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edison welding institute sparks innovative approach to training welders

The Ohio Department of Development has seven Edison Technology Centers located around the state to provide a variety of product and process innovation and commercialization services to both established and early-stage technology-based businesses.

The Edison Welding Institute (EWI) in Columbus is one of those centers.

EWI recently launched a spinoff company – RealWeld Systems, Inc. (RWS) and unveiled its new product – the RealWeld Trainer.

“For about six years, EWI studied the problem of training welders,” explains Bill Forquer, RWS launch ceo. “It’s really hard to train welders effectively and efficiently. It’s a very skilled trade, and most of the training techniques involve an instructor looking over your shoulder and helping you properly position the torch, guiding the angle and advising how fast you should move. It involves a lot of hand eye coordination, as well as reading and interpreting the specifications for the kind of weld needed.”

The RealWeldTrainer provides the solution to the problem, Forquer says. “It’s the first and only training solution available that digitally records motions and objectively scores welding technique while performing real welds under production conditions.”

He likens the equipment to an airplane pilot simulator. “In the case of the RealWeld Trainer, however, the individual is actually welding,” he explains. “There’s a camera system that measures all your hand motions, angles and speed and records whether you’re using proper technique. It provides that data to you immediately on the screen after you’ve made a weld. It also provides consistency in training.”

He points out that, in addition to training, companies can use the equipment to screen welders before hiring them. According to Forquer, the RealWeld Trainer is state of the art. “It’s truly unique and has no competitors.”

The device costs $35,000, and potential customers include manufacturers who hire and train welders as well as vocational schools and labor unions who train welders. “We have half a dozen early adopter customers we’re working with right now who want to see how it works in their environment,” he notes.
Source:  Bill Forquer, RealWeld Systems
Writer:  Lynne Meyer
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