It’s a tense moment for the player focused on the monitor while grasping the game controller. If the sequence of commands is right, then it’s on to the next level. A simple mistake can send you back to the start. But this isn’t the latest video game, it’s a new approach to training timber saw line operators.
Veisto Oy, the Finnish manufacturer of HewSaw automated sawn timber production lines, developed their training system using the ABB Ability™ Virtual Commissioning for drives. The tool utilizes existing 3D designs to create virtual models of saw lines including the various PLCs, motors and drives.
HewSaw lines are customized and built to order. Customers had to wait for their new equipment to be fully installed and commissioned before they could start operator training. The delay before full production meant lost income. Now operators can start training offline, resulting in a much shorter ramp up to full productivity.
“It was the capability of the ABB Ability™ Virtual Commissioning concept to capture the complexity of our saw line that impresses me,” says Tuomas Halttunen, Vice President, Veisto Oy. “Safety considerations and the speed of operation make it hard to show customers how the equipment operates in real-life. But in the virtual world we now can show everything in slow motion, and with the guards off.”
Originally, Veisto Oy planned to use the virtual model primarily as a sales and marketing tool. However, it soon became clear that customers could benefit from off-site training, especially younger workers who have grown up using game systems.
“It is rewarding to see how Veisto Oy is using our Virtual Commissioning for drives solution to help customers effortlessly learn how to use saw line equipment,” says Jarkko Lalu, global software product manager, ABB Drives. Virtually replicating the line for training is a safe way to learn, it improves productivity and saves time and cost.”
The next step for Veisto Oy is to develop the model as a full ‘digital twin’ that mimics the exact operation of the saw mill equipment. This will accelerate production line development and testing at the design stage to provide full virtual commissioning as well as helping with fault diagnosis.
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