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Simulator Provides Effective – And Fun – Training
The operator's performance is compared to how an experienced operator would perform the same task and evaluates how safe a student was during the lesson. It also documents data such as how much material above and below grade was calculated, how much spillage was recorded, etc.
"All of this is important information that a new operator needs to be aware of when training," Hoeg explained. "Integrated record keeping provides an operator immediate visibility to their strengths and weaknesses on each task. Information such as average bucket fill, spillage, time on task, material above and below grade, equipment damage, operating costs and safety violations are all factored into the final score. Each operator's assessment results are tracked in a database and can be reviewed by the operator and/or a training coordinator."
The Excavator Operator Training Simulator is in Level 2 of John Deere's 3 level approach to operator training (see sidebar).
However, Hoeg said simulators can be purchased and used as stand alone training tools and are in use at locations of customers, union training locations and military bases.
"Using realistic state of the art simulators," said Hoeg, "operators learn machine controls, operator technique and safe operation without many of the concerns associated with training on an actual machine, including fuel costs, equipment damage, machine ownership and operating costs, emissions, injury, weather and pulling machines out of production."
He said that in addition to eliminating costs, customers are identifying other advantages and uses for the simulator such as attracting new operators at job fairs, cross training, screening potential employees, rainy day events, job site planning and safety training.
The equipment operator simulators were developed in cooperation with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, TX, to define realistic tasks, safety hazards and violations and the program's unique scoring system.
The excavator simulator was introduced in March 2008 at the Conexpo show, where Hoeg said response was "overwhelming."
"The simulator has been very well accepted," he said. "Whenever we bring the simulator to any convention or expo, it receives overwhelming response. Now that simulators have been available for more than a year, we are collecting customer feedback and success stories about ways simulators are being used, and the ROI being experienced. The response is that we have hit the mark with this simulator."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
John Deere, (309) 748-0114, www.johndeere.com