More than 50 percent of reported underground utility damages are the result of insufficient excavation practices, according to Common Ground Alliance’s 2017 "Dirt Report."
That’s a major reason why Ditch Witch has introduced what they say is an industry-first Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator to better prepare HDD operators for safe underground construction through training technology.
“Our HDD VR Simulator takes training to the next level by allowing operators to familiarize themselves with HDD equipment and experience a realistic job site without the potential risks of putting a novice operator in complex environment,” says Greg Wolfe, Ditch Witch director of training.
“Combined with our comprehensive Certified HDD Training curriculum, the simulator provides operators with the proper training to safely and effectively complete an HDD job site project, without the pressure of consequences from mistakes,” Wolfe says.
That’s not to mention fuel and water use, or tool wear.
The technology package is designed to provide both novice and experienced HDD operators with a 360-degree view of a realistic job site, simulating a variety of soil conditions and installation applications so operators can learn how the drill reacts.
Through a series of lessons that increase in difficulty, operators are evaluated and educated on machine functions, product location, damage prevention, extended bend radius, and steering.
The program emphasizes damage prevention by requiring operators to preplan, set up equipment correctly, and test protective systems.
The full VR simulator kit includes a portable operator station, joystick, dongle, lead motion detector sensor, and VR goggles. To truly simulate a real job site experience, the equipment is configured to replicate what operators see and feel, leveraging the same joysticks found on Ditch Witch HDD equipment.
HDD contractors and education centers looking to incorporate the latest HDD training technology into their program can purchase the simulator at local Ditch Witch dealerships.