AR/VR Simulator Revolutionizes Industrial Workforce Training

An augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tool intended to train personnel on critical industrial work activities was announced by Honeywell recently. Given that half the company’s staff is due to retire within the next five years, Honeywell Connected Plant Skills Insight Immersive Competency is designed to get new industrial workers where they need to be fast through better training with cutting-edge methods.

This training program merges mixed reality and data from 25 years of worker competency management in Honeywell to create an interactive environment for training on the job. It features tech like the HoloLens (by Microsoft), the world’s first and only self-contained holographic computer along with Window Mixed Reality headsets to simulate various scenarios (such as primary failure and switchovers, cable and power supply failure) for Honeywell’s C300 controller.

“Megatrends such as the aging workforce are putting increased pressure on industrial companies and their training programs,” said Youssef Mestari, program director, Honeywell Connected Plant. “There is a need for more creative and effective training delivered through contemporary methods such as Immersive Competency, ultimately empowering industrial workers to directly improve plant performance, uptime, reliability and safety.”

The tech uses a cloud to offer a natural way to communicate with peers and trainers. Trainees get to safely see what the impact of their decision making would be, similar to a flight simulator. This method of training is believed to improve skill retention by up to 100% over traditional methods while cutting on training time by 66%.

“Honeywell’s unique approach to industrial training and competency development, combined with Windows Mixed Reality platform and devices, is a good example of a major industrial player proactively and creatively driving digital transformation,” said Lorraine Bardeen, general manager for Mixed Reality at Microsoft. “This is the first solution that directly links industrial staff competency to plant performance by measuring the training’s effectiveness based on real outcomes.”