Following the proven success of the VRTEX® virtual training solution, Lincoln Electric is launching its REALWELD® training system into South Africa, a monitoring and live coaching system designed to monitor skills during real welding. African Fusion talks to Benoit Lamotte of Lincoln Electric and training school specialist, Louis Uys of Airtrax.
The Lincoln Electric Welding School in Cleveland, Ohio is the longest operating and most comprehensive welding training facility in the world. The school was initially set up in 1917 and has trained more than 150 000 people in various welding technologies, techniques and associated safety practices.
“At Lincoln Electric we understand the importance of training. We have established and equipped hundreds of training schools around the world and we are a global industry partner of competitions such as WorldSkills Inter national,” says Lamotte.
Lincoln Electric has been the exclusive provider of equipment, consumables and fume extraction for the WorldSkills competitions for the past five years. “World Skills South Africa was held in February this year in Durban to identify South Africa’s best young welder to compete in the 2017 World Skills Inter- national competition in Abu Dhabi later this year. Lincoln Electric was the official sponsor for the welding skill category, as it will be in Abu Dhabi,” Lamotte tells African Fusion.
“No company in the world has more experience in setting up supporting welding schools than Lincoln Electric,” continues Uys. His company, Airtrax, designs training schools; installing the safety infrastructure such as fume ex- traction and deciding which processes and machines will give young welders the best chance of success.
Uys believes that welder training should start in a classroom. “We believe it is best to start off on a welding simulator. Our studies prove that if a trainee starts learning about welding in our simulated environment, the chances of becoming a certified welder are much higher and faster.”
Citing a trial conducted at the Iowa State University in the US, Lamotte says that a group of 22 trainee welders was split into two. One group began their training the traditional way, with a welding torch in hand and an instructor teaching them how to manipulate a real arc.
The other group started to learn using Lincoln’s VRTEX virtual welding solution. Only once torch manipulation skills had been mastered, were trainees allowed into the workshop to start real welding. These 11 trainees spent 50% of the training time on the simulator with the other 50% being used in the welding shop.
“The pass rate with respect to the weld qualification tests was significantly better in group that spent 50% of their time on the VRTEX simulator,” Lamotte reveals, adding: “although these people did less real welding, they were better welders at the end of the day.” The VRTEX group proved 41.6% more successful in achieving certification, in spite of a 23% decrease in the overall training time.
Lincoln’s VRTEX virtual reality welding system is a computer-based training system designed to supplement and enhance traditional welder training. These systems allow students to practice their welding technique in a simulated and immersive environment, promoting the efficient transfer of quality welding skills and body positioning to the welding booth while reducing material waste associated with traditional training.