Construction Embraces Virtual Reality for Heavy Equipment Training

Drive-thru:

  • Virtual reality training provides heavy equipment operators the opportunity to practice running a variety of machines in a safe virtual environment.
  • The Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America received a $200,000 government grant to construct a virtual reality training facility due to open this month.
  • Virtual reality training may work as a recruiting aid to show construction is much more than digging in the dirt, making the industry more attractive to younger people.

The construction industry is embracing Virtual Reality (VR) for equipment training, and the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America recently received a $200,000 government grant to develop a VR training facility.

Virtual reality training provides a host of benefits to construction companies and holds promise for recruiting young people into construction.

From gamers to operators
The very presence of VR within the industry signals to young adults the construction industry is not only about digging holes or hammering nails. The technology gives a modern sheen to an industry hurting for workers.

If anyone manages to fall out of the basket, the drop will be only about two inches. Click To Tweet

Demonstrations of VR training at recruitment events have proved to be popular. Michael Harris, program director at the International Training Institute, noted that “VR has huge potential. We have a short time to make an impression. These kids are gamers.”

Super-safe training environment
Of all the benefits of VR training, the ability to train on heavy equipment without the risk of disaster ranks exceptionally high. Issues with tipping equipment, dropping loads, or falling out of the basket can be entirely eliminated thanks to VR training.

The VR training setup includes the headset and realistic controls that simulate real-life control panels. If anyone manages to fall out of the basket, the drop will be only about two inches. VR training is proving essential for practicing skills too dangerous to practice on the job site, such as maneuvering around tight corners and dealing with steep inclines or overhead hazards.

Workers who can operate more than one piece of equipment can double their work hours.

The training also provides the opportunity to drill the trainees on extreme weather and emergency procedures, no matter what is really going on outdoors.

Improved transfer time
Efficient time transfer may be the second most significant benefit of VR training, as it no longer affects actual equipment availability. The equipment remains in production while the operator goes through VR training. Once the training is complete, you need only check the new operator out on the equipment, limiting the amount of time it’s out of service.

Increased productivity
Nothing strains a schedule like the absence of a trained operator when you need to utilize that one particular piece of equipment today. VR gives workers who can operate one machine the opportunity to learn how to handle another. Instead of hiring new operators, you can cross train your existing workforce and increase your production.

Workers who can operate more than one piece of equipment can double their work hours. You, on the other hand, receive the benefit of additional operators as back-up without hiring more specialists.

Trainers are also more efficient. They can train larger classes, reducing training time and costs. Since the training is self-paced, those who learn quickly are not held back by those taking longer. You can have your new operator sooner than when using a traditional classroom plus equipment training.

When will the Nevada VR Training Center open?
The original press release stated a newly built virtual reality training facility would open in late spring, but the Reno, Nevada chapter office told FUEL they now hope to have it open by July. An open house is also being planned to show off the new technology and training center to the media.

Virtual reality is a cost-effective training tool that allows operators to learn the equipment in a safe environment, acquiring readily transferable skills. More operators can train simultaneously without taking equipment out of production. New and experienced operators will have additional opportunities to practice emergency procedures as well as difficult maneuvers without jeopardizing equipment or other workers.

Check out the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America website to learn more about their new facility.

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