Paul highlighted the important role that engineers are playing during this pandemic explaining that, ‘engineers are the very few people who are able to work. The disruption has had me carrying out various risk assessments around the plant in order to mitigate the risk of spreading infection.’
Paul also addressed the impact of Covid-19 on the industry as a whole, vocalising that ‘health and safety is the primary focus of every organisation and our secondary objective is to ensure we can keep the wheels of the economy turning. However, unfortunately, according to car registration data published by the SMMT, the sector is down somewhat 97% from this time last year.’ He added that, ‘we can only hope sales will pick up when the lockdown is lifted and some normality is restored. In the meantime we prepare to ramp up production and for everyone things will be very different returning to work.’
Continuing to highlight how his work-life has been impacted, Paul added that, ‘working start times have been staggered to prevent large gatherings on entering the plant and at break times, temperatures of staff and visitors are taken on entering the building, and meeting rooms and rest areas are spaced out with maximum occupancy limits in place to improve social distancing measures. Cleaning standards have been established for every piece of machinery and facility in the plant, while surface cleaners and sanitisers have been made available everywhere. These measures seem extreme but I believe they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The impact on the sector has been unprecedented, but when normality starts to make a return we must continue to do everything we can to keep each other safe.’
Paul began by explaining that he has learnt ‘a great deal from this situation and I think the first thing that springs to mind is how many people can do their job from home.’ He explained that, in his view, people working from home has not only helped reduce the spread of infection but also has had an impact on reducing emmissions and the amount of traffic on the roads due to fewer people commuting. He added that, although this could arguably have ‘an adverse effect on my industry’ due to a lower number of people purchasing cars or bus passes, he questioned if working from home was the future, adding that ‘with more automation than ever and the worry that industry 4.0 is making jobs redundant does it mean that remote working from anywhere becomes the norm? As technology continues to evolve, the way the world’s economics operate will have to change at some point.’
Concluding his Member case study, Paul articulated that ‘although this has been a time of immense misery and tragedy, I think it has also been an opportunity to learn and grow as a nation, as a country, as a business, as a family and as an individual.’ He added that he has ‘personally been using the extra time over lockdown to read and learn. I would advise anyone who can’t work over this period of disruption to use this precious time to your advantage. The technology around us at this time allows us to progress our CPD. The Welding Institute has great sources of information and has kept me occupied for hours and, while we can’t do the things we used to like going out and dining with friends, it is important to keep the mind active and healthy as much as it is vital we don’t spread the virus.’
Professional Engineering Institutions (also referred to as professional bodies) are organisations that hold the membership of engineering personnel and offer the opportunity to professionally register their members with the Engineering Council. The Welding Institute is a professional engineering institute that facilitates this professional registration process through the assessment our professional engineer/technician Members as candidates.
Members of Professional Engineering Institutions are able to become professionally registered with the Engineering Council to gain the internationally recognised titles; Engineering Technician (EngTech); Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng). The Engineering Council holds the national registers of more than 220,000 Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng) and Chartered Engineers (CEng).
Becoming a Member of The Welding Institute gives you access to all of our membership benefits including TWI Ltd’s technical knowledge across multiple industry sectors!
Expert advice, career development, professional development and access to supportive networks including our regional branches!
Engineers are responsible for applying science and maths to produce solutions to technical problems. Their roles and responsibilities vary depending on their specialist area and the industry that they work in.
The main factor that differentiates Incorporated Engineers (IEng) from Chartered Engineers (CEng) are the roles that they each carry out:
Incorporated Engineers (IEng) are involved in design, manufacture and construction, and carry out their technical and commercial management skills within their work.
Chartered Engineers (CEng) develop solutions to engineering problems through designing new technologies, producing and implementing efficient construction or production techniques, as well as promoting new engineering designs and methods.
If you are interested in becoming a member of a Professional Engineering Institution and would like to further your career, check out our membership benefits and apply to be a Member of The Welding Institute here!
The Welding Institute has been keeping in contact with our Members across the globe to see how the Coronavirus outbreak is impacting different corners of the world. This Insight looks at Norbert Sieczkiewicz’s experience in Lexington, USA.
Norbert is a PhD student with NSIRC and Lancaster University, sponsored by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. His PhD topic title is, ‘Approaches to Industry 4.0 implementation for electron beam quality assurance using Beam Assure.’ Find out more about Norbert’s PhD research on NSIRC’s website here!
Norbert explained that his initial concerns were whether he would be able to return home to the UK from the USA due to border closures. He described the normality of him missing friends and family when living abroad, however, he added that the current situation created a ‘sense of helplessness which increased my emotional sensitivity. It took me a few days to realise that the world faced circumstances beyond our control.’ He chose to make the difficult decision to not return to the UK, deciding, ‘that it was not worth it to come back home by plane, which possibly can put myself and others at risk of spreading the disease.’ Despite this, Norbert explained that, ‘after all, it does not matter where I am carrying out my home office work,’ continuing on to say that there is still ‘a chance that the universities in the USA will reopen the labs and I will conduct my scheduled experiments.’
