Recap: TOC Europe 2022

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It’s fantastic to be back to in-person events! In-person information exchange – both formal and informal – is a powerful driver for advancing industry knowledge as a whole. This is especially true of a show like last month’s TOC Europe, where experts typically encounter a range of technologies and innovations adjacent to their own.

CM Labs was on the show floor at TOC Europe 2022, and busy throughout, which speaks to the industry’s interest in leveraging technology for specialized skills development, whether in the context of existing fleets, or in the context of new equipment and initiatives.

Indeed, much of the discussion at TOC Europe was around new initiatives, including but not limited to automation, digital transformation, and eco-sustainability.

It’s fair to say that pandemic challenges served in many senses as a catalyst for the adoption of new technology and initiatives, and our own show experiences and highlights certainly corroborated this.

TOC Europe 2022: Top 3 show highlights

Highlight #1: Technology assists in preparing for the unexpected

Even in the context of semi-automation and full automation, it’s always going to be vital to ensure that operators are fully and safely prepared to manually operate equipment.

That’s why simulators are an important strategic resource for terminals that are moving to automation, as they help maintains operator readiness for manual exception handling, without invoking the risks and operating costs of running real equipment.

It’s also true that the majority of port terminals are not yet actively developing automation initiatives, and for these terminals, simulators are key to providing trainees with skills for standard equipment operations, or prior to the commissioning of new equipment, so they can ramp up their productivity levels ahead of time.

All this is likely why there was so much interest in the Vortex Advantage training simulator on display at our booth. 

This simulator is a skills development solution that can run all equipment training packs from CM Labs’ portfolio of quayside (STS, MHC, SPC) and yard-side (ECH, Reach Stacker, Straddle Carrier, RTG, and Forklift) cargo handling equipment, as well as Excavator and Mobile Crane Training Packs. Its compact footprint makes it attractive for training centers looking for multiple simulators.

Prior to the show we also announced the upcoming launch of the Vortex MasterCab, which is a full-immersion simulator providing operational sightlines for all equipment, and this generated substantial interest from across the industry, as well as media coverage. 

Highlight #2: ROI on automation initiatives

We fielded a wide range of questions on our booth about CM Labs’ Remote Operating Station simulator, which allows terminals to help experienced operators make the challenging transition to remote stations.

In effect, this solution allows operators to develop the new skills required to run equipment without the benefit of the sensory cues that are so crucial for manual equipment operations.

Attendee questions related to the different types of cranes (STS, RTG, RMG) available for this solution, the record-and-playback capabilities we offer, as well as our ability to integrate with the actual controls used in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) remote operation solutions, all in the name of improving the training experience and making the transition to live operations as seamless as possible.

This type of solution is typically deployed by terminals in the context of managing the process changes that come with the shift from manual operations to automation. And because the biggest challenge for automation-related initiatives is invariably the lack of specialized skills development, it’s also a solution whose time has come. 

Highlight #3: Thought leadership on safer port operations

Mid-way through the show, CM Labs co-presented with Forth Ports’ Simon Harper at the “Safer Port Operations” track of the TECH TOC Seminar series, in a joint session with Mike Yarwood, (Managing Director Loss Prevention, TT Club), Richard Steele (CEO, ICHCA International), Stephan Trauth (Managing Director, Yardeye GmbH), and Vikesh Dhanpat (Regional Product Manager EMEA MoorMaster, Cavotec).

Simon Harper is Forth Ports’ Group Learning & Development Manager, with responsibility for the L&D teams across the Group.

His insights into the optimal use of simulation, as well as the impact of simulation on operator safety, provide an important model for the use of simulation, and highlight a technology-driven way forward for improving the working conditions of operators across the industry.

“It makes the training process more efficient,” Simon Harper said in a pre-show interview. “Those who have been trained on the simulator seem to have fewer low-level incidents than those that weren’t trained on a simulator.” 

“You can make a mistake in a simulator, where of course you can’t do that on the real machine. And one of the things we say in the training world, is the best way to learn is through your mistakes.” 

What’s next?

Ultimately, the show highlighted a wealth of innovation in response to the port industry’s post-pandemic “new normal.”

Recognizing that the new normal itself is always in a state of flux, we certainly look forward to seeing you again at next year’s edition, with more solutions to help you prepare for what lies ahead.

Learn more about how simulation can help you prepare for your future – claim your demo here: https://www.cm-labs.com/immersive-simulation-products/port-equipment-training-simulators/book-demo/