Everything You Need to Know about Mining Simulators
Mining simulators are all the rage right now. The video game-esque system, which replicates elements of mining operations, is being utilized to provide real-time conditions and operating responses. Used mainly for training and efficiency analysis, simulators provide a comprehensive blend of improvements in safety and profitability for mining companies.
The way they work is simple: the simulated cab provides a highly realistic replica of actual mine equipment, including fully functional simulated instruments and controls. Mounted on pneumatic actuators, these devices are surrounded by screens displaying three-dimensional imagery to reveal real-time situations for operators.
With countless benefits to offer, we break down everything you need to know about mining simulators including benefits like safety, productivity and cost savings.
Improving the safety of miners
The mining industry is one of the more dangerous professions a person can have. Because of this the biggest benefit of simulators in the mining industry is safety. The use of simulators allows for precise training in a safe and controlled environment.
The use of simulators allows operators to focus on reducing the frequency of accidents by concentrating on specific tasks and being continuously monitored. Trainee operators are able to receive accelerated training that improves their productivity as well as eliminates bad habits. Effectively training employees on the potential pit-falls in the industry can alleviate accidents, injuries and deaths.
According to Thoroughtec, the world’s largest providers of simulators, the ability to train on a mining simulator allows trainee operators to learn all the vehicle’s functions and operating procedures in a safe and controlled environment.
“Mine personnel and equipment are not put at risk by rookie operators, while at the touch of a button trainees can be exposed to various emergency procedures such as tire bursts or engine fires, none of which can be safely taught on the real vehicle.”
With mining simulators, trainees can learn techniques that are associated with typical mine site activities, including:
• Mine site familiarization
• Standard operating procedures
• Safety procedures
• Familiarization of new equipments
• Operation under different weather conditions
• Operation in emergency conditions
One of the main benefits of utilizing simulators is increased productivity. Why? Let’s count the ways:
The use of simulators allows trainee operators to get the most efficiency out of their vehicles. By continuously being monitored and recorded during the training process, operator’s faults and inefficiencies can be improved through review and analysis. Therefore, productivity is directly improved by having more proficient operators who are effective at performing their core tasks.
Operators trained with simulators have proven to improve performance in machine function cycles. This means operators are able to improve their techniques for digging, swinging and dumping, which could equate to less time onsite as well as thousands of dollars increased in revenue.
Although not all simulators are created equal, some have the ability to be integrated with mine planning, maintenance and fleet management systems to identify opportunities at site, crew and individual level.
One of the biggest advantages simulators bring to the table is a reduction in cost. Simulators enable operators to be better trained and prepared leading to fewer accidents. This means less maintenance to equipment and less downtime to repair broken machinery. Furthermore, the wear and tear on machinery is diminished as operating costs such as fuel are eliminated.
“Because mine vehicles are being used for fewer training tasks, the associated running costs of training are greatly reduced,” says Greg Lew, Executive Vice President of Global Business at ThoroughTec.
“Damage and wear-and-tear on mine vehicles decreases as green operators are able to familiarize themselves with the controls of the machines and iron out their mistakes on the mining simulator instead of the real machine. This means less unscheduled maintenance and lower maintenance and training costs.”
Simulators remove the need to use real machines for training and significantly reduce operator training times. This also saves valuable working machines for training purposes, which lowers
Overall, simulators are being seen as an important part of mine safety as well as an investment into operator competency. This means simulators equate to increased safety, productivity and profitability.
Axora launches global challenge for digital technology
Axora is launching the world’s first international competition to discover new cost-saving digital technology for industrial companies, which can produce rapid benefits within a year.
The Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas sectors have recently experienced budget cuts of 20% on average, driven by a variety of factors including the global pandemic, slump in demand and price wars. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge aims to transform these industries by discovering innovative, digital solutions that reduce cost fast and pay for themselves, whilst achieving the same or improved productivity, health and safety and sustainability standards.
“While digital solutions can help to get work done quicker and more cost-effectively, they typically require a three-year ROI, and if there’s no flexibility in the budget, a full budget planning cycle is needed to get things moving”, said Dr. Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Yet, extra financial cost is often incurred in delaying digital projects, so customers have asked us to highlight solutions that can have an ‘in year payback’ whereby the cost spent on the solution and deployment will be more than recovered within the budget year - this accelerates the timeline and drives positive business impact, quickly.”
The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge
Axora is keen to learn of any digital cost-saving innovation which: meets the 12-month payback timeframe; can be deployed in any part of the value chain including upstream, downstream or midstream oil and gas, metals processing or mining; and is ready for market. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge is open to entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics and sector leaders across the world. The competition will be judged by a panel of leading industry experts.
“We’re passionate about supporting our industries and customers through all forms of digital transformation and the cost-saving solutions we are searching for could also provide a lifeline to many mining and metals and oil and gas companies in the current economic climate,” added Dr. Mayhew.
Improving productivity, safety and sustainability
Up to ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their solutions at a digital pitch day later this year, after which Axora will validate the ROI models and vet the solutions. The winner will receive the ‘Axora Market Accelerator’ sales and marketing package worth £10,000. This includes a two-hour workshop, promotion through Axora’s thought leadership content and inclusion into its digital demand engines, providing the opportunity for the winning solution to benefit thousands of industrial companies. Entries are open until May 31. Full details of the competition including terms and conditions can be found here.
To learn more about the Axora B2B digital solutions marketplace read our feature in the latest issue of Mining Global magazine.