When The Manitowoc Company implemented a common control system across its family of cranes, the company recognized an opportunity to use simulators to support the marketing and sales program behind the initiative, as well as deliver operator training.
Manitowoc partnered with CM Labs to develop the simulators.
CM Labs then developed branded Manitowoc crane training simulators to capture the look, feel and operator experience. The simulators are now supporting the roll-out and adoption of Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS) by helping to train operators on the advantages of the control system.
Sales and marketing teams are also using the simulators to allow prospective buyers to virtually test-drive Manitowoc’s cranes.
With manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, Manitowoc is a global entity. Much of the company’s growth is attributed to the acquisition of brands such as Grove, National Crane, Potain and Shuttlelift.
But diversity has its challenges. While multiple product lines help the company dominate market share, each product line has historically had its own engineering and design centres. This created steep learning curves for operators as they encountered different Manitowoc crane models.
To resolve this, an initiative was launched to standardize controls across the Manitowoc line of cranes. Found on virtually every Manitowoc crane, the Crane Control System (CCS) provides a common look and feel from an operational perspective. The objective of the CCS is to provide customers with equipment usage flexibility by reducing much of the training normally required to operate an unfamiliar crane.
“With the CCS, regardless of which model you’re talking about, control inputs are very similar,” explained John Alexander, director of service, training and telematics at Manitowoc. “For example, this allows an operator to run one of our all-terrain cranes and then jump into a rough-terrain crane and have the same functionality, feel and control inputs.”
Another benefit lies within product development and engineering. Commonality behind the core programming language of the control system inputs, is allowing Manitowoc’s engineering community to share information and make enhancements throughout product lines from both a component and control system software perspective. The result of the collaboration is an opportunity to leverage information and best practices to advance innovation.