The virtual maintenance engineer

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG)

Engineering organisations across the UK use a range of brands, types, and models of industrial machines that are maintained by Maintenance Engineers. To support the training of these engineers, learning providers need to provide a variety of machines on-site for learners to develop the experience they need. This is costly, resulting in many providers offering a limited range of machines and reducing the opportunity for learners to practice and widen their experience. As a result, learners completing their programmes have in-depth knowledge but little experience of being able to apply their knowledge and skills practically across a broad range of equipment. Learners often need to be retrained once they begin employment.

This project will develop an immersive VR platform with ‘digital twins’ of a range of machines and equipment so that learners can practice their skills on different makes, models, and brands of machines. The platform will provide opportunities that are not available in a standard workshop. It will enable learners to gain a high level of knowledge and understanding of machines, functionalities, and components in a safe and immersive space and receive personalised feedback based on performance. Tutors and assessors will be able to set faults on machines for learners to fix and maintain. The project will work towards developing a catalogue of faults which can be assigned to individuals and groups, dependent on skill level. Content can continue to be developed and enhanced to align with advances in technology and machinery.