Describing how COVID-19 is impacting his colleagues and self differently, Norbert explained that he is currently undertaking an experiment in his short PhD visit to the University of Kentucky, which involves a ‘back-side weld pool monitoring project.’ He further explained that, ‘the lab is closed and I cannot conduct any weld trials. However, the welding laboratory team is supportive and provided me with their neural network model, alongside a dataset, to help me understand a similar project. They also helped me with setting up the programming environment and image pre-processing code.’ He added that this is keeping him ‘prepared for reopening the Welding Research Laboratory, so I can conduct all necessary experiments directly.’
On top of this, Norbert is also working towards his ‘PhD activities related to electron beam welding (EBW) and beam probing,’ adding that he can always count on his ‘industrial supervisor, Dr Colin Ribton, for good advice.’ Norbert continued, ‘During the coronavirus pandemic, his help is invaluable, by providing a large BeamAssure dataset. It keeps me busy to analyse it, with the help of the deep neural network, and overcome challenges that arise with beam monitoring of the EBW process.’
Reflecting on his experiences, Norbert added that, ‘Working from home is challenging and requires a great deal of organisation. Setting small goals for myself and regular meetings with my supervisors keeps me motivated. Their feedback and guidance keep my work progressing. Apart from the PhD project, frequent physical activity reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.’ He also notes that he is ‘lucky enough to have a garden where I am enjoying beautiful sunsets and starry skies. I reshaped my approach to life because I realised that simple things make me happy, like the neighbour’s cats’ daily visits.’
Norbert ended with this positive outlook on the situation; ‘it is a new situation for everyone and it is not easy to deal with negative emotions. We are surrounded by bad news, which can easily make us feel out of control. Looking on the bright side, we can see small miracles and some of the countries did an amazing job at containing the spread. We need to realise that the COVID-19, at some point, will go away. The labs and workplaces will be open again, where we will carry out our amazing jobs again. We can use the pandemic time to finish our reports, analyse previously gathered data or develop new skills. Please stay healthy and take care of yourself!’
The Welding Institute have been keeping in contact with our Members across the globe to see how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting different corners of the world. This Insight looks at Professor Guan Yingchun’s experience in Beijing.
Professor Guan Yingchun MWeldI CEng joined the Welding Institute as a Member in 2018 and is a Professor at the Beihang University in Beijing. As the first country to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Guan’s message offers an important insight into the hope that we should feel for the future.
Guan described how multiple factors, subsequent of the coronavirus outbreak, have led to her life being impacted. She explained that her ‘university has been locked down and all students have stayed at home since January.’ She continued by saying that everyone has had to work from home for over two months and lifestyle changes have had to be made including, ‘ordering living essentials online following delivery service rules.’ She explained that, as part of her personal preparation, she ensured that she ‘had some medicine at home in advance in case of not feeling well or common illness.’ She added that, ‘thanks to neighbourhood committees and securities as well as policing in our local community, the situation is getting much better.’ Guan commented on the fact that, ‘many companies and organisations or institutions are back to normal in April,’ however, she added that this new normal was one where, ‘we all still follow strict regulations including measuring body temperature, washing hands, sanitising clothes and shoes before entering any building.’
Within these circumstances Guan explained that her ‘research lab has already been locked down for more than three months,’ she continued by saying that, ‘all conferences, seminars, events, meetings and travel has been cancelled or delayed.’ As a result, Guan has focused on her ‘reading and writing, including proposals, papers and reports.’ Her role as a Professor has also kept her busy with ‘regular meetings with my team and online teaching of an undergraduate course for the semester.’
Guan shared that the main lesson that should be learnt from this situation is that, ‘it is never too late to get prepared. We are essential to our family, our society, our nation and we should also be responsible for other people in these circumstances.’
Guan finished by saying that we can all carry out an important role through continuing to ‘wash our hands frequently, eat well, rest well, sleep well, and stay as calm as possible.’ She concluded with the final statement urging others to ‘not forget to do regular physical exercise at home to keep healthy and, moreover, keep talking to your friends and attending TWI Member online events that are helpful in making us happy.’
The Welding Institute have been keeping in contact with our Members across the globe to see how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting different corners of the world. This Insight looks at Member Chris Cobain’s experience in Perth, Western Australia.
Chris Cobain MWeldI CEng has been a Member of The Welding Institute for four years and is also a volunteer responsible for assessing applications for professional registration. He sent us news, earlier this month, of how Covid-19 had impacted his life in Perth, Western Australia.
Chris relayed a message that is familiar to us all, noting that the ‘most significant negative impacts involve family and friends and social activity.’ He explained that his families’ ‘social life with friends was an important activity for us to escape from work related stress,’ adding that it is difficult for his family not being able to see relatives face-to-face. However, Chris also highlighted that, through this time, there have been ‘noticeable benefits including spending more time with my wife without feeling work exhausted’ and added that different family activities had become the new norm, such as family walks, cooking, gardening and more.
He explained that, ‘right now, our business earnings are down approximately 30% compared to the same time in 2019. The overseas and remote location travel are impacting our earning potential too.’ He further added that, ‘several large oil and gas projects of involvement have been delayed, impacting our earnings.’ Despite these factors, Chris said a positive outcome is that that he is, ‘enjoying the new work / life balance provided by the pandemic situation.’
