Discussion:
Forklift Simulator for Safety Training

I was wondering if there any good off the shelf forklift simulators for safety training,, compliant with OSHA regulations? Something that would be helpful in training operators other than manuals,videos, or hiring someone.
  • Posted 10 Apr 2014 07:48
  • Modified 10 Apr 2014 07:53 by poster
  • Discussion started by ss_1
  • New York, United States
Showing items 1 - 10 of 10 results.
My opinion on this is that unless you can also have an example forklift operating on a software program that anticipates what a trainee SHOULD be doing, and stops or sounds an error alarm each time something inappropriate is done by the trainee........you aren't actually gaining a thing when going through the process of simulator to real truck.
I can see where a simulator program might possibly be useful for efficiency and productivity training to fine tune or hone the skills of an already certified forklift operator if the simulations run could depict the actual working conditions of a specific employer's operation.
This could be set up to work like a video game wherein the object is to move as much "product" as possible without wrecking anything. Would have to be capable of mimicking warehouse operations, freight dock terminals, rail yard terminals, and don't forget the giants handling containerized cargo on ships, trucks, and rail.
But there are so many variables to contend with, I doubt any gameware author could tailor a program "realistic enough" to be of much use for anything other than "entertainment".
  • Posted 28 Apr 2014 05:37
  • Reply by L1ftmech
  • Tennessee, United States
frankly the correspondence between edward and tom has got me chuckling in my seat.... and tom's analogy with the honda v/s bmw thing heheh.

Anyway with that aside i'll be as straight forward as possible and may be a bit blunt but it is what i think about this new flashware that Tom is proposing to introduce into the lift truck market.
I use the term flashware because in my mind being in this industry since 1977 this is innovative but is it really necessary? Tom is appealing to those in this industry that like shiny flashy things to show their customers, the real need for it is irrelevant.

As a salesman that he is trying to be, all his points could be considered valid ones but are they honestly strong enough to make the sale?
It all depends on who's buying and their motives for wanting such a service.
Sure there is a huge difference between learning something on a computer and doing it in real time on a machine. I fly R/C controlled airplanes and i have had the opportunity to do it both ways, for real and also i bought a simulator program and learned how to fly them that way also. Now the big question is was it very helpful compared to doing it for real with a radio in hand and a plane on the other end of that signal up in the air? I would say somewhat but not near as much as having 'hands on' flight time.
You cannot feel what a computer is doing and compensate for environmental scenarios that come up during flight time the way you can out on a flying field. You are basically using hand to eye co-ordination and trying to get the plane to go where you want it to and do maneuvers you want it to.
With a forklift training program you can achieve the same goal but in the end it is the 'real time' on the lift driving and operating it that is going to be most helpful to the operator. The training program perceptions will not be the same. When the operator is 'on' the lift driving it around perceptions will be considerably different.

So in a nutshell is this training program Tom is offering really needed? No not really but with the age of computing coming to the forefront of society and across every market there is progressing in leaps and bounds day by day i'm sure there might be a place for it in the short term. But as computing goes.... i've seen alot of neat things come and go and were not really necessary. Flash in the pan entrepreneur ideas that just didn't cut it in today's market expectations.

Is it a good tool to make money off of? That all depends on who's buying and it might be in the short term. I'm sure as people get this and realize it is just an added step in the process of training their operators that can actually be done in real time on the warehouse floor their attitudes may change about the 'need' for this.
I'm sure it will be some nice 'eyecandy' to sell companies with large fleets that have the time they can dedicate to their employee training program.

By the way... a BMW is a piece of crap... had a BMW tech tell me this once, Honda's aren't much better either, had one of their tech's tell me as well...
As for the girl part of it? BMW girls are high maintenance just like the cars and Honda girls... well... it's a coin toss... heheh ;o)
  • Posted 28 Apr 2014 03:21
  • Modified 28 Apr 2014 03:23 by poster
  • Reply by swoop223
  • North Carolina, United States
You've been swooped!
swoop223@gmail.com
Can't see the point in a simulator as it will never be able to respond as a real life forklift in every situation.

There is nothing wrong with the old school classroom approach then operator training followed be a practical test given by a qualified instructor on the actual piece of equipment in a safe environment.

Most of my customers, if someone has a preventable accident with a forklift then they are then banned from driving any forklift & given a hand pallet truck until they have had there forklift driving training reassessed.
  • Posted 12 Apr 2014 03:31
  • Reply by Forkingabout
  • england, United Kingdom
I have never experienced a company buying something in the material handling arena they didn't need or purchase at a premium just for the sheer thrill of owning it ( such as some folks who buy a BMW just because they can).

