Maximize performance with simulation learning in the cloud
Not too long ago, if your company wanted to train you and your co-workers, the standard method was to gather everyone in the conference room and have you sit quietly while a traveling consultant lectured. If you were lucky, you signed the attendance form and went back to work. If you were unlucky, the whole thing proceeded like a scene from The Office. Either way, it’s not likely you retained much.
Companies have moved on from this costly, ineffective form of training. Now, when you need to learn about workplace safety, harassment or insider trading, chances are you log into your corporate learning management system (LMS) through a web browser at a time that suits your schedule. You take the course and demonstrate that you’ve understood by passing an integrated test. HR can easily track not just attendance, but knowledge retention.
An important group left behind
In the process industries, there is often one group of employees still stuck with the old methods of on-premise training – the operators – and it shows in plant safety, availability and profitability. Operator error accounts for 42%1 of unplanned shutdowns. The average cost per major incident related to operator error exceeds $80M2.
Operator error is common and expensive, and it’s likely to get more so if training methods don’t change. The workforce is shifting to a less experienced generation with different expectations about technology. Complex, highly automated production systems leave fewer opportunities for on-the-job training, while also raising the stakes of human error in abnormal situations.
Operators require advanced training simulators
None of this is secret. Operating companies know they need to decrease time-to-competence. They know operators must learn the right habits to make the right choice in every scenario. They also know that training effective operators requires more advanced technology than the HR department is used to. Operator training uses several simulation technologies to mimic the look, feel and behavior of the plant:
- Generic simulators – models of common industry processes or plant designs. Typically used to teach fundamental concepts and basic unit operations to new learners.
- High-fidelity dynamic simulators – dynamic simulation models combined with emulated control systems to create a virtual control room specific to a single plant or process. Used for expert learners, controls checkout and operating procedure development.
- AR/VR Immersive simulators – 3D engineering tools that use VR to connect control room operators, maintenance, and field personnel in a single realistic learning environment. Used for site familiarization, work policies, field operations training and maintenance procedures.
How can operators gain the benefits of modern training while addressing the particular needs of plant operation?
Cloud OTS breaks down barriers
With the implementation of AVEVA Connect, these advanced operator training solutions are now available as a service. When an organization moves operator training to the cloud, they see an improvement in four different factors, known as the four As:
- Accessibility – any user can access the training, from anywhere in the world, at any time, with just an internet connection and a web browser. Organizations can bring training to their people, rather than having to bring people to their training.
- Availability – training on the cloud is always ready, on demand, whenever required. There is no limit to the number of concurrent users meaning there is no need to wait for a slot to become available on the training equipment. Training is always ready when they are.
- Applicability – specificity of learning styles, and different roles in an organization play a huge part in the effectiveness of a training system. In the cloud, specific, customized training can be offered more easily for different users. New users can learn basic concepts while advanced users simulate the real asset.
- Affordability – the cost of training decreases when using the cloud since less equipment is needed on-site and travel expenses disappear. Cloud solutions also offer subscription and pay-as-you-go options, rather than costly on-premises infrastructure.
In addition, cloud-based operator training can easily integrate with the corporate LMS. This ensures consistency and efficiency in internal processes and regulatory compliance.
Tomorrow’s training succeeding today
Innovative companies are already reaping the benefits of cloud-based OTS:
- Arizona Public Service deploys training to their operators spread across hundreds of miles, for more time behind the control board and less time behind the driver’s wheel. Operators gain experience on abnormal situations that occur rarely but with high consequence.
- TOTAL reduced time-to-competence from months to weeks and can train more than 2000 operators per year through their OLEUM training group. Training materials are standardized and integrated with the corporate LMS.
Operator Training Simulators deployed in the cloud reach operators everywhere. Cloud OTS enables widespread use of dynamic, high-fidelity simulation models that mirror the controls and behavior of actual site operations. Companies can train the workforce of tomorrow in an integrated, efficient system that raises the competence of operators and engineers throughout the organization.
To learn more about how TOTAL OLEUM is offering tailor-made training in an industry size processing plant, read the article in Hydrocarbon Processing magazine.
1 ARC Advisory Group
2 J&H Marsh & McLennan
James graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy. He completed an MBA at New York University. James has held a variety of roles in technical organizations and is now the Portfolio Marketing Manager for Operator Training Simulators at AVEVA.