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Coal Services wins Zenith Award in the Mining, Minerals and Exploration category

Winner: Coal Services Pty Ltd
Project: Virtual Reality Training

Coal Services is an Australian company jointly owned by the Minerals Council of New South Wales and the Mining and Energy Division of Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union.

Virtual Reality (VR) Training is a business unit of Coal Services. The VR is suitable for the advanced training of mine workers and operators who are required to perform potentially dangerous tasks often in hazardous environments in safer surroundings.

The increased use of modern training methods, pecifically designed virtual reality (VR) training is a way of ensuring higher levels of learner engagement and a greater consistency in the quality of training.

The appeal of the VR as a training tool is also conductive to the type of social environments that many young workers are accustomed to through their various day to day computer based interactions from gaming through to banking.

“We have received a number of requests from the US and China for tours of our facilities and guidance regarding the implementation of equivalent hi-tech training systems,” said Bruce Dowsett, manager of Virtual Reality Training at Coal Services.

The company has now progressed to a ‘next generation’ product with innovations that are taking VR Training to an even higher level – including improved fidelity and interaction. The integration of off-the-shelf hardware with the software was key.

“Putting those together to achieve top quality training has been the biggest challenge that we’ve had. It’s taken three generations of technology to do it but we have now done it,” remarked Dowsett.

Bruce Dowsett (R), Manager of Virtual Reality Training, Coal Services receives the Zenith Award from category sponsor Scott Wooldridge, Vice President, Schneider Electric.

Bruce Dowsett (R), Manager of Virtual Reality Training, Coal Services receives the Zenith Award from category sponsor Scott Wooldridge, Vice President, Schneider Electric.

Through the use of VR in industry training, Mines Rescue together with VRT has been able to make a positive contribution to the NSW mining industry’s emergency preparedness and emergency response training and have been able to host a number of Mines Rescue competition activities in the virtual environment.

A 2001 study suggested that emergency personnel who had trained in the virtual environment were better able to navigate through a real emergency situation than those who had not.

The judges said: “This project represents an important development in simulation for needs-based training for operator workplace and safety management. This well-conceived program can play a major role in protecting and training the mining industry.”

Check out the Finalists in the Mining, Minerals and Exploration category.

The 2011 Zenith Mining, Minerals and Exploration Award is sponsored by Schneider Electric.

Schneider Electric sponsors PACE magazine's Zenith Awards.As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructures, Industries & Machine manufacturers, Non-residential buildings, Data centers & Networks, and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group’s 110,000 plus employees achieved sales of 19.6 billion euros in 2010, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

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