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Workforce development through simulation-based training solutions

Bnamericas Published: Monday, July 15, 2019
Workforce development through simulation-based training solutions

Using Simulators to Train Mining Operators

Simulation based operator training has been successfully applied to a range of diverse industries where high risk and high costs are everyday issues requiring smart solutions. Whether piloting a plane or launching a space shuttle, simulation training has been proven to dramatically reduce risk, cost, unscheduled maintenance, increase trainer effectiveness and efficiency while maximizing productivity.

Within the often-hazardous mining industry, simulation training has quickly gained recognition as a significant method of increasing site safety and profitability through improved operator skill and knowledge.

 

Photo 1: The PRO4 from Immersive Technologies is built specifically for surface mining. With a 3x Full HD frontal display plus a large integrated rear display, the PRO4 is the most advanced simulator platform on the market. It delivers realism at a level not previously seen by the mining industry. The PRO4 provides a robust, high fidelity platform for driving operator optimization and business improvement.

Simulators provide operators a safe environment to learn and practice their skills. Immersive Technologies’ simulators allow the operator to practice for a range of possible emergency situations. Many of these situations are too dangerous, too difficult or too expensive to test in an actual mine.

Operators can also be shown and assessed for the proper operating technique much more quickly and accurately than the traditional in machine approach. Focus on improving operator technique with Immersive Technologies’ simulators has delivered proven results including longer tire life, reduced spot time, reduced brake abuse, improvements in fuel use, reduction in engine overspeeds and more.

Simulator training allows operators to be shown and assessed without the need to borrow machines from production. This allows new operators to practice many skills before being placed into a production circuit. Because operators are consistently shown and assessed on the proper operator techniques they have a better understanding and knowledge of the real machine.

Photo 2: The IM360 from Immersive Technologies is built specifically for underground mining with the flexibility to train on surface mining environments. It delivers cutting edge technologies in a lower cost high fidelity platform.

Simulation Training Impact on Safety

The ability to train operators to react correctly during potentially life-threatening situations is invaluable in mining. Many dangerous situations rarely take place, so training operators to understand proper protocol in a safe environment is essential for mining operations to be assured their operators are better prepared and can react appropriately with confidence.

Operators can be trained on how to respond to machinery emergencies such as engine fires and brake failure as well as the correct responses to emergencies occurring elsewhere on the mine site.

With over 100,000 operator training sessions analyzed we know that less than 50% of experienced operators can recall the procedure to respond to an emergency machine failure. Immersive Technologies has proven to deliver over 90% pass rates using their simulation training solutions. Below are two examples of reported safety training improvements.

REF#SF0210:

Surface Coal Producer, USA

During an actual truck fire incident employee had an engine fire and correctly handled the event. In the incident review the employee said they’d recently completed simulation training and felt completely comfortable handling the fire event.

REF#SF0410

Underground Mining Services Provider, Australia

Underground truck operator had truck catch fire; the operator attributed recent simulator training to the correct actions taken during the emergency, keeping the operator safe and saving the company millions of dollars in a potential full machine loss.

Simulation Training Impact on Unscheduled Maintenance

The mining industry continues to demand safer, more productive and less costly equipment operators to achieve sustainable mining operations. One-time improvement initiatives have already hit the financial bottom line and their impact is lessening. Now operations are looking for sustainable long-term, solutions that integrate operational data, analytical tools and decision making leveraged to improve financial outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Photo 3: The LX6 from Immersive Technologies is a medium fidelity simulator platform perfect for machine and site familiarization, emergency response and compliance training.

This platform offers six full HD screens for a large field of view and ample wide horizontal view for truck, shovel and excavator training programs. The large wide vertical view offers clear visibility when digging, dozing or grading.

The LX6 is compatible with all surface mining machines simulated by Immersive Technologies and shares the underlying technology of the industry leading PRO4 and IM360.

