Video game-inspired forklift simulator could reduce injuries and deaths

Simulator developed by Tactus Technologies, a spinoff company from the University at Buffalo.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
March 24, 2013 - MMH Editorial

Tactus Technologies, a spinoff company from the University at Buffalo, has developed a first-of-its-kind virtual reality training program for forklift operators, a product that company officials expect will reduce work-related injuries and deaths.

The program, called the 3D Forklift Trainer, allows operators to practice with a video game-like system that features a steering wheel, joystick, pedals and simulated environments such as warehouses, elevators and railroad tracks.

The simulator arose from a need to improve operator readiness, said Jim Mayrose, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tactus.

According to Occupational Safety and Health and Administration (OSHA) standards, improper forklift operations cause roughly 100 fatalities and more than 100,000 injuries annually in the United States.

“Until recently, such virtual reality technologies were only available to military and university laboratories,” said Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, Tactus co-founder and UB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “By pioneering the use of gaming technology and computers in our software, we are able to offer the 3D forklift simulator at a low and reasonable cost for industrial safety training.”

Kesavadas is also director of the UB Virtual Reality Lab.

Current training typically involves a combination of classroom-based lectures, videos and observation before “on-the-job training” propels operators into the driver’s seat.

“The problem is that this type of training is passive rather than interactive,” Mayrose said.

Created with a grant from the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, the simulator incorporates safety lessons aligned with OSHA standards.

Lesson plans require reacting to safety challenges – such as ramps, elevators and people – that reinforce the use of correct techniques. Personal profiles track trainee progress and evaluate performance. On average, it takes three to four hours to complete the simulator program.

“Companies using our product will find that they have shorter training cycles with less supervision needed and, most importantly, a safer environment,” Mayrose said.

Customers will receive a full license for the 3D Forklift Trainer software, a customized computer, as well as a steering wheel and pedals. A 60-inch screen and specialized forklift-type seating is optional. A commercial version of the trainer, which features a standard warehouse environment, is also available. The program may be customized so that the environment matches that of the company.

It is available to companies of all sizes, with the first installation site at the Cummins engine plant in Jamestown.

Tactus is a pioneer in 3D Virtual Reality training solutions and has developed the next generation of physics-based software libraries that allow for real-time interaction, simulation, and visualization. The company is based in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo.

For more information about the company and the services it offers, please visit: www.tactustech.com.



Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

As expected, global trade dipped from August to September but still saw annual gains, according to data issued this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Transportation and logistics merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the third quarter saw annual gains, which were driven by smaller deals in the trucking logistics, shipping, and passenger air sectors, according to data issued in the Intersections report by PwC this week.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it appears retailers are not quite done getting inventory set up and on the shelves in time for what is expected to be a fairly active shopping season. That much was evident based on recent data for September volumes issued by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

Join Industry Expert Adrian Gonzalez for this educational webinar on the tenets and the benefits of Closed-Loop Operational Management. You’ll learn how Closed-Loop Operational Management optimizes orders, inventory, and transportation concurrently, and how it is able to optimize large-scale problems on a daily basis.

In a separate conference call following CP’s third quarter earnings release call yesterday, CP CEO Hunter Harrison make myriad convincing points for a merger between CP and CSX and offered up his take in general industry M&A as well.

Article Topics

News · Lift Trucks · Technology · Forklifts · Education · Safety · All topics

About the Author

Josh Bond, Associate Editor
Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce. Contact Josh Bond

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.