January 2019 Vol. 74 No. 1


Ditch Witch

Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, introduced an industry-first Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator to better prepare horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators for safe underground construction through cutting-edge training technology.

“Our next-generation HDD VR Simulator takes training to the next level by allowing operators to familiarize themselves with HDD equipment and experience a realistic job site without the potential risks of putting a novice operator in a complex environment,” said Greg Wolfe, Ditch Witch director of training.

Utilizing VR technology, the simulator provides both novice and experienced HDD operators with a 360-degree view of a realistic job site – modeling a variety of soil conditions and installation applications. Through a series of increasingly difficult lessons, operators are evaluated and educated on machine functions, product location, extended bend radius and steering. The program emphasizes damage prevention by requiring operators to preplan, setup equipment correctly and test protective systems.

The full VR simulator kit includes a portable operator station, joystick, dongle, lead motion detector sensor and VR goggles. To truly simulate a real job-site experience, the equipment is configured to replicate what operators see and feel, leveraging the same joysticks found on Ditch Witch HDD equipment.

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