EWF celebrates 30 years as a key player on the manufacturing transformation

From the foundational welding and joining processes to the advances made in laser welding and additive manufacturing, as well as the most recent addition of digital technologies, EWF and its partners have been at the forefront of innovation

Porto Salvo, 16th June 2022 - 2022 is a major milestone in the life of EWF, as it marks its thirtieth anniversary. EWF celebrates this year a journey that is tightly interconnected with some of the most important moments in the history of manufacturing. Its inception happened when companies across Europe realised that, in order to be able to continue competing at the leading edge of innovation and leverage evermore complex materials for their products, they needed to ensure they had the most qualified professionals to address the increasingly sophisticated usage in diverse industrial scenarios. Together with a growing number of member organizations, EWF has also begun a steady enlargement of its activities to address new technologies, a more recent example is the International Additive Manufacturing Qualification System launched in 2019 with 7 different qualifications and already present in 7 countries and growing. Furthermore, EWF has sought to participate on forums dedicated to ensure our sustainable presence on the planet as well as harnessing the promises of new technologies, from participation on circular economy technical committees to leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.

According to Eurico Assunção, Deputy Director from EWF, “Looking back at all that we have achieved since EWF started back in 1992, we remain incredibly grateful to everyone that, with its vision, hard work and relentless commitment, have led us to today’s reality. A European organization that is now global, a system that started on a sound base and keeps evolving to stay abreast of the newest trends, be they technological or methodologies, a network of members that represent the top organizations in their respective countries. And also, an organization that is part of the forums where the future of manufacturing and of the required qualifications are being debated and defined. Above all, we look ahead and see all that needs to be done to pursue the next challenges and we believe that the best is yet to come, and we remain as committed as the ones that preceded us to ensure we continue to be at the core, with our members and out partners, of the transformation of manufacturing”.

The unique Harmonized Qualification and Certification system in Welding, Joining and Cutting that was developed is, still today, the cornerstone from which several new specifications were built, encompassing thirty-nine qualifications and eight special courses, spanning several technologies and professional profiles. Its adoption is also a result of the vision of coupling qualification and certification with an ironclad quality assurance system that ensure that, regardless of the location of origin, any professional holding a EWF certificate can perform at a similar level on any given task, something of paramount importance on today’s economic environment.

During this period, the quality and efficiency of the system developed by EWF led to it being licensed to IIW (International Institute of Welding), which has established the International Authorisation Board to manage the IIW/EWF system. Since then, EWF continued and still continues to create collaborations with leading organizations for the benefit of the Manufacturing sector. In spite of being originally a European organization with a European scope, EWF is currently an international organization that addresses, with the support of its partners, training and qualification of manufacturing personnel and companies certification at the international level.

Since those early days, EWF’s ecosystem has grown to encompass:

• 44 members (28 European members / 16 Non-European);
• 42 Authorized National Bodies (Personnel Qualification) – 27 European Members / 15 non-European);
• 15 ANBs - PCS (Personnel Certification) – 13 European members / 2 Non-European;
• 23 ANBCC (Companies’ Certification) – 15 European Members / 8 Non-European;
• 7 Additive Manufacturing Authorized National Bodies

The pervasiveness of EWF can be best seen by the fact that it has participated in more than 50 different European projects, not only as a partner but also as project coordinator and continues to cooperate with its own European network of members as well as other organisations working in EU projects. It has also expanded its presence by being selected to cooperate with various bodies, such as the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), as well as industry forums such as the European Factories of the Future Research Association, and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Its adoption can also be easily seen with numbers, with these organizations being responsible, since 2000, by 50, 000 diplomas and certificates awarded, growing to 100, 000 in 2005 and breaching 200, 000 in 2012. The current number of diplomas and Certificates issued under the EWF licensed and managed Qualification and Certifications products stands at 500.000.

Built upon a strong foundation, the EWF looks ahead into the future of manufacturing

Looking ahead, EWF and its members are looking at the new trends redefining manufacturing, such as reshoring, circular economy and sustainability, digital (such as in blended learning models, or blockchain and artificial intelligence) and other advanced manufacturing technologies, and how they will impact the need for personnel qualification and companies’ certification to respond to it. EWF will also continue to participate in projects of increased complexity in the most demanding scenarios to advance the use of leading-edge technologies, where its unique expertise, connecting manufacturing, training and qualification, is highly sought-after as a key component for a successful completion of the projects.

From an industry perspective, EWF is looking at new frontiers within manufacturing, such as defense, aerospace, medicine and ship building. Above all, EWF, its members and its partners will continue pushing for the adoption of the most advanced technologies, empowering teams and organizations to best leverage them. It will also continue to participate in supporting processes and projects that expedite technology transfer from academia to companies, ensuring the long term competitiveness of Manufacturing companies and contributing to the transition to more sustainable and advanced economies.
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