Online Game Targets Tomorrow's Plant Managers

“Plantville,” an online gaming environment launched by Siemens Industry Inc., enables players to learn and compete while managing a simulated manufacturing plant.

Social media is being put to work to entice and educate the next generation of plant managers in Plantville (www.plantville.com), an online gaming environment launched on March 24 by Siemens Industry Inc. (www.usa.siemens.com/industry), the Alpharetta, Ga.-based automation supplier. The site includes chat rooms, puzzles and an online game that simulates the experience of managing one of three manufacturing plants. Players are faced with the challenge of maintaining plant operations while trying to improve productivity, efficiency, sustainability and overall health of the facility.

“Siemens is capitalizing on the tremendous growth of online engagement to demonstrate how our expertise can make industry and infrastructure more competitive by increasing sustainability, energy efficiency and productivity in a fun and educational environment,” said Daryl Dulaney, president and chief executive officer, Siemens Industry Inc. “We also designed the game to educate our current and future employees about the breadth of Siemens portfolio and to strengthen our position as an employer of choice.”

Ask Pete

Like the popular online game Farmville, Plantville enables players to immerse themselves in an environment, make decisions to change and improve it, and interact with like-minded others. Plantville players improve the health of their plants by learning about and applying industrial and infrastructure products and solutions from Siemens. Gamers will be measured on a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including safety, on-time delivery, quality, energy management and employee satisfaction. Throughout the game, players interact with Pete the Plant Manager, whose plant has just won the “Plant of the Year” award. Pete shares his best practices to help players achieve outstanding plant performance.

The site will use Webisodes, the Plantville Café, Puzzlers, and Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to enable Pete to dialogue with gamers. Through these, he provides hints to playing the game, and also hosts a leader board for contestants. “We hope Plantville will generate excitement in the areas of math, science and technology while inspiring a new generation of plant managers and engineers,” said Dulaney.

In development for more than a year, Plantville lets players select which of three virtual plants to manage first: a bottling plant, a vitamin plant or a plant that builds trains.  Siemens plant engineering experts worked with gaming experts from Pipeworks Software Inc. (www.pipeworks.com), a Eugene, Ore., developer of software and technology for Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and other gaming consoles. The result is a visually rich environment on par with what today’s gamers expect, coupled with detailed information on topics such as automation, motor control and plant metrics.

At the start of the game, each type of plant is faced with different challenges. The players must identify the challenges facing their plant and implement solutions to improve the plant’s KPIs. Gamers will compete with one another on a number of levels, including plant-to-plant and on specific KPIs.

Pete’s Puzzlers are brainteasers and trivia questions that test gamers’ problem solving abilities and provide tips to enhance their play. The first person to correctly answer the puzzler receives bonus points and will be recognized on the Plantville Facebook page. The Plantville Café offers periodic online chat sessions with Pete on topics such as process control, energy efficiency, industrial networking and more.  Chat sessions will be kept in a library as a resource for current and future players.

Virtual conferences

In addition to links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube social media Web sites, the Plantville home page also includes a link to Siemens Answers for Industry (AFI) virtual conference (http://afi.siemens.biz).

Designed for manufacturers, engineers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), integrators and end-users, the AFI virtual conference is the online version of two-day conferences that Siemens conducted in six U.S. cities in 2010. These included seminars, networking, best practice sharing and a technology showcase geared toward manufacturing professionals.

At that time, Dulaney said Siemens is “committed to becoming America’s partner in industry and infrastructure. And we will continue to seek innovative ways to engage with our customers to increase their sustainability through productivity improvements, energy efficiency and flexibility both on the plant floor and in the office.”

Pipeworks Software Inc.
www.pipeworks.com

Plantville
www.plantville.com

Siemens Industry Inc.
www.usa.siemens.com/industry


SIDEBAR - 

Pete’s Puzzler: What would be the ideal motor to ensure high quality speed control with low lifetime costs and high energy efficiency?

  • Servo motors
  • High-Performance Induction Motors
  • Direct Drives (Linear and Torque motors)
  • NEMA/IEC Standard Induction Motors

Virtual plant managers can find the answer to these and other questions in Plantville, the new online gaming environment from Siemens.



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