The Cranfield University utilizes Virtual Reality for Welding Training
Founded in 1949 as the College of Aeronautics in Cranfield, UK, the Cranfield University is one of the leading institutions in Engineering and Aeronautics Development in England. It runs Postgraduate educational programs from various fields, focusing on Aviation, Manufacturing, Machinery, and Defense Research.
The Cranfield Welding and Additive Manufacture Centre focuses on fundamental and applied research and development of welding techniques and additive manufacture for advanced materials. Their main focus is on robotic and mechanized processing. Educational Programs of the Welding and Additive Manufacture Centre is focused on the education of young engineers in understanding fundamentals of modern welding processes and modern aspects of manufacturing, including robotics and sensors. In the modern manufacturing context there is a very little emphasis on Manual Welding due to the requirement of high productivity and repeatability. “Apart from designing and developing new joining processes and applications, we are mostly focused on fully automated, intelligent robotic welding and additive manufacture with integrated process monitoring, where the automation plays the most important role” - says Mr. Wojciech Suder, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University Welding and Additive Manufacture Centre.
“Until recently, we haven’t really dedicated much time and emphasis to Manual Welding like MIG/MAG, as the focus not to train qualified welders, which is time consuming and costly, but rather on teaching the wholistic approach to material-process-properties chain. However, over time we have realized that Manual Welding is a very important competence as it allows students to appreciate the difficulty of the control of a synergic welding process. Thanks to Dig In Vision and their VR - Live Welding Simulator we can now safely and efficiently train students on the control and handling of manual MIG/MAG welding process in a safe and accessible way without the need for costly material and consumable waste. This prepares them better for set-up and operation of automated processes. Students can try VR Welding, to see how the process works and what it is used for and it helps us to explain the influence of different variables on the process characteristics. It’s amazing, we can now show in VR reality everything that we have explained in the classroom! We have enhanced the real life experience without any effort investing in expensive facilities” - expands Mr. Suder.
With six (6) months in use, the Dig In Vision VR - Live Welding Simulator runs as the Experimental Pilot Program to support our Welding Engineering Master Programme. Obviously we cannot replace the real machine experience but we acknowledge that the VR is the future and will be looking into more opportunities from this modern digital technology (VR) to enhance our training efforts at Cranfield University.