Plug Power

Plug Power Inc. takes training to the next level

Remote training sessions for service technicians

As a rapidly growing company, pausing training efforts in face of the pandemic was not an option for Plug Power. Developing remote training kits, based on the Frontline solution xInspect, was crucial to keep trainings running when travelling to the training facilities was impossible. The result: An intuitive out-of-the-box training experience – 100% remote.

Initial Situation

Plug Power Inc. is a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions building the global green hydrogen economy based in the U.S., with a growing global footprint. The Company’s innovative technology powers electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells amid an ongoing paradigm shift in the power, energy, and transportation industries to address climate change and energy security, while providing efficiency gains and meeting sustainability goals. Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology replacing batter-ies with fuel cells in forklifts. In their pioneering position as one of the first commercial providers of the innovative solution, Plug Power Inc. has deployed over 40,000 fuel cells systems worldwide. While conventional batteries contain environmental hazardous components like acids and lead, fuel cells provide clean energy with the only byproducts being water and heat. Plug Power ensures reliable and continuous operations of the fuel cells through comprehensive maintenance and repairs. For training purposes, their service technicians travel to Plug Power’s training center in Romeoville, IL and spend a week learning about maintenance and repair procedures on-site.

Using TeamViewer Frontline solutions, we are even better equipped to push the ongoing paradigm shift in the power, energy, and transportation industries to address climate change and energy security.

Richard Grossert, Training & Safety Manager

Business Challenge

To maintain their high standard in services, Plug Power pays a lot of attention to a thorough onboarding of new staff and to keeping their existing service technicians always updated on latest changes or improvement of maintenance or repair techniques. To achieve their goals in training, hands-on sessions and close collaboration are crucial. Facing travel restrictions, Plug Power was suddenly not able to perform the training on-site in their Chicago-area training center. They went on the lookout for a mobile solution that would offer the same benefits as the close in-person training they had provided before.

INFOBOX: Training goes AR

As a first step, Plug Power has identified 15 different skills that their technicians need to be proficiently trained in. These learning modules were translated into augmented reality workflows using Frontline’s integrated augmented reality process modelling web tool, Frontline Creator. With its drag and drop functionalities, the workflows were easily created in-house by Plug Power’s own training team. Tailored to the requirements of each trained skillset, the modules include steps like taking pictures of completed activities. Other modules include short videos, showing trainees how the upcoming task must be performed ideally. Through the self-service capabilities of the Frontline platform, existing trainings can easily be adjusted, and new modules are added in no time.

TeamViewer Frontline Solution

The TeamViewer Frontline solution xInspect offers the right capabilities to meet Plug Power’s needs. For the remote self-training, remote training kits were developed and shipped to technicians all over the US. These kits include a laptop, several student activity books, Vuzix M400 smart glasses, and a Wifi hotspot — everything technician needs to start their self-paced remote training right away.
The training workflows running on the smart glasses guide them through the training courses step-by-step, leaving their hands free to perform the actual tasks required by the training module. If the technicians run into a problem while performing their training, a supervisor is just one video call away with TeamViewer’s integrated remote assistance solution for instant troubleshooting. After trainings are completed, the generated PDF reports are used to verify the student’s course completion.

Convincing Benefits

With TeamViewer Frontline solutions, Plug Power is now able to carry out their training 100% remotely, which has ensured business continuity in times of pandemic-induced travel restrictions. Besides increasing the location-independency, TeamViewer Frontline offered a new take on Plug Power’s education efforts. In the classic in-person trainings, often only one student would demonstrate the required activity live in front of the class. In the remote version, all students must carry out the steps and document them, creating a truly hands-on learning experience. In an employee survey, the remote training received excellent feedback. The students pointed out that the interactive new method is more engaging. It leaves them with a motivating experience of accomplishing direct results and instant confirmation, proving that they have mastered a new skill.

The ROI of the solution was achieved after only four training classes, mainly by cutting back on travel and accommodation costs that would be created by on-site trainings. Even though their training center will resume operations post-pandemic, Plug Power is planning to offer certain training modules remotely, especially for upskilling already experienced technicians.

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ROI after four courses

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100% remote training

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Increased employee engagement

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