From Farm to Shop: Welding’s Impact on Agriculture

Welding is a key ingredient in an ever-advancing manufacturing system for building products used in agriculture and other industries. Sharing, reproducing, and building upon ideas and concepts are key parts of this system.

AWS Publications | July 19, 2022 | Tech and Industries
Welding Digest ►  From Farm to Shop: Welding’s Impact on Agriculture

Welding is a key ingredient in an ever-advancing manufacturing system for building products used in agriculture and other industries. Sharing, reproducing, and building upon ideas and concepts are key parts of this system.

Gary Vermeer, founder of Vermeer® Corp., Pella, Iowa, was a farmer who started the company to design and produce equipment for his farm and his neighbors’. Vermeer was forever searching for better ways of doing things. One of my favorite innovations is the ZR5 self-propelled baler, a zero-turn baler that travels down fields at speeds never before imagined. Under the hood is an all-welded box frame that is elegantly simple yet stiff and efficient. There’s also the custom welded A-arm suspension and front casters optimized for a smooth ride over bumpy fields. Having helped the designers with weld joint optimization and fatigue life analysis, I have a great appreciation for the engineering effort that went into this product.

At Vermeer, we are working on digital welding instructions to increase the quality of our work on equipment and help welders learn their jobs quicker. We continue to enhance our internal weld training program to hire and train skilled welders for our factories, ramp up our use of welding robots to continue increasing our welding capacity, and test the latest welding power sources for deposition rate and other efficiency gains.

But ideas and concepts need to be shared, reproduced, and built upon, and this is where professional organizations like the American Welding Society (AWS) come in. AWS provides the network, forums, and repositories for sharing welding technology. Our engineers reference AWS D14.4, Specification for the Design of Welded Joints in Machinery and Equipment, to help guide their weldment designs. At FABTECH, Vermeer team members first saw digital welding instructions. We use the weld procedure qualification methods in AWS D14.3, Specification for Welding Earthmoving, Construction, Agricultural, and Ground-Based Material Handling Equipment, to prove the quality and efficacy of new welding technologies.

Locally, the AWS Iowa Section has given me and many Vermeer team members the opportunity to interact with potential suppliers and distributors, connect with welding students, and build relationships with other welding professionals to share ideas and knowledge. While volunteering in the Careers in Welding trailer, I interacted with patrons interested in welding and discussed opportunities in manufacturing, spoke to students about welding engineering careers, and shared the story of my career. The AWS national scholarships I received helped me finish my B.S. in Materials Joining Engineering debt free.

I’m proud to be an active member of a society with thousands of welding professionals who want to build our professional networks and bring value to our employers. And I’m proud to be in a company where the need for welding expertise is recognized, supported, and lived.

 

This article was written by Joe Bailey (weld engineering manager, Vermeer Corp.) for the American Welding Society.

Photo 1-1Joe Bailey