thermal power plant training simulator

The Role of a Plant Simulator Development Company

It would be no easy task to list the many ways in which the computer and those who develop its software have changed how humans live and work in the decades since the dawn of the digital age. While new technologies have revolutionised communications, entertainment and commerce, some of the most significant advances have been in education and training. Many of those advances are being driven to new heights by a new type of business – the plant simulator development company.

While instructors seldom have problems conveying the theoretical aspects of a topic to their learners, they frequently encounter severe challenges when attempting to transfer practical skills. Often, the nature of a task and the consequences of an error make it unsafe or impossible to provide hands-on training in a live operational environment. While there may be some excellent instructional videos, few airline passengers would wish to trust their lives to a pilot who learned to fly on YouTube. In practice, airlines were among the first to employ training products similar to those produced by a plant simulator development company.

In the power generation field, alarming events such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are undoubtedly reason enough to pay particular attention to training the personnel that operate our nuclear power stations. That said, the roles played by operatives at conventional coal- and oil-fired stations can also have some far-reaching consequences. It hardly makes sense to train operators how to deal with a suburb-wide power outage by placing them in a situation where they could accidentally cause one. Thanks to the advanced training programmes available from a plant simulator development company, such risky training practices and limited access are no longer necessary.

Several factors can be of crucial importance to those engaged in practical training. Firstly, humans learn best when all their senses are engaged during a lesson. It is essential to experience the feel of a control system, witness its action and listen to the relevant instructions and explanations. Furthermore, learners need the freedom to make mistakes, observe the consequences and correct them, repeating each step as often as necessary to perfect it. A plant simulator development company can produce a life-like virtual work environment in which a trainee is free to benefit from these powerful learning practices. Working with a simulated layout enables the learner to attain proficiency standards in a few hours that could take weeks of conventional training to achieve.

An experienced developer can reproduce every facet of a power station’s layout in the finest detail when armed with sufficiently advanced software. That said, the virtual environment could also be focussed on a limited section of a control system devoted to a specified training function. In some cases, a plant simulator development company may offer a more generic product that, nevertheless, could prove more than adequate for teaching specified routine tasks.

The developer can create these training programmes in one of two ways depending on the depth of detail required. When the brief is to create a detailed photorealistic model of the working environment, the starting point will be to perform a 3-D scan of the live site. The scan data forms the basis for an on-screen model. Animations, labels, spoken dialogue, and other added effects serve to enrich the learning experience. Alternatively, the plant simulator development company might draw on objects and functions native to the chosen software package, using them to create a less realistic but equally effective virtual workplace and adding quizzes and assessment procedures to provide progress reports for the trainer. When purchasing the software, the latter type of development could even be undertaken by a competent in-house developer.

South Africa’s electricity generating industry faces mounting pressures due to ageing infrastructure and a dwindling pool of trained operators. While several new plants are either planned or under construction, obtaining suitable training products from a plant simulator development company is likely to play a crucial role in the commissioning process when bringing these new plants online.

That said, the local industry is fortunate to have access to one of the world leaders in this field and some of the most powerful simulation software. SimGenics specialises in developing advanced plant simulations for the power, mining, desalination and petrochemical industries. For all your simulated training requirements, be sure to contact this leading international plant simulator development company.

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