Showcasing VR-Based Simulators, Honeywell Optimizes Training For Industrial Workers with Digital Twin

October 30, 2020 by Robin Mitchell

Honeywell introduced its latest Immersive Field Simulator (IFS), which creates a physical virtual twin of the plant as well as a digital twin to the processes.

Training employees on new systems can consume time and resources. Honeywell developed a virtual reality system that allows workers to train with new plant equipment to solve this.


Honeywell Introduces Immersive Field Simulator (IFS)

The system, called Immersive Field Simulator, or IFS for short, creates a physical, virtual twin of the plant and a digital twin to the processes. Utilizing 3D environments, workers can train, explore, and experiment with the new systems in a near-identical way to train young engineers with software and other digital systems.


A graphic of Honeywell's Immersive Field Simulator (IFS). Screenshot courtesy of Honeywell


The hardware that drives IFS includes a Windows Mixed Reality Gaming Laptop, and a Windows Mixed Reality Head Mounted set while a server can be used for on-site training. 

The IFS allows familiarization with the plant layout, line tracing and equipment location, normal operations of the plant, startup and shutdown protocols, troubleshooting equipment, and equipment isolation. IFS has the ability to train employees digitally while safely using a platform that adapts to Industry 4.0 needs.


A graphic of Honeywell's Immersive Field Simulator (IFS). Image courtesy of Microsoft


"This approach significantly improves current training tools and methods. VR-based training boosts confidence and retention while improving overall professional skills. Experience shows that students using VR can learn significantly faster than in the classroom.", said Pramesh Maheshwari, vice president and general manager, Lifecycle Solutions and Services, Honeywell Process Solutions.


Virtual Training and COVID-19

While virtual training systems can be beneficial for a range of different reasons, they may be more important than ever with the current COVID-19 pandemic.


The pandemic has seen large-scale shutdowns of plants, businesses, and cities to prevent the virus's further spread. However, this has caused major issues economically, socially, and industrially with many sites running minimal staff.

The result of minimal staff is the inability to retain current staff and continue to train them remotely. A virtual reality system such as the IFS from Honeywell provides plant owners with the ability to train staff from home and continue to upgrade their sites. Remote training and virtual reality systems also have the added advantage of allowing for remote operation and troubleshooting.


A graphic of Honeywell's Immersive Field Simulator (IFS). Image courtesy of Microsoft


An industrial expert may be required to analyze why a process has failed or is operating inefficiently, but they may be anywhere worldwide.

The use of a digital twin to the plant allows an expert to virtually walk around the plant, make adjustments, and figure out the cause of the problem without being at the plant themselves.