June 2019 Vol.74 No. 6


Toledo Uses Simulators to Train Public Works Staff

Toledo, Ohio’s Public Service and Public Utilities departments together employ more than 75 heavy equipment operators to run the municipality’s equipment fleet. From motor graders and backhoes, to utility trucks and cranes, the fleet is used to dig, trench, lift and move materials all over the city. 

CM Labs’ SimGuide Service was used to help the City of Toledo determine how to maximize the use of their Vortex Simulator.

However, the city had no formal training program for such equipment until 2018, when it received its CM Labs Vortex simulator. Selected for its versatility, the simulator enables training on multiple machines so the city’s heavy equipment operators could gain familiarity with most machines in the fleet. 

In addition, CM Labs provided its SimGuide Service to help the City of Toledo understand how to maximize the use and return on investment for their Vortex simulator. SimGuide Service is designed to support organizations at any stage of simulator adoption, whether developing a simulation-based training program for the first time or extending use of their existing Vortex simulator. 

For example, many operators who need to reposition the backhoe while digging will turn the seat and leave the tripod position, instead of using the arm to position the tractor. “This basic controls exercise taught them to use the backhoe to move themselves around, which makes them so much more efficient,” said Tim Plath, a 30-plus-year employee and manager of health and safety for the city’s Department of Public Service. 

When an operator uses the clutch disconnect rather than going into a low gear, it creates more wear on the machine. With simulator training, he can catch and correct bad habits. “All I would be able to see in a field exercise is if they got down the hill without having an incident,” he added. 

In the future, the human resources department is planning to also use the Vortex simulator to screen potential operators and new hires, as well as in testing current operators for promotion to new positions. 

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