How does it work?
By use of a head mounted display and a set of controllers, the user is placed in a virtual environment where they can practice, learn and improve their skills. The user will enter a scenario in which they have to perform a set of tasks to reach a goal. The scenario depends on the type of training.
Benefits of virtual training for operational excellence
Companies are transforming rapidly towards industry 4.0 with an ever-growing need for skilled workers. They are hard to find and training them is costly and time consuming. Training workers virtually is the next big step in training personnel towards operational excellence.
- A reduction of incidents; operators know what to do and how to handle from experience they gained.
- Reduce training costs; companies can save on travel, lodging and training location expenses. Next to that, there are fewer guiding hours of experience personnel required. Lastly, the chance of collateral damage of machines, tooling and parts is reduced.
- Increase production capacity; trainees can perform handlings without disturbing the production process. Therefore, the risk of machine downtime caused by human error is avoided.
- Remote training; the ability to train operators everywhere around globe at any time that suits their work schedule.
- Speed up the learning curve; apprentices become senior operators in a shorter amount of time with a broader skillset due to the ability to train a variety of processes in a shorter amount of time.
- Learning by doing; trainees are often educated with theory and not by learning handlings. Learning by doing is more effective than reading a manual or watching a video. Research points out that the retention rate (how much we remember of what we have learned after a while) of watching a video is as low as 30%. Learning by doing has a retention rate of 80%. And it fits best with the way most technical people learn.
Training application types
There are three different training applications; operational training, operational incident training and maintenance training.
Operational training on CNC machines can start long before a machine is being used in production, simply by training in Virtual Reality. This allows production to continue, as there is no need to put it on hold while training new employees.
Operational incident training addresses the possible dangers within a machining process. It will make employees aware of these situations. Maintenance training puts the focus on CNC machine manufacturers. Machine manufacturers and service engineers often face challenges with service and maintenance issues around the globe. Service engineers are required to travel long distances while local service engineers are available. These on-site engineers, however, often do not have the required expertise to do maintenance work. By using Virtual Reality training, local maintenance crews can be trained and deployed for specific maintenance and service operations, without the need of an expert service engineer on site.
The VR training application can also differ in VR techniques. It can vary between 360 Video till interactive VR. By using 360Video you can create quickly a virtual environment, but you can’t interact with this virtual environment. With interactive VR it takes more time, and money, to develop. With this kind of techniques the possibilities are also way bigger.
Types of learning with VR Training
We distinguish different ways of learning with VR training:
- VR instruction: the student is learning the order of actions to execute a procedure. The student remembers (and understands) the guideline of a specific task. He is guided with a voice over and a high-light of the object of the interaction.
- VR Training: the student can make mistakes in the VR training and gets specific feedback on his actions. He can learn on a higher level and develops an understanding of the procedure.
- VR scenario Training: by applying variations into the situations, several fault scenarios and specific technical malfunctions can be trained. The base of a VR training scenario is a VR Training.
- VR assessment: by grant scores to the different faults, or the time of performing certain actions, people can automatically and objectively be assessed.
The type of hardware that is required to have a virtual reality experience depends on the application and context.
Some head mounted displays have an integrated GPU that can run applications without the necessity of a PC or base stations for tracking. For the purpose of virtual training a more advanced virtual reality headset and pc is required.
Reliable and often used systems in industry is the HTC Vive Pro and the Oculus Rift S. These system are connected by wire or wireless to a PC and requires at least two base stations for tracking. The headset has two front cameras that can be enabled to see the real-world environment. It also has a decent pair of headphones for audio. Many businesses use this system, for example HTC offers the Vive Enterprise Advantage system. This includes advanced device management, premium service and expedited return and replacement.