Gaming-style welding

Gaming-style welding

Specialist Engineering teaching staff went head-to-head to test out new state of the art Virtual Reality welding equipment at a team development day at Tameside College. The equipment, designed to help staff train students will also be used to heighten awareness of educational engineering opportunities and to promote the College’s new Engineering Centre which got the go ahead from planners in April.

The specialist virtual welding equipment has the same look and feel as traditional welding tools but does not require all the usual safety equipment. Students and even school pupils can try and improve their welding skills by donning a virtual headset to try out welding. As the welding takes place the results are streamed to a screen and can be viewed by the audience. The results of the weld are recorded electronically and are scored as a percentage.

Within the department the top three scorers from the Engineering ‘Weld-off’ were Peter Knapper with 84% and Simon Denby and Joe Boughey both with 81%. All were impressed with the new kit and excited about how schools will be able to participate throughout Tameside.

Steve Buckley, welding tutor said; “Excellent welding is about getting the small things right, like travel speed, angle and arc position in the welding joint. When you’re welding, body position is important throughout the length of the weld.”
It has some really useful applications for students too as Peter Knapper commented; “Before they can ‘weld’, students have to find out how setup the machine, add the right material type, the gas flow settings, as well as the wire feed speed.”

Schools will also be able to try out the virtual reality welder at the College as part of its Made in Tameside VR Welder Competition. The first school to participate was Glossopdale Community College, where the pupils achieved a high score of 87.