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Plant and machinery simulator training within the construction industry


Welcome to the world of Tenstar simulation, Tenstar  provides simulation based training tools for schools, organisations and companies that have a need to educate people in an environmentally, safe and cost effective way for construction, transportation and agricultural machinery  worldwide.

With years of development and research the guys in Sweden have come up with some pretty fancy technology to recreate the working environment witnessed every day by us the plant & machinery operators,

Now this is something we at UK Plant Operators know quite a lot about, as we directly own one of these fantastic machines, and the also added bonus of being able to take this simulator on a year long tour of all the building sites, safety days and events of the UK  during the famous Operator Trials, a nation wide competition to find the best plant operators in the country, with the final that was held at Caterpillar factory visitors centre in Desford Leicestershire, along the way we have had a massive opportunity to use this machine to its full potential with varied skill levels from complete novice to 20 year hardened plant operators from leading plant hire & groundwork companies across the UK.

First Impressions 


Now I hear you all calling out the usual speal we witness from most experienced plant operators during their first encounters with the simulator,  “ its not a real machine!  It has no feed back through the levers, it don’t slew round like a real machine! Its just a kids game like Farm Simulator!

Well my first impression were the same, and I agreed with everything you all have said, I even spent the first few weeks with a negative attitude towards it, but having said all the  above, after spending a few weeks exploring all the programmes  varied machines and attachments in different circumstance combined with the guys using it from varied back grounds I slowly learnt that it was in fact a very powerful bit of kit, and it was me looking at it from the wrong perspective that was causing the negativity,


We first started off using the simulator as part of the operator trials, wich was a timed challenge which was load


ing a truck while timed, this involved tracking an 20t excavator up to a lorry and digging any where around the machine to give the truck a full load in as fast a time as possible, this worked well for the first few months,   it really went down well with constant crowds around the simulator at all times, operators were coming back for more, some even traveling the length of the country to beat the highest score set,  and slowly over time the kids and partners were on the machine also setting good scores,  and really embracing the technology, at the end of each day once all the trials contestants final scores were in we would shut down the challenge and open some more intensive programmes on the simulator like V ditching and road formations with different machines like the wheeled excavator, we started to use this machine to its full potential with out realizing it and slowly over time, we were getting deeper and deeper into the challenges,  with the amazing back up support from Tenstar’s Simon Hogg helping us to learn all the different attachments and programmes that were available on the simulator we started to embrace the machine and its capability’s


Now we are real fans of this state of the art training tool…

So what are the capabilities of this machine, well its loaded with tools and work environments which are all to familiar to us plant operators including The Steelwrist attachment  which we found brilliant for operators who have never used a tilt rotate attachment, some really good challenges including formation digging and making the most from the grab attachment, again this was producing fantastic results and feed back from the operators, one operator even told us he tried the Steelwrist for the first time on the simulator and subsequently went on to use one in his day to day work and actually picked it up very well Indeed and clearly stated if it was not for us they would have never got on the machine in the first place,


The next amazing story we found,  we had a female farm hand who was familiar with farm machinery but never operated an excavator, she was invited on to the simulator and slowly coxed along by one of our experienced machine operators through the various challenges,  and later on in controlled conditions she progressed to the real thing, and it turns out she was competitive on the trials again without the training on the simulator she would have never became confident enough to try the real thig,Over time we recognised that it was all in the way the simulator was being presented to the public. I mean just putting it the corner of a stand at a show was not doing it any justice, the right people weren’t going on it for the right reasons, although it would attract a large following to your stand, the simulator was only being used to half of its capacity,We recognised this and have started to adapt the environment around the simulator by using as part of training course, firstly we started using as machine awareness for the guys and gals from the office to sit in a see things from the perspective of the operators, just to see how hard it is to operate these massive machines, and what actual visibility there was, this was very successful,

We then were invited to safety stand down days from the likes of Skanska, Carillion and Balfour Beaty, for the same reasons,  at these type events question were asked what else can this fantastic machine can do,

Over the coming months we were presented with Machine control, now this opened a whole new world for us, the guys in Sweden done a great job by teaming up with TOPCON and Leica and developed a machine control interface which was almost identical the real thing,

Once we tried this out with existing operators the feed back was brilliant, it turns out we were capable of training experienced operators on how to use machine control with out the experience and usual dangers faced on a busy site, we could come to you with the trailer base unit set up within 1 hours in the middle of a field if required and train operators how to use this complex computer programs which are taking the industry by storm.


We have now teamed up with Topcon, Leica, A Plant and Lynch plant hire to develop a first in the industry, a Machine control training course  which roles out this summer, featuring class room training combined with the simulator training. To teach operators the basic of setting up the machine control and being able to get the best of this fantastic technology, operators will even receive a accreditation at the end of this course, which will be excepted by the manufactures and contractors alike.


So there you have it, something that started life as a computer game has now progressed through the industry to become a very powerful training tool. And most definitely the future for  training plant operators on machine familiarization, machine control and attachments and also safety.


If you would like more information on booking this simulator for your event or would to combine this as part of your training course plea contact us at UK Plant Operators

About Dale Hawkins

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