CM Labs: Why All Construction Simulators Are Not Created Equal

If you’re looking to optimize your operator training by investing in heavy equipment simulators, it’s important to remember that not all simulation is created equal. Most experienced operators will tell you that when working a piece of equipment, the machine becomes an extension of themselves giving them the unique ability to identify which brand they’re sitting on simply from the sound of the engine or by the seat of their pants (or, as one training director recently put it to me, “by the sensation on their rear end”).

Whether on earthmoving or lifting equipment, responding to feedback from the machine is an important part of maximizing its capabilities and, in many cases, saving time and money. Learning techniques like leveraging the momentum of a swing to move loads faster when operating a crane or using the inertia of a wheel loader to fill the bucket quicker by increasing its cutting force are skills that can’t be taught unless they are felt. Until now, this was only possible on the real equipment where the outcome of doing it wrong can be costly and dangerous but with CM Labs’ Smart Training Technology(TM), trainees can now experience the same machine behavior on a Vortex simulator.

CM Labs Smart Training Technology (TM)

Smart Training Technology(TM) is comprised of CM Labs’ proprietary and patented software. It results in simulations that have been engineered through careful modeling and reproduction of real machine data, from hydraulics systems, to engine behavior and machine sounds. Its accuracy is backed by more than 20,000 automated daily tests and ongoing research and development.

Through Smart Training Technology (TM), Vortex simulators capture the relationship between all machine parts and ensure that the reactions mirror those of the actual equipment. Everything from the bucket of the excavator digging through the dirt, the backhoe’s backlash effect, the slipping of the dozer’s tracks, the traction of the wheel loader’s tires and the deflection of the crane’s boom are precisely replicated to provide the most realistic experience – all of which has been field-tested by subject matter experts like operating engineers and major OEMs. This means that CM Labs’ OEM partners confirm that Vortex simulators accurately reflect the feel and behavior of their own equipment. In fact, the software behind Smart Training Technology is used by various OEMs to design and create real equipment.

Smart Training Technology(TM) allows trainees to operate in challenging environments where the physical reaction of the simulator allows them to explore the capacity and limits of the equipment. It also enables them to safely run-through scenarios such as critical lifts that are potentially life-altering in the real world. Put simply, it’s what differentiates great simulation from outdated game-based simulation. It’s also what accelerates the learning curve, builds operator confidence and avoids negative training which, ultimately, results in the most transferable operator skills, outside the real equipment.

Real Clients, Real Results

From large construction companies to small and large scale training schools, the results speak for themselves. Clients who have opted for CM Labs Vortex simulators have experienced significant savings, increased productivity, higher classroom engagement rates and stronger more confident operators.

When Conewago Enterprises starting using a Vortex simulator for crane operator training they were able to cut training costs by about $30,000 per operator. What’s more, a reduction in excavator cycle times produced savings ranging from $13,000 to $40,000 per project.

Crane Industry Services found that one hour on a Vortex simulator was equivalent to almost 4 hours on a crane while facilitating classroom instruction by providing tangible situations to analyze with trainees.

When lead Instructor, Gary James, at Next Gen Equipment Training sat on a Vortex simulator for the first time, he was “blown away by the realism.” Gary took his experience one-step further by demonstrating the simulator’s unique capabilities as he filled a dump truck blindfolded using the excavator training pack.

According to the National Skills Coalition jobs in sectors like construction and manufacturing account for 53 percent of the U.S. labor market overall, yet only 43 percent of workers are sufficiently trained. Implementing the right simulation in your heavy equipment training means focusing on skills-based training that can build a resilient workforce and ensure both breadth and depth of experience.

About CM Labs Simulations Inc.

CM Labs builds simulation-based solutions to help clients design advanced equipment and prepare for skilled operations. Through its Vortex Studio platform, CM Labs provides capabilities for training simulators, mission rehearsal, virtual prototyping, and testing.

For more than 20 years, CM Labs’ Vortex Simulators have helped train equipment operators in port, maritime, and offshore environments all over the world. In the past few years alone, the Port of Tilbury, Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal, Indonesian Port Corporation, Napier Port, Ports of Auckland, multiple DP World sites, and the Pacific Maritime Association (USA) have chosen Vortex simulators to improve operational safety and efficiency.

Vortex® is a registered trademark of CM Labs Simulations.

For more information, visit

Submitted by Mala Dewan, Product Marketing Manager

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