Community College Opens Virtual Welding Lab to Strengthen Workforce and Skills Training-Portland Press Herald

2021-11-11 08:28:30 By : Mr. Kervin Chan

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A student uses one of the welding simulators in the new virtual welding laboratory at Southern Maine Community College in Brunswick. contribute

Southern Maine Community College announced the opening of a new virtual welding laboratory, allowing students to practice welding on a simulator while learning valuable skills to advance or start their careers.

According to the college, the simulation laboratory is located on the Midcoast campus in Brunswick, allowing students to practice their welding skills virtually on any of the 10 welding simulators, which can enhance their learning experience while saving material costs. This is the first of its kind in the Maine community college system.

The machines were paid for using a $296,000 grant from the Maine Community College System.

"These machines remove the mystery of student performance because their work is measured and they can see the results on the big screen in front of them," said Dean of Workforce Development Jim Whitten at a press conference. "The simulator provides instant feedback, allowing teachers to help students understand welding angles, arc lengths, speeds and other factors to achieve good welding."

The college provides welding courses through its workforce training program, mainly in cooperation with companies that require skilled employees. The college also offers welding courses in its vocational skills courses and credits.

The welding simulator in the virtual welding laboratory is called VRTEX 360 virtual reality welding trainer, manufactured by Lincoln Electric.

When using these machines, students will wear virtual reality headsets to create a scene that contains realistic welding sounds, molten metal, sparks, and polishing as they perform welding operations. When the students complete their welding exercises, the machine will score their welding skills and record the amount of material they use each time they weld. The welding exercise can also be replayed so that students and teachers can determine what has been done well and what has gone wrong.

According to the college, these machines also save costs, because students do not waste raw materials when they learn how to solder for the first time.

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