Hypertherm has introduced its first commercial curriculum specifically for plasma cutting and gouging.

Created with input from welding instructors, “Plasma Cutting Technology: Theory and Practice” includes lessons and exercises, presentation slides, a facilitator’s guide, and models of plasma torches and consumables for classroom use. In addition to traditional classroom instruction, the 10-hour curriculum incorporates multimedia platforms with hands-on exercises and training to accommodate students with a range of learning styles.

According to Hypertherm, the teachers who provided input into the curriculum are pleased with the end result.

“The curriculum is usable, up-to-date, and contains the right academic information and hands-on exercises. I highly recommend it,” said David Gilliam, the director of training at the Tulsa Welding School.

Michael Pike, a welding instructor in New Hampshire, agrees.

 “I’ve been welding and using plasma for over 35 years and this is the best teaching aid I’ve ever seen. I expect it will keep my students fully focused,” he said.

“Learning how to cut with plasma is a standard part of most any welding program. Yet until now, no standard curriculum for teaching plasma even existed,” said Christopher Lorio, Hypertherm’s director of global customer training. “This meant the training and information students were receiving could vary widely.”

“Plasma Cutting Technology: Theory and Practice” covers what plasma is and how it cuts metal, common industrial uses for plasma systems, the differences between various cutting methods, proper setup and operation, proper consumable installation and usage, how to evaluate cut quality and how to execute a variety of cuts and gouges.

This curriculum is part of an initiative by Hypertherm to support the teaching of plasma cutting to tomorrow’s work force. Many industries such as manufacturing and construction rely heavily on skilled welders who can cut and weld metal, yet the United States is suffering from a significant welder shortage, Hypertherm representatives said. The problem is compounded by the average age of current welders. Many are nearing retirement and expected to leave the work force in coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the country will need 450,000 welders by 2014.

The curriculum, available exclusively through Hypertherm authorized gas and welding distributors, is designed for welding instructors at both the high school and college level, union and military trainers, in-house training departments, welding and cutting distributors who want to offer customer training, and leaders of student organizations such as Future Farmers of America. Special educational pricing on both the curriculum and Hypertherm Powermax systems is available.