CM Labs Simulations has made all-season training a reality for Albany, New York-based IUOE Local 158, thanks to its adoption of a Vortex simulator.
IUOE Local 158 represents heavy equipment operators, mechanics, and surveyors in Upstate New York's construction industry, as well as stationary engineers who work inside buildings performing all types of facility maintenance.
Previously, Local 158 was restricted to classroom learning from November to February – but now it has a virtual training yard available 365 days a year – snow or no snow. What makes this year-round training possible is the Vortex simulator from CM Labs Simulations.
With software for training excavator, rough-terrain crane, crawler crane, and flat-top tower crane operators, a single simulator helps the Local to provide training for a full fleet of equipment throughout the winter.
Bill Gray, Training Director for Local 158 District 106 in Albany, New York, says that training on the Vortex simulator is also more convenient during heavy rain days, as an alternative to digging in the mud. "It's opening up new training possibilities, and resulting in faster, more effective training for apprentices," he adds. "You're not just putting them in a piece of machinery and hoping for the best. On the Vortex simulator, you get immediate feedback from the instructor. The turnaround time of learning is half of what it was."
CM Labs' full catalogue of cranes and heavy equipment training packs can be run from a single simulator. This includes training packs for Mobile Crane, Flat-top Tower Crane, Luffing Tower Crane, Crawler Crane, Excavator, Wheel Loader, Backhoe, Motor Grader and more.
"We have seasoned operators that are some of the best in the country get on this thing," Gray says, "and they can't believe how useful these learning exercises are for trainees in terms of complexity. That says a lot for what CM Labs has done."