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Virtual world of trade training

Virtual world of trade training

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Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) has always had a reputation for being the leading trade training organisation in the Wellington Region. Now WelTec is taking trades into the 21st century with a new range of high-tech simulation equipment.

Earlier this year, WelTec introduced a highly sophisticated Autotronics Lab, with simulated automotive diagnostic capabilities. Recently, WelTec purchased a Virtual Spray Painting Simulator and a Virtual Welder is next on the agenda.

With game-like appeal, the Virtual Spray Simulator features a spray painting gun with high pressure/low volume options, laptop with virtual software, a projector and screen. “They have taken all of the components from a spray gun and electrically wired it” says WelTec painting tutor, Malcolm Rankin. “You can make all the normal adjustments you’d make with a normal gun but the results appear on screen.”

Purchased from the United States, the system is the only one of its kind in the country, like the Autotronics Lab. The benefits are two-fold, allowing students to learn how to spray paint more effectively and in a more environmentally friendly manner without typical paint wastage.

“The Virtual Spray Painting Simulator appeals to young people because it looks like a video game. It’s fabulous, so clean, there is no mess. Visually it shows how students perform by measuring transfer efficiency showing micron build – the amount of paint film you can get in the substrate.

“Often students are worried they will make a mess of their painting when they first start out - now their inhibitions are gone. If they make a mistake, they can press a button and start again. Students can perfect their technique and move onto a real gun with confidence.”

Malcolm says this type of system is so important in a training environment because it greatly reduces the environmental impact, with so many chemical toxins found in paint. “There is a lot of wastage in the industry because people don’t know how to spray correctly. With bounce-back spray, painters end up using a lot of paint they didn’t have to. Only 50% of paint that would be sprayed on a car actually goes on the vehicle. With this system, you can actually see the wastage - you don’t have that benefit with a normal spray gun.”

Both WelTec painting and auto-refinishing classes will utilize the equipment throughout their studies. “This system cuts down on a huge amount of waste and it’s much better for the environment. It really is the high-tech thinking we’ve come to see at WelTec.”


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