VR Mobile Crane Simulator Roadshow
In the month of May, I had the opportunity to take a trip along the East Coast to visit customers that were considering ITI’s newest training solution, the Virtual Reality (VR) Mobile Crane Simulator. Armed with a portable desktop unit, a Microsoft HoloLens and a laptop, I flew from Portland, OR to Boston, MA, and then drove up as far North as Maine and as far South as Virginia. During my 6,566-mile journey (1,343 of which was spent driving), I met with multiple customers from a variety of industries including shipbuilding, offshore and construction.
Despite the differences in the type of industry they were in, the questions were often the same:
- Does it feel like you are actually operating a crane?
- Do the scenarios within the simulator challenge experienced operators?
- Can my organization customize the experience to train for different circumstances?
- Is there a pricing model that will fit my unique use case?
Based on the feedback I received during my trip, I'll do my best to answer each question. But, before getting to the good stuff, the best way to answer these questions, and all the other unique questions you have is to try it out for yourself!
1. Does it feel like you are actually operating a crane?
Each customer put both experienced crane operators and non-experienced personnel on the simulator to test it out. Every person felt like they were sitting in the cab, and that immersion was the overwhelming theme of nearly every user's experience. With VR, they could lean forward to look over the steering wheel, out to the side to check outriggers or even out the back to look at the drum. As the crane swung and boomed up and down, the people felt like they were truly performing the actions.
2. Do the scenarios within the simulator challenge experienced operators?
When the experienced crane operators asked for a challenge, I gave them some of the practice corridor scenarios to attempt. These model the NCCCO practical exam in that the operator must hoist a barrel test weight, keep the attached chain in contact with the ground, all while navigating a marked path within a time limit. Operators had to go up and down inclines, travel in a spiral and avoid obstacles. More often than not, it became a competition, with users trying to do the scenarios multiple times to improve their scores. I can safely say that every individual that spent time on the simulator realized they had an opportunity to grow their skills as an operator.
3. Can my organization customize the experience to train for different circumstances?
ITI provides training event options that an administrator can easily add during a lift scenario. When training operators in an actual crane, it is possible to teach them how to handle certain events, by sharing experiences verbally. However, there is not safe way to actually run through these operations in a mobile crane.
This is where the simulator can assist! During a lift, you can cause a sling failure, an outrigger failure, a winch tangle or even a sudden load shift. This helps operators learn how to handle these types of situations and how to respond appropriately, which could be invaluable if a similar event were to occur in the field.
4. Is there a pricing model that will fit my unique use case?
The simple answer is yes. ITI has several pricing options based on number of users and level of usage to ensure that there is an affordable path for every customer.
In the end, every customer was impressed with the level of realism and versatility that ITI VR Simulators offer. If you are interested in learning more, contact one of our Training Solutions Advisors at (360) 225-1100 or complete the Training Needs Analysis to find out if ITI VR makes sense for your team.