Caterpillar’s Larson Station dedicated to the Cat G3600 series

By Keefe Borden03 August 2022

Caterpillar's Miami Lakes Learning Center (MLLC) in Miami Lakes, Florida houses the Larson Station, the first application-specific training lab that features a Cat G3606 A4 engine driving a single-stage Ariel Compressor. (Photo: Caterpillar.)

A highly trained workforce is an essential element of any successful energy company. To enable that, Caterpillar has seven training facilities across the world whose purpose is to keep the skills of the current workforce up to speed.

But the Caterpillar Miami Lakes Learning Center (MLLC) in Miami Lakes, Florida is unique. It houses the Larson Station, the first application-specific training lab that features a Cat G3606 A4 engine driving a single-stage Ariel Compressor. “It is a full field experience in a learning park,” said Jacques Ceballos, Caterpillar aftermarket services consultant in Miami.

Larson first opened June 20, 2017. It was named after Eddie Larson, a longtime Caterpillar employee who was deeply involved in the establishment of a commissioning program for the company’s G3600 series engines.

The single application training lab eliminates distractions, creates a controlled learning environment, and provides a real-world learning experience to its participants, who include Cat customers, dealers, and business partners. Anyone interested in a class should reach out to their local Cat dealer to enroll in one of the sessions.

Learners at Larson Station develop skills sets in asset monitoring, engine performance analysis, systems troubleshooting, installation verification, and commissioning. They are exposed to various scenarios for evaluating proper component operation and system response under different conditions.

In addition to Larson Station, MLLC has a full range of Cat products utilized to provide training for the company’s small gas engines (CG137-G3500), electric motors for gas compression, pressure pumping engines and transmission, and other diesel and gas engines used in energy and transportation industries.

MLLC offers a wide range of technical training including engine systems operations, failure analysis, component reuse, engine overhauls, electronics troubleshooting, and engine systems troubleshooting. The center has five different classrooms that can accommodate 8 to 12 students per class for a maximum capacity of 60 technical students in a given week. On an annual basis, more than 460 people attend any of the learning sessions at the center.

Caterpillar also uses the facility for safety testing and training. “It’s another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to safety,” Ceballos said.

The Miami Lakes Learning Center is one of seven Caterpillar learning centers worldwide. Other learning centers are located in Wuxi, China; Dubai, UAE; Kiel, Germany; Malaga, Spain; Melbourne, Australia; and Peoria, United States.

The center was forced to temporarily close in April 2020 due to COVID restrictions but learning continued. Caterpillar accelerated investments in digital learning platforms and currently, more than 10,000 learners worldwide have participated in one of the virtual classes. In some cases, an instructor may be in one country leading a class of students in a second country while both sides simultaneously look at the live performance of a training engine operating in a third country.

“We definitely took advantage of that technology,” he said. Remote learning was the best alternative at the time that allowed learners to return quickly to the field.

The facility officially reopened in June 2021.

“We live in exciting times. Learning technologies available today can bring and deliver personalized learning services to help customers build a more sustainable world,” Ceballos said.

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