Oil rigs, sea wind turbines, offshore gas pipelines – they certainly mean a dangerous work environment and a need for safe and thorough employee training. It has always been a challenge for this industry. Nowadays this industry is facing an increasing demand for it since investments in offshore installations are constantly growing. To meet the challenge, it is worth reaching for the latest training technology – virtual reality (VR).
VR brings a lot of advantages to employees’ training and eliminates all the risks at the same time. This is also true for other sectors, e.g. ports or constructions.
Let’s now focus on the advantages that VR can bring to the offshore sector.
The advantages of VR training for the offshore sector are as follows:
- Safe training. VR trains real skills in the virtual world, which means that there are no life risks for the trainees.
- Possibility to train dangerous scenarios. Thanks to the VR training we have a chance to not only learn difficult procedures, e.g. mooring, but also learn how to face life-threatening accidents.
- No operations breaks. VR training does not cause any breaks in everyday operations, because neither real equipment nor machine is needed to take the course.
- Shorter and more effective training. VR can take your trainees wherever you want to. They can train their offshore profession while in a lecture room or even at home. Nowadays companies mix the old type of training with VR – the first lessons are taken in VR and the remaining part, when a trainee is well accustomed to a machine, is on a real one.
- Quicker training of more employees. VR can train more people at the same time compared to the regular type of training. This is extremely important because the offshore sector desperately needs more and more people.
- Lower price. VR training is cheaper than conventional training requiring place and real equipment.
VR trainings already in use
Virtual reality trainings are already in place. Take for example numerous health and safety trainings, developed by our sister company, Flint Tech.
One of the most particular examples is Triage VR allowing for practicing emergency medicine on accident scenes. A trainee puts the goggles on and grabs the VR controllers. Then they will see the scenario that a trainer has prepared. The trainer can choose between several features such as, sceneries, as well as number, type, and the conditions of casualties. The trainee “arrives” on the scene and has to go through all the Triage steps.
The second example, Redbox, is a customized application with a training scenario of extinguishing a single-family house. A trainee firefighter needs just to put on the goggles. The scenario has multiple options to choose from – an instructor can choose where the fire is located, what is a source of fire (e.g. a pan fire), and people that need to be rescued (e.g. the little girl and where is she located). The training takes place in two composite containers that simulate the house.
But the offshore sector can benefit not only from the health and safety VR courses.
VR training simulators – solution for the offshore sector
Flint Systems specializes in a very particular part of the virtual industrial training – a simulator training.
A VR training simulator consists of two parts – software and hardware. Software is simply an application that contains virtual twin of any type of vehicle in VR. It can be a crane, forklift, excavator, train, or ship. A virtual machine has all the characteristics of its real counterpart. Hardware, on the other side, includes VR goggles, a motion platform, joysticks, a steering wheel, pedals, or any other element that we need to replicate the real machine. All these elements are integrated with the application. Together they create a fully immersive experience.
Our simulators are already used by several clients. One of our first is New Competencies Centre (CNK) – a training center providing professional operators’ training for the port sector. We have already delivered a series of simulators to CNK where they serve for training of port professionals since 2019. Since then (as of August 2022), we have created and added to our portfolio at least eight different virtual twin machines for various clients – tower crane, ship to shore gantry crane (STS), deck crane, RTG, forklift, mobile crane, rail crane, reachstacker. We are also working on other ones, like crew transfer vessel and spaceship.
These simulators can be ordered “off the shelf” and the time of delivery is very short – up to three months. We can also design a simulator of a completely new machine, dedicated to the client’s needs.
Crew Transfer Vessel VR simulator from Flint Systems
Flint Systems is currently working on a CTV simulator. It will be ready in December 2022 and was ordered by our well-known client – LKK/New Competencies Center.
The project includes creating a software application of a CTV, integrated with 3DOF (3 degrees of freedom) hardware platform. The simulator will be based on a realistic simulation in accordance with the physical parameters of the ship’s behavior and the environment in which it will operate, i.e. the influence of waves, water currents, wind and other weather conditions.
Flint Systems will provide a complete system not only to reflect the described conditions, but also to modify them in terms of training. We will reflect, among others influence of external factors on the CTV boat and we will use an extensive weather configuration system (wind, sea currents, waves, time of day, rainfall, fog). These conditions will simulate specificity of conditions on a real basin (i.e. wave and wind characteristics of Baltic Sea).
The simulator will serve as a tool for training highly qualified staff as the need for them is growing – for Polish newly built wind farms and overseas ones alike.