Weld Off

Weld Off

TeamUSA Welder Selection Process

Competition Promotes Excellence
Student welder competitions effectively promote quality, productivity and the image of welding, one of America's key production skills. By holding competitions at the local, national and international levels, AWS and SkillsUSA demonstrate their support through encouraging future welders to develop the full potential of their skills. AWS welding competitors exemplify excellence through their knowledge, skill and intense personal commitment.

Contests at various levels are comprehensive and consist of written, hands-on welding, code interpretation, and other test of a welder's skill and knowledge that are used everyday in the workplace. Throughout these welding contests, the pressure is on to be the best!

The 2014 Weld-Off sponsored by the American Welding Society will be held at FABTECH in Atlanta, GA November 4-6, 2014. The 3 SkillsUSA competitors qualifying the highest will advance on to the next phase of the selection process that will culminate at the USOpen Weld Trials of 2014. The TeamUSA Welder will be selected at this contest and will represent the United States at the World Skills Competition, August 10-16, 2015 in São Paulo, Brazil.

Who's Eligible?
Local, Regional, State, National and International SkillsUSA Contest Participants must be active SkillsUSA members who are enrolled in or have graduated from a welding program.  Visit the SkillsUSA website to review the Rules and Regulations.

AWS USOpen Weld Trials and World Skills Competition (WSC) Competitors must be less than 23 years old during the year of the WSC to qualify for the USOpen Weld Trials and the WSC. The international contest is conducted through the WSC secretariat in The Netherlands.

Scope of the TeamUSA Welder Selection Process This is a quadruple elimination process consisting of:

(1)The AWS PreWeld-Off
The 48 invitees from the SkillsUSA Championships from 2013 and 2014.  TeamUSA selection process still age eligible compete for the one of the six invitations to the 2014 Weld-Off. Projects are reviewed by a group of experts from August 2014 through October 2014.

(2)The AWS Weld-Off
The competition involves test of skill in specific processes and personal development, including:

  • SMAW/GMAW/GTAW/FCAW Test Plates/Pipes (RT and Bent Tests)
  • Stainless Steel, and Aluminum Sheet Metal Weldments
  • SMAW/GMAW/GTAW/FCAW Pressure Vessel (tested using water pressure at 1,000 PSI)
  • Physical and Mental Conditioning Needed to Accept the Challenge of Pursuing an International Gold Metal Gold, Silver and Bronze metals are awarded.

(3)The PreWeld Trials
The three medallists from the AWS Weld-Off (Gold, Silver and Bronze) compete for three positions at the USOpen Weld Trials. Projects are reviewed by a group of experts from January 2014 through November of 2014.

(4) USOpen Weld Trials
This contest will take place in the summer. The six competitors will be comprised of 3-SkillsUSA welders and up to 4-International champions from their respective countries. The two SkillsUSA welders will be competing against each other as well as the four international invitees to number one see who gets the gold medal overall and secondly who will be the TeamUSA Welder to represent the USA in the Germany WorldSkills Competition.

The SkillsUSA winner from the US Open Weld Trials will attend on-site, intensive PostWeld Trials training programs provided by major welding companies such as:

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. The Lincoln Electric Co. ESAB Welding and Cutting Equipment Hobart Institute of Welding Technology Northrop Grumman Ship Systems United Association Local 72

Tools and Equipment
Welding machines, accessories, consumables, testing agencies and test equipment for the Weld-Off were arranged by the AWS Skills Competition Committee.

Judging Criteria

Contestants are evaluated in selected competencies.

  • Print reading
  • Setting of amperage, wire feed speed, voltage, gas flow rate
  • Safety
  • Penetration/Fusion
  • Distortion control
  • Selection of filler metals and wire
  • Manipulative skill, speed, accuracy
  • Destructive and nondestructive testing
  • General appearance of project

The AWS USOpen Weld Trials winner (who will representing the USA at the WSC) will receive a $40,000, four-year scholarship from the AWS Foundation and sponsored by The Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., up to $1,000 in AWS publications, and a four-year complimentary full AWS membership. All participants at the Weld-Off will receive a $1,000 scholarship for books, tuition, or lab fees, and a one-year complimentary full AWS membership. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded.

