Simulator training increases safety, offers economy

There are five training simulators for four different pieces of mobile plant and equipment at the ?Caterpillar ?Institute (Vic-Tas): two M series motor ?graders, a 777 mine truck, a 300 series hydraulic excavator and a 995 wheel loader. They are designed to anticipate one?s training needs and increase efficiency and productivity and are built with real controls and software that provide instant feedback and a print out of the trainee?s progress. The simulators can be used to train new workers in the industry or train existing employees. Simulators are a safe and effective tool for training new ?employees, as many risks associated with training inexperienced machine operators arereduced. Training new workers on the simulatoralso means a money-earning machine is not moved away from money-earning tasks. 

?It is common for operators to forget ?optimum operation techniques over time,? said senior operator trainer and Caterpillar certified instructor Richard Beard. ?Sub-standardoperation can have a detrimental effect on fuel costs and machine maintenance.?

Simulators allow managers to measure?operator performance and decide on ?optimum operation targets. Through instructor-led training with a step by step progressive training programme on the simulator, operators canreceive orientation, instruction and feedback on their performance. Tests have shown that following a supervised training session on asimulator, some operators can expect to be atleast 75 per cent productive within 30 minutes.

Operators who have pre-trained on simulatorsalso retain more knowledge and are more productive on real machines when starting in their operating job. Richard said that if trainees have spent time on simulators, by the time they operate a real machine, they will focus less on machine operation and more on the work they need to perform.
According to Richard, common practices on simulators include:
? Measuring the time it takes to perform tasks.
? Measuring the accuracy of task performance.
? Identifying undesirable actions performed during tasks.
? Monitoring operators? key performance statistics on a platform that is created to reflect an actual work site environment.
? Training new staff on equipment without affecting the availability of a client?s fleet.
? Maximising plant performance.
? Revealing errors that could lead to costly equipment damage or potential injury.
? Practicing troubleshooting processes.

Richard added that customers had noticed significant changes in productivity from fine-tuning operators? skills. ?One of the Institute?s courses is ECO Operator training, where participants analyse their machine operationskills, eliminate bad habits and build on existing skills to increase productivity and minimise fuel consumption.?

The one day course starts with theory in the morning, covering the foundation of components and elements that influence efficient machine operation. The course continues in the afternoon with a practical session where participants put their theory into practice.
The Institute conducted two case studies for ECO Operator training. Operators performed the same operation, measured by Caterpillar ET software, then participated in the theory session to review their knowledge of machine operation. The operators then completed the same machine operation, again measured by Caterpillar ET software. The difference was a mean reduction in fuel consumption of six per cent, equating to serious savings in fuel.

For further details about simulator training or Caterpillar ECO Operator Training, contact Caterpillar Institute (Vic-Tas) on 03 9953 9544 or visit

Source: Caterpillar Institute (Vic-Tas)

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