The Use of a Mining Training Simulator Offers Numerous Benefits for the Industry
Mining is a major contributor to the world’s economy, but it’s also demanding and hazardous. A mining training simulator can improve efficiency and safety. Gold deposits were first discovered in South Africa in 1884. The discovery of gold prompted wholesale immigration, and the precious metal soon joined diamonds to become one of the mainstays of the nation’s economy, followed by platinum during the early years of the twentieth century. However, another less glittery allotrope of carbon was destined to provide the power for the machinery of mineral exploitation. While it was first discovered and mined during the mid-nineteenth century, South Africa still boasts one of the largest reserves of coal in the world.
The industry has evolved vastly since the days of picks, shovels and sticks of dynamite. In place of these, today’s miners have sophisticated machinery for drilling, transporting and processing coal and metal ores. In experienced hands, these facilities are invaluable. However, it takes time to develop such skills, and the more thorough the initial training, the less time it will take for a trainee to become competent and productive. The use of computerised simulations is proving to be far more effective than the traditional approach of “just watch me and do exactly what I do”.
A Mining Training Simulator Will Improve Worker Safety
Using a mine’s equipment for training purposes can put the trainees, their co-workers and expensive machinery at risk. A brief loss of concentration could result in severe injury or even death. Nevertheless, it’s vital that novice miners quickly become competent in using various machines and dealing with emergencies when things go wrong. A simulation offers a means to familiarise a newcomer with the site layout, essential safety procedures and equipment handling.
More significantly, workers can learn to deal with emergencies such as fire, flooding, brake failures and burst tyres, gaining competence and confidence in a safe virtual environment. Any errors made in a simulated situation can have no real-world consequences, but the virtual effects will provide a lasting learning experience!
Productivity and Efficiency can be Improved With a Mining Training Simulator
The industry has been under severe pressure in recent years. Fluctuations in demand for metals and their market price have been further complicated by the growing cost of extracting and processing them. As reserves dwindle, mines must process more ore to maintain profitable levels of metal production. Consequently, many are only marginally profitable, while others have had to cease operations.
The only viable way to counter this trend is to become more efficient and find ways to increase production. However, while it is costly and often impractical to experiment in the real world, the realistic virtual working environment created by a computer simulation poses no such restrictions. This audiovisual technology provides real-time feedback that can enable the user to identify areas of improvement and attempt various solutions without incurring costs and in complete safety.
Cost Savings are Another Valuable Benefit of a Mining Training Simulator
In the current economic climate, every Rand counts. The cost of operating a mine continues to escalate, eroding profits and endangering jobs and South Africa’s hard currency reserves. Inevitably, conventional on-the-job training methods result in additional wear and tear on vehicles and equipment, adding to routine maintenance and repair costs. Operating vehicles and machinery solely for training purposes also increases fuel consumption. A simulator offers a means to train operators quickly, thoroughly and cheaply. A one-off purchase of a suitable bespoke simulation could satisfy all of a mine’s training requirements for many years without further investment.
To summarise, there are few riskier occupations than mining or which have a greater need for efficient and productive operating procedures. The many benefits of training simulations have been well-proven in numerous fields. As mining technology evolves, this form of training will play an increasingly vital role in ensuring a safe, efficient and profitable industry.
The Transition to a Mining Training Simulator
SimGenics is a specialist in developing training simulations and has produced over 75 systems for various industries, including desalination, marine, power generation and, of course, mining. Our products are developed using advanced software packages, including SimuPACT, 3D PACT and Virtual Instructor.
We can perform a 3D scan of your working environment and use it to develop a fully-detailed bespoke simulation. Alternatively, we can provide the software for trainers, who will require no coding knowledge, to build personalised simulations in-house. Why not complete our online form to discuss your training needs with us?