Control cabinet training without power failure in Virtual Reality
When it comes to training employees, most people think of classrooms with computers or boring e-learning questionnaires. Virtual reality is changing this in companies. For Pfalzwerke Netz AG, the high-tech start-up ZREALITY has developed a training solution for training at medium-voltage switchgear, thus opening up undreamt-of opportunities for the company in the training of employees.
Anyone who hasn’t just studied electrical engineering thinks of simple boxes on construction sites when it comes to control cabinets. At Pfalzwerke Netz AG things are naturally more professional. This is about the safe and reliable supply of energy to the citizens – and mistakes are unacceptable.unacceptable.
This is why the training of employees is very important. However, the training is not always easy, since switchgear is difficult to access and cannot be changed during live operation, as otherwise the power would fail in entire regions. In the past, employee training courses were therefore conducted using traditional media such as texts, pictures, schematic drawings or videos to familiarize employees with the system.
However, Pfalzwerke did not want to settle for this and were constantly looking for new innovative technologies to make employee training more efficient and successful. Pfalzwerke therefore contacted Zreality GmbH, the XR High-Tech start-up from Kaiserslautern, to develop a solution.
Therefore the training of employees is very important. However, the training is not always easy, since changes cannot be made to switchgear during live operation, which could cause power failures in entire regions. The only possibility for new employees is to learn the switching operations in daily business, which is a very tedious process due to the large number of different switchgear types and the different switching operations.
The result is a VR learning app for training employees on medium-voltage switchgear. The app displays a course program of switching operations that the user can easily select. The user has to select a tool, then perform the switching operations and receives feedback on the procedure and errors and is supported live by the trainer. “Simplicity was extremely important,” says Frank Münder, a project member at Pfalzwerke Netz AG, “which is why we decided on mobile data glasses (Oculus Go). It is easy and intuitive to use and our employees are very impressed with the solution”.
The long-term goal of the VR Learning app is to speed up the training of the switching process and the procedure for trainees. The application is intended to give young fitters the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of switchgear types in a short period of time, to “experience” their specific operation and also to introduce them to the most varied switching requirements. This should enable you to obtain switching authorisation much more quickly. Of course, fault simulation also plays an important role.
Michael Neidhöfer, CEO of Zreality, says: “Training in VR is much more successful because people learn much faster in a real, visual and interactive environment than in simple online training. Many of our customers say that learning content simply “sticks” better and is more fun. We even have customers who are about to abandon traditional learning platforms and want to focus entirely on VR training”.
The solution was only a first test and due to the positive feedback they now want to extend the solution to more topics and content. “One problem is the creation of content,” says Dr. Ingolf Quint, authorized signatory and head of the Network Services department at Pfalzwerke Netz AG. “With its Sphere platform, however, Zreality offers us a content management system for VR with which we can expand our course programs ourselves in the future and maintain the content.