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Everything You Need to Know about Mining Simulators

Mining simulators are all the rage right now. The video game-esque system, which replicates elements of mining operations, is being utilized to provide ...

|Feb 6|magazine12 min read

Mining simulators are all the rage right now. The video game-esque system, which replicates elements of mining operations, is being utilized to provide real-time conditions and operating responses. Used mainly for training and efficiency analysis, simulators provide a comprehensive blend of improvements in safety and profitability for mining companies.

The way they work is simple: the simulated cab provides a highly realistic replica of actual mine equipment, including fully functional simulated instruments and controls. Mounted on pneumatic actuators, these devices are surrounded by screens displaying three-dimensional imagery to reveal real-time situations for operators.

With countless benefits to offer, we break down everything you need to know about mining simulators including benefits like safety, productivity and cost savings.

Improving the safety of miners

The mining industry is one of the more dangerous professions a person can have. Because of this the biggest benefit of simulators in the mining industry is safety. The use of simulators allows for precise training in a safe and controlled environment.

The use of simulators allows operators to focus on reducing the frequency of accidents by concentrating on specific tasks and being continuously monitored. Trainee operators are able to receive accelerated training that improves their productivity as well as eliminates bad habits. Effectively training employees on the potential pit-falls in the industry can alleviate accidents, injuries and deaths.

According to Thoroughtec, the world’s largest providers of simulators, the ability to train on a mining simulator allows trainee operators to learn all the vehicle’s functions and operating procedures in a safe and controlled environment.

“Mine personnel and equipment are not put at risk by rookie operators, while at the touch of a button trainees can be exposed to various emergency procedures such as tire bursts or engine fires, none of which can be safely taught on the real vehicle.”

With mining simulators, trainees can learn techniques that are associated with typical mine site activities, including:

• Mine site familiarization

• Standard operating procedures

• Safety procedures

• Familiarization of new equipments

• Operation under different weather conditions

• Operation in emergency conditions

Boosting productivity

One of the main benefits of utilizing simulators is increased productivity. Why? Let’s count the ways:

The use of simulators allows trainee operators to get the most efficiency out of their vehicles. By continuously being monitored and recorded during the training process, operator’s faults and inefficiencies can be improved through review and analysis. Therefore, productivity is directly improved by having more proficient operators who are effective at performing their core tasks.

Operators trained with simulators have proven to improve performance in machine function cycles. This means operators are able to improve their techniques for digging, swinging and dumping, which could equate to less time onsite as well as thousands of dollars increased in revenue.

Although not all simulators are created equal, some have the ability to be integrated with mine planning, maintenance and fleet management systems to identify opportunities at site, crew and individual level.

Cost savings

One of the biggest advantages simulators bring to the table is a reduction in cost. Simulators enable operators to be better trained and prepared leading to fewer accidents. This means less maintenance to equipment and less downtime to repair broken machinery. Furthermore, the wear and tear on machinery is diminished as operating costs such as fuel are eliminated.

“Because mine vehicles are being used for fewer training tasks, the associated running costs of training are greatly reduced,” says Greg Lew, Executive Vice President of Global Business at ThoroughTec.

“Damage and wear-and-tear on mine vehicles decreases as green operators are able to familiarize themselves with the controls of the machines and iron out their mistakes on the mining simulator instead of the real machine. This means less unscheduled maintenance and lower maintenance and training costs.”

Simulators remove the need to use real machines for training and significantly reduce operator training times. This also saves valuable working machines for training purposes, which lowers

Overall, simulators are being seen as an important part of mine safety as well as an investment into operator competency. This means simulators equate to increased safety, productivity and profitability.