Representatives of the The Welding Institute’s (TWI) Younger Members Committe (YMC) volunteered on TWI’s exhibition stand at the 2013 Big Bang Fair, held at the ExCeL in London. TWI’s stand consisted of both ‘Welding with Chocolate’ and Lincoln Electric VRTEX 360 ‘Virtual Welding’ activities, with the aim of encouraging young people to consider careers in the area of welding and joining. The activities proved to be very popular, with hundreds of pupils visiting each day to try their hand at them.
‘Welding with Chocolate’ aims to introduce people to the basic concepts behind welding and structural design. The pupils investigate the structural integrity of chocolate bridges in two configurations, a single bar and a box girder bridge, by adding weights to the centre of the span and testing until destruction. The box girder bridge is built from four bars of chocolate that are welded together by melting the edges on a glass bottle full of hot water.
‘Virtual Welding’ allowed pupils to try their hand at welding using Lincoln Electric’s VRTEX 360 virtual welding equipment. The virtual welder can simulate a vast range of welding techniques via its virtual welding gun and a welding helmet fitted with virtual reality goggles. It is used extensively in industry to recruit and train welders as it provides a cost effective, eco-friendly way of introducing the skills required to be a good welder.
The Big Bang Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The main event is held in March every year, with different locations around the UK being utilised on a rotation. This year’s event attracted over 65,000 visitors over the four days.