Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heavy Equipment Training Simulators Provide Immediate Cost Savings

Heavy equipment operator training simulators allow organizations to improve their bottom lines by reducing fuel consumption, limiting wear-and-tear on real-world equipment, and reducing accidents caused by inexperienced operators. Operators that receive simulation-based training demonstrate increased levels of productivity, pride in their profession, and higher levels of quality work. Organizations that train their heavy equipment operators on simulators report decreased levels of customer complaints, equipment downtime, accidents, and worker turnover. Manufacturers that offer training simulators with their products can expect higher levels of sales, customer satisfaction, and repeat business. In industries like mining and construction, that rely on heavy equipment and the people that operate them, these are all important components of running a successful and profitable business.

In this age of hyper-competition, companies that are able to differentiate themselves from their competitors will succeed, while those who don't will risk becoming obsolete. Many heavy equipment manufacturers have already deployed operator training simulators, while many others are rapidly developing them, in order to set themselves apart and stay ahead of their competition.

Volvo Wheel Loader Simulation

When it comes to training for heavy equipment operation, without risking injury to operator or machine, The Volvo wheel loader simulator is a great example of this concept. It provides an economical and efficient way of increasing safety and productivity. The simulator tracks operator's performance and compiles their statistics, making the simulation a valuable tool for tracking employee's development over time. Inexperienced operators can train in a safe environment and achieve higher levels of productivity in a shorter amount of time, while experienced operators can sharpen their skills and practice for more difficult maneuvers.


Volvo Wheel Loader Simulator Demo Video

Hitachi Mining and Excavator Simulator

The Hitachi EX5500-5 hydraulic shovel training simulator, developed with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) controls and instrumentation, provides authentic training that leads to increased productivity and safety while reducing unscheduled maintenance on real-world equipment. Since vehicle efficiency can vary up to 40% based on the experience of an operator, simulation-based training can quickly lead to cost savings for any organization.


Hitachi Mining and Excavator Simulator Demo Video

Simulation-based training is the best way to keep personnel safe, machinery free from mishaps, and avoid unplanned maintenance costs caused by under-trained operators. Operator training simulators help organizations dramatically lower costs and address safety and production concerns while ensuring training can be conducted at anytime, regardless of weather conditions, increasing fuel costs, or other prohibitive real-world barriers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Simulation Software is Cost-Effective for Emergency Response Training

When it comes to training for mission critical tasks, emergency response and first responder rank as some of the most important and difficult activities to train for. In today's economy, where emergency management agencies worldwide are finding their budgets slashed, it's becoming even harder to train for disasters. This is where simulation-based training software comes in, a safe and cost-effective method to train for something you hope may never happen, but something agencies must be prepared for. Simulation-based training is used to prepare for every kind of emergency, from public health, to hazardous materials, to natural disasters, to homeland security threats.

Last month an article in Emergency Management magazine included the following quote from Dale Hall, former director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory:
"Simulation is a valuable tool for emergency response and can be used for vulnerability assessment, planning, training and decision support. It was identified as the only feasible approach when it is difficult to do real-life experiments, as is the case for homeland security applications."
The article references a number of different emergency response training simulator systems that are currently in use to provide training and education to first responders.

Advanced Disaster Management Simulator

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has partnered with Environmental Tectonics Corp. to use their Advanced Disaster Management Simulator. The software allows them to test their ability to implement the citywide incident management system. High-fidelity 3D graphics, complex interactivity, and audio create a highly immersive, chaotic and stressful environment for first responders to train in.



HYDRA Simulator

The Los Angeles Police Department is the first governmental agency in the US to deploy a HYDRA simulator, an immersive simulator for critical incident training. The simulator system, located in the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center, allows the police to train for everything from earthquakes to acts of terrorism, which may give law enforcement a significant advantage during the next disaster.

Ops-Plus

Dartmouth College's Interactive Media Laboratory and Institute for Security Technology Studies created the Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat program to help first responders train for terrorism response. Ops-Plus, part of the Virtual Terrorism Response Academy, allows officials to train in an immersive 3D environment for threats ranging from chemical, to biological, to radiological, to nuclear.

