While books and videos remain a great way to learn about a topic—such as how overhead handling equipment operates—nothing replaces the knowledge gained through the experience of actually working with cranes and hoists. Yet the chances that a company would put someone with limited experience, such as a high school student, behind the controls and let them play around with the equipment to get the feel of lifting, moving, and positioning loads are nonexistent.
That’s why the virtual reality (VR) “Crane Game” was developed by MHI’s Overhead Alliance, comprised of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI), and the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA). The free game was created to serve as a fun, educational experience to introduce novices—such as students in high school and younger—to overhead lifting equipment and its operation.
Played while wearing an Oculus Rift VR headset, the game has been downloaded hundreds of times. Each player is immersed in a realistic, 360-degree shop floor environment, where he or she can then safely operate the controls of a virtual overhead crane, overhead hoist or jib crane. Taking anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete, the player progresses through different types of lifting equipment while performing a series of load movement tasks through an obstacle course.
Completion of each task safely and in the shortest amount of time is the ultimate objective of the game. It’s overarching goal, however, is to introduce students as young as 10 who are enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs the chance to see how these critical lifting technologies fit into the world—and hopefully entice them to consider a career in the supply chain field.
More details about the Crane Game and its development, as well as about other VR workforce training programs currently deployed throughout supply chains, are included in this recent MHI Solutions magazine article. To download a free copy of the Crane Game, click here.