Twickenham mine, Anglo American`s youngest mining project, was experiencing difficulty with training operators correctly and efficiently on their mining machines.
Their operators were installing an average of two to three roof bolts per shift instead of the required 20. They were also taking needless risks that could cause personal injury and serious damage to the equipment in order to increase production.
The solution came in the form of 5DT`s Simulator Base (SimBase™) systems. This advanced training tool helps to make operators Safer, more Productive and less Destructive.
Simulators allow operators and instructors to focus on training without the unnecessary risk of personal injury or damage to the equipment. Anglo Twickenham adjusted their training cycles to include 5DT`s simulators.
An immediate change could be observed through individual operator improvement. One such instance involved a Roof Bolter operator who was unable to operate the machine even after two months of training. But, after only a week of training on 5DT’s simulators, the operator was declared a capable driver.
With simulator training Anglo managed to eliminate all risky behaviour, and increased production to the desired 20 bolts per operator per shift – a production improvement of 500%.
“My vision is to have a simulator cab for every machine available because it shortens and optimizes the training time and provides us with a competent operator. All you need is somebody that has got a passion for training, a passion for machines, and then most of all, passion for simulation. Simulation is the way forward.”
Evert Kleynhans, Human Resources Development Specialist
Foskor Phalaborwa predominantly focuses on the extraction of phosphate rock which produces sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid. The mine has been in operation for 61 years.
The 5DT simulators were introduced as a strategic approach to enhance operator performances. With the new simulators, essential equipment could keep on running, which resulted in a major reduction on machine wear and tear, and a 40% increase in production.
Foskor Phalaborwa`s training department was also now better able to focus on problem areas such as retarder use. After training operators to apply the correct retarding procedures, Foskor achieved a reduction from 90 Haul Truck tyres consumed a year, to only 40 tyres.
Foskor Phalaborwa also focused on their local community to establish a new learner pipeline. Now, to cut down training time, operators are trained in advance so that new and experienced operators can start immediately as soon as there are vacancies. This community initiative promotes job creation and adds a portable skill to all its applicants.
“The simulator is a fantastic tool which is user friendly and the operators love to train on it. Simulators reduced downtime and maintenance cost by 40%.”
Cassie Vorster, Learning and Development Practitioner, Foskor Phalaborwa
“From a company perspective, we will never go back to the old methodology of training.”
Louise De Jongh, General Manager of Human Capital, Foskor Phalaborwa
GlencoreXstrata-Eland has been in production since 2008. This Platinum mine has been using 5DT’s simulators for four years – and counting.
GlencoreXstrata-Eland not only uses the 5DT simulators to train their new operators, but to also determine the capability of new learners who are illiterate or unable to speak English. Simulators also help to retrain existing operators to improve on their problem areas and obtain new techniques.
Since the addition of the training tools, production uptime on the machines has increased by 40%. New learners are now able to train in a safe environment without the initial responsibility and pressure of using expensive equipment to train on. This saves on maintenance costs, which can run up to R6 million a year.
“The simulators not only break the initial shock for new learners, but also make the facilitator’s job easier as it gives a clear picture of training.”
Mogomotsi Lazarus Nape, Senior Human Resources Development Practitioner, GlencoreXstrata-Eland
Sasol Secunda is a coal production mine that has been in production since 1950. Their relationship with 5DT started in 1999 when they ordered the first Continuous Miner simulator, and they are now currently on their fourth generation simulators.
The objective of the simulators here is to maintain all the standards of the mine as the 5DT simulators also create competent operators that meet Sasol’s operational excellence standards.
By using the simulators as a part of their training program, Sasol Secunda was able to increase uptime by 15% and production by 26%. The simulators also contributed to the reduction of dust on their coal face by 64%.
The simulators are now also included as a part of the recruitment process by testing new learners to establish whether they have the potential to be developed into competent machine operators.
“Sasol bought the simulators in order to take out coal safely and productively. By accomplishing these goals, the simulators are saving lives, reducing downtime on machines as well as reaching production targets.”
Hendrik Venter, Lead Practitioner Learner, Sasol Secunda
GlencoreXtrata mine group Rustenburg has sculpted an exceptional training program that consists of theoretical training, practical training, simulation and virtual reality training and lastly mock-up based programs. All these elements aim to prepare operators for the real world practices in a safe environment.
With 5DT`S simulator success in other GlencoreXtrata mines such as Eland; GlencoreXtrata Rustenburg decided to utilize 5DT`s new technology in their own training program by adding the Load Haul Dump (LHD) SimCab as well as the Drillrig SimCab. With these simulators in place they are now able to train operators on a daily basis in record time, improving their safety and overall production.
5DT`s simulators led to a massive improvement in GlencoreXtrata`s underground production and safety statistics by allowing operators to understand the working of the machines before practical onsite training.
The Simulators also allow the facilitators to do continuous training and retraining of operators on a regular base. This training method continues to provide operators with the right tools in order to become competent and experienced drivers.
Chris Pretorius –Western Chrome Mines Maintenance Manager Sanvik: “I believe that simulators are very important on all mines… if you have simulators on specific machines on mines we can improve all production underground especially on our TMM machines.”
TMM facilitator — William Nkosi: “Every company that needs to work safely, quickly or need to improve must buy the simulators”
Trevor Richards — Western Chrome Mines Superintendent: “I would advise mines if they do not have them to implement it, because it enhances your operator skills which lead to better operating, safer production, increase in production as well and lesser downtime. This far I am very satisfied with the service delivery of 5DT.”
It is evident that Dwarsrivier’s training department’s successes rely on a few key points: Strict procedures and legislation, passionate and competent training staff and advanced equipment to enhance skills.
Dwarsrivier represents one of the largest chromium reserves in South Africa having estimated reserves of 55 million tonnes of ore grading 38.12% chromium. Dwarsrivier moved away from rock drill operators and decided to purchase roof bolter machines. At that stage machines to the value of R6 million were utilized for training purposes, which was a big risk – financially and safety wise. This lead to a decision to purchase a roof bolter simulator from 5DT in 2013.
Cilliers le Roux, the HRD Superintendent and Training Manager of Dwarsrivier says why: “5DT offered us more than what we expected, they offered us the best possible price, better than all the competitors and they gave us good service. We decided to go with 5DT, which is why we are where we are today.”
The trainees are subjected to 16 hours of simulation training before they focus on the theory of the training. Students were able to recognise certain things in the theory classes before they studied it because they had already experienced it on the simulator. The success of this skills training programme was due to the knowledge that it provided before starting with the theoretical training.
Novice training used to last for approximately a month, but it has drastically reduced since the introduction of the training simulators to their training programme from 2013 and onwards. The mine also offers refresher courses where they retrain existing operators in order to determine their bad habits, which also reduces production costs.
Le Roux further mentions further that “There is definitely a role to play for simulators in the industry, I also feel that there is a definite need for simulators on our mine”.