CASE STUDY

A forklift operator training system for an automotive market leader

Client
About the client
Polish branch of an international automotive corporation, the second largest hybrid drives production center in the world. The factory employs almost 3500 people.
Challenge
Forklift operator training is an essential but time-consuming and risk-prone process. Traditional courses entail huge workload of instructors.
Solution
An automated training system that makes use of augmented reality and AI algorithms.

Project background

Time-consuming process

Instructor-led forklift training engages a lot of resources and takes time, even about up to 2 weeks. Instructors have to constantly assess operators’ performance and monitor the time necessary for trainees to complete the exercises.

Objective assessment

The situation when there are a lot of instructors in the plant may result in uneven skills of the forklift operators. The same applies to their examination, where personal inclinations may play a role.

Risks involved

Driving a forklift poses real risks, such as dropping the valuable load, pedestrians being hit by the vehicle, operators falling, damage to the forklift or AGVs. Thus adequate training is essential to minimize the risk of accidents taking place.

Recertification requirements

Things can go wrong when operating a forklift. Hence, a lot of employers require their workers to undergo forklift retraining every year to make sure they still have the necessary skills.
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Challenges

Training optimization

So far, forklift operator training has been conducted during instructor-led sessions, when one trainee could use the forklift. The biggest room for optimization was to replace instructors, at least partially, with the system.

Non-human supervision

The system had to be able to control employees performing their tasks often for the first time. A dedicated vision system based on cameras and AI algorithms observed the trainee and vehicles in the maneuvering area. Built-in sensors monitored the forklift status.

Support and guidance

To offer trainees full support, the system had to employ analysis of images coming from AR glasses and cameras, forklift 3D models, hand tracking, and sound intensity analysis. The system displays instructions on subsequent actions and the ways of their execution.

Undisturbed training

The training experience had to be as smooth as the one with experts. We had to free workers' hands, so they could be instructed and perform the tasks at the same time. AR devices were a natural choice.

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The solution

The system trains future forklift operators with the help of augmented reality and artificial intelligence algorithms
Step-by-step instructions
The platform guides trainees through the whole process. Shows them in detail how to enter the vehicle, get ready to ride, safely join the traffic, pick the suitable route, and carry the load.
Task validation
Thanks to cameras and sensors mounted in a production hall and on the forklift, the system can position trainees and verify if they perform their tasks correctly. It reminds them to remain cautious and wear PPE.
Augmented reality
Training automation is possible thanks to augmented reality and the use of Microsoft Hololens 2 goggles. Interactive instructions are displayed in front of trainees’ eyes, so they can perform tasks hands-free.
Advanced reporting
Managers can use training data both collectively to optimize learning processes and to help individual users. Training sessions can be recorded to analyze which tasks require more attention. Each session ends with generating a detailed report on trainees’ performance, training execution, number of mistakes, and time of completion.

The outcome

Automated forklift training

Forklift operator training can be provided with minimal instructor involvement. It is the system that verifies if the tasks were completed correctly and warns of potential dangers.

Cost savings

Training can be introduced in all plants around the world saving precious experts’ time. More workers can be trained simultaneously (in the case of a larger maneuvering area and more than one training forklift are available), gaining competencies needed for everyday tasks.

The training time is significantly shortened, as instructors can lecture several trainees on the theory, while another training participant is maneuvering the forklift under the watchful eye of AI.
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