today 138

The 09-3D simulator: a hit with Australian customers

From mid-October to mid-December 2021, our customers Down Under had the opportunity to use the Plasser 09-3D tamping simulator for training. After the COVID-19 lockdown in New South Wales had been lifted thanks to an 80 % vaccination rate, this offer was received with great enthusiasm. The simulator was almost fully booked for the months it was available. The feedback from customers was positive throughout.

The mobile 09-3D simulator had been operated successfully for years. It can be used to practise tamping in the work cab as well as commissioning and driving a tamping machine. For the first time, the training tool made the long journey to Australia. The simulator was available at Plasser Australia’s factory in North St Marys, Sydney for customers from New South Wales.

A specially developed flexible training programme made training as efficient as possible. It was designed to cater to both new staff and experienced operators. The training programme included classroom training as well as tamping machine demonstrations in the workshop on-site.

An efficient training alternative

Modern rail operation hardly offers sufficient capacity for operators to learn or refine the operation of tamping machines in practice. That is a problem Australian operating companies are facing as well. Kate Newcombe, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Plasser Australia: “Simulation technology is an excellent alternative. The operators learn the tamping process under realistic circumstances, and the trainer can provide constructive feedback straight away. This reduces training time, especially for on-site training during machine commissioning and familiarisation. It also allows more operators to be trained at the same time.”

That’s something Keith Amor, Service Manager at Plasser Australia, can confirm. He was involved in designing the simulator training programme. Having operated, serviced, and supervised track maintenance machines for more than 17 years, he has strong technical expertise in the railway field. “I found the simulator to be an accurate recreation of the cab which delivers new operators with an excellent introduction to the basics of machine operation. I am confident that the realistic feel of the simulator environment will provide trainees with a good understanding of machine controls and a familiarity that they will carry with them into real machine operation.”

No risk of causing damage to machines or railway infrastructure

Given these advantages, the numerous requests for the training programme came as no surprise during the three months the simulator was available at North St Marys. Chelsea Waterton, Project Engineer at Rhomberg Rail Australia, also took the opportunity. “I have never been in a tamper myself, I have only ever organised them for project works. It is very realistic and has an exact resemblance to the inside of a working cab. It is good how you can change the ballast density, ballast types, and different tracks, to resemble real-world working conditions. I found the training very helpful to gain a better understanding of the tamping process and everything in connection with it.”

Another customer who has also completed training in the simulator stressed an aspect particularly important for operating staff: “The simulator allows the operators to learn at their own pace. With the guidance of a trainer and with no fear of damaging the machine or the railway infrastructure, you come away feeling empowered and with a better understanding of the tamping process.”

More simulator training planned in Australia as soon as possible

COVID-19 has presented many challenges across Australia. Interstate travel within Australia was prohibited while the 09-3D simulator was available at Plasser Australia. This has prevented several of our Australian customers from being able to travel to our factory in North St Marys for the simulator training programme. We will do everything in our power to bring the simulator back to Australia as soon as possible so all customers can use its technology to operate their machines even more efficiently.

Oxygen for India

Humanitarian aid: five companies take part in a project initiated by Plasser & Theurer and Plasser India

In May 2021, the pandemic hit India particularly hard. To Plasser & Theurer, it was important to help quickly and unbureaucratically. We took action together with four other companies. 400 bottles of oxygen were donated by Westfalen AG and transported to India by cargo-partner and Qatar Airways. Plasser India, a Plasser & Theurer partner company, made sure the life-saving gas was safely delivered to a hospital in New Delhi. Plasser & Theurer coordinated the entire project as its initiator.