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Posted by Paul Moore on Feb 1, 2021
Caterpillar Mining and ThoroughTec Simulation, headquartered in South Africa, have entered into a global cooperation agreement to provide Caterpillar customers with the latest generation of simulator-based equipment training solutions. “This will help them improve safety, increase productivity, increase machine availability and create more sustainable mining operations.” An important step by Caterpillar Mining in simulator-based training was widely anticipated as Cat’s main competitor, Komatsu, acquired major immersive technologies for mining simulator training in 2019.
Under the agreement, Caterpillar Mining will recommend ThoroughTec Simulation as an approved supplier of simulators for mining equipment. In return, Caterpillar will provide ThoroughTec Simulation with exclusive access to confidential technical data and technical know-how on Cat machines. This will enable ThoroughTec to further strengthen its capabilities as the world’s leading provider of simulators for advanced mining equipment.
A main focus is likely to be the work on simulator training solutions for Caterpillar Command for the transport of autonomous surface fleets, in which immersive has remained the dominant player to this day. Training for autonomy is especially important for mining shovel operators who need to manage the entire loading area – by configuring detection patterns, calling trucks, dumping them and managing the payload to ensure the autonomous trucks are not overloaded. This is also vital for the air traffic controllers who monitor the autonomous area and trucks from the mine fleet management control room, either on the mine site or in an integrated remote operations center.
ThoroughTec Simulation has been developing advanced hi-fidelity training simulators for almost 25 years. During this time, the company has grown into one of the world’s leading training technology organizations. The company has deployed hundreds of simulators around the world and is the only ISO9001 simulator supplier to the mining industry. The latest fifth generation CYBERMINE simulators are extremely realistic and are suitable for both surface and underground operation. It was particularly strong in the underground market. On the surface, simulator solutions have already been delivered for training on Cat machines such as the 400 ton 797B class, as shown in the attached image.
Andre Mendes, General Manager: North America at ThoroughTec, recently said I AM: “Ultimately, highly digitized and largely automated mining machines will require fewer and fewer human operators to control and monitor mining. However, these operators need more and more diverse and highly specialized skills to effectively use their increasingly complex and costly machines. Today’s operator not only needs to be able to drive, dig or drill like their ancestors, but must do so now by using the on-board awareness and assistance systems and using advanced digital shipping or automation systems. “
The company explains, “ThoroughTec simulators are known for their value and fidelity. When combined with actual Cat machine data and operational characteristics, these simulators greatly improve the overall training experience for the operator. Together, Caterpillar Mining and ThoroughTec Simulation are committed to helping Caterpillar customers effectively train operators in the most efficient, safe and realistic manner possible. This agreement is a testament to Caterpillar and ThoroughTec’s continued commitment to the health and safety of the mining companies’ most important asset: their employees. “