Rare VR aerial training platform arrives in UK
Operators of scissor lifts and aerial boom lifts will be able to train in virtual reality after one of just six VR training simulators in Europe arrived in the UK.
ALS Safety has taken delivery of the simulator which offers immersive aerial operator skills training in a controlled environment. It follows rival hirer Nationwide's unveiling of a similar system earlier this year.
The system works by allowing an operator to get into a normal platform 'cage' wearing VR goggles and headphones.
Platform controls are identical to the ones the operator would be using at height.
The simulator creates full sensations of movement, direction and height, including realistic bumps and the sensation of swaying in the wind.
It has 18 scissor life training modules and 16 boom lift modules with scenarios that include flat and rough terrain.
It allows operators to test their skills, even in potentially hazardous conditions, in a safe environment.
The firm's safety managing director Darren Verschuren said said the quality of the simulations and the operational detail in terms of how a platform moves and behaves was "very realistic".
"ALS Safety is keen to stay at the forefront of powered access training technology, and this innovation will help us do that, both in terms of promoting working at height safety and productivity," he said.
"VR will add exciting new options to the training we can offer and is already generating a lot of interest from our clients. As such, we believe VR has a strong future in working at height training."
ALS Safety is the training division of Riwal UK, the powered access hire and sales specialist.
It is now offering VR aerial platform training to clients across the UK, alongside its comprehensive range of conventional International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), PASMA, CSCS courses and other industry-recognised training.
To achieve IPAF accreditation, operatives must still complete training on real machines. But IPAF is consulting worldwide on use of emerging tools, including VR.
The aerial platform training simulator has been developed by Serious Labs, a Canadian company that specialises in developing VR simulators for military and civilian purposes.
ALS Safety team is still exploring the full potential of the simulator. It could be used in different ways, from running training courses at the ALS Safety training centre, to hiring it out to clients to deliver bespoke onsite training ahead of special projects.