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What exactly is an operator training simulator?

John Deere’s Operator Training Simulators are a cost-effective, safe, and efficient way to train new operators in a risk-free environment. Highly detailed and realistic lessons teach proper operator technique, machine controls, and safe operation in a virtual jobsite. The simulators are intended for new operator training, safety training, cross-training, or countless other training needs. The operator sits in the simulator seat, uses replica machine controls, and works in a virtual jobsite environment projected on the TV screen in front of them. Watch a video of the training simulators in action.

What are the benefits of training on a simulator?

Imagine training new operators without fuel costs, without emissions, and without operating costs. Now imagine a training environment where you don't have to take your equipment out of production, where your equipment won't be damaged, and your personnel won't be at risk. Simulator training also lets your company train new operators throughout the year no matter what the weather's doing outside.

Training simulators are highly effective at teaching machine controls, operator technique, and hand eye coordination. They are mainly intended for brand new operators, but are also effective for cross-training seasoned operators and teaching new controls and features.

Are these Operator Training Simulators specific to John Deere machines?

No, these training simulators focus on operator technique and safe operation vs. John Deere specific controls.

The John Deere Simulators were built to address the need to teach machine controls, hand-eye coordination, safe operation, and operator technique. We kept the simulators as generic as possible so the information learned on the simulators can be applied to all the machines at a training site or jobsite. For example the excavator simulator features both excavator style and backhoe style control patterns. The motor grader features controls that are laid out in the industry standard pattern that will apply to newer style controls and older mechanical style controls.

Is simulator training only available at John Deere locations?

No, the training simulators are available for purchase and are in use at locations around the country including customer locations, union schools, military, etc. The training simulators can be used in correlation with our level 1 and level 3 training, integrated into our customers own training curriculum, or used as a stand alone operator training tool.

How are customers using John Deere Operator Training Simulators?

Customers are primarily using John Deere Training Simulators to train new operators; however, John Deere Operator Training Simulators are also being used to attract crowds at job fairs and events, cross training, rainy day competitions, jobsite planning, safety training, and employee screening.

Is there any research that proves the benefits of simulator training?

Simulator training is still somewhat new to the construction industry, but over the past 3 years customers are reporting that they are cutting training time in half. The U.S. Army reported that they saved over 1 million dollars on diesel fuel costs alone by implementing John Deere excavator training simulators. New operators entering the industry are a 'video game' generation and learn quickly on advanced technology training tools like simulators.

Recently a simulator production study was conducted to produce data on simulator training benefits. The study included two control groups consisting of brand new operators. Half of the subjects trained on a real excavator, while the other half trained on an excavator simulator featuring replica machine controls. At the beginning of the study all subjects were tested on a real machine and productivity levels were virtually identical across the board.

Machine subjects showed a greater improvement initially, however this  discrepancy narrowed by the 10th hour of operating time, at which time the productivity started to level out across all subjects.  The trends in the production curve indicated that simulator training was beneficial for a minimum of 10 hours and was effective in teaching eye-hand coordination, machine controls, and operator technique.

Besides increased confidence and reduced anxiety of operators, a huge benefit that comes with simulator training is the savings in costs. Not only is there the apparent savings in fuel consumption, but also there are savings in equipment damage and operating costs.

How do I place an order for a simulator?

There are a few options when purchasing a simulator. You can work with your local John Deere Construction Dealer when ordering simulators. Simply mention the John Deere Bookstore ID that corresponds with the simulator you are interested in purchasing, which are Excavator (SIM5600), 4WD Loader (SIM5700), Motor Grader (SIM5800), Crawler Dozer (SIM5900), Motion Platform (SIMMOT). You can also purchase any of the simulators online with a credit card by clicking the “Buy Now” link on the individual simulator web pages at www.JohnDeereSimulators.com

What is included when you purchase a John Deere Simulator?

The simulator includes the portable simulator stand, adjustable seat and armrests, replica machine controls, and simulator software with single computer license. By customer request, the customer is responsible for supplying a computer and TV monitor. A safety, maintenance, and operation DVD video is also included that helps teach machine basics before attempting the simulator lessons. Documentation including setup instructions, help information, and lesson scripts are also included.

Is it possible to purchase a computer through John Deere?

