"Despite advances in technology, human performance is still the key to success and profitability," Mike Lerg of simulation and training provider GSE Systems told the SimWorld 2012 conference in Dubai in November. And, echoing Lester’s opening conference remarks, Lerg highlighted how simulation can help achieve these goals, in particular for operational or task-based training.

Lerg is head of GSE’s Activ3Di business, a branch of the company that offers three-dimensional interactive training simulations, as well as complex visualizations. Among the advantages of a virtual training simulator are: reductions in training time and cost, improved effectiveness, and an expanded reach for the training programme, Lerg said. Studies [by the Royal Canadian Army] have shown that simulation learning improves effectiveness over traditional training methods, from 72% to 100% pass rates, in as little as half of the training time.

Recently, GSE has developed a virtual air operated valve maintenance application for the US Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) Nuclear Maintenance Application Center (NMAC).

The tool, which can be downloaded by NMAC participants from www.epri.com in a Windows version for desktop computers (product number 1025544) and in an Android version for mobile tablets (product number 1025328), provides a realistic and interactive multimedia experience to practice maintenance activities.

Using the immersive task-based trainer, students can learn how to properly disassemble, inspect, re-assemble, and troubleshoot the air-operated valve (AOV), according to Mike Pugh, who managed the AOV project for EPRI. Videos demonstrating the software can be found online at: http://tinyurl.com/cr3ageb

In November, Pugh said that there have been around 200 downloads since it was published in late September. "The feedback has been very positive so far," Pugh said.

"The application is viewed as a flexible delivery method for EPRI’s maintenance recommendations, providing users with a tool that can be used in the field for troubleshooting, for detailed pre-job training, and for just-in-time refresher training. There has been a lot of interest in expanding the approach and underlying technology to other applications, and we have plans for several similar products in 2013."

The technology can be used for basic or complicated activities where specific tasks are involved. "Future applications where we could deliver EPRI guidance and recommendations include circuit breakers, turbines, and leakage reduction," said Pugh. "We also are considering applications for diagnostic testing of valves as a future application. In light of international interest in the AOV application, we are pursuing translated versions where appropriate. For example, we have a working French version of the AOV maintenance application that will be available in early 2013."


NEI assistant editor Caroline Peachey’s trip to SimWorld 2012, 13-14 November 2012 in Dubai, UAE was paid for by GSE Systems.