“Yes, the financial savings are great, but our goal is to graduate competent heavy equipment operators that perform on the job. Ultimately, I want simulation to help our institution be recognized as one that delivers the best prepared operators.” This was the statement from a Director at a popular vocational school, and it’s a sentiment we hear time and again.
Training better prepared operators means bridging the gap between theory and practice as much as possible. With advanced heavy equipment simulation, students can master basic controls before moving onto the real equipment and, in some cases, experience the same technology they will be using on the job site.
Embedded with real machine behavior powered by CM Labs’ patented Smart Training Technology™, Vortex simulators also offer a number of additional tools that help accelerate learning.
1. Quality of Grading, Trenching or Leveling
When running earthmoving equipment, Vortex simulators allow operators to assess the quality of their grading, trenching or leveling in real time, by providing a visual representation of the excavation height, slope, and consistency as well, as an overall performance score. All these details are also displayed on the operator touchscreen through GPS technology and reinforce the adjustments the operator needs to make to the bucket or blade in order to reach the target depth.
In addition to providing real-time feedback on the quality of work, visual cues alert trainees as to whether they are maintaining a safety corridor on both sides of a trench, and whether the driving path of the worksite is being kept clean and safe.
2. Precision Excavation with Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform
Today’s earthmoving equipment is not what it used to be – operators need to learn to adjust to inputs from everywhere. That’s why Vortex simulators are so useful – they get operators up to speed on the latest equipment as well as on “traditional” equipment.
Trimble® Earthworks Grade Control Platform works in parallel with CM Labs’ Vortex Studio Software and runs off a tablet which users can connect to the simulator. Visual aids are overlaid onto the existing ground along with cut/fill information, slope data and other customizable reference points to provide the user with a better understanding of the work that needs to be done. A variety of configurable views makes it easier to obtain the right perspective for maximum training value.
Trimble Earthworks, combined with CM Labs’ unmatched machine realism, builds skills that transfer directly to the worksite, and teaches operators of all experience levels how to work more efficiently.
3. Increasing Productivity and Optimizing Movement with the Wheel Loader and Dozer
Every second counts when it comes to loading trucks. Maximizing productivity requires operators to travel between the stockpile and truck in a smooth V pattern by minimizing unnecessary movements and the use of the braking system.
Similar to rearview cameras on cars, Vortex simulation on the Backhoe and Wheel loader provides operators with a sensor that improves depth perception. Color codes alert trainees when they are too close, too far or at the perfect unloading distance. This assists with avoiding collisions but also helps operators synchronize their movements and leverage the material inertia to unload the bucket faster thus preparing them for the demands of the worksite.
Essentially, the most productive operators will approach a dump truck and unload when the sensor is green and engage reverse as the sensor turns yellow – all without touching the brakes.
4. Optimal Use of Equipment Force with the Backhoe and Wheel Loader
The real digging power of the bucket comes from the vehicle and its traction with the ground. An experienced operator develops the skills to leverage the maximum capacity of the machine without surpassing its limits, simply by sensing the behavior of the equipment.
CM Labs’ training packs for the Backhoe and Wheel Loader provide a visual indication on the touchscreen that can be activated at any time to help operators better understand the limits of their equipment.
Essentially, the operator will see the gauge increasing, moving from green to red if the tires start to slip. Coupled with the motion platform, operators get both visual and physical indicators of machine behavior.
At the end of the day advanced simulator training for heavy equipment operation isn’t just limited to mastering basic controls, it’s arming operators with techniques that allow them to perform at their ultimate best.