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Immersive Technologies receive $5 Million in capital from Equity Partners and appoint Dr Ian Burston as chairman

26 March, 2003

Immersive Technologies, a developer of leading simulator technology for mining and other heavy equipment, today announced it had secured a $5 million capital injection from venture capital firm Equity Partners. Immersive Technologies CEO, Peter Salfinger, said “Since our first Advanced Equipment Simulator hit the market in 1999, interest from mining companies has been rapidly growing. We’ve now sold simulators in ten countries around the world. This funding from Equity Partners will assist us to develop additional models for use in the simulator and expand our global distribution and support network.”

“Simulator-based training of operators has been available in other industries such as aviation and trains for years. It is a technique that is rapidly gaining acceptance in the mining industry, we’re getting overwhelming support from our customers on the benefi ts of simulator training over traditional classroom and in-truck training methods. Quality training of operators is not just about improved safety, it is also producing significant productivity improvements through reducing the training time required, reduced cycle times within the mine, reductions in unscheduled maintenance and allowing expensive equipment to stay in the production cycle.”

Mr Salfinger said that the AE Simulators are designed to be mobile and robust enough to operate in some of the worlds harshest environments, from the freezing Arctic to the tropical heat of Indonesia to the deserts of Africa. The AE Simulator works on the concept of ‘Conversion Kits’ that allows trainers to easily change the make and model of the equipment for which they are training - from a truck to an excavator to a shovel within 30 minutes. The operator sits in an actual cabin with real and functional controls and displays. 180 degree full-colour displays provide vital left and right peripheral vision, while a 3-axis motion base provides authentic movement and feedback. From the moment the simulation starts, the trainee’s performance and the essential machine operating information are monitored and recorded with the results available in report form for analysis. The supervisor can also ‘play-back’ the simulation and discuss the trainee’s actions.

Mr Salfinger noted, “One of the features our customers are very excited about is the capacity to train operators in situations it is impossible to replicate in real life. For example, engine fire, brake failure, steering failure, blizzard or sand storm. All of these scenarios, and many more, are available within the training software as part of the simulator.”

Peter Johnson, Joint Managing Director of Equity Partners said, “Our goal at Equity Partners is to help private entrepreneurial enterprises thrive, and we have a funding base across our EP1 and EP2 funds of $140 million to make that happen. We are excited to be able to contribute to Immersive Technologies’s growth and look forward to a rewarding relationship with the Immersive Technologies team.”

Mr Johnson said that Equity Partners selected Immersive Technologies because of its strong global offering. “We were impressed with what Immersive Technologies have already achieved. In particular the international, blue chip customer base, the industry leading technology, the pipeline of opportunities and the integrity and strength of the team.”

Adding to the strength of the Immersive Technologies team, is the appointment of Dr Ian Burston as Chairman of the Board. Dr Burston’s background is as extensive as it is distinguished, with over 45 years experience in the mining industry.

Brothers Peter and Wayde Salfinger founded Immersive Technologies in 1993. Since then they have grown the company to now employ 57 full-time staff, with offices in Australia and the USA.

Wayde Salfinger, Products Director said “The company had reached a stage where we needed external capital to help us grow to meet customer demand for our product. We were appreciative for the contribution of Richard Oates here in Perth in assisting us to structure the deal and secure the funding from Equity Partners.”

“We now supply simulators to many of the world’s leading mining houses including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Albian Oil Sands, De Beers, Syncrude, Kennecott Copper,and Suncor. We also supply simulators to many of the world’s leading equipment manufacturers including Caterpillar, Komatsu, P&H and Bucyrus. We’re looking to continue that growth and turn Immersive into a major Australian success story.”

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About Immersive Technologies

Immersive Technologies is the world's largest, proven and tested supplier of surface and underground Advanced Equipment Simulators to the global mining industry. The company has achieved this unique position by focusing on its mission to make every mining and earthmoving equipment operator in the world safer and their employer more profitable through its simulation technologies. Immersive Technologies' Advanced Equipment Simulators are helping hundreds of mining companies around the world to increase their equipment operators' safety and site profitability through effective simulation training.

Immersive Technologies provides its customers with the most effective Advanced Equipment Simulators available. This is made possible through the formal exclusive licensing and technical information alliances Immersive has established with the leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), including: Caterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu and Liebherr. These unique alliances provide Immersive Technologies with exclusive access to the OEM's proprietary and confidential machine technical information that is required to correctly simulate the OEM's machines and is not available through other public or dealer channels.

With advanced simulator modules deployed in 39 countries, Immersive Technologies is dedicated to provide outstanding service. To deliver on this commitment the company has customer sales and support offices located close to its customers in Perth and Brisbane Australia, Salt Lake City USA, Calgary, Ottawa & Vancouver Canada, Monterrey Mexico, Lima Peru, Santiago Chile, Bochum Germany, Johannesburg South Africa, Jakarta Indonesia, Kolkata India and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Immersive has the global mining experience, innovative technology, product range, OEM relationships, proven support commitment and industry vision to partner with you to ensure your simulator training solution delivers the significant results you expect.