How to train staff for operating a machine several hundred meters long?

Model Sachsen Papier utilized the Valmet Virtual Mill virtual environment

The Virtual Mill virtual environment, developed by Elomatic and Valmet, enables factory workers to explore their work environments virtually. This not only facilitates training but also aids in the planning of maintenance and upgrades. Model Sachsen Papier in Germany has been utilizing Valmet Virtual Mill since the fall of 2023, with really positive feedback.

Valmet Virtual Mill is a virtual environment for the factory where various training contents, such as animations and interactivity, can be included. It is already in use with several Valmet customers.

“We have gained tremendous assistance from Virtual Mill in training. Employees can virtually inspect their work environment, gaining a realistic understanding of proportions,” says Jari Schuurman, Training Specialist at Valmet.

Model Sachsen Papier sees the benefits of Virtual Mill in onboarding

At Model Sachsen Papier´s factory in Eilenburg Germany, Virtual Mill has been particularly helpful in orienting employees to new equipment and surroundings. The need arose when the facility was transformed from a paper mill to a cardboard mill.

“It is much easier to familiarize a new person with a 200-meter-long machine when they can go through it virtually in their own time, and no one has to walk alongside them for hours through the hall,” says Schuurman, admitting that training different groups on the use of a large machine is not an easy task.

“In a short time, a vast amount of material needs to be taught, including not only the operation of the equipment and construction but also the proportions of the machine. The goal is for the machine to become an everyday tool and provide a safe working environment for everyone.”

Inspiring, clear training

According to Schuurman, the feedback from Model Sachsen Papier ‘s Virtual Mill project has been extremely positive: “Employees have been happy with the use of the virtual environment as it provides inspiring, clear training. Many already independently take factory tours in the virtual environment.”

Schuurman notes that Model Sachsen Papier ‘s longest-serving employees were initially a little skeptical because computers were not their daily tools. Now they also view the new virtual environment positively.

“At the same time the new factory is being built, employees have been able to follow changes and prepare for the future in advance. Enthusiasm at Model Sachsen Papier has been high thanks to Virtual Mill.”

Virtual Mill’s use extends beyond training

Schuurman explains that especially European customers see Virtual Mill as a future tool for planning maintenance, cleanings, and upgrades. Extended machine downtimes are expensive, so maintenance activities must be well planned in advance.

Model Sachsen Papier intends to leverage Virtual Mill for improving workplace safety, including marking safety fences and access routes. It is essential for maintenance teams to know how to access various locations safely.

A tool for the future also supports recruitment

The development of Virtual Mill began in 2016 and continues. “The project has been really interesting. Collaboration has been easy because Elomatic understands the needs of Valmet and our customers, and we easily find common ground,” praises Schuurman.

Virtual Mill has received positive feedback also from industry students who have been excited to see factory environments using VR glasses. “Even lecturers have wanted to see where the industry is heading and what kind of technology is coming,” emphasizes Schuurman.

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Jukka Timonen

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Design Manager

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Virtual Factory

Virtual Factory is a digital working environment of the entire factory or production plant, in which the users can move freely, get acquainted with the processes and practice various maintenance operations using VR technology.


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