Crane and Hoist Canada

Montreal firm takes part in crane simulation study

October 5, 2016  By Jane Doe

The training effectiveness of crane simulators is the subject of a study that began this summer and involves the Montreal-based maker of Vortex simulators.

Crane Industry Services LLC is conducting the study in conjunction with CM Labs Simulations Inc. of Montreal, and West Georgia Technical College, said a July 6 news release announcing the study.

The research, which started in July, will take 14 months or until 500 operators have particpated.

“This study is a first for the crane industry,” Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services, said in the news release. “While crane simulation tools are not new to the construction industry, there is little quantitative research that determines the value crane simulation offers as part of comprehensive training. We anticipate that the validated study will be used to set specific goals for skill development.”


Drew Carruthers, CM Labs’ construction product manager, said his company, which makes the Vortex simulators, is “extremely pleased” to be taking part in the initiative.

“It benefits the industry as a whole to understand how we can use simulator-based training to accelerate construction training programs,” Carruthers said.

Crane Industry Services — which is based in Waco, Ga. — currently combines online introductory training, instructor-led classroom training, hands-on instruction, and on-the-job training. CIS leaders were among the first in the industry to create interactive and broadcast quality video learning for the industry, the release said.

“The addition of crane simulators into our curriculum is a natural fit and the industry welcomes this use of technology,” the release quoted CIS president Cliff Dickinson.

Objectives of the study include the following:

• determining what skills can be achieved when simulators are used as part of training;

• yielding a comparative study of the time required for operators to reach certain skill levels;

• estimating the level of proficiency that can be obtained using concentrated learning and practice;

• testing performance evaluation options;

• training entry level operators safely;

• refreshing experienced operator skills; and

• practicing new equipment or lift conditions.

The study subjects include inexperienced, moderately experienced, and very experienced operators. They will be trained on a Vortex rough-terrain mobile crane module.

The research partners are reaching out to employers to provide operators for the study who have the following levels of experience:

• inexperienced operators with less than 99 hours of total operating time, and who’ve only had classroom instruction on crane safety concepts;

• operators with limited experience of up to 1,000 hours operating time in the previous five years, but whose crane operation exposure is no more than 20 per cent of their on-the-job time (these operators may come from general industry or construction, and they may or may not be certified); and

• full-time crane operators (of over 1,000 hours operating time in the previous five years), but who have had little or no exposure to training simulators. (In most cases, these will be certified crane operators.)

The Vortex machine “simulates multi-body dynamics and captures real behavior of cranes, rigging, and loads,” the release said. Its simulations are based on actual crane models and use real controls.

The study module, for example, is based on a 40-ton rough-terrain crane with a full boom extension of 102 feet. Feature includes the capability to configure the load moment indicator and set alarms.

“We hope this research will be used to set industry standards for simulation training and to assist employers in measuring the value of simulation as part of training,” Dickinson said.

Crane Industry Services recently took possession of three Vortex simulators that are housed in CIS’s trademarked Centered on Safety Training Center on West Georgia Technical College’s Murphy campus.

For information on participating in the study, call 770-783-9292 or email

Print this page


Stories continue below