Making Power Plant Operator Training Safer, Quicker and More Effective

Power Plant Operator Training

Making Power Plant Operator Training Safer, Quicker and More Effective

Hands-on power plant operator training is vital to maintain power generation equipment and ensure the plant’s and its personnel’s efficiency and safety. Increased demand for electricity by South Africa’s industries and the general public requires upgrading existing facilities and investing in desperately needed additional infrastructure. Such plans automatically increase the need for operatives with the relevant skills and experience.

Unfortunately, many of the country’s most experienced personnel are nearing retirement age or have already retired. While some of these older employees could be retained as mentors, conventional on-the-job training is lengthy and could incur significant risks to health and safety. So, what is the solution? Is there some way to speed up the learning process and make it safer and more effective? At SimGenics, we specialise in developing training solutions that comply with these essential criteria.

A 3D Simulator Can Offer an Alternative to Conventional Power Plant Operator Training

Anyone who has played video games regularly will probably have experienced occasions when they became so involved with the action that they lost all track of time. Just as a software programme can simulate a first-person F1 experience, a firefight or an encounter with a fire-breathing dragon, it can also generate an interactive replica of the various control panels in a fossil-fuel or nuclear-powered generating plant. The result is a fully immersive learning environment that is every bit as compelling as Gran Turismo or Call of Duty.

Before NASA could entrust its astronauts to dock a shuttle with the International Space Station, they are required to undergo hours of simulated training until they master every detail of each step of this complex and dangerous manoeuvre. In the build-up to the successful 1969 mission, they employed the same technology to train the Apollo 17 lunar landing module crew. 3D Field simulators helped protect equipment costing billions of dollars and the lives of the brave people they taught.

Given that, every year, coal-, oil- and gas-fired power plants are the site of thousands of injuries, many of which are fatal, it seems the generating industry’s trainers could benefit by taking a leaf from NASA’s playbook.

Creating Simulations for Power Plant Operator Training

One can often obtain generic training simulations from equipment manufacturers and specialised software developers. However, the more closely a computer-generated scenario resembles your live workplace, the more effective it will likely be. SimGenics is a leader in the development of simulation for training in numerous fields, including mining, petrochemicals, marine operations and desalination. However, we are probably best known for our contributions to in-house practical training in the power generation industry.

We offer our clients the choice of a bespoke simulator developed with 3D PACT or the option to purchase this game-based software and undertake the development in-house. The package provides the benefit of an intuitive, user-friendly interface while eliminating the need for programming or scripting.

To create the desired training scenario, the user can employ 3-dimensional CAD/CAM images rendered from a laser scan of the actual workplace. If necessary, SimGenics can perform the scanning process on your behalf. Alternatively, you might prefer to draw on the range of ready-made 3D objects stored in the software’s extensive built-in library. The latter includes various control panels and all the other standard components required to create a site-specific training simulator. Functionality can be added using built-in, ready-coded apps. In addition, a choice of avatars helps to create a more engaging first-party experience for the trainee.

Six Benefits of Employing a Simulator for Power Plant Operator Training

  1. Realistic Scenarios: Simulations offer a convincing reproduction of routine and emergency workplace tasks enabling learners to practice an action repeatedly in a risk-free environment.
  2. Improved Safety: Eliminating direct interaction with a plant’s control systems by inexperienced personnel avoids the risk of accidents and injuries to trainees and other personnel and damage to vital equipment.
  3. Less Downtime: When learners can practice their tasks on a simulator, there is no need to interrupt a plant’s routine operations to provide live on-the-job instruction.
  4. A Personalised Option: The technology allows trainers to customise a scenario for a given purpose, like managing a specified emergency.
  5. Speed: Repeated practice on a simulator significantly reduces the learning curve.
  6. Cost Savings: Eliminating the use of real resources and the option to train multiple operators simultaneously reduces overall training costs.

These are just six good reasons to consider a training simulator. Why not book a demo with SimGenics today?

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