An affordable gas metal arc virtual welding simulator enables schools, colleges and even companies to begin entry-level welding training, or to use the simulator to assess the talents of new entrants, says education systems company Edit Microsystems product manager Tamryn Smit.
The light portable machines are powered by a universal serial bus (USB) that can plug into laptops and computers and simulates the movements of the metal inert gas welding or metal active gas welding trainee on the screen.
The units are realistic and have a workstation, welding gun, a welding helmet and gloves. The software relates the position of the gun to the workstation and tracks these motions to enable a student to do basic welding training before progressing to the shop floor.
The Teachweld system records training sessions and enables assessors to review and replay any student’s training remotely.
“Using the accessories instils the important habit of wearing safety equipment and ingrains the basic muscle memory that students need prior to using real mate- rials and welding equipment, subsequently reducing waste and injury risks and improving confidence,” says Smit.
The Teachweld system has 153 welding exercises, covering basic T-joint, butt joint and lap joint welds on mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium. The system assesses students, provides guidance and displays their progress.
“This program will give the trainee a performance assessment on the average distance of the tip to the weld, the heat input, the work angle and weld speed, besides others.
Further, a student can practise one specific aspect of welding, for example, speed, by following the program’s guidelines, which are displayed as a green bar, changing to red when the trainee performs outside the desired parameters.
The core idea behind the use of the Teachweld system is to reduce waste and improve safety in the early stages of welding training. Teachers can also use the Teachweld system to demonstrate welding on a large screen.
“We have a tremendous shortage of welding skills in South Africa, while unemployment is high. This is illogical and the only solution is to train welders, but the high costs of welding training prevent ubiquitous training. “This system is aimed at overcoming these specific challenges and at promoting authentic, accredited welding training,” she concludes.