Behind the Shop Doors Blog

Advanced Manufacturing Blog

Virtual Welding: Hawkeye's Exciting, New Tool For Training

Posted by Brittany Jungck on Mar 21, 2012 10:33:00 AM

This is the 21st century, and technology is king.  Teenagers spend more time on video game systems and Facebook than they do actually talking to their parents.  Adults are so tied to their cell phones, we are texting at stop lights and e-mailing during our kids' soccer games.  Our televisions shows are recorded and watched without commercials, and we stream Pandora to get a lot of the best music.  What many people are surprised to find is the HUGE role technology also plays in manufacturing.

Manufacturing is a highly-technical operation with computers and software managing the production process.  When asked to describe manufacturing, however, many people still picture dark, dirty rooms and people slinging hammers.  This is not an attractive picture for those considering a job in manufacturing, so virtual welding technology has become a valuable tool to introduce this often-intimidating trade to the public, including the teachers and parents who influence the future workforce. describe the image

Through the help of a grant from the US Department of Labor, Hawkeye Community College has been able to purchase Vertex  360 virtual welding systems from Lincoln Electric.  These systems simulate the welding experience in a completely safe environment and with an element of fun!  Participants put on the welding helmet and are instantly transported to another world:  a military base in Iraq, the top of a high rise construction project, or a lab booth in their favorite welding facility.  Then, they are invited to use GMAW or stick welding to complete a project weld  (a variety of sizes and shapes are available) and are instantly scored.

The great part about this technology is that they whole room can watch while the welder completes his/her activity and watch the welding live on a video screen!  This makes welding an engaging activity, competitive for the best score, and educational as the group learns the qualities and techniques that make the best welds. 

And another fabulous bonus?  No materials are used.  So, it is great for the environment!

Our students, schools, and community have fallen in love with this new technology and Hawkeye Community College is proud to be a leader in the State of Iowa for utilizing virtual welding to help draw more people to this exciting career opportunity.

Are you interested in becoming a welding student and getting access to this technology?  Look to the program by visiting this link: Welding at Hawkeye

Is your high school interested in visiting Hawkeye Community College to tour our welding program and sample this technology?  Contact Brittany Jungck, Advanced Manufacturing Coordinator via e-mail:


Topics: Careers in manufacturing, industrial technology, New equipment, Welding