ACCIONA Agua has installed a novel virtual reality and augmented reality system in the La Almunia waste water treatment plant to help optimise its operation and maintenance
New technologies are playing an indisputable role in every business sector, including the water industry. In recent years, technological improvements have led to a more efficient and optimised management of the water cycle. Aware of this challenge, ACCIONA Agua is committed to developing new technologies that can be applied to the water cycle to address the needs of designing and operating plants.
Its latest developments include the Augmented Facility Management project, developed by the O&M Department of ACCIONA Agua at the La Almunia de Doña Godina water treatment plant (Zaragoza).
This project, which combines virtual and augmented realities, is applying technologies not previously seen in the sector to the treatment process, making them the ideal tools for learning and training employees involved in operating and maintaining these plants.
Virtual reality to create training environments
In the initial phase, employees can be virtually immersed in these facilities and explore different spaces. This allows them to become familiar with a plant’s daily operating tasks and to learn first-hand about its features without having to physically visit it.
Different training and learning environments can be created through virtual reality, facilitating the training process and eliminating any type of associated occupational risk. This technology also means that training can be accessed remotely and simultaneously by multiple students.
Augmented reality to optimise operations
In the augmented reality phase, the technology goes one step further. Holograms of the facilities can be created that function as real workspaces, using a set of Hololens glasses. The SCADA system can therefore travel with the operator wherever he or she goes.
The possibility to adapt, watch and visualise the graphics in the form of holograms to be analysed, represents a major step forward in the traditional operation of water treatment plants such as the La Almunia plant.
Augmented reality means that the facilities can be monitored in real time. In practice, this means having a virtual control centre that can be accessed from any location. Thanks to its versatility, the operator who is physically present at the plant can connect to the system and receive remote assistance from any part of the world, with experts that can provide advice based on what the operator is seeing.
In short, it is about progressing towards greater control of water treatment systems, reflecting the evolution of these systems becoming “Industry 4.0”. Having tools such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which enable a plant’s performance to be improved without increasing resources, represents an indisputable step in this direction.
These technologies are now a reality in industrial processes, used to benefit plant operations, offering major benefits such as improved safety, better reliability and greater efficiency. All of these factors are part of ACCIONA Agua’s commitment to innovation and its search for solutions that satisfy its clients’ needs.