ST Engineering Antycip is playing a pivotal role in Mount Lucas's mission to pave the way for a sustainable, net-zero future in the Republic of Ireland by modernising its training facilities with three construction simulators.

Nestled near Daingean in County Offaly, Mount Lucas (officially the National Construction Training Campus) provides comprehensive construction-related training and testing services for the public, with a strong emphasis on the future of nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEBs). Functioning as a centre of excellence for retrofitting and nZEB in the Midlands of Ireland, it also serves as the hub for the national Scaffolding Apprenticeship programme, spanning two years, as well as the Skilled Utilities National Construction Training Campus Traineeship.

The installation, featuring three simulators all developed by ST Engineering Antycip’s long-term partner CM Labs, represents a milestone in the construction training landscape in Ireland, according to John Kelly from Mount Lucas. “The construction industry in Ireland is faced with shortages of skilled labour. Simulation training can help us to bridge this gap by providing a structured and efficient way to train new workers and upskill existing ones,” says Kelly. “Simulation training allows new learners who may not have operated heavy machinery before commencing training with us the opportunity to learn in a completely safe environment, and can help boost diversity by bridging a gap in what would be the typical construction worker demographic in Ireland – i.e men from an agricultural background.”

The first simulator, a fully immersive three-screen CM Labs Simulations Vortex Advantage model, provides training across four crane types (rough terrain crane, crawler crane, flat top and luffing tower cranes). The second simulator, also a Vortex Advantage model, focuses on plant and earth-moving simulations, encompassing telehandler, excavator, backhoe, wheel loader, articulated dump truck and forklift training. Completing the installation is a more compact, one-screen CM Labs Vortex Edge Max, known as the ‘mobile simulator’, designed for easy transportation to colleges, universities and local community training hubs, reinforcing Mount Lucas's commitment to broader access to cutting-edge training resources. This simulator can accommodate all the lifting and plant training modules of the other two simulators.

“Features like advanced physics and graphics to replicate construction equipment and job site conditions accurately were massive musts for us, as we believe this level of realism is essential for effective training,” said Kelly.

Amir Khosh, sales manager at ST Engineering Antycip, underscores the long-term nature of this partnership with Mount Lucas, explaining that the simulator installation marks just the initial step in a comprehensive five-year programme that includes technical support, training, software upgrades and a range of add-ons, including instructor and signaller stations. Khosh emphasises that the training approach is “unique”, as the ST Engineering Antycip team have immersed themselves in the daily operations at Mount Lucas, enabling them to deliver training on the simulators that closely mirrors real-world scenarios.

Another feature of the chosen simulators is their utilisation of a physics-based engine, setting them apart from gaming-based alternatives in the market. Khosh elucidates this distinction by noting that the CM Labs models, rooted in engineering principles, can understand and replicate over 50 critical metrics, including factors like engine torque and fuel consumption.

“The National Construction Training Campus at Mount Lucas has embraced the digital constructional world across all of our provisions,” comments Kelly. “The simulators allow us to train novices in basic machine operations with both cranes and plant machinery, while also allowing us to track and monitor progression and give valuable insights into important statistics, like fuel consumption saved and machinery efficiency. The safe environment created with simulators allows for easier one-to-one tuition and corrective training.