Virtual & Simulation Weld Technology to Fast Track SA Lockdown Recovery

Bridging the skills gap and fast tracking a new era in welder training and recruitment, SAIW has introduced simulated and live welding training and assessment technology for its members to train welders faster and more efficiently and reduce training costs by as much as 50%.

Now available in South Africa through SAIW, Virtual and Simulation Technology allows welding students to practice, troubleshoot and master welding techniques using the system’s Arc OFF mode. Audio coaching provides continuous guidance regarding weld speed, angles, aim, contact tip to work distance and arc length and the position of the weld. With Arc ON, students can master welding techniques with live welds.  Both virtual and live welds are computer assessed to provide the student or employer with a permanent training record.

SAIW Business Development Manager Etienne Nel says, “By using simulated and live welding technology we are able to pre-screen welding student skills compatibility and provide immediate feedback on the skills level of each candidate prior to commencing practical welder training. There is also enormous savings in time and training programme material costs, including welding plate, electrode or wire and shielding gas. We are seeing greatly improved training procedures and student understanding, which results in SAIW being able to provide higher certification rates within the industry.”

Reduced training costs

Advanced training methods provided by simulation welds means there is limited instructor time, hardly any material requirements, no arduous material preparation required ahead of training sessions and almost no consumables are used. Instead, a continuous instructor guides the student through audio feedback. Instructor audio cues can be turned on or off at any time allowing the student or prospective employee to demonstrate learned behaviours or to give further guidance.

The Virtual and Simulation technology calculates the percentage of time the student is within tolerance of all 5 parameters and assesses the welder’s performance versus tolerance and provides computerized objective assessments and reports.

Says Nel, “We have quantified as much as a 50% reduction in cost savings for training, from R6 250.00 per week down to R3 200-00 per week with the added results being students are more capable of using the latest welding equipment.

“Training is provided not only for entry level student but also for advanced training on exotic materials providing greater understanding and mastery of special welding needs at a company without there being any cost implications. All training and certification can be done using approved company welding procedures and virtual and live training can be presented inhouse or at the SAIW for either onsite training or testing.”

Tech and training advances

Using the welding simulator for virtual and live training, welders and prospective students have access to the most advanced manufacturing technologies used in industry today. Loaded with 47 different WPS documents already, the Virtual and Simulation technology provides more opportunities for guided skills practice and streamlines the process of training needs analysis for employees before booking training, delivering quick results which enable employers to offer employment timeously as well as re-qualify welders to new company procedures.

SAIW Executive Director John Tarboton says; “Virtual and simulation welding opportunities makes training attractive to employers as it provides on-site assessment capability which reduces travel and accommodation cost for welders and reduced time lost whilst welders are trained or tested. There are also reduced costs of consumables and materials which mitigate environmental and safety concerns.”

With manufacturing an essential sector for economic growth, with welding at the core of this growth in the sector, large manufacturing companies which test in excess of 2000 welders for a shutdowns at extremely high cost and extremely high failure rates, will see huge savings in time and money through the prescreening of welders for competency at the plant site; and verification of skills through performance testing as mandated by code certification. Most importantly, students are offered more opportunities for guided skills practice, so they are better prepared to weld, score and succeed in their career path.