|Sumár projektu:||REASON FOR THE PROJECT: The idea for this project arises from the fact that there is a lack of training materials and qualified personnel for the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology. FSW technologies have a worldwide diffusion in several industrial sectors. For high-value applications, where high performance joint properties are required, FSW has been widely adopted in aluminium fabrication. This is evidenced by the aerospace sector, where higher strength grades of aluminium alloy allow for significant weight savings to be achieved. By 2010-2020, North America and Europe expect to raise their aluminium consumption by 61% (approximately 8m tonnes / 6year extra). This increased consumption has also been reflected in the aluminium welding equipment market, which accounted for over €800 million in 2009, with a large portion of it being the innovative FSW equipment. (Freas, 2011).
FSW has also increasingly been applied by steel companies for metal cutting, metal forming and polymer processing, allowing significant cost savings when constructing large structures.
According to SME Associations Research (Flexifab project,2013), the industrial need of European metal workers is related to 3 main factors: welders stop working before retirement age; skills shortage (there is a shortfall of 150,000 welders in Europe); and issues related to welding aluminum structures (due to skills shortage, weld defects are more prone to occur).
Attending to the growth in FSW use and the evident need for metal qualified personnel in Europe, VET Providers will have to carry on fostering lifelong learning through FSW continuous training. Hence, Welding education and training for technicians, practitioners and welders must include FSW learning modules in their basic programmes. New contents and activities must also be developed, to ensure the updating of skills in the industry. Likewise, universities should include FSW units in their master's degrees to guarantee a comprehensive approach for advanced profiles (engineers and specialists).
Currently, the baseline situation for VET qualifications for FSW personnel is limited and dispersed. In addition, it is estimated that at least 20% from the 20.000 professionals which per year attend EWF Courses/Qualification for Welding Personnel, will need an upgrading on aluminium. The involvement of universities regarding FSW is mostly linked to scientific activities, research and technology innovation. Thus, there is not a systematic neither proper FSW pedagogical strategy prepared to meet the market needs. In this context, the FSW-TECH project is now created.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES: The project aims at avoiding the skills mismatch of the employers of companies involved in FSW manufacturing processes. This will be done by developing an harmonised training course of personnel involved in this activities, focusing not only in large enterprises but also in SMEs in different European countries, and to create the European Friction Stir Welding Operator (EFSW-O), Specialist (EFSW-S) and Engineer (EFSW-E) Profiles. This objective will be achieved through the definition of educational materials for the training of personnel.
CONSORTIUM: The consortium is constituted by 5 partners. VÚZ - PI SR will act as Project Coordinator, in direct contact with the National Agency from Slovakia. EWF with a Training and Qualification network covering 30 member countries that will be essential in the implementation and dissemination of FSW-TECH results. The remaining partners are the welding institutes of Slovenia (IZV), Portugal (ISQ) and Romania (ASR), which have strong knowledge and expertise in training and qualification at a sector-based level. All partners also have plenty of experience in the implementation and training of European Qualification profiles.
OUTCOMES: The objectives will be achieved through the definition of a harmonised curriculum for the training of personnel involved in the FSW in the industry. For this purpose, at the start of the project, a study will be carried out in order to understand the specific requirements in terms of qualifications in different countries and industries, where welding plays an important role. This will allow the development of an harmonised European training curriculum.
IMPACT: The project will have a significant impact at local, regional, national and European level, because it will address 3 professional profiles that cover a market need, as there is a lack of training materials and qualified personnel on FSW technologies in Europe. The impact of the results of this project extend beyond the project duration, due to the exploitation EWF intends to do, based on its 30 Member countries network. Also, the European level will boost FSW-TECH's added value as it will facilitate the transfer of the profiles to other countries outside the project consortium.|