“Students acquired a possibility to train with real-life enrichment process without massive investments and risk of harming personnel or environment, and safely make mistakes in full scale without negative consequences” said Sami Hietalahti, Lappia’s Project Manager of this latest Virtual Experience project. He continued that this EU RikasTek project also means that “properly trained students will not make the same mistakes later in their work life." Markku Kasala, a Lappia teacher, commented that the tool has an "easy and intuitive interface which guides training and allows students to practice hands-on tasks”. He found it particularly useful when teaching specific topics “that are hard to explain by theory lessons, such as residence time and interaction of several parameters.”
Training is being delivered by Lappia's own trainers who were previously trained by an Outotec team on simulator training methodologies. The simulations used at Lappia are generic processes with automation systems available in English, Finnish and Swedish. Lappia is a vocational level institution in Northern Finland that offers 3-year professional degrees for 40 vocational qualifications, among them Process Operator, Automation Assembler, Machinist, Laboratory Technician and Miner. Lappia has accessed the Outotec Virtual Experience Technology for 3-years of training.
Virtual experience simulation is an advanced process simulator implemented using the Outotec proprietary HSC Chemistry software. Outotec’s extensive process knowledge is shaped into dynamic process unit models. Outotec, Proscon and ACT automation solutions provide the user interface which exposes students to industrial control – from the comfort and safety of an online browser-based portal. This on-line learning tool is the first delivery of this class of mineral-processing simulators to be implemented as an online solution. "In online collaboration history Outotec is the first one who managed to deliver a powerful beneficiation simulator linked to an actual functioning automation system via an online portal" said Tuomas Ropponen, Product Development Manager from Outotec. But what matters the most, is that the customer does not see the complexity of the systems involved. Student feedback has been good. Markku continued, “Learning in Virtual Experience training environment has been a success. We have driven the process one week each time and students have learned how the process works and how strongly key figures depend on operators' own actions."