Sept. 22, 2014 (Sanford, Fla.)— AIDT, the workforce development division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, is the recipient of a mobile crane simulator donated by Crane Institute of America. Crane Institute has used the simulator for crane operator training activities for nearly 15 years.
The simulator from Crane Institute of America will be used at AIDT’s newest training center, the Alabama Workforce Training Center located in Birmingham. This training center is the fruition of the collaborative efforts of the Birmingham Business Association, the Alabama Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, the State Department of Education, and Alabama Community College System.
“AIDT offers first-class training. They are very conscientious and put on a good program for skills development,” said Jim Headley, President and CEO of Crane Institute of America. “The simulator will find a good home with AIDT.”
As Alabama’s workforce development agency, AIDT’s mission is to provide workforce training services for new and expanding industries. They operate several industry focused training centers around the state to include Maritime, Robotics and Aviation sectors. The Birmingham center will focus on construction and manufacturing.
The simulator features a full size Manitowoc 2250 crane cab and is equipped with a fully functioning load moment indicator system. According to Headley, one of the unique features of the simulator is the ability to switch between hand controls or foot brakes for stopping the load. Foot brakes are often used in applications like pile driving or dragline work.
“We’ve used simulators previously to teach other skills, such as robotics or welding,” said Rick Maroney, AIDT Manager of Robotics Technology and Safety. “This simulator will be used for introducing mobile crane operator skills and reinforcing mobile crane safety,” he said. Maroney is one of two instructors that are certified through Crane Institute of America to teach mobile crane operators. Other AIDT instructors, also certified by Crane Institute, will teach overhead crane and forklift operator safety at the Birmingham Workforce Training Center. “We appreciate having Crane Institute as an industry partner,” said Maroney.
[caption id="attachment_9709" align="alignright" width="300"] Crane Institute of America instructors use a Vortex simulator as a med-point learning tool for students who have completed classroom instruction before progressing to working on a crane.[/caption]
Crane Institute replaced the 15-year-old simulator it donated to AIDT with a Vortex model from CM Labs Simulations. Crane Institute uses the Vortex simulator as a mid-point learning tool for students who have completed classroom instruction but who have not yet progressed to working with a crane.
“Crane simulators provide an excellent training tool without the fear of an accident,” said Headley. “The graphics on this particular Vortex simulator are fantastic. The realism of the scenarios and visuals is second only to the real thing,” said Headley.
Unlike gaming style simulators, Vortex simulates multi-body dynamics and has been validated against empirical and engineering data in order to provide accurate qualification of an operator’s skills.
Crane Institute has a long history of pairing assessment with training to qualify students, even before third-party certification was called for by government entities. The Vortex simulator is capable of quantitative measurement of student performance for skills such as pendulum control, collision avoidance, overloads, or operating near power lines.
CM Labs is in the process of creating exercises that can be used to help prepare CIC certification candidates for the practical exam.
Another key feature is the ability to select four different types of cranes—lattice boom mobile crane, telescopic boom mobile crane, tower crane, and overhead crane—with a single simulator, increasing its flexibility for training purposes. “Controls are easily swapped out enabling us to switch from one crane type to another. This fits nicely with the courses Crane Institute offers for operators of mobile, tower, and overhead cranes,” said Headley.