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Operational Technologies 4D: Pioneers in Advanced Virtual Simulations for Oil and Gas Industry

Working for any business can be exhausting at times. Sometimes you need tools to make the job easier. Companies invest in new equipment for their employees to maintain a efficient workplace. When it comes to the Logistic, Medical, Oil & Gas, and Manufacturing industries, implementing smarter strategies and equipment to increase workforce effectiveness is crucial for safety and productivity. To deal with these concerns, industries turn to tech companies to provide solutions for training, auditing, and equipment maintenance.

Operational Technologies 4D( Optech4D) is one hi-tech company that is helping meet these demands. Based in Houston, Tx and focused on the Oil & Gas industry, Optech4D specializes in constructing real-time virtual simulations for safety exercises, auditing, and ensuring proper OSHA procedures are followed. They recreate full-scale virtual 3D copies of facilities, with their SafeBeacon® technology. Royal Dutch Shell( global group of energy and petrochemical companies), British Petroleum( respected Oil and Gas pioneer), Saipem( leader in Engineering & Construction and Drilling business), and Bechtel( leader in Engineering, Construction, and project management) benefit from the advanced simulations that Optech4D has spent more than fifteen years developing.

The Oil and Gas industry use these reconstructed virtual facilities to “rehearse seldom performed yet mission critical plant shutdowns, startups and emergency procedures,” such as lockout/tagout. This allows workers to make mistakes and practice real-life scenarios without putting the environment, community, and themselves in danger. Workers can interact with the 3D environment using a smartphone, tablet, Virtual Reality(VR), or Augmented Reality(AR) display. With VR headsets, such as Oculus, enabling realistic fully immersive training simulation(FITS), workers performance is improved. Optech4D also teamed up with Atheer Labs to integrate augmented reality in their services for “hands free access to local and cloud based data;” live collaboration through video streaming; barcode scanning of equipment; and documentation. This significantly reduces the paperwork involved and allows workers to focus more on their current task. Utilizing a virtual platform like this gives companies a advantage in creating a safer workplace.

Optech4D SafeBeacon® technology “is based on Bluetooth and other wireless technologies, as well as additional hardware for measuring ambient conditions or motion.” It is a location-based technology that enables access to context-specific information. Several sensors work in concert, to track important assets, “temperature, pressure, light motion sensors,” for a absolute picture of workplace conditions. This includes heavy vibrating equipment and hazardous obstruction. Maintenance workers, when approaching equipment, receive “relevant SOPs, checklists, manuals, and live data” on their smartphone, tablet, or optical wearable. 3D digital mock-ups can be viewed and disassembled for educational and identification purposes.

SafeBeacon® technology also saves lives. In the Oil and Gas industry, facilities can be huge and staff often work in isolation for extended periods of time. Having effective means of communication is paramount. If a worker is injured, incapacitated or in need of assistance, SafeBeacon can send a alert to priority personnel, providing a more powerful way to execute Operation Location and Man Down. This is useful when personnel enters confined spaces that require a permit. Beacons can alert workers of hazardous gases or being trapped, and send notifications in case of accident for timely response. Ensuring compliance with Confined Space regulation.

Downtime refers maintenance, that requires power to be completely shut off and equipment shut down, for part of the facility. Lockout/tagout(LOTO) is the safety procedure for downtime, to confirm dangerous machinery and power sources are properly shut down. Beacons are placed near critical equipment, such as valves, turbines, pumps, and compressors. A tag is attached “to the locked device indicating that it should not be turned on.” Documentation regarding specific procedures, checklists, or general guidelines for LOTO can be accessed. 3D Manuals are three-dimensional models of equipment embedded with information, that is also included in the digital documents. Even full 3D maps mimicking the actual facility can be rendered, for convenient identification of equipment and reducing human error.

With SafeBeacon® technology and sophisticated virtual simulations, no wonder Optech4D is a hi-tech leader in the Oil and Gas industry. With proven success, the company plans to benefit other industries with their pioneering technology. Maybe that would be one way augmented reality reaches mainstream. One of your friends, that’s employed in the Oil and Gas industry, starts talking about their new augmented reality gadgets. This makes you jealous that your job doesn’t have these. Prompting you to buy your own and show off to your friends and family. This makes your friends jealous, leading them to buy one. As with all innovations and advancements in technology, it starts with improving the workforce. Though honestly, what would be your reaction, when your ordering a cheeseburger from a server wearing a AR headset?

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