Simulators as a safe and cost-effective solution for crane operator training



Mikhail Mikhailov, Head of Technological Simulators Development Department, Transas Technologies, St. Petersburg, Russia


Why simulation-based training?

Many of those who read this article are well aware of the expense involved in training crane operators: you literally pay for each mistake of every trainee, be it damage of equipment or cargo during operations. But it’s not only about mistakes; weather also imposes restrictions on training.

This considered, the benefits of simulation-based training are convincing enough. First of all, the trainee obtains realistic experience in a controlled and safe environment. This reduces the duration of work placement training and, furthermore, overall training time. A simulator is the only means with which to practice emergency operations and troubleshooting without exposing trainees to risk, and not damaging equipment and the environment. In addition, there is no need to disrupt operations for training; there are no additional expenses for transportation of trainees to a training site (especially in case of offshore operations), and training doesn’t depend on weather conditions. A simulator can reproduce any weather conditions, even the most adverse.

Training goals should define simulator configuration

When it comes to deciding which configuration is needed, it is important to remember that it is the training goal that defines the configuration. Transas, for instance, offers variety of configuration options. A standalone PC-based configuration is sufficient for familiarization purposes and self-education, while more advanced training will require a PC-based crane cabin mock-up or network class that provides joint training under instructor supervision. The most realistic training is achieved with the help of a full mission simulator. It can use rear projection-based 3D visualization, and 3-5-channel 3D visualization on plasma screens. Furthermore, training realism can also be enhanced by implementing a motion platform.

Very often budget can be a restricting factor. However, most often it is possible to find a solution. As an example, one of Transas’ customers, Balenciaga shipyard, required the simulator to be economically effective and run on the same premises and hardware equipment currently used for the existing Ship Bridge Navigational simulator. The task was completed sucessfully. The crane simulator was added to the existing Transas navigational and maneuvering simulator NTPro, which has been used for new building projects. Combining two simulators provides a cost-effective solution (both use the same visualization and HW), and enables the utmost level of realism for the development of new vessel projects.

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