Flight simulators date back nearly 100 years to 1927, with computer-generated graphics coming on the scene in the 1970s and significant improvements since. They have been an integral part of effective training for millions of airplane pilots. Mobile crane simulators have only been around about 20 years, but their contribution to the crane industry has increased significantly by providing a cost-effective and safe way to train crane operators across the U.S. and beyond.
American Cranes & Transport (ACT) Magazine recently published an article called “Simulators serve as invaluable tool”, in which the author recounted their visit to a Lift & Move USA event and the experience of trying out a 3D simulator. In this example, the setting was the virtual tour inside a factory complete with employees moving about and welding sparks flying by. The simulation was so realistic in appearance that the author almost forgot they were safely in a tent wearing a headset.
For the crane industry, simulators allow students to spend more time in operator training with various options in settings, tasks, difficulties and environments. Persons of all skill levels can benefit and hone their abilities in preparation for using a crane. Training on an actual crane can be difficult when more than just a few students are present, so simulators offer a great solution.
An organization that features training, certification and inspection services is NACB, Inc., or North American Crane Bureau, Inc. Additionally, NACB-ies, Inc., or NACB Interactive Educational Systems, works with NACB and is instrumental in designing simulation systems.
“The intimidation factor can be big when you consider the sheer size of a crane,” said Monica McNeill, marketing/production manager, NACB. “A simulator can bridge the gap between intimidation and field work. A simulator eases the person into operation as it reduces that intimidation, and you can build upon the positive aspects. We currently use NACB Interactive Educational Systems simulators in our training.”
In an email, McNeill further shared, “We developed our first Mobile Crane Simulator in 2000. We have expanded the technology to overhead crane, tower crane, desktop units and now Virtual Reality Simulation.”
NACB has worked with Sims Crane & Equipment and provided two Virtual Reality Crane Simulators for students enrolled at Sims University.
Want to know more about crane simulators? Read the whole story at American Cranes & Transport’s website by clicking here.