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Screen and Train Welding Applicants Faster with New Technology

Technology

By Steve Hidden, Account Manager – Education and Training, Miller Electric Mfg. Co., from NCCER blog

Fabrication shops and welding operations can spend a lot of time and money screening job applicants. It’s a task that is becoming more important and challenging as companies deal with the industry’s growing welding operator shortage. One welding job opening may draw 100 applicants with a wide range of skill levels. How can a company efficiently find the most skilled welders or the fastest learners from such a large pool?

Screening processes vary, but often this question is answered by testing some level of each applicant’s welding. This requires the use of resources such as coupons, gas, wire and time for someone to watch and evaluate the applicant’s weld. Companies are looking for better and faster training solutions as they deal with the skilled labor shortage. Fortunately, there are new technologies available that can help companies save time and money in welder screening and training.

WELDING SIMULATION SOLUTIONS

Virtual reality and welding simulation solutions offer cost savings and efficiency in screening and training. One new technology available on the market is the AugmentedArc™, an augmented reality welding system from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. The system simulates MIG, TIG, flux-cored and stick processes, blending real-world and computer-generated images into an augmented reality environment. This offers individuals a realistic welding simulation that closely resembles live arc welding.

With the technology, students use real 3-D objects and see them overlaid with computer-generated images. A special helmet uses a camera and sensor to send video and positioning data to the system computer, which processes the data and then creates a realistic welding simulation and graphic information based on the user’s actions. That information is then sent to a visual display screen and speakers inside the helmet, delivering immediate visual feedback on performance.

It’s like a welding lab experience without the lab: to the user it looks and sounds like actual welding, complete with metal workpieces, welding arcs and weld beads. But they do not consume coupons, wire or gas, which saves both money and resources.

After completion of the welding exercise, an analysis screen provides feedback in the form of scores and graphs. In addition, a playback mode allows users to watch the weld from any angle to see how it was completed. This technology provides companies with an objective means to measure the skills of each applicant.

FASTER SCREENING AND TRAINING

This type of simulation technology offers numerous benefits for applicant screening and welder training. In addition to minimized material costs and reductions in overall training time, simulation technology offers:

• Optimized instructor efficiency: Technology can be a classroom assistant, helping trainers become more efficient and allowing them to spend more one-on-one time with the students.

• Real-time feedback: With immediate feedback to users, this technology quickly helps to correct errors, reinforce proper technique and accelerate skill advancement.

• A larger, more skilled workforce: Innovative technology can help companies create awareness of opportunities and attract technology-savvy applicants to welding programs.

GAIN AN ADVANTAGE

This new technology bridges the gap between virtual reality and actual welding, providing close simulation to live arc welding without utilizing costly resources. Available technologies can help companies transform their screening, recruiting and training processes for welding, making them more effective and efficient while saving time, money and resources.

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