• World Biz Magazine

LUCA COSTA, CEO OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF WELDING - INTERVIEW



LUCA COSTA, CEO OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF WELDING HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021.


THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.



In 2020 Dr Luca Costa was selected and appointed as CEO of the International Institute of welding, which is his current position. Since 2021, he also serves as chair of the Italian standardization Committee in welding.


He was employed in the Italian Institute of Welding in 2000, after graduating at Genoa University in Mechanical Engineering with a doctorate thesis developed at IIS. He was awarded the diploma of International Welding Engineer in 2000. He was then employed as a teacher in the education and training department. In 2002, he took the responsibility for education and training in the field of Quality, Environment and Health and safety. In 2010, he was appointed as manager of the theoretical education and training area of activities. In 2013, he was employed in the company IIS PROGRESS, owned by IIS, in the position of director and in 2014 was appointed manager of the training department.


Researchers, industry practitioners and educators, students and young professionals from over 49 countries are all part of the collaborative working platform of the International Institute of Welding. This unique international cooperation is achieved through regular meetings of IIW working units and boards, technical networking, shared projects, events, publications and web-based communications. The outcomes are shared throughout the world.





"IIW is focused on innovating the industry. Our goal is to define, discuss and analyze the most innovative solutions in the field of welding, joining and manufacturing, deriving statements and best practices for industrial use, i.e. allowing industry to make the best use of innovation."


Tell us about the work off the IIW,


IIW is focused on innovating the industry. Our goal is to define, discuss and analyze the most innovative solutions in the field of welding, joining and manufacturing, deriving statements and best practices for industrial use, i.e. allowing industry to make the best use of innovation. We played and continue to play a key role in the industrial application of some of the most innovative technologies used in our field, such as Friction Stir and innovative welding processes, Metal Additive Manufacturing, Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing, Artificial Intelligence and other advanced quality control methods, and many more.


IIW contributes to industry trough standardisation (IIW is a standardising body to ISO) and our Education, Training and qualification system for welding personnel.


Other than this, one of the goals is to elevate the image of welding and the welding industry in general. From an old, dirty, manual and dangerous operation, welding has become a high technology application, highly automated, connected with artificial intelligence and integrated into efficient and green manufacturing. Given the lack of attractiveness of the manufacturing industry in general, welding is becoming more and more attractive to young generations.



What are some of the major trends you are currently observing in welding and joining?


As part of its statutory role, IIW produces deliverables to help industry, research and training institutions understand what the future technology and applications will be. Since welding has a profound impact impact on manufacturing of metallic products and components, one can derive here the future trends for the metalworking industry. In a report which has been recently published, IIW identified the key trends in welding and joining. These include criteria for the efficient design of welded and metallic structures, increased use of high-performance materials which generate a challenge in joining applications, development of modern welding manufacturing process requiring specialized skills and new design criteria, need of globally recognized qualification schemes for personnel, and use of modern communication tools to allow remote training, witnessing and auditing.


As an ever-standing trend, the industry is looking closer to environmental sustainability, and welding and additive manufacturing (3D printing) can play a major role in the area.



How has the industry adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic?


Like many other industries, the manufacturing of metallic and welded products has been affected by the pandemic. However, as welding is fundamental in the production of essential goods, our industry had to react and adapt industrial processes to the new scenario. As an example, training, auditing and witnessing play a significant role in our industrial processes: as travelling and other restrictions were in place for a long time, procedures had to adapt to remote management.



Share with us some of the IIW's biggest achievements under your leadership.


I have been in my current position since 2020, and my leadership has been significantly marked by the pandemic, and because the IIW is an organization focused on the exchange of knowledge and based on volunteer work, we have been significantly affected. The impossibility for our groups to meet and for our events to be held could have potentially turned into a financial and operational disaster.


In the last two years we spent most of our energy to manage the situation and, having chosen digital platforms, IIW was able to close the year with a financial surplus over the budgeted amount and with the technical work achieved beyond expectations.


In 2020, the biggest achievement was turning our major event, the IIW Annual Assembly (more than 800 participants on average) into an online event. In the second edition in 2021, we added social events, entertainment and allowed participants to feel the atmosphere of an in-person event while being safe at their homes. Despite the fact that everything was held online, participants, technical production of articles, books and standards were aligned with previous years.



