Simulators can help boost crane operator productivity

Simulation-based training is becoming more mainstream as it evolves from a risk-free training tool to a productivity-enhancing tool

Training, Simulation, Crane operator, Safety, Productivity, CM Labs Simulations

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Canada-based simulation platform developer CM Labs Simulations has released a luffing tower crane (LTC) simulator called the LTC training pack to promote crane skills development. Built on the company's Vortex Studio simulation and visualisation software, the LTC training pack provides a structured set of scenarios and includes load charts and lift plans to build awareness of the crane’s capabilities and the tasks to be performed before starting operations.

Vortex tower crane simulators, which include a flat-top tower crane version, provide realistic simulation-based crane operator training that includes adverse conditions such as time of day, shadows, night-time operation, and weather (cloud cover, rain, snow, fog, and wind); crane boom and jib deflection; stability and overloading risks; cable collisions with worksite obstructions and the crane boom; pendulums, snags, and collisions; visual distractions such as cars, planes, pedestrians, and trains passing through the environment.

The LTC training pack also provides an expanded tool-set for the training, mentoring, and evaluation of student operators. Scoring for each scenario is customizable, allowing the instructor to evaluate the operator’s performance according to their own standards. Optional visualisation tools allow the student operator to see the boom tip and hook block in relation to lift objects, providing a quick feedback tool for assessing depth.

Seza Kouladjian, technical product manager (Cranes), CM Labs, said: "Cities are tight working environments with most mandating the use of luffing tower cranes for safety reasons. While training on a real crane is both difficult and dangerous, our LTC training pack changes this dynamic, making training safer for everyone. From controls familiarization to erecting a steel structure, student operators who train with Vortex simulators develop the experience, skills, and worksite awareness they need to master safe operations.”

A new night-time operation mode enables student operators to have the opportunity to gain experience working at any time of day.

“A worksite looks very different at night because of site lighting. The simulated environment can help LTC student operators become acclimatized to the differences in shadows and perspective presented by night-time operations,” said Kouladjian.

According to CM Labs, simulation-based training can reduce training costs by up to 75% as result of decreased machine wear and fuel costs, increased focus on safety, time savings, improved retention, increased productivity and a more consistent training schedule.

Drew Carruthers, construction and earthmoving product manager, CM Labs, points out that simulation-based training is becoming more mainstream as it evolves from a risk-free training tool to a productivity-enhancing tool.

“Early adopters have pushed the expectations of simulators and benefited from having more efficient use of training time. However, there’s still a need to justify investment. Construction equipment simulation, like several other technologies, has been adopted on the premise of safety alone. The initial argument was that a simulation-based training would pay for itself within the first accident. Nowadays, simulation-based training is evolving into a productivity tool. The time spent on a simulator can be transferred into skills on a real crane. The turning point in this technology is happening as operators feel the same way when they are on a simulator and on a real crane,” said Carruthers.

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