Southwest Research Institute, who helps develop and build the John Deere Simulators, can build a high powered desktop computer capable of running the simulator software smoothly. Southwest Research will build the computer, install all necessary simulator software, activate, and test the software with your simulator hardware. Because of all the different graphics cards and computer configurations available on the market, we strongly encourage our customers to purchase a computer with the simulator. If you have an IT department or choose to purchase your own computer, we ask that you run the computer specs through John Deere before purchasing to ensure compatibility. If you would like more information please contact the simulator group using the contact form.

Is it possible to purchase a TV monitor through John Deere?

To avoid costs associated with procurement and shipping, we recommend that you purchase a TV monitor locally. We recommend a 46”-52” TV monitor (LCD, LED, etc). When positioning the simulator it is recommended that the operators eyes are roughly 4-5 feet from the monitor.

How long does it take to get the simulator after purchase?

From the time of purchase it takes 8 weeks to build and ship.

How is the simulator delivered? Is there any assembly required?

The simulator ships as one complete unit on a covered pallet. Remove the simulator from the pallet and connect the simulator to the computer to get started.

How big are the John Deere Simulators?

The John Deere Simulators are completely built around customer input and feedback. Portability was a high priority for our customer, so all simulators are built with portability in mind. The simulators are only 120-200lbs and can fit through doorways and can easily loaded into the back of a pickup truck or SUV. The motion platform is only 50lbs and can easily be switched from simulator to simulator. The simulators only require about 4’x4’ of floor space.

What type of support and warranty come with the simulators?

All simulators come with a 90 day parts warranty. We are also proud to offer 1 full year of free software upgrades when available. 1 full year of free technical support is also included if you happen to run into any issues.

Are any other languages supported beyond English?

Yes. Currently the Excavator Operator Training Simulator is available in English, Spanish, and French. With the click of a button, you can easily switch language preference within the simulator software.

All training simulators will be translated into multiple languages and rolled out as a free software upgrade.

What type of real-world lessons will operators experience?

  • Operators will experience 8 to 10 highly detailed and realistic lessons that have been designed by John Deere and our customers. Lessons start off basic by getting the operator familiar with the controls and then get progressively more challenging.

    Throughout each lesson, operators will have multiple tasks and goals and will experience jobsite hazards, hand signals, safety violations, and equipment damage. Each Operator Training Simulator page details all lessons available.

    Please visit each individual simulator's webpage, where you'll find a list of all 8-10 lessons and a video showing the lessons in action.

- Excavator Simulator
- 4WD Loader Simulator
- Motor Grader Simulator
- Crawler Dozer Simulator

What add-on options are available to complement the simulators?

John Deere offers optional products to complement the simulator training, including an immersive head tracking device, grade control system training on select simulators, and an exciting optional and universal motion platform. For more information contact the simulator group through the contact form.

Is there any safety information or training included?

Safety training is very important to operator training. All John Deere Simulators feature safety tips, caution messages, warning, and safety violations when unsafe acts are performed. Safety violations include, but are not limited to: tipping the machine, contacting underground or overhead utilities, bucket contact with truck cab, spoil pile placement, maneuvering close to a trench, contacting jobsite personnel with the machine, traveling too fast, unsafe bucket carry height, working with attachments, etc.

In addition a Safety, Maintenance and Operation DVD video is included with the simulator. A major section of this DVD is dedicated to safety training. You can show this video to a classroom of students or send it home with an operator as a self-study tool.

Is there any training material that can be printed before attempting the simulation?

All 8-10 simulator lessons include a lesson script. The lesson script is presented on screen each time the lesson is attempted. This lesson script can also be printed and made available to the operator before they attempt any lesson. The lesson scripts include step-by-step instructions on how to successfully meet all objectives. They also include tips from the pros on how to improve productivity, information on how they will be scored, and safety reminders. The lesson scripts are an important piece of the simulator training and act as a ‘virtual trainer.’

How is the operator scored? Can you track the progress of an operator?

One of the most powerful features of the John Deere Simulators is the integrated Budget Based Scoring. After every lesson, a budget based score sheet is presented to the operator. The operator can quickly see how their performance compares to a skilled operator. Everything is shown as a dollar figure, and the operator can easily see how their performance is affecting the bottom line. An instructor can add as many operators and jobsites, and they can access each operators score sheets to track performance and areas for improvement.