After two years of development, Ellicott Dredges announced the startup of two new dredging simulators, one for cutter dredges and one for auger dredges. Both are available for immediate use. These simulators are the most modern dredge simulator systems in North America, and will be used in conjunction with Ellicott's existing dredge training program. Auger dredge training is available at Ellicott’s Wisconsin, U.S. factory.
The simulators are equipped with three large panoramic screens to replicate the actual view from the operator’s control room, a control center replicating actual interactive dredge controls along with gauges, and an operator chair. This system provides a realistic experience for the operator to familiarize himself with the equipment and to learn how to operate the dredge properly for maximum production. For training at Ellicott's headquarters in Baltimore, MD, cutter dredge operators will use a simulator that is based on the physical dimensions of an Ellicott 1270 Dragon Dredge. Although it depicts the control cab of a 16-18" dredge, the simulator is appropriate for all portable cutter dredge operators. This will be a valuable tool in training users how to operate their dredge safely and more efficiently.
One of the most significant benefits of the simulator is that with advance planning operators will be able to begin training before a dredge is fully built and delivered. Generally it can take weeks for operator training in the field, which ties up the entire dredging system. However, a few days of training with this simulator will enable the operator to use his or her dredge immediately after delivery, improving productivity and reducing downtime.
Additionally, proper training on how dredges work will lead to fewer problems and therefore less unscheduled maintenance during operation. The simulator will show how the various gauges such as suction and discharge pressure affect production. This knowledge is crucial in achieving the highest possible output. Mark Heimberger, Ellicott's Senior Field Service Engineer, adds, "We see this as a benefit not only in training dredge operators, but also in offering hands-on experience for plant superintendents, company owners, and municipalities wanting to gain a better understanding of variables that impact production and bottom line operations of their dredging projects."
Ellicott offers this training not only to new Ellicott dredge owners, but to all cutter dredge operators. Brief simulator tours are also available for group and individual visits by appointment.