Enel, Sant’Anna School TeCIP Institute (Communication, Information and Perception Technologies) and Sant’Anna School sin-off company VR Media have developed a “3D Virtual Reality Maintenance Training”. The training course provides a broad understanding of computer-based interactive 3D simulations of virtual equipment that replicates the actual real life plant. A platform that allows the creation of augmented reality programs, 3D visualisation and simulation technologies were used to create a virtual 3D plant for use in operations and maintenance, as well as staff safety training, using headsets and controllers.

The simulator allows staff undergoing training to perform procedures and operations to properly service, repair, and maintain equipment, improving efficiency and increasing the safety, directly assisting staff by connecting to VR headsets. Operators interact with a secure virtual environment, immersing themselves in complex situations with the aim of increasing their sense of responsibility. Maintenance usually requires the intervention of several experts on site, equipped with instruction manuals; it’s crucial to assure a higher productivity and fewer risks for all employees.

“Virtual reality is a developing technology that is making inroads in many fields. The opportunity for employees to experience training scenarios in a virtual environment has a strong emotional impact, thanks to the possibility of simulating what might happen in an emergency or in more challenging situations. There’s an enormous potential in the numerous applications of virtual reality, that allow us to develop safe and efficient work flows”, said Cristiana La Marca, head of Enel Global Thermal Generation.

“Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and in particular the TeCIP Institute and my research team are collaborating with Enel on the development of an immersive simulator dedicated to training. It enables us to make an effective contribution to safety and to effectively combine the knowledge derived from years of research on virtual reality with Enel’s vast experience” said Franco Tecchia, researcher of Sant’Anna School TeCIP Institute (Communication, Information and Perception Technologies). “It is a true virtuous relationship, with the continuous exchange of information, data and suggestions. It represents a combination of expertise and tangible results that have far-reaching implications: in the coming years I expect exponential growth in pioneering efforts like this one, with a significant increase in the use of virtual reality in industry, a revolution that has been announced many times and now is becoming a reality.”