Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019 - 48
RWE POWER AG:
NEW TRAINING SOLUTIONS WITH
MIXED REALITY GLASSES
BY HOLGER OFFERMANNS AND NILS BRÜGGESCH
In the TV series Star Trek, the holodeck
on the USS Enterprise spaceship was
technologically pure fiction. Like many
technologies from science fiction, mixed
reality (MR) is conquering more and
more areas of our lives. MR integrates
digital content into the real world and
is becoming an important and versatile
key technology of the future in the field
of vocational education and training.
Let's look at one case study.
We are in the driver's cab of the bucket
wheel excavator 288 of RWE Power AG.
It is 13,500 tons, 220 meters long, 96
meters high. It runs at 10 meters per
minute and has a conveying capacity
of 240,000 cubic meters of overburden
per day. In front of us, we see control
elements with which we can put the
miracle of engineering into operation.
We learn to switch on the main control
voltage for the machine, to operate the
auxiliary drive bucket wheel, to swivel
the bucket wheel boom, to lift the
lifting gear bucket wheel boom and to
let the machine conveyor run unlocked,
without a push belt of course.
In order to learn all this, we no longer
have to go to the location in Germany.
We don't even have to climb into a cab.
All we have to do is put on a pair of mixed
reality glasses and launch an application
developed by TÜV Rheinland Academy in
cooperation with RWE Power AG, part of
the RWE Group and a leading company
in Germany for energy production and
generation. The application allows
untrained maintenance personnel to
learn how to operate the machinery
with a significantly higher level of safety.
THE CHALLENGE AND SOLUTION
At RWE Power, technical maintenance
and repair work is required at certain
intervals on the large-scale equipment.
Until now, the control of the excavator
during this work was the responsibility of
the equipment operator. Moving forward
the maintenance personnel will take over
this task after successfully completing a
training course with MR glasses.
Previously, the training for maintenance
personnel to operate large-scale
opencast mining equipment at RWE
Power was exclusively delivered via onsite instruction. Now, with the mixed
reality glasses, the driver's cab can be
brought into the classroom. First-time
users can now gain a spatial impression
and initial orientation without having to
be close to the large-scale equipment.
A pair of mixed reality glasses is required
for this training experience. RWE Power
AG used the Microsoft HoloLens. It
displays holograms, projections from
light, in the user's environment. Sensors
in the glasses scan the environment
and produce a digital copy. Therefore,
holograms can be placed in the real
environment using "spatial anchors."
Holographic objects appear like real
objects. Models are visible from all sides
and retain their position in space as the
In the glasses' field of vision, functions
of the switching elements are explained
in "information mode" and operations
in "guide mode" are explained step-bystep. All modes are audio supported. The
use of the technology leads to practical
experiences in the classroom without
exposing the learners to the dangers
of operating expensive, unfamiliar
machinery. The modes have already been
successfully evaluated in initial user tests
at RWE Power at the end of 2018.
THE ADVANTAGE OF
SAFELY TRAINING ON
VIRTUAL OBJECTS IN
Another important milestone in the
rollout of proof of concept is scheduled
for 2019. After the successful user
tests, the maintenance application
will be transferred from the classroom
to the large device. In this phase, the
application is no longer executed in the
classroom, but within the real excavator.
In the "information mode" and "guided
mode," holograms superimpose the
real physical operating elements in the
driver's cab. In this phase, the employee
receives performance support during
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019