thoroughtecWith the demand for training simulation growing in the mining industry, the need to simulate equipment from a major OEM such as CAT is becoming more and more crucial. For example, over the last year and a half global training simulator provider ThoroughTec Simulation introduced over 20 new high-fidelity CYBERMINE simulator cab types. This included simulators for a number of CAT models, including underground ADTs, LHDs, a rope shovel, an articulated truck and a haul truck. "We have nearly doubled the number of CAT simulator cabs developed," says Greg Lew, Executive Vice President and Director of Global Business Development at ThoroughTec. "Today, ThoroughTec has the largest deployment of CAT underground advanced simulators."

Being a major OEM, CAT mining equipment can be found around the world and it's becoming more common that their simulated equivalent can be found on site too. Goldcorp's Red Lake Mine in Canada has a simulator for an underground LHD and their Cerro Negro Mine in Argentina an ADT. One of Canada's major oil sands producers, Syncrude, chose ThoroughTec to supply them with five simulator cabs including three CAT models: a dozer, haul truck and a grader. BHP Billiton's Hotazel Mine in South Africa has a simulator for a CAT LHD and Kazakhstan's mining giant Kazakhmys' recent order included a CAT haul truck and a front end loader simulator cab currently being developed by ThoroughTec. Swakop Uranium in Namibia has already started to receive their simulators, which includes four CAT cabs: two shovels and two surface drill rigs. ThoroughTec's advanced CAT simulators can now be found in all the major mining regions globally.

Mining houses are recognising that training simulators are a worthwhile and useful investment. At Rio Tinto's massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, ThoroughTec's fourth generation CYBERMINE simulators are being utilised to their maximum potential. "We've received reports from Oyu Tolgoi that they're using their simulators for up to 20 hours a day," says Lew. This includes cabs for an ADT, bolter, LHD and a shotcrete sprayer from three different OEMs. "Offering a diverse and extensive range of cabs from many of the OEMs means mines can get the most out of their simulators, with the safety and productivity benefits realised in the actual mining fleet," says Lew.

Last year ThoroughTec added two new products to complement their range of CYBERMINE Full Mission Simulators (FMS). The CYBERMINE Computer Based Trainer (CBT) is an introductory level tool developed to walk novice recruits through a particular vehicle's basic controls and operation, as well as the mine environment, site operating procedures and safety checks. The CBT makes use of 2D and 3D computer animations, video, audio and still photographs displayed on a high performance off-the-shelf PC. All users and their results can be recorded on a central database.

Once the trainee has mastered the theory on the CBT, the CYBERMINE Operator Familiarisation Trainer (OFT) is used to increase the depth of their knowledge. The OFT operates as an alternative, limited function base-unit for CYBERMINE's high-fidelity interchangeable vehicle cabs and is designed to familiarise operators with the identification and operation of the instruments and controls of a specific vehicle. Students interface with the OFT system via touch-screen display and through the various instruments and controls of the replicated cab. Three different modes (Exploration, Training and Evaluation Modes) allow for a complete familiarisation, learning and evaluation process, while all users and results can be recorded on a central database.

"Both the OFT and the high-fidelity Full Mission Simulator can utilise any of the current CYBERMINE vehicle cabs, allowing the customer to double their use of the cab and therefore providing optimal return on their investment," concludes Lew.

About ThoroughTec Simulation:

The team at ThoroughTec Simulation has been designing simulator based training systems for over twenty years. During this time the company has grown into one of the world's leading training simulation organisations, supplying the mining, construction and military sectors.

Providing Operator Training Systems and Tactical Training Systems for a range of vehicles and applications, ThoroughTec is the de facto supplier of simulator systems to the South African Military as well as supplying a number of European militaries.

This military engineering has been utilised in the development of CYBERMINE mining equipment simulator systems, elevating them above competitors through military grade quality, reliability and low cost of ownership.

ThoroughTec's range of CYBERMINE mining simulators is the broadest in the industry, encompassing all aspects of both surface and underground mining operations for hard and soft rock and capable of replicating a mine's entire working fleet from load and haul through to the most complex production and ancillary equipment. CYBERMINE mining simulator systems are designed and engineered to make mines safer, more productive and more cost effective.

ThoroughTec's headquarters and R&D and production facility are in Durban, South Africa, but the company has a global presence with offices in Perth and Brisbane, Australia; Santiago, Chile and Toronto, Canada.