"Good leadership also requires maintaining a close eye on innovation to develop ideas, assess risks and opportunities, and having a great team to help to be capable of identifying directions and derive decisions thereof. A good leader is a reference point and not a forceful driver."


What is your approach to good leadership?


Good leadership requires good governance. Therefore the first step to being a good leader is enforcing good governance. Once this is set, leadership requires dedication to the matter, respect for the work of others and their point of view and involvement of personnel in the matter.


Good leadership also requires maintaining a close eye on innovation to develop ideas, assess risks and opportunities, and having a great team to help to be capable of identifying directions and derive decisions thereof.


A good leader is a reference point and not a forceful driver.





"From a technology perspective, we’re getting deeper into the field of artificial intelligence and intelligent manufacturing, as associated with the huge amount of data and information available in the manufacturing process and to the need to filter, elaborate and derive operational decisions. Another interesting perspective deals with additive manufacturing, as a huge amount of resources and efforts, have been already spent, but still a lot has to be discovered as relates to understanding long term performances of products, quality control and best manufacturing processes."


What's next for the IIW?


IIW is looking to further increase its impact on the industry. We are developing tools to allow easier participation in our activities and new models to interact with. Next year IIW is going to establish the IIW advisory council, an external, expert and experienced group of industry practitioners to advise the Board of Directors of IIW on how to attract additional industry representatives to the IIW organization. The Council will ensure that our services and programs including the IIW EQT&C products and scientific work are relevant in today's changing business environment.


The Advisory Council will assist the IIW to carry out its vision of being 'The leading global community linking industry, research and education to the advancement of welding and joining for a safer and sustainable world'.


From a technology perspective, we’re getting deeper into the field of artificial intelligence and intelligent manufacturing, as associated with the huge amount of data and information available in the manufacturing process and to the need to filter, elaborate and derive operational decisions. Another interesting perspective deals with additive manufacturing, as a huge amount of resources and efforts, have been already spent, but still a lot has to be discovered as relates to understanding long term performances of products, quality control and best manufacturing processes. In this area, IIW recently joined the network of the International Additive Manufacturing Qualification Scheme (IAMQS), the first international qualification in the field.



"Welding has been an ancient art since the iron age, became a technology in the 20th century and since then it has been a continuously evolving science. Much more still has to be invented, discovered and developed."


What excites you about your work in the industry?


Since I entered the welding-related business 24 years ago, I always felt excited about the variety of aspects and their interrelation. Welding has been an ancient art since the iron age, became a technology in the 20th century and since then it has been a continuously evolving science. Much more still has to be invented, discovered and developed. Unfortunately, this is known only by those who had the opportunity to have a close eye on it.


I receive excitement from the science and technology aspect, but also from the challenge associated with my role, to enhance the image of welding and letting everyone understand its importance in everyday life.



"Academics have considered how we make decisions and the results are: the more diverse the group, the better the results. Strangers bring new perspectives that lead to new insights and their contributions help to achieve better decisions than in groups where everyone knows each other. Luckily this is a norm at the IIW since its foundation in 1948."


What is the state of diversity in the industry?


In modern ages and from a workmanship perspective, when welding became a manufacturing process, it was always been considered a rude technology, as such strongly related to hard work and to individuals being capable of performing those tasks. The key started turning when welding developed into modern science, the scene is evolved and is continuously changing. Nowadays, there’s no barrier to having any diversity represented.


The IIW, my working environment, is definitely open to any kind of diversity: all our groups and committee, including the Board of Directors, is populated with representatives from varied countries, cultures, religions, genders and backgrounds. It is very well known that as Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google) stated, “A mix of different voices leads to better discussions, decisions and results for everyone.”


Also Academics have considered how we make decisions and the results are: the more diverse the group, the better the results. Strangers bring new perspectives that lead to new insights and their contributions help to achieve better decisions than in groups where everyone knows each other. Luckily this is a norm at the IIW since its foundation in 1948.



International Institute of Welding

IIW is recognised as the largest worldwide network and centre of reference for welding and allied joining technologies. It operates as the global body for the science and application of joining technologies, providing a forum for networking and knowledge exchange among scientists, researchers, industry and educators, and disseminating leading-edge information and best practices.


www.iiwelding.org