4 Questions to Ask When Buying a Crane Simulator

Training managers evaluating crane simulators

“What is the best crane simulator for me?”

Picking, purchasing, or upgrading a crane simulator doesn’t have to be a complicated process. There are a few things to consider when buying a crane simulator – whether you purchase from GlobalSim or any other provider. Here are four key questions to help you decide which system is best for you and your business.

  1. Which simulator platform best fits your needs? 

    Maybe you’d like to start with a desktop model, something with a small footprint that doesn’t take up much space, and that you can use as needed. Or maybe you’re ready to upgrade to something on the larger end of the scale, something completely immersive for your company’s expanding training routine. Your first step is to create a vision for how you want your simulator to be used, where, and how often.

  2. What are you trying to simulate? 

    Some companies only need to train on one piece of equipment while others train on a variety of different models. If you already have a simulator and your organization is looking to upgrade, you might be wondering if new models will be compatible with your existing system. This question used to be difficult, but over the past several years, we’ve improved our systems to make them considerably more compatible. Years ago you might have had to buy multiple simulators for different training scenarios, but modern simulators with interchangeable controls can accommodate multiple models on a single platform. 

  3. Are you looking for standard or customized simulation systems? 

    • Controls. GlobalSim offers a standardized set of operating controls. For some companies, those will be sufficient, but others want controls that mimic specific equipment as closely as possible. Depending on your needs we can decide what customizations would be best. Some customizations include detailed controls, joysticks, indicator panels and touch screens. The level and detail of customizations can vary depending upon each circumstance. In any case, an expert can work with you to determine the exact level of customization needed to help your trainees gain muscle memory and be better prepared to transition to the equipment they’ll be using in the real world.
    • Crane Visual Model. For some crane companies, customizing the visual model isn’t necessary because their employees only need to be trained on general equipment and practices. Other organizations train on specific equipment, and customization of the visual model helps recreate the environment so that trainees feel better prepared in a more immersive simulation environment.
    • Simulated Arena and World. ‘Arena’ refers to the view of the surrounding area, the specific buildings of a port, lane markings, unique quay configurations, etc. ‘World’ refers to the scenery, trees, a specific skyline, or landmark, the aesthetics. If you’re working in a standard arena, you might not need customization in these areas, but other companies are training operators for a unique environment, and customization can be culturally significant or vital to their specific training programs.
    • Unique Functionality, Faults, etc. (Software). There is a lot you can do to create and tweak your models with the included scenario editor, but if your company needs a complicated custom scenario, we can create exactly what you’re training experts desire. 
  4. What is your timeframe? 

    Your time is valuable, and you’d like to start using your new or upgraded crane simulator as soon as possible. Understanding the timeframe is important. Here are some elements of the purchasing or upgrading process that can affect the timeline.

    • Tender. A tender, or RFP, is an invitation from your company to create a bid for your project. We need to know from the beginning if you’ll be asking for a tender so we can communicate closely with your company about what you’re looking for, and put together a viable plan. A tender can take several weeks to properly prepare. Knowing the bid process will help us plan and prepare for your project.
    • Terms and Conditions. Our two companies can begin with a general agreement, but the formal, legal, terms and conditions can take some time. We pride ourselves at GlobalSim on being reasonably flexible, and most of our clients are too, but this vital step in the process still takes time for legal teams on both ends to do their jobs properly and will give everyone the confidence to move forward. 
    • Components backlog. GlobalSim sources our equipment and components from some of the best providers in the world. Even before the pandemic, we had to carefully plan and purchase some components to avoid procurement delays. Today’s environment can be very challenging, depending upon the type of components your simulator requires.  We work proactively to be on top of this issue and reduce the timeframe for building new simulators, but there are still occasions when getting parts in a timely, consistent manner is out of our hands.
    • Manufacturing backlog. From time to time we receive a large order from one of our port clients, or the military. We are typically aware of these jobs in advance, however,  there are occasions when a large order can push back our timeframe. On the positive side, these large-scale jobs enable us to do a lot of research and development with results that trickle down and benefit all our clients. 
    • Software development and testing. Testing is something we take very seriously at GlobalSim. We usually take several weeks to test every aspect of your software to ensure it works exactly according to your needs. This testing is especially important if there are customizations built in. To properly test a simulator, it needs to be fully built. We need to receive all of the components, build up the system hardware, install the software, and make sure everything works in complete harmony. 
    • Shipping / Customs / Installation. Most of the time, there are no issues with shipping or customs, but in the rare event of a little snag, we’ve found that these delays resolve in days, not weeks or months. Once everything arrives safely, we’ll have a precise plan and timeframe in place for installation. 

Buying or upgrading a crane simulator is an exciting investment, one we’re dedicated to helping you get right and use to its fullest potential. We’re proud of our products and our teams who work tirelessly to create systems that make crane operations around the world safer and more efficient. If you have any further questions, talking simulators is our favorite pastime.