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Simulation-based training approach for construction equipment operators

Simulation-based training approach for construction equipment operators

The productivity of construction field equipment, such as cranes, loaders and excavators, is directly affected by the ability of the operator.

The gaps in ability present in a typical workforce, where operators with lower proficiency are likely to be responsible for most incidents. Any accident imposes additional repairs and wears the equipment quicker, increasing overall maintenance and operational costs.

Hiring experienced operators to fill the position will fit however, the industry must be flexible in its approach in order to tackle the skilled labour shortage. Therefore, training should be considered an integral part of an employee development program for new and existing employees.

Bestech Australia supplies modern technical training equipment to local industries and training institutes in Australia and New Zealand including hydraulic training systems, electrical testing boards and heavy equipment simulators. This equipment is designed for instructors to teach correct techniques in a safe learning environment.

Working on the actual equipment provides a more realistic training experience however, it is not recommended for training new students due to its higher risk of accidents and a lack of diagnostic tools to support practical training. Heavy equipment simulators are cost-effective training solutions and can act as pre-screening tools during hiring and recruitment campaigns.

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Training new employees is integral but can come with hidden costs that can be easily overlooked. When a construction company recruits new operators, not all candidates possess the right aptitude to be trained as equipment operators. Simulation training can be used as a pre-screening tool to test the candidates’ technical aptitudes, such as psycho-motor, sensory/perception and cognitive ability.

Bestech Australia offers heavy equipment simulators from SIMLOG, including hydraulic excavators, forklifts, bulldozers, cranes and other equipment commonly found on construction and mining sites. The company has commissioned this equipment in industrial training centres and TAFE’s across Australia with technical support from its engineers.

SIMLOG’s heavy equipment simulator can be used as a training system for operators and pre-screen for technical aptitudes. The number of simulation modules depends on the type of equipment or simulator. Each simulator is equipped with key performance indicators, allowing the instructors to grade the quality and productivity of students’ work. More importantly, students can learn independently without direct supervision from the instructors.

Training operators with good techniques and working habits leads to increased production efficiency, less wear and tear on the equipment and can maximise the operating life of the equipment. In the simulator, students will be put under the control of modern equipment with a realistic dashboard in a virtual worksite that mimics the real work environment. Training is delivered through a modular instructional design that teaches students the skills to operate the equipment safely and efficiently.

For example, mining truck simulators consist of learning modules that teach operators how to drive the truck, turn the wheel effectively and minimise the wear and tear on the tyres. Mistakes that occur during practice are counted and recorded – both students and instructors can review these at the end of the exercise as part of their learning journey.

Choosing suitable training simulators depends on the individual training needs. The top-of-the-tier simulator can consist of multiple PCs, a motion platform and a customised hardware/software interface with the particular model/make of the simulated equipment. In addition, it often comes with an ongoing annual subscription fee for the software module.

Safety must be the top priority in every workplace, and this can be achieved by training employees with adequate and up-to-date technology. Setting up an in-house training centre can be costly, but it does not need to break the bank.

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