Welding Students Excel with Innovative Welding Simulator

J. Harley Bonds Career Center in South Carolina (USA) has used their school motto of “bridging academics and technology” to equip students to pursue career interests like animation, culinary arts, machine tooling and welding while they earn high school credit.

One piece of technology that has been particularly successful at the career center is the guideWELD VR welding simulator by Realityworks. Since December 2014, center instructors have been using this tool to teach welding students basic techniques while emphasizing safety and saving money on the consumables that are needed for live welding.

Success during first use

Rodian Manjarres is a second-year student with a lot of experience using guideWELD VR. Her first experience with the welding simulator occurred after her welding instructors, Todd Varholy and Eddie Squires, encouraged her to use it to prepare for her Action Skills competition at that year’s SkillsUSA National Skills & Leadership Conference. Because the welding simulator provides users with real-time feedback on basic welding form and positioning in a virtual environment, both instructors felt that it would allow competition judges to understand Rodian’s welding skills more easily than if Rodian just explained how she welded.Rodian Manjarres

This comprehension is similar to what many users experience when they first use the simulator, which enables users to practice welding in a safe, virtual environment, without the need for consumables like metal and gas. Because it uses a virtual environment, those who are unfamiliar with welding are able to lessen their fears and better focus on skill development.

Manjarres trained with the welding simulator during class and her free time, enhancing her technique and building correct muscle memory the more she used the tool. She would even come in early to class to work on building her skills.

“I like it a lot because I can beat the guys at it”

“I have never used a virtual welder before, but guideWELD VR is very easy to use,” said Manjarres. “I like it a lot because I can beat the guys at it. There are only a few of us that can get the gun to turn gold.”

Getting a “golden gun” shows that the user is doing everything correctly; their work angle, travel angle, speed, distance to work surface and straightness are all in the perfect range. When this occurs, the welding gun in the simulation glows gold in colour.

Competition Encourages Excellence

“We had competitions with the guideWELD VR unit,” said Manjarres. “Everyone was trying to beat each other’s scores and kept taking more turns. Everyone was really excited about it.”

Such competitions encourage users to continue enhancing their form and technique; it enables them to build muscle memory and acts as a training aid for students to reference as they enter the shop to perform real welding. The more they use this training tool, the more developed their welding technique becomes.

Training in Preparation for the Real Thing

“I actually look out for my angle now while welding for real,” said Manjarres. “I always have it in the back of my head from using the simulator. It has helped a lot.”

The GuideWELD VR virtual welding simulator does not replace actual welding, but rather helps improve the basic skills early welders have, before they encounter live welding – enabling instructors to speed up the training process and save costs at the early stages of welding.  GuideWELD LIVE is a live welding guidance system that can be used to support actual live welding with in-helmet corrective feedback (a great bridge from the virtual to the real welding world).

By enabling educators at the J. Harley Bonds Career Center to engage students while safely teaching basic welding skills and techniques, the guideWELD VR system’s advanced technology has proven to be a successful way to teach the center’s welding students a valuable career skill.

Watch an Overview of GuideWELD VR and LIVE Welding Training Equipment

With thanks to Realityworks.com