Emerson introduced the Performance Learning Platform, a portable and compact automation technology training solution that enables hands-on training to prepare workers to maintain their plant safely and efficiently. The platform reinforces the competencies essential to fostering digital transformation and helps close the workforce skills gap as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) era continues to change the way manufacturing and process companies do business.
Emerson’s collaboration with both private industry and higher education has revealed an urgent need to address the skills gap in digital automation technologies and how it can impact an organisation’s operations. According to a 2018 Manufacturing Institute study on ‘The skills gap and the future of work in manufacturing’, the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028.
“We designed the Performance Learning Platform as a flexible, hands-on training tool with real-world instrumentation that will help bridge a critical knowledge and skills gap that continues to challenge the industry,” said Jeff Hackney, global educational services director for Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “This gap exists in large part because technological advances are outpacing the industry’s current training strategies and tools. We need a new approach to ensure that workers keep pace and students get practical experience on instrumentation products.”
The Performance Learning Platform can help a new generation of workers become adept at applying, using and maintaining the latest digital automation technologies. It provides process control and instrumentation simulation to train or refresh current workers on how to monitor and control complex operations involving pressure, flow, level and final control valves.
Universities and other higher education institutions can use the platform to give students first-hand experience on an actual plant-like process. Ranken Technical College in St Louis, USA, has worked closely with Emerson to develop and utilise the Performance Learning Platform for developing the skills Ranken students need now in the workforce.
“Rapid integration of emerging technologies is crucial for future economic growth,” said Stan Shoun, president of Ranken Technical College. “The Performance Learning Platform allows industry and education to provide the hands-on automation training needed globally. Ranken is very proud to be part of this initiative.”
The Performance Learning Platform features a complete working control loop piping system, tanks, pumps and a fully scalable suite of Emerson instrumentation and final control valves linked to a DeltaV™ distributed control system. Each unit ships with an integrated video library that provides step-by-step instruction in a range of realistic scenarios, allowing users to learn and experiment without the expense and risks of on-the-job training. A lab workbook and supporting eLearning courses are also available.
Built on a robust steel frame with casters and able to fit through most standard-size doors while occupying only a small area, the platform is plug and play. It requires only water, compressed air and power to operate, making it practical for on-site training or classroom use.
The platform is another offering in Emerson’s portfolio of advanced workforce development offerings, which includes two Interactive Plant Environment training facilities in the US; certified Emerson instructors; numerous educational courses taught virtually, on-site and in Emerson training centres worldwide; and an Operational Certainty Consulting practice that helps customers meet the demands of a changing workforce. The Performance Learning Platform cements Emerson’s commitment to engage with industry and higher education to close the workforce skills gap.
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