27 Apr 2017

Reading time 2 min

Virtual reality training drives efficiency and safety advances

MacGregor’s new training academy specialises in advanced simulation techniques offering customers s risk free environment to learn

Proper operator training increases equipment familiarity and skill in routine operations and emergencies, leading to improved safety and efficient cost-effective deployment. Some years ago, MacGregor started to invest in simulators as it realised that this type of training enabled operators to gain more experience in a few days than they would encounter in weeks of ‘live action’ training, including a range of operating scenarios.

“Virtual reality technology has improved dramatically in more recent years,” says Geir Roland, Director Advanced Offshore Solutions, Global Lifecycle Support at MacGregor. In line with these developments, MacGregor has opened a training academy for customers specialising in advanced simulation techniques. The academy has a purpose-built virtual reality (VR) showroom and is part of a brand new MacGregor facility in Arendal, Norway. MacGregor can also offer portable VR training programmes.

“The academy provides a risk-free environment where the users learn how to make real-time, complex manoeuvres safer and more efficient,” Mr Roland continues. “The simulation and training software we use has been developed by our experts and is based on their expertise and experience in the field. We believe this is unique on the market.”

Advanced simulation platforms

The academy also showcases simulations of MacGregor products in action and demonstrates technical challenges. One piece of software that it uses is C-HOW, which is a simulation platform that MacGregor developed for customers to run particular equipment through various simulated conditions and operations.

MacGregor’s new facility includes a virtual reality showroom with an authentic operating chair for offshore crane simulations

At a basic level, C-HOW can be used as an interactive calculation tool, feeding in parameters such as loads, lifting radii and wave accelerations to generate the required data. At the other end of the scale C-HOW can be incorporated into immersive training hardware, such as advanced crane simulations.

Simulation is all about getting access to realistic information relating to complex interactions so that better decisions can be made and skills can be attained long before risk becomes a factor.

Fully-immersive training programmes

“Today’s crews can participate in fully-immersive training programmes,” says Jan  Finckenhagen, Manager MacGregor Academy. “This will reduce the likelihood of causing injury to personnel or damage to equipment because they have already tried and tested it. Our aim is to help customers use their MacGregor equipment safely and efficiently.

“You can also explore restricted, dangerous areas that you would not normally be allowed to enter. This provides otherwise unobtainable perspectives on specific operations, which can prove very useful in the real world.”

All simulation training for MacGregor offshore cranes, offshore mooring and loading systems, as well as deck machinery and steering gear is now located in Arendal. MacGregor expects to train between 70 and 100 people at its new academy every year.