If you want to work in a substation operated by E.ON's network operators, you need to be well briefed. Previously, that was only possible directly on site, which sometimes meant long travel times and high costs. All this will be a thing of the past in the future, because E.ON has now completely mapped its first high-voltage substation in virtual reality (VR). This means that partner companies working in these kinds of systems can be instructed and trained at any location just by wearing appropriate VR glasses. The quality of the instruction can thus be significantly increased.
After a project phase lasting several months, Bayernwerk, a German network operator within the E.ON Group, will use this method of instruction via VR in practice in future and, in doing so, is truly setting new standards within the energy industry.
The first transformer station shown in VR is located in Gebelkofen, a small town in Lower Bavaria. It is one of around 750 substations and switching stations in Bayernwerk’s network area. This high number alone shows the potential behind the use of VR for training and instruction purposes. Initial calculations indicate an annual saving potential of around 800 to 1,000 hours of travel time when the transformer stations are fully digitized. Bayernwerk assumes that the complete mapping of all its sites in VR will take another four years.
And it’s not only Bayernwerk that’s using VR elements or comparable technology: other German E.ON network operators such as Avacon, e.dis and HanseWerk, as well as E.ON Hungary and the Czech Republic, also use VR elements. Examples of applications include reading meters using data glasses, checking overhead lines, planning, building and replacing network installations and street lighting, as well as recruiting and training. And it’s not only transformer stations that can be viewed virtually: HanseWerk Natur also makes it possible to visit a block-type thermal power station.
Avacon has been using VR for two years now, focusing on recruiting and training: potential applicants can get a realistic impression of the various job profiles in virtual worlds. They can look over the shoulders of fitters or fly in a helicopter when the lines are being checked. For trainees, virtual reality is an opportunity to familiarize themselves with different environments and to practice important jobs using interactive elements – all that without any safety risk. Safety trainings in VR are also much more effective than theoretical trainings without practical relevance.
Virtual reality (VR) is the representation and simultaneous perception of reality and its physical properties in a real-time computer-generated, interactive virtual environment. This enables us to represent, traverse and interact with locations at any time and in any place.