The American Welding Society has been the leading body in the creation of welding standards since 1922, when they published “Standards for Testing Welds,” and “Welding Wire Specifications.” Simply stated, a standards is a document used repeatedly as a rule, guideline, or definition. “It is these AWS standards that help ensure industries around the world are performing proper and safe welding practices,” says Annette Alonso, managing director of the Standards Development department at AWS.
The number of industries around the world that rely on welding and allied processes is vast. Everything from bridges and bicycles to railroads and rockets depend on welding. In fact, even the computer you are reading this on requires some joining technologies. And because of this immense need for welding, there is also an immense need for standardization. However, AWS does not write welding standards all on its own. Standards are written by committees of volunteers who specialize in various industries and welding processes. AWS provides the forum to capture the input of committee members and publish their work as standards and other technical content. Nearly anybody can become part of the development process as an AWS Technical Committee member, provided they have relevant experience and knowledge, and are willing to contribute their time. Becoming a committee member also provides unparalleled benefits that we break down below.
Imagine working for a company that deals heavily with welding for the automotive industry. Now imagine becoming a member of the D8 Committee on Automotive Welding, and working alongside dozens of other committee members who work in the exact same industry. This alone provides an amazing benefit to membership – the chance to regularly meet with industry peers with like-minded business goals. “It provides an opportunity to interact and develop contacts and networking with others in the industry,” says David Fink, who works at Lincoln Electric and has served on several different Standards Development Committees for more than thirty years. There is nowhere else where you will get such hyper-specific networking opportunities as you do when you become a member of a Standards Development Committee.
ADDING VALUE TO THE INDUSTRY
Contributing to the welding industry can be one of the most gratifying reasons for becoming a committee member. Imagine having the ability to drive change and progress for welding in industries like marine construction, piping, or even aerospace. “Being an AWS Standards Development Committee member allows you to bring real value to the industry,” says Fink. “And on a personal level it gives you an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how particular products are used, and why they are designed the way they are.” Indeed, the work you do while on a committee eventually becomes common practice for companies around the world. It’s difficult not to feel a sense of pride when you realize your work in developing the codes and standards has such a profound impact.
ADDING VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY
Committee membership can be especially valuable for a member’s company. Simply put, since members are driving the best practices needed for their respective fields, they know about changes that may impact their business before other companies do. “Being a committee member also allows you to contribute directly or indirectly to your employer,” says Fink. Because of this, the companies that committee members work for can gain valuable insight into upcoming trends as early as possible. Benefits like this can save a company big bucks and give them a competitive edge in the market.
As you can see, joining an American Welding Society Standards Development Committee is not only vital to the welding industry, it also brings value to the members themselves. Click here to learn more about volunteering as a Technical Committee member.