Career center introduces virtual welder

LISBON – With the gas and oil industry needing more welders, the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center is looking at more ways to help students better learn the skills needed to land those jobs.

Mike Boyles, an instructor with the welding program, presented a virtual welding program to the board. The computerized program allows students to weld digitally, wearing a helmet and with tools similar to what is used in the actual welding lab. However, instead of making their beginning mistakes while using costly equipment and materials, students learn how to position both the gun and their body, then to utilize angles and travel speeds to create the strongest welds.

When they begin, students can use the program – the Weldometer – which tells them when things are progressing properly. Later, that feature can be turned of and the program then grades their welding giving them areas where they need to improve and shows what techniques they have mastered. Students receive feedback instantly and can challenge themselves to improve.

Additionally, Boyles pointed out welding virtually is fun and interesting to students, who spend a lot of time involved in video games and technology in their daily lives.