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12 February 2015

Mammoet introduces Virtual Reality Crane

With the arrival of a new custom built PTC Simulator, the Mammoet Training Center in The Netherlands has added a unique educational tool to its range of training courses.

The PTC simulator is a training device, purpose built to teach operators to handle Mammoet’s largest crane, the PTC 140/200 DS. The simulator is an exact replica of the crane’s operating system, complete with operator cabin, HD screens for visualization, server rack, crane control cabinet and instructor station.

Mammoet’s new generation PTC cranes are highly sophisticated machines with a multitude of sensors, computers and indicators to monitor and control the behavior of the crane and lift. The cabin is like an airplane’s cockpit and the crane operator has to rely heavily on the information he monitors on the various screens and onboard computers. In order to perform a controlled and safe operation the operator has to read and analyze complex information quickly. At the same time numerous joysticks and a myriad of buttons and switches must be operated simultaneously, to constantly adjust the crane’s, and load’s, speed, height, distance and more.

Learning to operate this complex machinery takes a lot of training and practice. Therefore, once the PTC 140/200 DS cranes had been developed the next logical step for Mammoet was to create a dedicated simulator that can be used to train both novice and experienced operators.

The PTC simulator was built exclusively for Mammoet. With specialized software, the simulator provides a realistic PTC experience, right down to the operator’s seat and the sound the crane makes. High definition screens show exact replica visuals, and the variables in the scenarios are endless, from height and weight to weather circumstances and different seasons. The simulator can be used to practice every conceivable configuration with different operational requirements.

The simulator also serves to practice complex lifts long before the crane is erected at the job site. This is useful as it can serve to demonstrate the proposed lift to a client by using a virtual model of their own facility and the component that needs to be loaded. Furthermore, the software can be used to make an extensive risk assessment and practice the lift under various circumstances far in advance of the actual operation. This enables Mammoet to prepare the operation down to the finest detail. The entire crew can see what the job entails, how long the job will take and identify potential hazards so they can be eliminated. By practicing the lift in advance, it is possible to reduce the time Mammoet needs at the client’s site.

Most importantly, safety is greatly increased by training operators to operate the crane and react to unusual situations. As it reduces the necessity to run the real PTC, it is also a sustainable solution that reduces Mammoet’s carbon footprint. The simulator has proved to be an instant success, with operators and trainers alike being enthusiastic about the benefits of being able to practice operations in a life-like and safe environment.

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