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PCC Welding students benefit from Duke Energy Foundation grant

Published Thursday, October 17, 2019
by Elizabeth Townsend

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Students in Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Welding program are now training on a state-of-the-art equipment that uses virtual reality technology. Through a Duke Energy Foundation grant, PCC was able to purchase two simulators. One will be housed on the Person County Campus and the other will assist students in the Caswell Correctional Center (CCC).

The AugmentedArc Reality Welding Training System by Miller is said to be the industry's most realistic welding simulation solution for classroom training, blending real-world and computer-generated images into a unique, augmented reality environment.

Using the new simulators, PCC instructors can create a virtual classroom with customized curriculum, quizzes, and weld exercises. In fact, the software provides immediate feedback on users' techniques, thus quickly correcting errors, reinforcing proper welding practices, and accelerating skill advancement.

PCC students Chandler Moore (with helmet) learns how to operate PCC’s new welding simulatorWith the help of a training specialist, students and instructors discovered how to set-up and convert the new simulator, allowing for various welding methods, including TIG, MIG, and Stick or Arc Welding, to be experienced via the virtual reality equipment.

The simulator’s helmet includes an external optical sensor that captures and sends coded images to the computer. A 3-D image is then generated of metalwork pieces, augmenting them into a real-world environment.

When one student is using the simulator, other students have the opportunity to view the weld on screen. During the weld, the equipment will offer instructions through the helmet. These corrections, as well as indicators that the students is on target, as also viewable for other to see, encouraging students to learn from one another.

In addition to helping students refine their welding skills in a simulated environment, the equipment delivers a green training solution, thus saving the program money on consumable materials.

PCC's goal is to increase the number of students with Welding certifications, strengthening the local workforce using technology. This real world instruction provides opportunities for employment for all students within PCC’s Welding program, including those housed at CCC. In fact, a recent job search revealed over 90 welding related jobs available within 25 miles of Person and Caswell counties.

About PCC’s Welding Program
PCC’s Welding Technology program provides students with a sound understanding of the science, technology, and applications essential for successful employment in the welding and metal industry.

Instruction includes consumable and non-consumable electrode welding and cutting processes. Courses in math, blueprint reading, metallurgy, welding inspection, and destructive and non-destructive testing provides the student with industry-standard skills developed through classroom training and practical application.

To learn more, visit or contact Walter Montgomery, Dean of Technical and Occupational programs, at (336) 322-2258 or

PCC students Justin Neathery and Chandler Moore (with helmet) learns how to operate PCC’s new welding simulator.

Justin Neathery learns new simulator-web.JPG