Forest machine training simulators

November 15, 2014

A Mpumalanga-based forestry machine operator and trainer with more than seven years of experience is busy developing a range of training simulators for harvesters, forwarders and loggers, as well as various construction equipment.

The simulators range from basic walk around machine checks (wear and tear, known soft spots in modern equipment) through to rough/steep terrain and low visibility operating scenarios. Normal operating conditions on flat terrain with no hazards are also covered, with management tools for foresters, fuel consumption, effective operating distance/shortest route tracking planning etc.

The simulators are being developed by Wessels Potgieter and Michael Barbour. Wessels has worked as a harvester and forwarder operator for several top forestry companies in South Africa and also has operator training experience. Michael is a programmer fundi.

The sumulators are in the final stages of development, and once completed will be available at very affordable prices compared to imported simulators.

The tree systems include eucalyptus and pine, and basic harvesting activities include debarking and edge de-branching. Eucalyptus coppice and P. patula and P. elliottii simulators with their unique harvesting characteristics are also in the pipeline.

Also included are night time operating, wind, rain, mist, and if you want thunder storms at a click of a button or time based activation.

A multi-simulation option allows two or more trainee operators to work simultaneously on the same map, creating that realistic working environment with people and traffic all around.

The system allows you to track the progress of specific trainees, looking at their performance, production and utilization all on a printable document.  It can even track every time a wheel hits a stump, or an attachment collides with a machine part, or how many hoses are being damaged due to tree/stump/trailer hits.

“We also plan to provide customized maps of a compartment your trainee will harvest first, with realistic slopes and SMZs - all we need to do this is a map and some basic stand data. This will allow us to create a 3D model of the terrain and the trees, where the landing/loading zones will be and the machines that will be available and they're ready to train,” said Wessels

Simulators will be available for the following machines:-

  • Harvesters - tracked and wheeled
  • Forwarders - wheeled 8x8
  • Logger
  • ATL - 4x4
  • ADT - 6x6
  • Mulcher tracked
  • Timber trucks and self-loaders short haul

The developers are inviting feedback from stakeholders to fine tune the products to ensure they meet the industry’s needs.

“Our products are proudly South African and are designed by operators for operators,” Wessels said.

For more info contact Wessels Potgieter on 0796192194;

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