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From the classroom to the plant: VIVES Project and virtual reality

Training through immersive virtual reality that guides employees in their response to potential accidents caused by an accidental start-up or an unexpected ignition during a maintenance or insulation operation.

Picture of the VIVES project

Learn to do maintenance safely at a thermal plant without being inside the facilities. That is the objective of the VIVES Project, a programme based on virtual reality that recreates the inside of a plant so that employees can practise in a "real" environment without running the risk of interfering in the functioning of the equipment.

The VIVES (Virtual, Immersion, Vision, Endesa, Safety) Project is framed within the implementation of the LOTO methodology in the thermal power station, a safety procedure to disconnect and record the sources of energy of the industrial equipment, while maintenance, cleaning or repair operations are carried out. The training through virtual immersion has been developed by Minsait, an affiliate of Indra, and will be implemented in Endesa’s 24 thermal generation plants in Spain so that more than 700 professionals can be trained in work clearance management and physical blockages in equipment.

Julián Gallego Alarcón, one of the future internal instructors that will travel to the different thermal power stations to train the other workers, highlighted one of the main objectives of the VIVES Project: "This programme allows us to acquire knowledge simply and safely in operations that, in reality, entail risks to our safety". It seeks to protect workers from possible accidents caused by an accidental startup or unexpected ignition during maintenance or isolation service.

“This programme allows us to acquire knowledge simply and safely in operations that in reality entail risks to our safety.”

 Julián Gallego Alarcón, Technician of the Joint Prevention Service (SPM, for its acronym in Spanish) of Catalonia

To obtain a virtual environment as similar as possible to reality, the Minsait experts toured several Endesa facilities to photograph and record all of the elements involved in the processes.

It is a full immersion: once you put on the glasses, which include headphones, and with the controls in your hands, you are now inside the plant. You just need to follow the trainer’s instructions. The locks, labels and other elements that are necessary in the real environment are exactly reproduced here. You must follow step-by-step the instructions contained in a field notebook: if the tool detects that you've skipped a step, a warning will appear, indicating what you missed. It will not allow you to proceed until you complete it.

At each level, different real situations and interactions with other actors participating in the process are recreated and the procedures associated with LOTO are applied, always incorporating the use of PPEs (personal protective equipment).

Virtual reality "facilitates the comprehension of operations and procedures thanks to the experience and practice of immersion", according to Patricia García Gómez, SPM technician at the As Pontes thermal plant and future trainer in the training process. According to Ana Milagros González, SPM technician in the Canary Islands, another of the advantages of this innovative training method is that: "This technology generates more motivation to learn, because it’s an innovative system".

Picture of the VIVES project

The VIVES Project combines two basic pillars for Endesa and for the entire Enel Group, as pointed out by David Abengozar, Head of Health and Safety at Iberia Thermal Generation: "With this project, we combined two of the Group’s basic pillars —the safety of our workers and digitalisation—with training based on virtual reality, opening up a path that is full of opportunities".

“With this project, we combined two of the Group’s basic pillars —the safety of our workers and digitalisation—with training based on virtual reality, opening up a path that is full of opportunities.”

David Abengozar, Head of Health and Safety Iberia TGx

Virtual reality in training and education allows you to offer greater training and motivation to the staff through advanced technical training that also contributes to the digital transformation project that we are carrying out at Endesa.

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