International mining equipment simulator supplier Immersive Technologies this year developed several new interchangeble simulation modules, known as conversion kits, for underground mining applications.
The kits fit onto base simulators, enabling the simulators to provide training for different machines. The range of kits uses the controls and instrumentation of original-equipment manufacturers and it includes simulation modules for continuous miners, shuttle cars, roof bolters, longwalls, miner bolters, drill jumbos, trucks and loaders.
These newly released kits operate on Immer- sive Technologies’ new CM360 Advanced Equipment Simulator, which was launched last month, and its UG360-B Advanced Equipment Simulator, which was launched in September last year.
The UG360-B, fitted with the dual-monitor Enhanced Trainer Station interface, enables a trainer to manage the simulator better during a session. The dual-monitor interface enables trainers to observe a three-dimensional (3D) view, trigger events, review errors as they occur, generate reports and administer scenarios to trainees – all while running training sessions.
Meanwhile, the new CM360 uses tech- nology to increase realism to a level not previously seen in the mining industry, not only providing a full 360º visual experience, but also recognising the distinct operating conditions of the underground mining environment.
It features an entirely movable motion platform that enables seated and remote- operated simulation from one platform.
Further, with the addition of Immersive Technologies’ RealMove natural movement technology, operators can freely walk around in the 3D virtual environment to avoid hazards or walk completely around the machine. This feature provides trainees with a more in-depth machine knowledge and awareness of surroundings.
“Simulation realism is important when training on underground mining equipment, as the simulator has the ability to provide comprehensive training when actual equipment is unavailable. It also reduces the overall training time and allows for the repetitive practice of hazardous or life-threatening scenarios, which would be dangerous and impractical to practise live,” says Immersive Technologies public relations manager Ashley Mullaney.
Further, the simulator reduces the cost of taking actual, expensive equipment off line for training purposes and the accident costs of novice operators controlling expensive equipment. It increases the confidence and productivity of new operators during their first 60 to 90 days of operation.
The simulator assesses basic hand-eye coordination skills and identifies weaker operators before they start the training programme, while measuring all the facets of a student’s performance, including unsafe actions, operating proficiency and response to faults or malfunctions.
Besides supplying simulators and simulation modules, Immersive Technologies provides a custom solution designed to train and develop mine-equipment operators.
This improves the effectiveness and throughput of the training process by blending elearning, interactive classroom content and medium- and high-fidelity simulators with customised content and curriculum to meet the needs of specific mining operations.
The kits include mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global’s Joy 14CM15 Continuous Miner, with the wireless TX2 or TX3 remote, as well as the Joy 10SC32 Shuttle Car and the Joy 12CM30 Miner Bolter.
They also include custom designer and manufacturer of underground bolters JH Fletcher & Co’s Fletcher CHDDR Roof Bolter, equipment manufacturer Caterpillar’s EL3000 Longwall, industrial tools company Atlas Copco’s MT6020 truck, and high-technology engineering group Sandvik’s DD420 Underground Jumbo, its TH540 and TH550 Underground Truck and the LH514 Underground Loader.
Further, base-metals producer First Quantum Minerals has also invested in Immersive Technologies’ operator training solutions for its 300 000 t/y copper concentrate Sentinel mine and smelter project, in Zambia, which is estimated to cost more than $2.4-billion to develop.
The base-metals producer has stated that Sentinel has an estimated measured and indicated resource of 1.03-billion tons at 0.51% copper, containing 5.2-million tons of copper. The mine life is estimated to be more than 15 years, which could poten- tially increase with planned delineation drilling and future successful exploration.
First Quantum Minerals has been using Immersive Technologies simulators at its mines for five years and plans to integrate its elearning and instructor-led training into its current simulation products.
Having supplied simulator modules to 33 countries, Immersive Technologies is recognised as the global standard in mining equipment simulator technology, delivering significant bottom-line results to many of the world’s largest mining and earthmoving operations, Mullaney concludes.