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IMI Critical Engineering: Using augmented reality technology to make training better, faster and cheaper

IMI designs, manufactures and services highly engineered products that control the movement of fluids in extreme environments high temperature and pressure. This could be at power and nuclear plants and oil and gas platforms. High-quality training for the engineers who install and maintain this equipment is crucial for energy businesses to operate safely and reliably.

In order to accomplish highly technical training efficiently, IMI Critical wanted to train engineers in a completely new way: they wanted to use augmented reality technology to give engineers a near-real-world experience of the products they’ll be maintaining. Using headsets would enable a broader use of remote resources while allowing the training team to emphasise points that conventional online or video training can’t. This has the potential to make training more effective, more consistent, faster and more affordable. We helped IMI Critical find out if it would work.

In just six weeks our digital experts developed a prototype, using Microsoft’s HoloLens. We packaged IMI Critical training modules into the headsets alongside vital product information. We also tested Skype capability in the application. That means engineers in the field can share a view of the problem they are working on and get support from product experts located anywhere in the world.

When IMI Critical showed the prototype at a global industry conference, it generated huge excitement with visitors wanting to experience it themselves. As a result, IMI Critical is now looking closely at the next steps for development. This innovative project could cut the cost of training by 75% per person and double the speed at which IMI Critical can train engineers. It will result in a broader drive within the business to capitalise on new digital technologies – and keep IMI Critical at the forefront in their field.

"Being able to explore how new cutting-edge technologies can make a difference for our business is a great step forward for IMI. It supports our strategic imperatives and helps us strengthen our position at the forefront of technology innovation.”

Mike Semens-Flanagan – Director Strategic Planning – IMI Critical Engineering

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