Concrete Mixer Simulator Developed to Advance Safety Training
Midwest Concrete Materials, based out of Manhattan, Kansas has spent the last year developing a McNeilus mixer simulator to grow their training program for drivers.
Dodge Center, Minnesota. (October 27, 2016) – Driver safety is a priority for McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing, Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) company and Midwest Concrete Materials, a growing ready mix and dump truck company with a fleet of 125 trucks, 85 of which are concrete mixers. That is why the two teamed up to create a McNeilus mixer simulator, which helps train drivers in a virtual world react to any situation. With the occupation of truck driver being consistently listed in the top 10 deadliest jobs in America, the simulator will help train drivers on ways to stay safer on the road.
“Driver simulation was a great way to not risk a large investment, said Craig Poe, Midwest Concrete Material Trainer. “A simulator costs a lot of money, but students can wreck a truck in the simulator over and over again and it doesn’t cost you anything. We have had too many accidents that have resulted from not enough training.”
With at least 90% of their mixers being McNeilus body trucks, they choose to partner with McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing to supply the control system the simulator would eventually run on. “Most of our ready mix trucks are McNeilus and I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” said Poe. “We wanted to get the simulator as close as possible to the equipment the guys would be running every day.”
Midwest Concrete Materials chose Doron Precision Systems, Inc. to create their simulator. After 42 years in business, Doron has developed over 25,000 simulated vehicles in 60 different countries and is recognized as a world leader in their industry.
“We thought Doran was the best to do simulation, but we were going to have to develop a ready mix truck from scratch,” said Poe. “We spent a lot of time getting it to act like a ready mix truck, but that’s what happens when you’re the first one to do something.”
“We’ve developed over 25,000 simulator vehicles and rely on the expertise of our clients to teach us about their individual vehicles,” said Michael Stricek, Senior VP of Doron. “Craig from Midwest Concrete Material was extremely helpful showing how the McNeilus controls work and what affects the truck’s stability. We could now deliver a ready mix truck simulator in 60 to 90 days because of his help.”
“McNeilus supplied information, wiring, and the control box for the McNeilus Command Center Controls,” stated Clint Glunz, a McNeilus Engineer. “These controls have evolved over time and it was important for Craig and his team to use a simulator that incorporates the advanced control technology we invest in. This ensures the simulator functions like the state-of-the-art mixers they are running.” McNeilus is committed to providing the industry’s best in customer support, product innovation and service.
Doran utilized the 550Truckplus Simulator to interface with McNeilus controls. The simulator based McNeilus controls allow the driver to charge and discharge the mixer drum, change the speed, raise and lower the Bridgemaster® axle, lock the chute, and operate the work light and hopper – some of which affects how the mixer handles on the road. The system is designed to simulate how vehicle dynamics are affected by the drum rotation speed while driving, to provide realistic conditions caused by the higher leftward shifted center of gravity.
Training drivers on improving their reaction times is another key program area targeted for the future for Midwest Concrete Materials. They plan to solidify a more in depth training program to enhance the hands-on training the simulator provides. They will also get their drivers in once a year to maintain records on their reaction times.
“It’s very important – if someone is even a second slower there could be an accident,” said Poe. “Our SkillTrak software measures how quickly a driver can move from gas to brake when given a visual cue. We measure in milliseconds. The average driver going 55 mph on a dry road has a reaction time of ¾ of a second – meaning the vehicle travels 60 feet before the driver takes action.”
When asked if the money invested in the simulator was worth it, Poe said “I guess I can probably tell you in another year – the whole idea was to avoid more accidents and so far we’ve done really well with that.”
McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing, Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is an industry- leading manufacturer of refuse truck bodies. McNeilus produces a complete line of rear load, front load, and automated side load units to augment any refuse collection fleet. Each product line offers multiple models to fit customers’ specific needs. Through its Next Generation Initiatives (NGEN) program, McNeilus designs, installs and services compressed natural gas (CNG) solutions for heavy duty fleets of all types. All supported by a comprehensive, factory direct sales and service network equipped with replacement parts. McNeilus is leading the way toward the next generation of vehicle solutions. Visit www.mcneiluscompanies.com.
About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency, military and specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corporation manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide by rental companies, concrete placement and refuse businesses, fire & emergency departments, municipal and airport services and defense forces, where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, visit www.oshkoshcorporation.com
®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.
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