Welding technology developer Lincoln Electric is extending the features and functionality of its VRTEX®360 virtual reality arc-welding training package. The improvements are included in an upgrade program released in December 2011. >

A highlight of the upgrade is the addition of a new, “motorsports garage” virtual environment. It allows students and other users to gain familiarity with welding in realistic, professional setting. According to Lincoln, it offers the students “a look at where a career in welding can take them.”

In that virtual garage, in addition to various high-performance racing cars, the VR welders can work with Lincoln’s POWER MIG®350MP wire feeder/welder. Promoting welding safety in the virtual garage is a Mobiflex® 200-M mobile welding fume extractor, to perform welding fume control. >>

“This release for the virtual reality arc welding system is the most exciting yet,” Lincoln Electric product and marketing manager Deanna Postlethwaite stated. “It reinforces our commitment to creating products for the welding education marketplace that will enhance and engage instructor and student experiences.”

As for new technical functions, the VR program has a new “panning view” capability installed in the instructor toolset. Functionality also is enhanced with the addition of scoring modules based on the American Welding Society D1.1 or ASME, a virtual bend test for multi-pass pipe and groove welds, and a virtual bend test certificate upon successful completion.

The panning view, added to the existing rotate and zoom views, enhances the instructor’s ability to view a weldment as the student welds, to provide better technical advice during the training.

Also, after welding a pass the virtual welder can see if each defect/discontinuity was within acceptable standards (pass/fail.) The acceptable standards are known as scoring modules, and instructors can use the Instructor Mode to activate the preferred scoring module (AWS D1.1 or ASME.) The pass/fail appears on-screen for relevant passes (scoring modules do not cover all of the available VRTEX 360 welds.)

Many welding codes require bend tests as part of the testing required to qualify welders and welding procedures specifications (WPSs). By adding the bend test to the VRTEX 360, a student can see what causes a bend test to pass or fail. This function also enhances the instructor tool set by reinforcing classroom instruction, and it allows students to pass and fail in a virtual environment before beginning an actual welding project.

The virtual bend test certificate recognizes a student’s achievement on a certain level in training, according to Lincoln Electric.

The VRTEX 360 program, as well as the upgrade, is produced by Lincoln Electric in a continuing development partnership with VRSim, a developer of training software and industrial and academic graphic simulation. Both the program and the upgrade are available for purchase now.

“This upgrade offers additions that build upon the most advanced virtual reality arc welding system and delivers functionality that instructors and students will value immediately,” Deanna Postlethwaite concluded.