Benefits abound for machinery operators

Safety, top-of-mind

As the license holder for Caterpillar Inc.’s Cat® Simulators, customer safety is top-of- mind for Simformotion LLC.

That’s why the U.S.-based company works with D-BOX to offer a motion system in its heavy equipment simulators, some of which are used to train operators in industries such as construction and mining.

“We’ve heard stories of instructors hanging off the side of equipment while training,” says Melissa Vanne, global sales manager at Simformotion. This is a safety issue in an industry where oversized, heavy machines could be dangerous or even deadly, she adds.


Simformotion designs and develops simulation software and simulator hardware for the construction, mining and forestry industries, among others. While its simulators have used only audio and visual effects in the past, Vanne says the option of adding motion has taken customer-training processes to the next level.


“With simulation, you’re getting visual, audio and touch of controls, but you’re not getting feedback from the machine. Motion gives operators more of the feeling they would get actually operating a machine. It gives the vibrations of the engine and the track cadence of the dozer, for example.”


Simformotion’s customers use simulators to train employees how to operate machines, provide refresher classes about equipment or correct bad habits that may have developed, and even test potential employees’ skills. Trainees typically participate in a combination of classroom education and simulation exercises, before they start using the machines. In addition, Cat Simulators can be found in many heavy-equipment related programs at college and universities around the world.

Benefits of Motion

According to Vanne, the benefits of motion simulation are manifold. She credits the feature with increasing productivity. This is because operators have already practiced specific tasks using simulators that replicate the experience of using the machines.

See it in action here : YouTube



As well, simulation software provides metrics that can boost improvement. By actively measuring operators’ efforts in real time, simulators can provide reports about a trainee’s performance and instructors can compare results.


“Motion simulation gets operators trained to be confident, comfortable and productive when they get out on the actual machines on a site,” Vanne explains.


However, motion simulators still have a long way to go before they are commonplace in the construction industry, Vanne says. But she believes their benefits will reveal themselves as more people become aware of the advantages.


“A lot of our customers like the concept of motion, but they need to get on the simulator to experience it for themselves to understand how it enhances the training experience and teaching.”



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