Mining made safe and effective with simulation-based learning

Digging and scooping up minerals from beneath the ground requires skill. To aid miners fulfil this role safely and effectively, heavy equipment manufacturer company Sandvik turned to Gofore’s subsidiary Creanex to help develop a digital training solution – the “Digital Trainer” for loaders and trucks.



Creating simulation software that matches real mining practices 1:1

The profile of a underground vehicle for hard rock is exceptionally low because it is designed to transport mined minerals, rocks, and other industrial materials through narrow tunnels or shafts. Handling this type of heavy equipment is a skill that needs to be acquired before setting foot into the real ‘thing’.

Sandvik offers mining equipment models of various size classes designed for different underground environments and mining methods, be it block-caving or room-and-pillar. Some are operated from the cabin of the machine, others via remote-control.

For the simulation to be appropriate to the task being trained, it was thus necessary to develop a technology capable of handling various mining scenarios and accommodate Sandvik’s wide range of different equipment types.

Location awareness, machine learning, robotics and other smart technologies continue to drive innovation in mining equipment, improving productivity and efficiency while ensuring greater worker safety than ever before. Using simulators to train workers can build knowledge, confidence, and skills to keep up with these rapidly changing trends.


Incorporating external mining know-how into own simulation research and development

The project is carried out in close collaboration between Creanex software developers and Sandvik’s training department. Bi-weekly meetings serve to brainstorm and exchange ideas while discussing customer feedback helps with system adjustments.

Sandvik provides expert opinions on what is needed from a mining perspective, such as videos, animations, and models. While communicating various features and layouts they also provide guidance on hardware requirements that determine how the simulator must look and be designed – right down to the choice of colour.

Creanex simulators are always delivered turnkey. They develop the required simulation software, source additional parts such as control systems from Sandvik’s other suppliers, assemble the Digital Trainer, install software, and do final acceptance tests. The simulator is then shipped straight to the customer, allowing Sandvik’s frontline staff to carry out training with their end-customers.

“The best thing about Creanex is its people and the skill they possess. They listen to our requests, and are eager to support us, bring up new solutions, and always greet you with a smile.”

Shiv Kumar, Training Manager, Load & Haul Division, Sandvik


Reduced downtime and increased mining efficacy through simulation-based learning

In co-developing the Digital Trainer, Creanex has helped increase the reliability of Sandvik’s mining technology. The data the simulator provides gives insights into operator behaviour, all the while optimising equipment usage. It also allows for new mining machinery being tested for suitability before ordering.

What sets the Digital Trainer apart from other simulators is its ability to mimic real-life scenarios – from its size to its interior features, everything looks and feels like the real ‘thing’. The learner can build confidence in manoeuvring through tunnels, pass through networks of pillars, and load rocks into buckets without hitting walls or otherwise damaging the machine.

For the end-customer, the benefit is two-fold: Miners are qualified to perform their roles safely and effectively, while equipment downtime is minimised – after all, the real machinery can be left to carry out its original task: mining.

About the cooperation

Transferring real simulation know-how

While the development of the Digital Trainer began in 2018, Gofore’s subsidiary Creanex had already provided simulation software for other departments within Sandvik. Since 2006, Creanex has been conducting simulation-based research and development for the testing and development of control systems. This expertise has led to ongoing cross-departmental collaboration, for example in mining.

Case in numbers

  • 10 Team members
  • 21 Different capabilities
  • 13 Countries covered
  • 6 Continents covered
  • 5 Years of cooperation in loader and dump truck training simulators


The skills & competences utilised in the project

  • Real-time simulation
  • Real-time 3D graphics
  • Hydraulic simulation
  • Physics simulation with environment interactions
  • Mechanical design and manufacturing
  • Electrical design
  • Virtualisation of sensors
  • Virtualisation of embedded control units
  • HIL/SIL simulation
  • Software development
  • Project management
  • Turnkey manufacturing
  • Testing and quality assurance
  • Mining methods
  • Loader and truck operations
  • Training scenarios & management
  • Research & Development
  • Control Systems
  • End customer remote support
  • Best usage practices

Get in touch

Ari Hirvonen

Intelligent Industry

+358 40 5662133

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