Virtual reality training systems utilize a three dimensional environment in which a human can interact. Physical interfaces, such as tools, amplify the feeling of performing a task. Virtual reality simulators are most commonly used for training military pilots; but, the technology can also be applied to manufacturing or maintenance tasks that are hazardous, dangerous or have high material costs. "Using developments in both virtual reality technology and the gaming industry, VRSim will create a new simulation that will be cost effective and green," said Matthew Wallace, President & CEO of VRSim. "Our aim is to utilize technology and to stretch training dollars, so we develop each system with the bottom line cost in mind," Wallace stated.
VRSim was the first company to produce a cost effective virtual reality system for training welders. SimWelderTM augments traditional training methods by providing significantly more passes to students and giving instructors objective feedback. Using SimWelder, students enter an interactive virtual environment that merges computer generated data with physical props, including a welding helmet, GMAW torch, and SMAW device (which retracts to simulate the burn off of an electrode). VRSim introduced SimWelder in 2003 and later installed multiple systems at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds. In 2008 VRSim introduced a portable version of SimWelder for organizations needing to take welding classes to the students for financial, logistical or geographic reasons. By mid 2009, 139 SimWelders were sold worldwide.
The Lincoln Electric Company, the world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of arc welding products, recently acquired VRSim’s welding technology. Together, the companies produced the next generation virtual reality welding simulator. Lincoln Electric launched the VRTEX 360 Virtual Reality Arc Welding Trainer at the 2009 Fabtech AWS show.
"Having SimWelder technology powering the VRTEX360 is a strong testament to the realism and effectiveness produced using virtual reality for detailed or hazardous manufacturing and industrial work," said Wallace. "We are a short time away from announcing VRSim’s next virtual reality trainer for manufacturing and industry. We will continue to press the envelope and provide cost effective applications that utilize the best technology has to offer."