VR simulators – The most effective training solution for the port industry
The port market has grown rapidly in the past decade. According to UN statistics, only the world container port turnover rocketed from over 540 mln TEU in 2010 to 811 mln in 2019. This meant huge investments, a lot of new equipment in port terminals, and lots of work for lots of employees. The ports need them desperately, and what makes things even more difficult than an "employee market" rather than an "employer market" is the fact that port machines’ operator training is very costly, and very difficult to organize. This is when virtual reality simulators come in handy.
Virtual reality has been used for training purposes for years. It enables safe, cost-effective and immersive training compared to conventional methods. The fact that you can create any kind of artificial world available to the user after putting goggles on makes it very popular with port sector companies. Here you can read more about one of our turnkey projects, this time a dedicated solution to train port workers.
The port’s needs
The biggest Polish port – the Port of Gdańsk – is on a path of dynamic growth. To sustain this trend the port needs to constantly care about many factors, one of them being qualified and competent employees. Growing turnover volumes means simply more people to serve it.
However, as we stated previously, the training process in the port industry is traditionally long, costly and quite dangerous. Yes, all of this makes it difficult to find a docker in a labor market. If you want to find one, maybe you should just train one? What to do to remove the bottlenecks and train port machinery’s operators unlimitedly? The answer is dedicated VR simulators.
The entities located on the grounds owned by the Gdańsk port are aware of all this. Therefore, New Competencies Centre ordered three of our VR simulators. They allow for training on five different port machines – a rubber tyred gantry crane, a ship to shore crane, a port crane, a mobile crane, and a reachstacker.
VR simulators – what they look like?
A typical VR simulator consists of an operator station, joysticks and VR googles. However, the version can differ and is up to customer needs. There are more basic options, and more advanced one, is up to customer and their needs. The most common upgrades are, among many, armrests and a special “cage” covering the whole simulator.
We offer a wide range of ready-made simulators, we also make projects according to Customer specifications
The conditions we have created recreate the workplace in a very real way. We created an application along with the entire station for an operator who can see through goggles exactly what a crane operator sees. Furthermore, sensors track trainee's hand movements and a motion platform accurately reproduces movements of the simulation object. It has the ability to fully simulate the conditions of daily work in the port, at mapping the movements of the crane, and its operation 1: 1.
… and their benefits
There are many benefits of VR simulators for the port industry, and each one is so important that should be listed on the first place. So, first among the first – VR simulators are safe comparing to a course on a regular machine. It is extremely important considering a fact, that specialized machines, like for example port cranes require extreme work safety. A person operating on a regular crane for the first time quite often does not remember all the health & safety regulations due to a huge amount of stress they are exposed. On the contrary a VR simulator is safer; a VR simulator reduces stress and prepares for uneasy situations in real work.
Secondly, virtual reality simulators provide a chance to go through life-threatening situations that rarely happen in everyday work, for instance breaking up the rope. No one can learn how to deal with such scenarios in real life, but it’s possible in virtual reality.
Thirdly, VR simulators are cheaper than conventional trainings. Traditional training requires place, real equipment that needs to be either withdrawn from service of kept especially for training purposes. These costs are huge. And we’re not even mentioning such situations as damages, production breaks, service hours, organization, etc.
And on top of that, VR simulators are cheaper than old-type screen-based simulators. The cost of such simulator is huge because the screens cost tens of thousands of euros (compared to a 1-2 thousand euro for VR goggles), and still, you won’t have such functionalities as you have in a VR simulator.
VR simulators are also more effective kind of training when compared to usual methods. They increase trainee’s commitment and this is why they learn up faster than with real-life training or e-learning. They are also much more inclined to make decisions and use acquired skills after training.
VR simulators are like raw materials – it’s up to a customer’s need what will the result look like. We at Flint always closely cooperate with our clients to meet all their requirements. It is important that a VR simulator has all functions that a real equipment has – only then a simulator will work as it should and be useful.
In the cases of New Competencies Centre we worked with dockers who work on the equipment on day-to-day basis. We’ve also worked with gantry and crane manufacturer Liebherr, to make the simulation as close to the real machine as possible. All five simulators are not just a toy, they reflect the real machinery, because people who use them in their everyday work helped us to design them. That’s why simulator-based VR training is so effective.
A view from the operator's cabin (video)
VR simulators for port industry in Gdańsk in a nutshell:
- Can safely train professional operators of the most advanced port equipment 24/7
- Reduce a cost per hour of training from 360 PLN to 230 PLN – at least 40% in the first year!
- A user is in the middle of the action, it significantly increases trainee’s engagement
- Simulators gather data that real equipment does not – heatmaps with trainee’s statistics, giving precise feedback on what should they put particular focus
- Provide a chance to go through very dangerous situations that rarely happen in everyday work, for instance breaking up the rope
- VR is an attractive medium, a VR courses are extremely well-received on the market
Thanks to the projects for New Competencies Centre, we can deliver any kind of port simulator in a very short time. If you’re interested to hear more about our products, contact us.