The folks at Lincoln Electric has come up with a unique approach to welding training; Virtual Welding. Like something straight out of a Robert A. Heinlein novel, where a blue-collar, hands on trade meets with cutting edge electronic technology to produce an unlikely marriage of training to weld without actually welding, Lincoln Electric has started a new revolution in training.
We talked with Lincoln’s Lon Damon about the virtual reality welding machine. “The VRTEX 360 is a computer based training system that allows students to train in a simulated environment. This allows students to get much needed time on perfecting welding skills without all the material waste in a normal training environment.”
We watched the system at work with volunteers from the tradeshow floor taking turns with the machine. Immediately we were astounded by the realistic welding sound that came from the machine and worked in sequence with the welder’s movement – yet there was no arc. Putting on the welding helmet and taking the torch, we were surprised by the very lifelike welding puddle that was displayed in the welding helmet’s screen. This system provides a very realistic simulation of welding and it’s somewhat startling to take off the helmet and look at two bare pieces of metal that you just laid down a perfect bead on. It’s that real.
The machine is flexible and allows students to practice all types of welds. Flat to overhead welds and anything in between. Best of all is the fact that training can be conducted without material waste so it’s more environmentally friendly.
Features of the VRTEX 360 System:
Able to simulate SMAW (Stick), GMAW (MIG) and FCAW (Flux-Cored) Welding processes
Simulates multiple weld joint configurations and welding postitions