The BAUER Foundation Simulator

By Deb Draper


Safety is important on any construction site, but never more so than in piling operations involving powerful equipment than can cause major damage above and below the ground.

Realizing a need in the industry to provide enhanced safety and training on its special foundation equipment, in 2017, Bauer Maschinen GmbH introduced its comprehensive virtual reality (VR) training tool to the deep foundation industry.

Learning through doing

“The concept, planning and development of the Bauer Foundation Simulator (BFS) began in 2015,” said Amol Nardelwar, product manager, design and development electronics, Bauer Maschinen GmbH in Germany. “The fundamental idea behind the BFS was to create a training tool that will resemble the real-life Bauer machine operations and can provide the scenarios that exist on actual jobsites.”

At the moment, Bauer has two different types of simulator models: the BFS and the Bauer Foundation Simulator-Transportable (BFS-T), the transportable version.

The high-end BFS is a complete integrated design solution, putting the trainee in what looks like a real machine cabin with a full-size 55-inch monitor in place of the windscreen. The original hardware of the operator cab is the same as inside any new Bauer BG cabin, including its Controller Area Network joysticks, while context-sensitive sound technology makes every scenario a realistic experience. Plug-and-play applies to the Free-Space Optical communication: the simulator runs on a 100 to 230 V, 50/60 standard North American power outlet and is immediately ready to start the exercise as soon as it’s plugged in to a power source.

The BFS is 2.8 metres long, 1.9 m tall, 1.1 m wide and the 950 kilogram weight makes it easy to transport and set up in a training centre. For a cost-effective and universally deployable solution, Bauer also offers the BFS-T, which Nardelwar describes as the “table” version – portable with the same training software, designed to be deployed quickly at different workstations with a desktop computer and a screen.

Included with the software, the BFS-T comes with two consoles and control levers, a B-Tronic display screen with mounting bracket, foot switch, power supply and wiring to offer good training fundamentals on the functions of Bauer rotary drilling rigs.

“The main difference between the two versions is size, although each has its own special advantages,” said Nardelwar. “Because of its compact size and portable hardware, when packed in its transportable boxes, the BFS-T can easily be taken anywhere in a vehicle. On the other hand, with more hardware and the big screen, the BFS gives the feeling of sitting in a real machine cabin.”

Built upon decades of specialist foundation engineering and equipment manufacturing experience, Bauer’s VR training system will familiarize potential new operators with equipment operation in a secure environment with no risk of potential damage to workers or the machinery. During a training session, on-screen instructions and highlighted lever/trigger actions allow trainees to learn how to handle the equipment at their own pace without external pressures or distractions.

To begin, trainees learn the basic controls as they practise several different scenarios of Kelly drilling, progressing into more complex operations, eventually learning to use the Bauer patented Kelly visualisation software, interpreting and implementing information from the B-Tronic screen and computer controls. When the trainee feels ready, they can initiate the simulator’s test mode, which delivers test formats geared specifically to each practised scenario. The trainee performs the activities without the help of the BFS with performance scored on each operation within a certain time frame to achieve predefined targets.

Keeping it real and up-to-date

When first introduced in 2017, the BFS covered six Kelly drilling scenarios, but the Bauer development team has continued to add to its repertoire, releasing an additional 14 drilling scenarios and test simulations in 2018. These new scenarios include the adaptive Kelly speed assistant, rock-drilling assistant and other new generation Bauer drilling assistant systems; training is also available for older assistant systems. Whenever there is any new hardware modification made in the real machine cabin, the same change is added to the BFS simulator cab to keep it updated.

Nardelwar said, “Currently we have developed and implemented simulation of three types of Bauer machines in the simulator. First, Kelly drilling with the BG 30 machine with standard auger, bucket auger, cased drilling and uncased drilling tools. We offer Hydraulic Grab with the GB 40 machine – a trench wall soil-grabbing operation using the hydraulic grab tool. Training is also available for sheet pile operation on the RTG RG19T machine using the MR 150 AVM silent vibrator tool, with different modes of vibration such as standard, amplitude and speed. To illustrate each machine operating in various conditions, we have created different scenarios along with the free operating mode and the corresponding test situations.”

As Nardelwar says, using the Bauer Foundation Simulator for training carries several big advantages. Machine owners can save fuel, wear and tear, and possible expensive damage to their equipment.

“Once the operator has obtained the basic training on our simulator, they can work more efficiently on real machines. As well, while operators are training on our simulator, those machines are available for work on jobsites at all times.”

Delivering enhanced safety and environmental protection, increased productivity in real world operation and reduced training time, the BFS is an ideal and cost-effective solution for beginner training on drilling rigs in piling operations. 



Sign Up

To receive our e-newsletter in your inbox, please provide your e-mail below.

About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.