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The welding industry incorporates the workforce that uses welding technologies to perform welding operations; the welding supply industry that provides the equipment, products, consumables, and services needed by the workforce; and the end-users in the larger national and international industrial sector who rely on welding and joining processes to manufacture their products. The cost of welding, as an industrial process, plays a crucial role in manufacturing decisions. Many different variables affect the total cost, including equipment cost, labour cost, material cost, and energy cost. In recent years, in order to minimise labour costs in high production manufacturing, industrial welding has become increasingly more automated, most notably with the use of robots in resistance spot welding (especially in the automotive industry) and in arc welding. In robotic welding, mechanised devices both hold the material and perform the weld, and at first, spot welding was its most common application. Robotic arc welding, however, has been increasing in popularity as technology has advanced. Other key areas of research and development include the welding of dissimilar materials (such as steel and aluminium, for example) and new welding processes, such as friction stir, magnetic pulse, conductive heat seam, and laser-hybrid welding. Specialised processes such as laser beam welding are now continually finding new practical applications in industry sectors such as aerospace and automotive. The modelling of weld properties such as microstructure and residual stresses, and the application of rapid advances in IT and computer science to process development and automation provide a rapidly expanding frontier for the modern welding industry.