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The latest generation of ABB Crane System simulators

ABB Crane Systems, a leading company in supplying the crane business with crane control, wanted to give the users even better support.

Training in real cranes has always been a hard task and expensive as well. Therefore ABB started developing a STS Crane Simulator in late 2003, as a complementing product to the existing palette to help customers with training and education and to present a product that showed ‘the real crane’ in an accurate manor.

The product

Together with Oryx, a world leading company in real time physics, the Port of Göteborg and Swedish Academy of Harbour Logistics, ABB started the development. One and a half year later ABB showed a prototype at TOC 2005 Europe in Antwerp and later that same year the product were released at TOC 2005 Americas in Savannah.

The interest for such a product was huge, and ABB raised the bar. Further developing was needed though; the crane business demands a well thought out product, which can help them operate safely and efficiently.

New ideas

The ABB Crane Driver Training Package is different, compared to other existing simulators on the market. It is built on a pedagogic platform where all exercises and scenarios are well thought and planed. They follow a defined path from the beginning towards the end. The more experienced the driver becomes, the more difficult the scenarios gets.  At the end most ‘real situations’ have been explored and trained in. After simulation training only amount of short practice time in a real crane is needed, less then 60 per cent compared to before using simulators. The driver will also reach acceptable production speed much faster.

Training

An operational simulator is used in training new crane drivers on existing cranes of course. It can also be used in training drivers, skilled as well as new ones on   cranes not yet delivered. It helps the port with the assessment process which always has been a difficult task. In an hour or two, you will see if the drivers ‘have the talent.’ Simulators help port reduce their training costs, due to energy costs, maintenance and spare parts needed on a real crane.

Training gets faster, and the driver  feels more secure in knowing that errors and wrong behaviour can’t damage ‘the crane.’ The learning path with simulator training is much faster than ‘on crane’ training. With simulator training most of the learning targets can be achieved, and then by complementing this with real crane training, the final goal is reached. No more production bottle-necks will occur.

The simulator is always available while the real crane is often needed for production during a training period. Studies have shown that simulator trained personnel have fewer accidents and cause less damages. This of course increases quality, production as well as profit.

Environmental responsibility

Another important aspect to consider is ‘going green.’ Energy costs today are high, and our environment is suffering great damage. So if you teach drivers from the beginning to operatemore smoothly and accurately, you will automatically be taking responsibility for the environment. Additionally, the energy costs for a simulator is considerably lower then that of a real crane.

The technique

The ABB Crane Driver Training Package includes the latest and most advanced techniques, together with real time physics. All values are based on reality regarding to energy, traction, speed torque etc. (constructing a virtual reality).  The hard- and software is customised with respect to individuals customers’ environment and specific crane types, so the simulator one uses will be identical to the actual crane used. Its behaviour is realistic in movements, visualisation and sound. This behaviour is so accurate that ABB uses the simulator for technical development and improvement of ABB crane equipment.

ABB Automation Technologies AB, Crane Systems, Västerås, Sweden