Volvo simulators boost production on sites
Volvo Construction Equipment simulators can also be used for research and development purposes.
Volvo Construction Equipment simulators have been designed using the same software and data used by Volvo CE’s Technology function and are the only simulators on the market to include high-reach demolition and pipelayer software. Data is not only collected for research and development purposes, but when analysed in connection with data from operations model Site Simulation Program (SiteSim) can be used to help customers achieve the maximum productivity, efficiency and profitability from their site operations.
Volvo Site Simulation is an advanced program that calculates the optimum flow of production over an entire site. By inputting the density of the material, distances and topography of the site, a Volvo consultant can recommend the ideal number and capacity of machines, as well as the optimum speed and routes operators should use, based on the target tons-per-hour and the cost-per-ton.
Volvo offers simulators for wheel loaders (with bucket, grapple and materials handling scenarios), articulated haulers, and excavators (large, compact, high reach and pipelayers). The simulators allow operators to see and, just as importantly, feel how the machine would react in real-life situations, thanks to a high-definition 3D display and an electronic full-motion platform. Operators are directly alerted to their virtual mistakes, which they can easily correct – without consequence to machine or anything in the vicinity – and, therefore, avoid when returned to the real world.
For example, if an operator dumps too hard and fast, and potentially damages the loading reciever on a wheel loader simulator, they will be alerted. Spilling material, which slows production, or driving the front wheels into a pile of sharp blasted rock, risking damaging the tires, are also ‘red alert’ examples. Scores for bucket fill factor, time and distance are also given by the wheel loader simulator. These scores can be viewed as measures of productivity and efficiency, which can help even experienced operators to further hone their skills.
These features enable simulator owners to evaluate their operators’ peformance, so they can develop a personalised training plan, where tasks are allocated according to their individual strengths. Stefan Pettersson, application engineer at Volvo CE explains: “Interactive training is a truly effective tool. It’s what operators want and need – just look at the aviation industry. Pilots are required to complete hours and hours of simulations before they are let loose on expensive safety-criticial equipment.”
In Sweden and other countries where labour costs are high, simulators are primarily used to ensure maximum machine utilisation. In the Middle East however, the workforce is largely seasonal and often relatively inexperienced. Volvo simulators are especially popular in Oman, UAE and Qatar, where dealers offer operator training in dedicated training areas with each new purchase, to ensure safe and efficient operating practices are maintained at all times.