Mining in it to sim it

Simulators are a highly popular genre of software among PC and Mac users; titles such as the Farming Simulator series, Euro Truck Simulator, its sequel American Truck Simulator, sports car game Assetto Corsa and Microsoft’s dormant but still popular Flight Simulator series are all highly acclaimed examples.

But there’s never been a really good commercially available mining simulator. To get the full fat experience, you need to go to Immersive Technologies.

A world-leader in professional simulator technologies, having released it’s first mining dump truck simulator in 1998, Immersive lives up to its title with its line of professional mining simulators; each cabinet (called simulator modules by the company) in which the trainee sits proves an exact replica of the real deal, whether it’s a CAT T1 haul truck, an underground Sandvik UT181 or Hitachi E169 shovel.

There’s an exhaustive list of branded modules to choose from, including Komatsu, Hitachi, Liebherr, Cat, BELAZ, Sandvik, Atlas Copco and many more.

Exclusivity agreements with the first four of these well-known original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) allow Immersive access to low-level confidential machine data and engineering information, which further enhances realism for trainees.

The vehicle list meanwhile extends to rope shovels, dozers, haul and underground trucks, hydraulic shovels and excavators, drills (surface and underground), draglines, loaders and even light vehicles.

Modules can be incorporated into the company’s flagship simulators; the top-end PRO4 Surface Mining Simulator, IM360 Underground Mining Simulator, and LX3 Medium Fidelity Simulator, which shares the same technology as the others while offering a cheaper, more lightweight solution with a lower footprint. All three use wraparound HD displays and hydraulic feedback.

More recently, the company has stepped out of vehicle simulators and into the heady world of VR; the IM360 simulator can make use of Immersive’s RealMove system, offering on-foot underground hazard training simulations providing an unprecedented level of realism. Trainees can walk around the simulator in order to train for mine evacuations, red zone avoidance and proximity sensor training.

In addition, thanks to the nascent industry of VR headsets, Immersive has also developed a simulator called WorksiteVR Quest, which offers myriad scenarios, from site safety induction to emergency response.

The kinaesthetic and visual learning benefits gleaned from this approach can lead to high recall and retention of details among trainees.

Currently operating in over 40 countries and with a customer base that includes Thiess, Glencore its global head office located in Perth, Immersive is a great example of Australian tech industry showmanship, as well as the continually evolving state of mining technology.

Simulator training is an excellent way to induce trainees from all walks of the industry without risking the safety of the trainees themselves, as well as potential damage to expensive multimillion-dollar production machines.

Immersive’s simulators can also lead to increased operator efficiency, which has a direct correlation on spot time, brake abuse, tyre life, and a host of other factors.

This article also appears in the December 2017 edition of Australian Mining.

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