Flint Systems is a Polish producer of cutting edge training simulators which are based on virtual reality (VR). The Gdynia-based company already offers a dozen of products, and one of them is a tower crane training simulator. Let's check what the simulator looks like and how training in VR differs from regular training.
Tower crane operators must be well trained. At the end of the day, it is the operator's skills acquired during the training that will determine not only the proper performance of duties, but most of all safety at the construction site. An inexperienced and poorly prepared crane operator poses a threat not only to himself, but also to other employees.
Advantages of VR training
That is why training using virtual reality comes to the rescue. Training in VR brings many advantages. Here are the most important of them:
• Increasing efficiency while reducing training costs,
• Increasing the safety of training,
• Possibility to practice dangerous scenarios, such as, for example, breaking a rope,
• Developing motor memory,
• Gathering statistics for each student for inspection by the instructor,
• Increasing the attractiveness of training,
• Conducting preliminary verification of future operators in terms of the nature of the work, predispositions such as fear of heights, etc.
Tower crane simulator in VR
The tower crane simulator consists of two parts – software and hardware. The trainee has to sit on the motion platform and put on the goggles, and then follow the instructions of the coach who controls the training from the level of the application running on the desktop computer.
The simulator reflects every move of the machine. This allows the student to feel exactly as if he is operating on real equipment. The goggles ensure high image resolution. The tower crane, which our engineers modeled in virtual reality, behaves exactly like a real machine. It reacts to variables such as weight, wind, type of load - all of which can be changed by the instructor. In addition, the instructor can select the weather and time of day as well as the exercises to be performed by the trainee.
How does training on a tower crane simulator look like?
The trainee sitting on the simulator follows the instructions of the instructor. The trainer can choose from many options in the training editor. In the editor, he can build his scenery and prepare custom exercises. In addition to the weather settings, the instructor can also manage students and check student performance elements such as time, accuracy, errors and impacts. Cameras mounted in several places, as well as the view from the eyes of the trainee and the drone mode with a camera help to closely observe the construction site. It is also possible to practice in multiplayer mode, allowing to practice the cooperation of several operators at the same time.
The student controls the crane in VR using hardware, i.e. joysticks and VR goggles, which ensure hand tracking. As a result, the trainee can press virtual buttons located in the crane "in the air".
Tower crane functionalities
The Flint Systems tower crane training simulator has a number of functionalities. The most important of them are:
• Adjustable crane height and arm length
• Load handling exercises: formwork, concrete pears, concrete pouring, steel loads, containers, brick pallets, etc.
• Take-off procedure
• Leaving the crane in free slew due to the wind
• Accuracy exercises
• Working in a collision with a second crane
• Signaler control (manual signals)
• An obstacle course with a load
Thanks to the wide possibilities offered by simulator training on a tower crane, the training is very effective and prepares reliably for future work on the construction site.
Tower crane in VR - is it already in use?
The tower crane in VR is already used for training. The leader in introducing this type of solutions is Maukran, Polish crane rental company. In co-op with New Competencies Center, Maukran conducts training for tower crane operators on a simulator made by Flint Systems.
The crane was commissioned in September 2021 and since then, training in VR has been offered on a regular basis by the New Competencies Center and Maukran. This course is divided into a simulator training module and a real crane training module. Thanks to this, the trainees do not have any problems with operating the crane and the part on real equipment is used much more efficiently.