Modern ways in welding education using computer-based training systems
The GSI SLV welding trainer system is a computerised welding simulator. The system was developed at SLV Halle GmbH by engineers and welding instructors, and is manufactured at SLV Halle. SLV Halle itself and its distributors outside Germany market and sell the trainer system.
Classical welder training usually sees each trainee in a welder cabin on the first day. Trainees are shown the respective welding power source and how to make their first beads, and the trainees try their hand at lighting an arc and melting the filler material. It mainly takes a trainee motor skills to light the arc and hold it at a constant length, keep to a certain welding speed, and hold the torch at the right angle to the metal. Experience has shown that these first few steps cost a substantial amount of base and filler materials, possibly tungsten electrodes, shielding gas, and electrical power.
The welding trainer system opens a host of new opportunities for practical welder training, especially in the initial phase.
Trainees learn the basic movements with a real arc at very low power so the “welding samples” can be used in a large number of exercises. A computer-based camera and measurement system monitor the main parameters of the movement sequence – welding speed, arc length, torch angle – as the trainee works, signalling any deviations that may arise. The welding trainer system works by registering key operational parameters during the trainee’s “welding process,” signalling irregularities and storing the parameters. Adjustable parameter tolerances allow adjustments to each trainee’s current skill level. When a trainee breaches the tolerance limits, an acoustic signal sounds until the trainee moves back to within tolerance while the measurements for the three main welding parameters are recorded. This allows the trainees and instructors to review training progress at the end of the “welding process” for themselves.
Further development focused heavily on strategies in teaching methodology using the GSI SLV welding trainer system in welder training. This included improving human-machine communication – that is, communication between a future welder and the welding trainer system to ensure a fully-fledged training programme in step with each trainee’s level of training achievement, eventually enabling each trainee to work with the welding trainer system on his or her own.
The welding trainer system automatically decides whether a trainee should repeat an exercise or move onto a more demanding exercise depending on the trainee’s level of achievement and points earned. This allows each trainee to be guided through the training programme in an independent and targeted approach without the need for outside intervention.
Another important aspect for consideration is that the IIW guidelines recommend welding trainer systems in welder training.