Friday, June 28, 2013

International Mining Magazine's In Depth Look at the Mining Equipment Simulator Market

If you're interested in learning all about the training simulator market for the mining equipment industry, look no further than the June 2013 edition of International Mining Magazine, and the article by Paul Moore titled, "As Real As It Gets" (free subscription required). The article is an extensive study of the mining equipment simulator market, and includes insightful interviews with executives at a number of leading simulator development companies that are producing mining equipment training simulators. In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that my company, ForgeFX and the work we've done for P&H Mining and Joy Global, is one of the companies featured in the article.

Mining Equipment Simulator Market
International Mining Magazine, As Real As It Gets. A ForgeFX developed P&H ProMiner 4100XPC training simulator.

Original Equipment Manufacturers

The article explores both the surface and underground mining simulator markets, and looks at how Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) work with simulator developers to produce virtual versions of their real-world equipment. The article includes a review of the leading OEMs, the different simulator packages that they offer to their customers, and an overview of some of the issues the industry is facing. The OEMs discussed in the article include:
  • P&H Mining
  • Caterpillar
  • Komatsu
  • Hitachi
  • Liebherr
  • Sandvik
As the mining industry is currently experiencing some budget tightening, OEMs are increasingly providing simulation-based training products to satisfy the needs of their customers. Training simulators provide a valuable asset to mine sites, allowing them to train and refine the skills of operators without taking real-world machinery out of production.

Training Simulator Developers

As mining equipment becomes more complex, and the capabilities of virtual training simulators increase, OEMs will typically hire a training simulator development company that specializes in simulation development to produce their products. Training simulator development companies are experts at mirroring real-world equipment in virtual space, allowing for a high level of accuracy and realism to be achieved in training. With an acknowledgement of the heightened focus on reducing costs and increasing productivity in the mining industry, companies like Immersive have developed simulator sessions that are aimed at spotting, quantifying, and tracking fuel inefficient behaviors. When interviewed for the article about the subject, here's what Immersive CEO Peter Salfinger said:
"We took similar steps to assist the industry during a time of severe tire shortages. Our customers now commonly report increases in truck tire life of over 10% following the implementation of our tire preservation technology into their training programs."

My company ForgeFX has been working with Joy Global and P&H Mining for a number of years developing training simulator products. When interviewed for the article about the P&H 4100XPC electric rope shovel training simulator that we built for them, here's what I said:
"This electric rope shovel training simulator improves operator efficiency, reduces training costs and associated equipment damage, and increases revenue by maximizing operator efficiency. If you are charged with heavy equipment training, you need your operators to become familiar with the controls and learn proper machine operation quickly. ForgeFX’s custom virtual training simulators deliver hands-on learning experiences and simulated practice sessions, teaching the skills required to operate heavy equipment quickly and safely, increasing mine site productivity."

Looking at different aspects of mining and training, the article features a number of training simulator developers, and highlights the work they do for different OEMs. These training simulator developers include:
  • ForgeFX
  • GlobalSim
  • Immersive
  • Simformotion
  • ThoroughTec
  • 5DT
As the global mining industry expands, and the demand for rare earth minerals increases as a result of new technology, it is expected that the demand for mining equipment-specific simulators will be increase as well. A considerable amount of the growth is expected in the top 5 emerging nations, which are Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.

Emerging Simulator Markets

According to a recent MarketLine report titled, "Metals & Mining - Top 5 Emerging Industries Market Overview", among the top 5 emerging nations within the mining and metals industry, China is the leading revenue producing country, with market revenues of $1,411.4 billion in 2011. China is expected to lead the mining and metals industry, among the top 5 emerging nations, with a value of $2,632.1 billion in 2016, followed by India and Brazil with expected values of $255.8 and $86.9 billion, respectively.

Paul Moore's article predicts, and I think correctly so, that as these Asian companies gain more market share, the demand for corresponding simulation-based training products will increase as well. The article mentions a number of Chinese OEM's that simulator opportunities are predicted for, including:
  • SANY
  • NHL
  • XEMC
  • LiuGong
It's no surprise that equipment manufacturers develop training simulators for their products, but learning how they go about getting these simulators built is valuable information for anyone interested in the field. Once again I may be biased, since we're one of the companies mentioned in the article, however articles like this, that examine specific industries and how they utilize training simulators can be an invaluable resource. Contact us on ForgeFX Get updates by liking us on Facebook Get updates on Facebook Get tweets by following us on Twitter Get tweets on Twitter Stay connected by following us on LinkedIn Connect on LinkedIn

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