ThoroughTec Simulation is a global technology company, headquartered in South Africa and focused on the development and manufacture of heavy-equipment operator training simulators and associated training technologies. The company has been operating for over 20 years, during which time it has grown into one of the world’s leading training technology organizations, supplying the mining, construction, military and fire-fighting sectors.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

ThoroughTec Simulation: While ThoroughTec ‘cut its teeth’ in the military training and simulation sector, specialising in vehicle crew training systems, in recent years the company’s main area of activity has become the development of turn-key training solutions to the mining industry. More specifically, the company has established itself as the world leader in high-fidelity simulator systems for the training and performance optimization of heavy earth-moving equipment operators, both belowground and in surface mining applications. Naturally these technologies transfer readily into other sectors and applications and so our most recent innovations have been in the Aircraft Fire and Rescue space, where we have developed an advanced ‘ARFF’ vehicle simulator to train airport first responders in the complex and dangerous task of combatting passenger aircraft fires. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

ThoroughTec Simulation: ThoroughTec recently released our Workforce Excellence or ‘WX’ training management platform, a purpose built, enterprise level software application to digitize and centralize the planning, control, reporting and record keeping of all mine training activities, replacing most, if not all the functions of traditional LMS/HRD/ERP implementations. 

WX TMS is now the beating heart at the centre of our training eco-system offering our clients a uniquely integrated, digital solution to meet the demands of modern, mechanized mine training.  

The other recent news was of course our global partnership with Caterpillar, through which they assist in our development of the most realistic and effective simulators in the market which in turn support the training needs of CAT fleet operators around the world. 

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

ThoroughTec Simulation:

CYBERMINE Simulators

In the mining sector, we supply customized, high-fidelity, surface and underground training simulators for virtually any piece of mechanized mining equipment.

Our surface simulators include haul trucks, shovels, excavators, draglines, dozers, drill rigs, ADTs, graders, wheel loaders and LDVs, while underground we have developed LHDs, dump trucks, all manner of drill rigs, roof bolters, locomotives, scalers, crete sprayers, shuttle cars, continuous miners and road headers. 

CYBERQUIP Simulators

In the construction sector, we offer a comprehensive range of generic operator training simulators for all major types of surface construction machinery. These products are tailored to meet the somewhat less rigorous training needs of that industry as well as their consequentially smaller training budgets. 

CYBERWAR Simulators

ThoroughTec is still active in the international military simulation market, offering procedural and tactical operator training simulators for a wide range of military vehicles and applications. In general, these products are highly-customised to meet the unique operational training needs of each client and they tend to place a greater emphasis on interactive, multi-vehicle, multi-operator training to better approximate real-world fighting conditions. 

CYBERDRIVE Simulators

In the driving and ARFF market, ThoroughTec stands out as a uniquely focused, specialist supplier of driver-operator simulators for complex, high-risk and high-cost equipment such as ARFF vehicle simulators for the passenger aviation sector. 

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

ThoroughTec Simulation: The military market is very mature, having adopted simulation technologies several decades ago for both testing and training purposes. Consequently simulator-based training is considered an absolute necessity in the training of military personnel. Seeing the benefits simulation conferred upon the military, the mining and construction sectors began following suite in the mid-1990’s and these technologies have now almost reached the level of adoption seen in the military, being widely considered as essential for training safe and proficient mine equipment operators. Comparatively, the ARFF industry is in its infancy, but the case for the technology is incredibly strong and the market is forecast to grow rapidly as early adopters realize the benefits of simulation. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

ThoroughTec Simulation: Irrespective of sector or application, operations and the equipment used therein are digitizing at an incredible rate. The complexity of modern military and mining machines is staggering, even when compared with relatively recent models from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Consequently, there is an ever-increasing requirement to ensure that equipment operators ‘keep pace’ with the technology, in order to safely and effectively leverage the capabilities of their machines. This is where simulation and the related software and technologies we produce have found an expanding niche to answer this need. It’s an exciting time for technology everywhere, but particularly so where heavy metal and the virtual world intersect to help make people safer and more proficient at such vital tasks as mining and construction. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

ThoroughTec Simulation: WX Analytics, a complementary product to our WX TMS, is a truly revolutionary system that combines in-pit operator performance monitoring with AI-driven analytics to deliver highly-targeted, simulator training interventions. These minimize operator time away from production and surgically eliminate bad practices, thereby improving safety and productivity at minimal cost to the mine. The system is completely automated and always active, continuously monitoring and assessing individual operator’s at a behavioral level, so as to pre-emptively address emerging issues and drive continuous improvement across the entire workforce. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

ThoroughTec Simulation: 2022 is looking incredibly promising, with very strong growth signals in the mining sector which continues its rebound from the effects of covid-19. As operations continue to ramp up, they will require a steady stream of well-trained operators. While miners in a the “wait and see state” or holding steady, inevitably look to optimize operations and use the opportunity to provide refresher training and upskill their employees. In other sectors, the military market remains consistently buoyant in the face global insecurity, particularly in the Pacific rim and Eastern Europe, while the ARFF market is poised to, dare I say take-off as the aviation sector struggles back to its feet as the threat from Covid recedes. All in all, many reasons to approach the year with vigor and optimism.