Energy Equipment Simulator At MontanaFair - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Energy Equipment Simulator At MontanaFair

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A driving simulator routinely used by mining equipment operators is set up at MontanaFair, to give fairgoers a chance to get behind the wheels of a 240-ton truck.

"You'd be put on with another operator in the actual truck, and they would give you advice on what to do. You'd actually be in a piece of equipment, and they would show you how to drive it," said E. B. DeWitt with Cloud Peak Energy, referring to how equipment operators are trained before the energy equipment simulator currently at MontanaFair enjoyed widespread use.

Nowadays, drivers are put inside the simulator for all training, in an virtual environment that is as real as it gets.

"We can simulate rocks in the road. We can simulate rain. We can help them on their driving technique," said E. B.

KULR-8's Kenneth Wong was on the simulator Wednesday, and experienced anything from a truck fire to a slideout.

"If you're on a real truck, those environments, they're there, and they're happening, and sometimes it's just difficult to predict what happens there," said E. B. "If they do something wrong, we're not wrecking a multi-million dollar piece of equipment."

E. B. said the simulator is building driver's confidence.

"When they get out there, they're not so scared of that truck. They are more confident. They know what to do, in case of an emergency," said E. B.