Simulators aren’t new to the training world. The first time I had a crack at one was 20 years ago at a mine site in the Hunter Valley, it was pretty cool. Simulators are a tremendous tool for introducing industry operators to a new piece of equipment in a safe, stress-free environment, without impacting production. The evolution of simulators now sees them having the ability to benchmark experienced operators against recommended OEM techniques with the intended outcome of not only having a productive operator, but also one that’s exercising machine health.
One of the most exciting training aids that has dropped onto the scene in recent years is Virtual Reality (VR). To have the ability to totally immerse an operator into a world where everything feels like it’s at their fingertips, still blows my mind. VR by far is a technology that I think will pave the way for operator training into the future.
I recently caught up with Chris Nolan, Account Manager and Design Specialist at Simformotion, the licensee for Cat® Simulators for Caterpillar Inc. for over 13 years, making them Caterpillar’s oldest heavy equipment simulator licensee.
With models for mining, construction and forestry, the product line is vast with more in development. Full simulators feature convertible controls on the same base unit, motion systems, cab seat with working seatbelt, and multi-screen configurations. Save space or cross train with conversions. Compact models are also available for socially distanced stations. Both set-ups include authentic Cat controls and the option for VR edition.
According to Chris, what sets Cat Simulators apart from other brands are the authentic Cat controls and other Cat differences. By using the same genuine controls as found in the actual machine, the operator can make a seamless transition to the field. Each simulator is developed with Caterpillar operator experts, so applications match those found on the real machines. Learners will experience consistent training in the safety of the virtual environment, knowing they are learning “the Cat way”.
Besides working with Cat experts during simulator development, Simformotion also provides training and support for customers. Trainers will work with customers via live stream or arrive onsite. Technical support is available 24×7. Plus, Cat Simulators offers SimScholars™, an online curriculum for a blended learning program in the classroom or for remote learning.