The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) will use augmented or virtual welder training techniques in its new Future Welder Training Centre.
“Augmented welder training, in essence, allows students to work with real three-dimensional objects combined with virtual computer-generated images to give them the most realistic welding experience possible,” explains SAIW executive director Sean Blake.
He says students can repeatedly practice techniques at no extra cost, and the system can be networked and controlled by a tutor which makes it an optimal teaching tool.
Blake adds that augmented welder training could possibly revolutionise the way welding is taught.
“Many people in the industry feel that there has not been a sufficient change in the past 50 years in the way welding is taught. This, they say, may have led to a negative image of the profession and the consequent shortage of welders globally.”
He says other industries are ahead in the use of modern technologies for training purposes and it is time that the welding industry catches up. “We hope that the SAIW will be able to show the way in Africa.”
Blake says the first machines that will be used in the new SAIW Future Welding Training Centre are the Lincoln Electric Real-Weld and ClassMate systems and a Soldematic welding simulator.
“The Lincoln Robotic ClassMate is a complete robotic training solution designed to meet the need for advanced manufacturing training. Instructors can teach robotic concepts in the classroom and quickly move to the lab for welding practice. Students can perform offline programming and then test their skills at a manufacturing-ready robotic cell.”
He explains that, with the Real-Weld trainer, students can practice stick, mig and flux-cored arc welding, while receiving audio coaching and weld performance tracking on five key parameters. “It is like having a teacher’s assistant right in the booth helping to advance every student towards their career goals.”