Through this period of time, Chris described how, ‘we can easily be drawn into living life revolving around work responsibilities’ and explained that relaxing the work demand has allowed him to focus on other important things in life. He explained how he noticed that, ‘human behaviour in a pandemic situation focuses on self needs initially, however respect for community needs is noticeable and is nice to witness.’ He added that, moving forward, he hopes that the current attitudes of ‘community support, respect for others and working together continue in the future.’
Chris concluded by saying that, ‘on a personal level, having more time to spend with family and enjoying local outdoor activities with loved ones is something I will be continuing in the future. I’ve found talking with family and friends, noticing increased wildlife activity within our environment, and making good use of time around the home personally rewarding. It’s amazing what can be achieved when a community not only works together but also trusts each other. Something that can be easily incorporated into working relationships too.’
Quality assurance (QA) is an aspect of quality management that is responsible for the implementation of specific industry standards within the production of a product/service.
Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are both part of the quality management process. However, they refer to different stages of the quality management of products or service. The difference between quality control and quality assurance is:
Quality assurance (QA) – is associated with the implementation of standards (such as ISO 9000) during the production stage.
Quality control (QC) – is associated with managing the fulfilment of quality requirements through techniques, such as inspection, to determine if the product/service meets the quality requirements.
At TWI, quality assurance (QA) is managed via conformance with ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17025:2015:
Quality assurance (QA) is an issue that must be addressed by standards and regulation. TWI has vast experience with different industry standards (including ISO 9001) and other quality assurance related tools. These include:
As a Member of The Welding Institute, you gain access to our membership benefits. These benefits are able to assist you within your career and can help promote your professional development. These membership benefits include:
Click here to view all membership benefits.
The Welding Institute’s Fellow Member, Kevin Millican is a Senior Materials and Corrosion Engineer at Shell and will be presenting an EEMUA Webinar on ‘Standard Parameters and Site Welding Instruction Sheets.’
What the talk will cover:
For various reasons, the industry has not been able to fully benefit from the efficiencies created by Standard Parameters and Site Welding Instruction Sheets. This webinar is part of a revival of interest in this approach. Kevin Millican FWeldI CEng, will be looking at how industry can take advantage of the efficiencies generated by this type of work instruction. The webinar will be useful to all types of operators and welding fabricators where welding is not fully automated.
29 April 2020
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (GMT)
The talk will be accessed via WebEx but you must be registered to attend.
This event is free but you must be registered to access the WebEx.
To apply, click here
Considering professional membership?
Becoming a Member of The Welding Institute offers you access to a range of membership benefits. These benefits have been designed to support your professional progression within your career as an engineer. These benefits include:
Final Chance to make your Nominations for the Top 50 Women in Sustainability (WE50) Award 2020.
The WE50 awards, including the Top 50 Women in Sustainability Award, were founded by the Women’s Engineering Society in 2016. The UK awards event is linked to the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), which is a celebration of all women in engineering held on the 23 June every year.
The aim of the Top 50 Women in Sustainability Award is to raise the profile of female engineers and also increase awareness of the skills shortage faced within the industry. This award is an excellent opportunity to change the perception of women in engineering and encourage other women to see a place for themselves within the industry.
The Women’s Engineering Society will be recognising the Top 50 Women who are involved in sustainability in engineering or an allied discipline in 2020.
The deadline to submit your nominations is the 27 of April, 2020!
Technical group meetings are events arranged and hosted by The Welding Institute as part of a broad range of events promoted by TWI Ltd. There are 8 meetings throughout the year focusing on the following topics:
Technical Group Meetings involve industry experts giving presentations and talks on topics within these group categories. They talk about the most recent industry practices, research and standards.
The presentation topics within Technical Group Meetings are chosen to be topical and to encompass the modern interests of professional members and those within industry. They are an excellent opportunity to meet those with a shared interest in technologies and for your own professional development as they give insight into the current and potential future of industry.
It is a great opportunity to show your employer your commitment to your career as well as being a great opportunity for you, as an employer, to encourage your employees to attend as it is an investment into their career and professional development.
To attend a Technical Group Meeting: Take a look at our Events Page here!
Other ways of supporting Technical Group Meetings: As an Institute, we are very keen to reach as wide an audience as possible. Perhaps you could offer a venue, speaker or demonstration for future events, or perhaps suggest topics that would be of interest to your colleagues? Please get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Branch meetings are events hosted by The Welding Institute’s Regional Branches throughout the year. Meetings are held around the UK, and are usually hosted by an Industrial Member or partner.
The meetings involve industry experts giving presentations and talks with the opportunity for discussions and questions. The topics cover current issues and initiatives within the industry and topics of wider engineering interest. Meetings can also arrange visits to engineering industries, social events and fundraising activities.
Attending a Branch Meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet people with shared interests in engineering. It allows you to demonstrate your commitment to your career and professional development.
Branch meetings and events also provide an opportunity to raise the profile of The Welding Institute, to support colleagues and personnel giving back to the engineering profession and the local communities through fundraising.
Branch programmes and information about how you can get involved can be found within our Branches section
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