At the Association we always like to push the boundaries of technology, and this has seen us invest heavily over the last 20 years in IT systems, CNC Equipment, Smartboard technology, Virtual Learning Environment, Video Conferencing, the list is endless. The most recent venture in new innovations, has been to invest in a “Virtual Welding Machine”.
Produced by Lincoln Electric the VRTEX® virtual reality arc welding training system makes it possible to learn how to weld in an eco-friendly manner. Instructors can teach the basics in a safe environment and to a wider audience. The machine minimises material waste and improves the environmental footprint allowing the trainee to learn the welding process without the need for shielding gas, welding electrodes or weld coupons and does not require weld fume removal. It also reduces the disposal of waste as a result of training such as base material, consumable parts and reduction overall energy consumption as it uses less energy than a traditional welding machine, feeder and weld fume control system.
The EKGTA Welding Instructor Jim Gillan commented “As a bit of a sceptic on this new type of training aid (VRTEX 360), I was blown away by the impact that this new ultra modern training equipment from Lincoln Electric would have on the apprentice welders”.
From teaching the basic safety and setting aspects of MMA and MIG Welding, right up to 6G coded practices, this machine can do it all. From an instructors perspective this is invaluable, as we can cut down on prep work and concentrate on building the trainees confidence and ability while making it fun to learn. Whilst using the system trainees receive an average score at the end of each weld run, so this creates an element of healthy competition between the apprentices. Practicing on the VRW also provides muscle memory to be formed, and the trainee can then transfer their skills much more quickly to the actual weld practices.
Apprentice Welder Scott Findlay from TEREX stated “the virtual welder is very addictive as you always want to better your score, and if you have someone to compete with you always want to do better than them. This makes you improve your skills further as the more you do it , the better your welds become. It also helps the levels of concentration and consistency, making it easier for you when you start the real thing. As I started normal welding I instantly knew how to position my arms and how close I had to put the tip. This gave me confidence, and was a good start to my training”.
Derek Syme, Training Manager commented, “in the short time we have been using this system we have seen a dramatic improvement in the trainee’s enthusiasm to learn, they all want to beat each others score and as a result the quality of their work improves quickly. There is no substitute for the real thing but this system gives the trainees the opportunity to hone their skills prior to actually welding metal. The system is now fully integrated in to our training programme and I reckon we will save at least 50% on consumables and see a vast improvement in the trainee’s quality and understanding of the welding process”.
For further information on the courses run by EKGTA visit www.ekgta.com
For more information on the VRTEX® Virtual Reality Arc Welders please visit www.vrtex360.com
Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxy-fuel cutting equipment and has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 46 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 20 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.