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xvrWhile many of us come home after a long day and exhale, relaying to our partner–or anyone who might listen–that we spent all of our time putting out fires, it’s just a saying. And while it’s often stressful enough managing work tasks, dealing with the public, collaborating with others, and using a wide range of technology that can present daily challenges–imagine if amidst all that, you really were expected to fight fires as well. One would hope for some incredible measures in training to be able to perform such monumental tasks that include saving people from horrific danger–as well as staying alive yourself.

All of us have had to train for a new job at one time or another. While it can be an exhilarating and challenging time all at once, from memorizing menus to learning computer systems to taking on responsibility for a corporate team, there is no doubt that the learning curve can be arduous.

FG7A9217While we all know that learning is accomplished through ‘doing,’ there are some jobs that require a lot of extra learning before people are sent into the field. While this has often been a difficult process for many in fields such as military, medical, and emergency response, things may be about to change–just as they are within many other industries–thanks to serious progress in 3D printing, as well as virtual reality.

We’ve all seen important personnel training for duty in the movies, working with simulators and adrenaline pumping virtual reality programs. This is the sort of thing dynamic companies like XVR specialize in, supporting training of essential personnel with virtual reality training software. With such an emphasis on VR in their field, it’s no surprise to find that they are incorporating 3D printing into their operations for firefighter training.

It’s no small amount of onus that is put on the trainer when it comes to the rigors of teaching people how to fight fire, save lives, and stay alive. Even trying to train can be dangerous if they attempt to use real-life tools like fire and smoke. While safety is key in the job of the firefighter, it’s key in training as well.parts

With a decade spent in developing training programs that use virtual reality for simulation, XVR caters to clientele around the world, in over 20 countries. Headquartered in the Netherlands, XVR is considered the European leader in training for public safety and security. They are well aware that a multitude of scenarios and rescues must be planned for, such as fires and situations at places like plants and factories, city areas and events, as well as potential disasters at skyscrapers. While large venues cannot be locked down in the face of disaster, most often, they can hope to rely on skilled personnel who know exactly what to do.

A highly progressive digital environment is a real boon to training for personnel who carry such an incredible load on their shoulders. To accentuate their training programs, XVR recently decided to add a new tool in the form of a 3D printed smart tool, the ‘digital water nozzle.’ The tool is used without real fire, improving safety, as it works to extinguish digital flames.parts

“The product is cost-efficient, yet very robust (firefighters!) in the end-product, combining off-the-shelf components with innovative casing,” said one pleased customer regarding the new 3D model.

Fitted with directional sensors, the 3D printed water nozzles are able to train personnel about how to handle a range of specific events. As experts in their own field, the XVR team did not hesitate to call in talents from other sources to work on the tools. Coordinating with both Dutch product designers Frank & Frens and 3D printing specialist, Oceanz, XVR was able to explain what they needed in a 3D model for training purposes, with superb results.

“We used 3D printing to produce some fast prototypes in order to iterate the fitting and looks. Because of the batch size we also used 3D printing for the final product, this allowed us to incorporate most of the needed functions into just two shells,” said Frens Pries of Frank & Frens.

While Frank & Frens is a design company with a comprehensive prototyping facility, Oceanz was also called on due to their reputation for knowledge and innovation. Known as the largest 3D printing service center of northwest Europe and the first 3D printing company in the Netherlands with an ISO 9001 certification, their experience was crucial in helping to make a creative and functional 3D model. All around, sharp minds and state-of-the-art manufacturing came together as a group to help see that this latest tool works to accentuate on-the-job training for firefighters.

Let us know what you think of high-tech training for skilled jobs in the 3D Printed Firefighter Training forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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