Welder training system features reality-based operation

May 19, 2014

Miller Electric Mfg. Co.’s LiveArc™ reality-based training system is designed to recruit, screen, train, and manage welder trainee performance via a live welding arc. The system features advanced motion-tracking technology that provides critical feedback to improve welding skills.

The system promotes trainee independence and learning and allows users to gain the proficiency needed for skilled welding opportunities, the company says. The preweld simulation mode saves money for supplies, such as weld coupons, gas, and wire, and provides a sound welding technique baseline for accelerating training when live arc welding occurs.

Featuring a touchscreen monitor, the system includes company-designed assignments and allows welding instructors to develop additional assignments with customized parameters for specific weld joints and positions.

A 400-amp SmartGun features built-in LEDs that the system’s camera tracks to provide feedback on technique parameters, including work and travel angles, contact-tip-to-work distance (CTWD), travel speed, and aim. The gun’s OLED display screen provides initial feedback to guide the trainee in proper gun position, and integrated push buttons act as a convenient alternative to touchscreen navigation. A joint calibration tool informs the system of the joint location, which allows the user to place the weld coupon in nearly any position.

An intuitive user interface features graphical icons and instructional pop-up messages. The assignment selection screen displays the list of available assignments and offers assignment completion status, a history summary of each assignment, and access to detailed data about performance history. A welding procedure specification (WPS) review screen informs the trainee of proper material selection and preparation, correct power source and wire feeder settings, and target welding technique parameter values. This screen also displays the instructor-determined target score and assignment completion criteria.

After both simulation and weld mode tests, a feedback screen provides trainees with graphical and numerical data as a means to improve individual performance. This screen also provides instructors with monitoring and evaluation capabilities to help build basic welding technique skill sets.

The touchscreen monitor works with a gloved hand, and a protective monitor cover disables the power source when opened. The gun trigger also deactivates in simulation mode, preventing accidental live arc welding; the user must intentionally activate the weld mode to weld.

The system is compatible with any welding system that is capable of producing gas metal arc welding (GMAW), pulsed GMAW (GMAW-P), short-circuiting GMAW (GMAW-S), and gas-shielded flux-cored arc welding (FCAW-G). It is positioned on a rugged ArcStation™ base that ships complete with drawers, gun holder, quick-release clamps, and heavy-duty casters to simplify movement. An optional welding positioning arm is available for training in out-of-position and overhead welding applications.

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