ESAB has supplied 10 state-of-the-art ESAB Rebel multi-process welding machines to equip a new welding workshop at The JCB Academy for training apprentices and for evening classes that are open to members of the public.
The JCB Academy is an innovative school for students aged 14–18 with an interest in engineering and/or business. It was established in 2010 and is governed by a charitable trust, established by JCB. A significant part of the academy is the apprenticeship training centre. Employers, including JCB, Michelin, Alpha Manufacturing / Bri-Stor Systems, Orbital Gas Systems and Continental use the training centre to develop their apprentices.
As part of their training programme, apprentices have to pass practical tests in MIG and MMA (stick) welding and have an understanding of TIG welding. In 2016 the academy wanted to enhance its welding training so it converted part of its main building into a new 16-bay welding workshop. Although it already had eight Thermal Arc multi-process welders, more machines were needed. Rather than buy the same model again, it was decided to seek out the latest machines available in order that the apprentices could learn to weld using equipment that is a closer to match to what they will encounter in industry. Following a conversation with ESAB, it became apparent that the new Rebel multi-process welder would be well suited for The JCB Academy’s needs.
The Rebel EMP 215ic is a compact, portable, 120/230V, CC/CV, MIG/ MMA/TIG welding system that offers powerful multi-process performance with the added benefit of a ground-breaking operator interface. Furthermore, a special sMIG (smart MIG) function enables users to begin MIG welding – with a very stable arc and little or no spatter – just by setting the material thickness and wire diameter. Unlike competitive units, there is no need to enter information about the shielding gas mix.
Every apprentice will gain experience with the Rebel machines for MIG, MMA and TIG welding, and people who enrol for evening classes will also benefit from using the Rebels. Matthew Haines, the Apprentice Learner Manager at The JCB Academy, comments: “Time constraints meant that we were not able to try a Rebel before we purchased the 10 units, but I am extremely pleased with them. They have improved our welding facility substantially, which benefits the academy, apprentices and employers. The machines help to bridge the gap in technology that often occurs with training institutions and industry. We now have the latest in design and digital screens, which makes it easier for apprentices to transfer their skills to industrial equivalents. As we can now train them on how to access the machine set-up and welding parameters, this should deepen their understanding of the thermal arc process.
“In addition, the modern inverter-based power delivery of these welders helps to reduce energy consumption over older transformer-based welders, so apprentices should be less intimidated when confronted with welders in the factories because of their similarities to the Rebels.”
Since the Rebels were installed in September for the start of the new academic year, they have been heavily used five days per week. Nevertheless, Matthew Haines confirms that there have been no breakdowns or technical problems. He also reports that the apprentices appreciate having the user manual available on the machine, accessible via the colour display, as it encourages them to experiment and deepen their knowledge of the machines and the welding processes. With their smartphone-like displays, the Rebels have proved very user-friendly and popular.
In closing, Matthew Haines states: “The Rebel welders came direct from ESAB through their representative Paul Morrison, who was brilliant at responding to our time scale for commissioning the new welding shop. I have confidence that he is only a phone call away and will sort any queries/problems we may have. I have been so impressed with the product and service that the next welder I buy for home use will be a Rebel.”
For more information about the Rebel multi-process welding machine from ESAB Group, go to www.esab.com.