Enabling sub-contractors in the booming power sector to improve productivity with existing workforce through mechanisation of processes, reduction of delivery cycle time, maintenance of cost-effectiveness in the wake of rising input costs, and providing an exposure to technology requirements for the 12{+t}{+h} and 13{+t}{+h} five-year plan periods were the main objectives behind a workshop encompassing theoretical and practical sessions organised by the Welding Research Institute, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Tiruchi, in association with the Outsourcing Department on Wednesday.

Since the BHEL's main focus will be on super-critical sets during the 12{+t}{+h} plan period and on ultra super-critical sets as well in the 13{+t}{+h} plan period, the initiative was meant to provide the direction to sub-contractors for technology upgradation, S. Dharmalingam, General Manager, R & D, WRI, and Labs, BHEL, Tiruchi, said, presiding over the inaugural session of the workshop on ‘Welding Mechanisation and Automation for Outsourcing Vendors'. The WRI, Mr. Dharmalingam said, has created a quality system over its 35 years of existence whereby its certification was recognised the world over. During 2009-10, the WRI trained 750 welders and engineers. Progress in welding being the key to increasing fabrication output that was evident in the rising consumption of steel, and infrastructure development, the WRI, as a national institute, has been doing its part in BHEL's nation building process, providing technology solutions on the fronts of research, consultancy and training, he said.

In his inaugural address, the General Manager – Advanced Technology Products, K. Mariraj Anand, emphasised that mechanisation was the solution for vendors to reduce dependence on manual welding, and handle huge volumes. The quality of weld has to be very high for critical materials. Automation addresses this challenge and also ensures quality and productivity, he said, and released a CD on the Workshop.

Receiving the first copy, the president of BHEL Small Industries' Association (BHELSIA) Rajappa Rajkumar said the only option for vendors who were facing shortage of labour was to go for automation. BHELSIA units that could supply three lakh tonnes of components to the BHEL in 2009-10 were facing the challenge of meeting the target of 4.5 lakh tonnes during this year, and seven lakh tonnes next year, he said, and thanked the State Bank of India for its readiness to provide hassle-free loans through a special scheme to the vendors keen on implementing mechanisation.