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Harry Daglas

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The business value of simulation in employee training pt2

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In the concluding part of this feature, Harry Daglas continues his look at how the energy industry is pushing forward with 3D and simulation in training.

Maximize workflow and utilization of resources with detailed planning and coordinated work schedules

Properly executing planned operational and maintenance procedures is the critical function of scheduling – that is, the development of timelines, asset utilization resource allocations and personnel requirements. Scheduling takes this into account as a basis for construction and process planning, operations and maintenance tasks, and personnel assignments. Effective scheduling requires output on individual task durations, equipment needs, and resource requirements. Leverage existing schedule and resource information created in standard applications (such as Primavera or MS Project) by importing it to the project’s 3D work breakdown structure (WBS), which combines information on timelines, activities and resources. Linking the schedule to the 3D WBS and the 3D process simulation model creates an animated, time-based 4D representation (3D plus the variable of time) that enables users to more easily visualize and understand operations and timelines. In this way, scenarios can be rearranged to more readily spot conflicts, find an optimal critical path and develop an optimized schedule taking all interrelated operations and processes into account. This approach is far better than conventional static, paper-based scheduling schemes that are difficult to interpret and hard to relate to actual plant operations. Cost as a fifth dimension can be added to the simulation.
"Virtual reality (VR) training systems create a lifelike, immersive environment that adds another dynamic dimension to 3D simulations. VR technologies enable users to interact with computer-simulated equipment and surroundings in lifelike realism."
In advanced systems, scheduling software is often coupled with process planning simulations in an integrated solution that optimizes schedules for day-to-day plant operations as well as periodic maintenance tasks. By iterating with process planning in evaluating various ‘what-if’ scenarios, the scheduling solution analyses alternative sequences and arrives at an optimized master schedule. This output is invaluable to project managers and others in determining budgets, manpower requirements, critical timelines and operating efficiencies.

 

Promote safety, lower risk of mistakes and eliminate disruption of work with virtual training

After optimal maintenance scenarios and related work schedules are developed, companies can save and capitalize on this captured knowledge: replaying the simulations as needed, easily making changes to adapt to different conditions, and leveraging the information throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant.
Reusing and leveraging the operations and maintenance planning simulations for virtual training purposes is of particular value. Planning and training can be done separately, but tightly integrating these two functions within a single-platform vendor environment is the most efficient approach for creating training scenarios and ensuring they reflect current operations and maintenance planning procedures in a safe environment. Virtual reality guides workers through procedures interactively, indicating when they’re wrong and showing them correct sequences of operations.
Virtual reality (VR) training systems create a lifelike, immersive environment that adds another dynamic dimension to 3D simulations. VR technologies enable users to interact with computer-simulated equipment and surroundings in lifelike realism. Most of these applications are used in worker training, where some of the most advanced systems use 360-degree wrap-around theatres with photorealistic imagery viewed with stereoscopic glasses. Multiple speakers generate high-fidelity sound effects to familiarize workers with the harsh and sometimes subtle sounds found on the actual jobsite.
"Companies in the diverse energy industry are leveraging simulation technology to ensure workers are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to work safely in an unforgiving environment."
Head-mounted goggles track head and eye movements, allowing the system to recognize where users are focusing their attention in the overall scene. In this way, workers can be trained off-site using VR without disrupting normal work routines or exposing them to the hazards of performing an untried or unfamiliar task in a real-life setting.
In any of these systems, different maintenance and operations scenarios can be easily performed without workers being on the actual plant/rig site. Workers can gain familiarization with the plant or pipeline layout, equipment operation, walking paths and evacuation routes and memorize the location of safety devices. Workers can learn specific operations and maintenance procedures such as plant start-up and shut-down, equipment maintenance, inspection and replacement so they are immediately productive. A report issued at the end of virtual reality training indicates which tasks were successfully performed and which mistakes were made so employees can be 'coached up' on individual skills while the company is able to create regulatory documentation.

Conclusion

Companies in the diverse energy industry are leveraging simulation technology to ensure workers are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to work safely in an unforgiving environment. These organizations are increasing productivity and lowering costs by better planning operations and maintenance procedures, maximizing workflow and utilization of resources with detail and coordinated scheduling and making plants safer and more efficient with comprehensive simulation-based training. The business value of these applications are immense in reducing the costs of non-productive time measured in hundreds of millions of dollars annually and avoiding the billions of dollars lost every year in this complex industry due to operating inefficiencies.

Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Its world-leading solutions transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported. The group brings value to over 150,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 80 countries.

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The value of simulation in employee training pt1

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