It requires highly specialized training to be a first responder when it comes to disasters. Using immersive 3D simulators to train for disaster management allows first responders to gain this training without having to put themselves in harm's way. There may be no better way to develop first responder skills than to experience an actual disaster, but real-world disasters are rare and no place for inexperienced responders to gain on-the-job training. Disaster training simulators enable life-like training that can help agencies develop disaster management strategies that can ultimately save lives in a real-world disaster.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

U.S. Department of Defense Announces Latest Contract Awards

Even in a tight economic climate like the one we're in now, the military continues to invest millions of dollars in training simulation technology. The reason? Training simulators work. The ROI that training simulators deliver is tangible: fewer resources are used, fewer engine-use hours are logged on real-world equipment, trainees are kept out of harms way, and operators can practice difficult maneuvers repeatedly until they are fully mastered.


The U.S. Department of Defense released a list today of their latest contract awards. Two projects of interest on the list are the following 2 training simulator projects, with budgets totaling more than $21 million to be spent by the end of the fiscal year.


  1. VSD, LLC, a Virginia Beach, VA based company was awarded a $15 million undefinitized contract to develop four offshore support vessel training simulators to be used by Iraqi Naval Forces. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, Fla., is the contracting agency. The simulators are scheduled to be completed in October 2011.

  2. Cubic Applications, Inc., a Lacey, Washington based company was awarded a $6.7 million firm-fixed-price contract to develop a virtual constructive & gaming-integrated training environment in support of Army training strategies for the U.S. Army National Simulation Center. The Mission & Installation Contracting Command in Fort Eustis, Virginia is the contracting agency. The simulators are scheduled to be completed in August 2011.
U.S. Department of Defense Contract List, September 29, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

NASA's Moonbase Alpha - Online 3D Space Exploration Game

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released Moonbase Alpha, a free online 3D video game that runs on the Steam network, an online game platform with more than 25 million accounts. NASA teamed up with Virtual Heroes, the US Army's game development studio, to develop this realistic multiplayer lunar simulator. Moonbase Alpha is a precursor to a planned NASA-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) game called Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond.

Moonbase Alpha allows players to join a virtual exploration team that is working on repairing and maintaining a lunar settlement. After a meteor strike cripples the settlement's solar array and life support equipment, the team must work together to restore oxygen flow to the base and other critical services.




Players are able to build, and pilot, robotic repair rovers, that demonstrate lunar physics, in order to work together to make repairs on the settlement.



As with many disaster response training simulators, there are multiple ways to solve the problems the players are presented with. Effective teamwork and intelligent decisions allow players to make the necessary repairs before life support systems shut down.

NASA Moonbase Alpha - Official Trailer


The plan for Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond is to expand the universe of the game, while teaching gamers about the realities of space travel, as well as math and science. The game is being developed in order to help students develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields knowledge and skills.

Moonbase Alpha is a great example of how using realistic interactive 3D simulations, to demonstrate aerospace engineering technologies, can engage and educate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. With the educational potential of online 3D games being rapidly recognized, NASA is actively developing this virtual online collaborative laboratory for students to develop the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills that are required to compete in today's academic and professional disciplines.

Download the game for free from Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/39000/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

VSTEP Releases RescueSim Platform



The thing to note about this product is that it is not simply a one-off simulation, but is instead a fully-featured toolkit to construct a variety of unique simulation scenarios (within the limits of the building blocks that are provided).

From http://www.rescuesim.com/:
RescueSim is training software that prepares public safety and security professionals for real-life incidents in a virtual environment.

RescueSim allows emergency crews to experience the incident as they would in real-life. They assess the situation and determine the best response strategy, implement it and then observe the consequences of their decisions.

RescueSim offers important benefits:
  • Train people whenever, wherever without time-consuming planning and preparation
  • Improve operational preparedness of the emergency response organisation
  • Reduce training costs
  • Learn new skills in a safe environment