Despite virtual simulators being a standard across the aviation industry, the notion of simu lated training for heavy machinery is a relatively new concept to the mining industry.
However, ThoroughTec is one of the few companies in Australia pushing this innovative new training method forward.
Speaking to Australian Mining, ThoroughTec director Brad Rouse said “traditional methods of training meant that managers would have no option but to let inexperienced operators drive expensive machinery and accept the increased risk of wear and tear, damage, maintenance costs and potential injury.”
The cost of removing machinery from production for training as well as the potential damage to the machine is ineffective for mine sites, he said.
The simulators provide either six or three degree of freedom motion platforms, surround sound and high contrast displays with high definition 3D graphics.
After using ThoroughTec’s Cyber mine simulator, 90% of people said they felt as if they were actually driving the truck or equipment, Rouse told Australian Mining.
Contained in all simulators is an instructor station where the training exercises can be programmed and modified to change the environment, and add people and vehicles to the simulation as well as emergency faults and situations.
Providing surface and underground simulators “allow instructors to train students in a controlled, safe environ ment that provides a realistic feel for the machinery”, Rouse explained.
The Cybermine simulators have a range of emergency situations to intro duce learners to unexpected circum stances such as tyre blow outs, engine fires as well as run away vehicles.
These exercises are all monitored and recorded to provide after action reviews for trainees.
However, the systems are also used for re-training experienced operators, with the simulators used to refresh the skills of those already using the equipment.
ThoroughTec currently has a range of simulators for LHDs, bolters, under ground and surface drills, haul trucks, loaders, dozers and locomotives.