National Grid Embarks on Virtual Journey
National Grid has embarked on a voyage of virtual discovery. It has installed a StereoWorks system from Virtalis, Europe’s leading Virtual Reality (VR) Company.
John Tyler, National Grid’s Transmission Technical Training Manager, explained: “We are poised to revolutionise the training of our operational field force and training scheme recruits. Everyone who has seen the Stereoworks system agrees it certainly has the “wow factor”. Our trainee engineers are already conversant with digital technology when they join us, so it makes sense to take that familiarity one step further and introduce them to the Company’s engineering assets via VR. Now we’ve got the infrastructure in place, we are beginning to create 3D training. A National Grid switchgear supplier has supplied us with their CAD models and we are converting them into VR models.”
National Grid’s StereoWorks system is rear projected and will be fully tracked to allow students and trainers to interact with the virtual model. Currently, trainees are trained on a range of electricity switchgear and gas equipment in the National Grid’s award winning, Eakring training centre in Nottinghamshire. The diverse range of gas and electricity equipment found throughout National Grid’s networks means it is impossible for trainees to experience the full range of models in a training centre environment.
John said: “VR allows us to be both practical and theoretical. Our trainees can see the whole picture for the first time. They will be able to virtually strip down, put back together and operate our equipment in a completely safe environment. Although we are beginning with training, it has become apparent to us that VR could so easily perform a major role in our product lifecycle management. This really is just the beginning.”