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Deanna Postlethwaite, marketing manager of the automation division at The Lincoln Electric Co., Cleveland, explains how virtual-reality technology can help train welders

postlethwaiteBy Gretchen Salois

April 2011 – FFJournal: How and why was virtual welding technology developed?

Postlethwaite: The original product was developed in coordination with the Navy Joining Center, Edison Welding Institute and VRSim. The goal was to come up with a solution to reduce welding defects in critical welding applications like submarines welded at Electric Boat Co., a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp. VRSim, a virtual-reality company based in Connecticut, designed SimWelder to meet those needs. Lincoln purchased the intellectual property for the welding portion of SimWelder and continues to have a development partnership with VRSim on the Lincoln Electric Vrtex 360.

Lincoln Electric and VRSim made dramatic changes to adjust the system. The team changed the way the product looked and behaved, ensuring instructors and operators would train and learn how to set up, interact and weld as close to real welding as possible. It was placed in a real welding machine case and includes the steps necessary to set up a real welding machine, according to a welding procedure specification. We also focused the team of Lincoln Electric and VRSim on creating a realistic welding puddle in order to teach students what to look for while welding.

READ MORE of this illuminating interview: http://www.ffjournal.net/item/10157-virtual-tools.html