Machine availability is an ongoing challenge in the mining industry. Poor operator behaviors and operational practices such as abusive shifting, engine overspeed and brake abuse contribute to a loss in production while machines are down. Reactive maintenance is an inefficient way to address fleet availability and companies are more likely to suffer from heightened maintenance costs, longer periods of unplanned equipment downtime and lost mine productivity. Properly trained operators can directly reduce unscheduled maintenance costs and increase site productivity. Targeted simulation training from Immersive Technologies delivers, in the field, an average of 62.2% reduction in brake abuse, 69.8% reduction in abusive shifting and 54.5% reduction in engine overspeed.

REF#CS0818

Surface Mining Operation, Brazil

Vale needed to respond to economic and political pressures to adopt cost cutdown and productivity improvement strategies. The mining unit decided to implement a project, (successfully implemented on the Capão Xavier mine site) utilizing an Immersive Technologies high-fidelity haul truck simulator to qualify operators and improve operator practices that impacted on fuel consumption. A pilot project resulted in 7.5% reduction in fuel use, once the project was extended to CAT haul truck fleets the average fuel reduction was 4.6% translating to savings of $680,000 USD.

REF# UM0112

Coal Operations, USA

Production cost per ton steadily increasing as the development of the site matured. An Advanced Equipment Simulator was installed and utilized for approximately 12 hours per day, 5 days a week. Remaining training time is spent out in the field or in the classroom resulting in reduction in abusive shifts, high brake temperatures and machine up-shifts.

Simulation Training Impact on Productivity

Equipment performance is heavily dependent on operator skill, knowledge and attitude. The Immersive Technologies approach ensures customers focus on the right issues that will deliver the highest returns.

Every mining operation and training center has different needs and priorities that require customization, flexibility and consultation to maximize outcomes. Solutions from Immersive Technologies can include trainers, consultants, supervision and technology including flexible hire of Simulators.

REF#UM1815

Open-cut copper and molybdenum mine, Chile

Ramp-up was planned to increase from 61,000 tonnes to 148,000 tonnes of ore per day. The expansion would increase the mine’s output by an average of 200,000 tonnes of copper per annum over the first 10 years. The site required a standardized, fully staffed solution to deliver results in operator training.

In addition to the use of PRO3-B simulators, Immersive Technologies provided on-site training personnel who carry out operator risk assessments, early reports resulted in:

  • 25% reduction in body-ups ground speeds
  • 60% reduction in overspeeds
  • 62% reduction in service brake abuse

 

REF#UM0913

Crude Oil Producer, Canada

An initial training needs analysis demonstrated an opportunity to improve haul truck spot times. Data analysis revealed that only 20% of the workforce were responsible for the majority of lower than expected productivity. Upon the completion of the training initiative average spot times were reduced by 9 seconds.

 

REF#PR0613

Iron Ore Producer, USA

Simulator data was used to track progress of production specific skill and knowledge retention at three sites. Infield data was collected and analyzed both before and after training. The end result was an average of 24.3% improvement in spot times across all three sites.

Photo 4: Immersive Technologies works closely with mining operations and equipment manufacturers to solve real mining industry problems in areas of safety, productivity, reactive maintenance and the availability of skilled equipment operators. This approach has allowed Immersive Technologies to consistently deploy solutions that deliver Real Results, while accumulating an extensive catalogue of quantified business improvements achieved by our global mining customers.

Immersive Technologies has deployed over 80% of the Advanced Equipment Simulators operating around the world to the broadest range of mining environments. This experience, together with ongoing feedback from customer base and Original Equipment Manufacturer alliance partners, has provided Immersive Technologies with the knowledge necessary to develop the most accurate, reliable and outcome oriented Equipment Simulators.

 

Immersive Technologies solutions harness the power of data to improve safety and profitability in mining operations.  Detailed information is captured allowing for in-depth assessment of equipment operator strengths and weaknesses.

Immersive Technologies’ Equipment Simulators are supported by the industry’s most comprehensive range of compatible tools, technologies and professional services.  This ensures a solution to meet or exceed your needs can be defined, delivered, implemented and generating operational results quickly and with very low risk.

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