The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) recently showcased their new Virtual Reality (VR) simulator at Intermat 2018 in Paris, France, and then at Vertikal Days 2018 in Donington Park, UK, allowing users to experience operating boom lifts and scissor lifts in a variety of scenarios without their feet ever leaving the ground.
RSC Training Director Richard Chapman tried the VR simulator at Vertikal Days and commented on the experience:
“I was really looking forward to Vertikal Days this year as I was eager to try the new VR simulator that everyone has been talking about, and it did not disappoint! The graphics and the effects of being in the simulator were so realistic, you really do feel like you are elevating even though you know your feet are still on the ground!
I went through a couple of the scenarios available, including completing an entire mock scissor test (which I passed!) and was very impressed with the level of detail and how the simulator identified you immediately of any faults you made.”
The technology seems to have been a hit with everyone who has used it, however IPAF are keen to get feedback on the simulator and ways it could be improved. They are actively inviting anyone who has used the simulator to have their say in IPAFs online consultation by filling out a short survey at www.ipaf.org/VRconsultation.
Richard added: “It will be interesting to see where this technology goes and how it can be integrated into training and other aspects surrounding Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs). I don’t think it will replace the need for a traditional training course, but it will find its place somewhere.”
Not to be outdone by IPAF, the Prefabricated Access Suppliers & Manufacturers Association (PASMA) have also recently launched their own VR simulator for Mobile Access Towers. This was recently on display at the Annual Members Conference in Coventry, UK.
Richard commented: "I’ve not yet used the PASMA VR simulator, though I did witness a few others have a go with some interesting and humorous results! People I know who have been working within the industry for many more years than me testing the effects of what falling from a tower would be like, including some physically falling over!
It’s a work in progress with PASMA, and I’m sure it will get better and better. As with IPAF, we will wait and see as to where this technology integrates into our industry in the next few years."