NORCAT gets $1-million mining equipment simulator – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – November 14, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Northern Ontario miners will soon have a hands-on, off-the-job training opportunity. The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) announced a partnership with the Ontario government, mining companies and Laurentian University to create a mining simulation training centre during a press conference at NORCAT’s facility on Maley Drive in Sudbury on Wednesday.

With provincial funding of $1 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, along with contributions by Vale, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore) and KGHM International, NORCAT will acquire a 360-degree mining equipment simulator.

“Imagine coming to sit in a physical pod, to sit in a chair and you’ll have physical controls that might simulate a scoop,” NORCAT CEO Don Duval said. “Your chair will have movement, vibration reality, you’ll have a 360-degree, high-resolution virtual reality screen and it will visualize you moving the scoop, going forward, in reverse.

“It will have scenarios, brake heating … to have that outside of the operation training opportunities, for skilled labour to practise, to get the muscle memory, understand how to do these elements, it’s an exciting complement to some of the existing training programs that some of the private sector has, as well as what we offer at NORCAT.”

This “state-of-the-art, yet proven technology,” Duval said, is already being used elsewhere in mining, as well as industries including oil and gas and health care, and has been shown to increase safety, as well as productivity.

“It’s important for a lot of these mining companies to ensure operations are running smoothly and productively,” Duval said. “To have this outside the operation, the production environment, someone can, at the tail end of a shift or at a specific, allocated time, they can practise on an asset that doesn’t have to be taken away from production.”

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