Parametric scheduling in mining was pioneered by RPMGlobal to automate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner days, weeks or even months. This type of scheduling allows a planner to rapidly generate multiple scenarios quickly.
The in-built intelligence in UGCS does the heavy lifting, allowing engineers to focus on running different scenarios and deepen their analysis to deliver more value. It provides the engineer with tools that help identify options that deliver value that would have otherwise been overlooked.
Richard Mathews, RPMGlobal’s CEO, expects UGCS to transform the scheduling of longwall operations.
“In other commodities and mining methods where (RPMGlobal’s) XPAC Solutions are available, we have seen a step change in the planners’ mindset and capabilities. Mine planners no longer need to be scripting experts and with the workflow streamlining the process and Product Optimiser identifying optimum product paths, planners can focus on what they are trained to do,” Mathews said in a release. “Where they once struggled against the clock to get a single schedule out on time, they now have the ability to assess several options and find the best one in a much quicker timeframe.”
UGCS builds on XPAC Solutions’ 40-year history and incorporates a new interactive, mixed-method scheduling approach that combines the flexibility of manual scheduling with the benefit of automated scheduling. The user can select whether to schedule manually or automatically in any combination and from any point of the schedule. This dynamic approach allows users to provide high-level guidance in terms of where each major piece of equipment should work.
The automated features then work within this guidance, establishing the details for equipment, given ground conditions, cutting height, quantity of stone in the cutting profile and the impact of nearby equipment.
This approach allows users to focus on the bigger scheduling issues at play. As the schedule considers each individual continuous miner and longwall, UGCS provides an unparalleled level of confidence in the practicality of the mining sequences produced, according to RPMGlobal.
UGCS also provides flexibility in changing and updating models. It generates working section composites from imported geological data that accounts for the capacity of the different equipment used at the mine, while accurately reflecting loss of coal and dilution. The working sections are used to create a three-dimensional model of the project that is easy to update when changes occur and ensures practical assumptions, such as the mining rate.
RPMGlobal’s industry leading Product Optimiser functionality is also available within UGCS. Product Optimiser determines the optimal way to blend, wash and stockpile coal products to maximize value from the mined coal. In addition to individual mining operations, it can also be applied to complexes with multiple mines, which use shared processing facilities.
This latest release also allows a clear upgrade path for existing XPAC users in the longwall space, bringing them in line with the latest software developments, already used across other commodities and mining methods.
Mathews added that the new release of UGCS is perfect for the rapidly changing environment of underground coal mining.
“We’ve applied our innovative thinking and collaborated very closely with our development customers for this release to ensure it meets the current needs and future challenges associated with longwall coal mining,” he concluded.
“The advanced scheduling methodology, Product Optimiser and 3-D capability contained within UGCS makes it a far superior solution compared to what is currently available on the market. No other tool offers the speed and accuracy with the same sophistication and flexibility as UGCS.”
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)