As has been discussed many times- no matter how much training an operator has there will always be accidents etc. The only meaningful reduction in these situations I have seen is the installation of cameras where the operators know they're being watched. I can't see a simulator offering any kind of value- sorry.
  • Posted 12 Apr 2014 00:47
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
Does your simulator lift up in the rear (same feedback as an operator uses to recognize too heavy of a load) when you lift too heavy virtual load, same as a forklift?
?You do recognize that the point you made is that you think the person purchasing the BMW [in your BMW-vs-Honda comparison] is 'over compensating' and actually feels a -need- to spend more money to compensate for something in order to 'get the girl'? {still a clearly defined need in the mind of the purchaser}.

I am of the opinion that in the next 20 years, we will be intending to do away with operator's and their errors, and this is where your simulator actually has a greater value,that is in the collection of series of inputs that can be translated to autonomous self guided vehicles controls.

I would also bet that the type of traffic from the forum side would be somewhat different than the traffic from a store front, as the people looking in each place are likely to have used considerably differing search terms to find the pages [have differing reasons for finding the site]?
  • Posted 11 Apr 2014 21:06
  • Modified 11 Apr 2014 21:10 by poster
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
edward t people buy things everyday that aren't necessary. Does someone need a BMW? No. You could buy a Honda and save money on gas, maintenance, and your initial purchase and in most cases have a more reliable car. But with a Honda you don't get the girl. In this analogy a simulator would be the BMW and the girl would be a well-trained operator. The only difference is that the girl won't save you money while the well-trained operator will.

I am in discussions about advertising on the site and was merely getting an idea of the type of traffic I should expect.

bbforks A simulator allows a potential operator to train in a realistic and safe environment with absolutely zero risk of damaging property or people. If you think a simulator would not give you almost identical training as a real forklift, it has all of the same controls (since it can be customized to any type of forklift) and has the same feedback and load restrictions as a real forklift. To your point, if you purchased a simulator for $X and during the course of a normal year the amount of damage to goods by both inexperience operators and experience operators (who might have otherwise not had an accident had they been trained more thoroughly) is $X times ten, you could assume that at least 1/10 of that could have been avoided by additional training. Obviously the numbers have to make sense, but it is a simple exercise to consider.

Besides just the $$ aspect, it reduces injuries, provides an engaging medium to train operators, and is less expensive than a worker's compensation claim.
  • Posted 11 Apr 2014 14:11
  • Reply by ssts123
  • California, United States
Tom Sanford
www.streamlinesimulations.com
I agree w/ ed- if the simulator is not necessary then a company won't pay for it.

You say that damages occur while while instruction or testing is being given- then your cost to the customer would have to be less then the damage for your service to be feasible- after- of course- you've proven that the damage occurred in the first place.
  • Posted 10 Apr 2014 22:57
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
Tom, you are correct in that it is "that it is not necessary", and I have long held a belief, backed up by considerable research, that no sale happens unless the customer 'has a clearly defined -NEED-' for the product.
Good luck with your project, maybe you would do better with less resistance if you had a 'storefront' here on forkliftaction, rather than try and advertise in the forums [where push-back and 'peanut gallery comments' is more or less the nature of things].
  • Posted 10 Apr 2014 20:09
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
edward t you are correct. "Hands on" training is required. However, forklift related injuries and damage to assets can still occur. The goal of a forklift simulator is to prepare an operator in a safe, realistic environment, while reducing accidents and reinforcing proper forklift operation.

If you were a company that trained many operators per year, why wouldn't you want: 1) a low-cost simulator that was developed with NIOSH support, 2) training modules based on OSHA standards 3) the ability to train a greater number of operators at any given time without risking lives or property 4) a highly customizable, physics enabled environment that can mimic any scene or scenario.

You are correct that it is not necessary, but there are many benefits, especially to a company that trains many operators per year.

Check out the website in my signature to see what I mean.
  • Posted 10 Apr 2014 09:59
  • Reply by ssts123
  • California, United States
Tom Sanford
www.streamlinesimulations.com
OSHA requires "hands on" training with the actual type of machine the operator will be using, as well as classroom instruction that covers the ALL subjects outlined in OSHA 1910.178.
I fail to see how simulated operation will fill either of those requirements. simulation is not "hands on" nor will it be the actual type of equipment.
  • Posted 10 Apr 2014 08:04
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"

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