South African training simulator manufacturer ThoroughTec will display its technological capabilities at Electra Mining Africa 2010.
The company manufactures highly-
advanced training simulators, designed specifically for the screening, training, evaluation and skills development of heavy-equipment operators in the mining and earthmoving
Manufactured under the Cybermine brand, these simulators cater for both surface and underground mechanised mining operations.
Surface simulators include haul trucks, excavators, shovels, draglines, articulated dump trucks, drill rigs, bulldozers, wheel loaders and graders.
Underground simulators include bolters, drill rigs, reef dozers, articulated dump trucks, loaders, scalers and locomotives.
ThoroughTec business development manager Justin Collins explains that the design team originally started manufacturing simulators for the South African National Defence Force over 20 years ago.
It was only in the late 1990s, when the mining industry was in search of a new training method for mechanised-mining equipment, that ThoroughTec started designing and
manufacturing simulators for the mining and earthmoving industries.
As the demand for mining simulators has grown, so has the company, which now boasts over 100 employees.
The company’s head office and manufacturing plant is based in Durban, South Africa, with support and sales offices based in Perth, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, with others planned for establishment in the near future. The locations of the support and sales offices
are strategically chosen to support the inter-
national demand for mining simulators.
“The combination of high commodity prices, the cost savings that simulators provide and the mining industry’s commitment to employee safety has made any negative
effects brought on by the global recession trivial.”
“Mines around the world recognise that simulators offer significant efficiencies both in cost savings, as well as mine productivity through better trained operators. These factors, which have a direct positive effect on the mine’s bottom line, have allowed for steady growth in simulator purchases,” says Collins.
Following the sale of simulators to the Yukon Mine Training Association, Aurora College, Sandvik Mining & Construction (Canada) and promising negotiations with several mines in the US, ThoroughTec
recently opened an office in Toronto, which will provide a solid base for further expansion into the US market.
Looking to the South African market, Northam Platinum’s Booysendal project recently bought an underground drill rig
simulator, which will be modelled on a Sandvik DD220L drill rig. This simulator will be used to train and evaluate new operators before mining operations start at the underground mine, in Booysendal.
“Further research and development of the entire Cybermine product line will ensure that we maintain technological superiority in the industry. This will bolster our efforts in expanding market share, particularly in Africa and North America. The bustling mining industry in India has also presented us with significant opportunities, which we are exploring,” says Collins.
At this year’s Electra Mining Africa event, ThoroughTec will be demonstrating one of its latest containerised simulator base units along with a Cybermine underground roof bolter simulator.
This simulator, modelled on an Atlas Copco Boltec MC, represents the most
advanced bolter simulator in the world today.
Visitors to the stand will be able to test-drive the simulator and experience the ThoroughTec advantage at first hand.
Collins explains that bolters are extensively
used in underground mining operations, and more than most pieces of equipment, their operation has a direct impact on the safety of miners. Mistakes made in the bolting
operation are costly, not only in financial terms but, more importantly, in human life.
Cybermine bolter simulators assist in the training of safe and proficient operators, maximising bolting efficiency and minimising mistakes, which could lead to tunnel instability or fall-of-ground incidents.
The simulator does this by immersing the operator in a highly realistic underground mine world, projected on three massive
displays around the realistic operator’s
cab. Every control is replicated to provide all drilling, bolting and tramming functions available to an operator on the real equipment.
To provide a full training solution, each simulator houses an instructor station, which allows the instructor to: create, save and modify exercises; control the time of day, weather and other challenging environmental conditions; control artificially intelligent vehicles that will interact with the student; inject faults and emergencies to test the student’s reactions and ability; view the current state of controls, instruments and subsystems; monitor the student in real-time through a fully dynamic 3-D camera; view and log the student’s operating violations as they occur; generate detailed safety, performance and productivity focused reports; and record and replay exercises for after action review and student debriefing
“Electra Mining is one of the largest mining exhibitions in the world, and being on home soil, makes it important that we display our proudly South African products to the African market,” says Collins.