Travel and lodging expenses will also be furnished for the SkillsUSA qualifier and instructor for the trip to Brazil, to compete in the WSC, courtesy of AWS. Travel, lodging and living allowance, while attending the PostWeld Trials training program, are provided courtesy of the post trial training sponsors.

Making Winners
AWS has a long tradition of sending winning competitors from the USA to the international contests. Since 1991, the AWS sponsored competitors have brought home two Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals at the World Skills Competitions.

Contest Development
AWS Skills Competition Committee Chair, and World Skills Competition USA Technical Expert Edward Bohnart, Welding Education & Consulting Contest Print Coordinators, Robert Pope, Arc Dimensions, Inc. Nick Peterson, Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Branden Muehlbrandt, The Lincoln Electric Co., Glenn Kay II, Student, Ray Connolly, Welding Engineer Seagrave, Dien Tran, Student, Miles Tilley, Instructor, Joel Stanley, Quality Assurance Mng, and Chance Pollo, Student (all former USA WSC contestants)

Judges for the AWS Weld-Off, are AWS Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs) and come from the ranks of inspectors, manufacturer's representatives, instructors, supervisors and welders. Judges for the WSC are technical experts from the various countries represented in the welding contest.

Questions on the Weld-Off, US Open Weld Trials or the World Skills Competition can be directed to:

Chair – AWS Skills Competition Committee:
Branden Muehlbrandt
E-mail: Branden_Muehlbrandt@LincolnElectric.com

Vice Chair – AWS Skills Competition Committee:
Nick Peterson
E-mail: NICK.PETERSON@millerwelds.com

US Expert:
Ray Connolly
E-mail: vdubin474@aol.com

Event Coordinator and Secretary – AWS Skills Competition Committee:
Martica Ventura
American Welding Society
Phone: 800-443-9353 ext. 224
E-mail: mventura@aws.org

Event Coordinator Assistant – AWS Skills Competition Committee:
Alina Blanco
American Welding Society
Phone: 800-443-9353 ext. 223
E-mail: ablanco@aws.org

Team USA Welder Selection

Every two years, the American Welding Society invites the top 48 welding competitors from the National SkillsUSA Championships to compete in the four-stage Team USA Welder Selection that decides which welder will represent the United States at the World Skills Competition. For example, AWS will select the top 48 finalists from the 2013 and 2014 SkillsUSA Championships (24 finalist from each year) to participate in the first stage of competition that will decide who goes to the World Skills Competition in 2015.

AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Pre-Trials

The first stage of the Team USA Welder Selection is the AWS U.S. Invitational Pre-Trials. Pre-Trial contestants are given a set of WorldSkills Competition projects to complete in their home states. These projects are scored by the AWS Skills Competition Committee, and the students that submit the top six projects are invited to participate in the next trial. The top six finalists also receive a $1,000 scholarship for books, tuition or lab fees, and a one-year AWS membership. It’s important to note that contestants must be 22 years old or younger in the year of the World Skills Competition to be eligible to compete.

AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials

Every two years, the top 6 Pre Trial finalists compete for the top 3 positions at the AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials held at the annual AWS/FABTECH Exposition. These six Americans compete alongside competitors from up to 24 WorldSkills countries. This event fosters international camaraderie and greatly improves the American welders’ ability to compete on the world stage.

AWS U.S. Finalist Tune-Up

The top 3 finalists from the AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials go on to the AWS TeamUSA Finalist Tune-up. This is a one week intense training event conducted by past TeamUSA Welding competitors, the U.S. Expert to the WorldSkills welding competition and the AWS Skills Competition Committee. Three very qualified and skilled welders emerge ready to compete for the chance to represent their country at the WorldSkills Welding Competition.

AWS U.S. Finals

The final weld off takes place at the AWS TeamUSA Finals. It is a week-long event that invites the public to learn more about the competitors and the welding industry. The gold medalist of the AWS TeamUSA Finals earns the right to represent the United States at the WorldSkills Welding Competition. After participating at the WorldSkills Competition, the U.S. representative receives up to $1,000 in AWS publications, a four-year AWS membership, and a $40,000 four-year scholarship from the AWS Foundation and the Miller Electric Manufacturing Company.

Welding in Agriculture

Welding keeps our economy growing. Our friends at Welding Productivity discuss what welders in the agricultural industry need to know to keep their welding careers flourishing in the article, "Farm to Table".

Read More >

AWS Member Network

AWS Member Network

Read More >