The Pitram Shift Planner 2.0 from software developer Micromine has taken into account user feedback, with the latest version built to reflect the dynamic nature of underground mining operations.
The new version, to be released shortly, allows planned work for equipment and mining locations to be divided into small, interdependent tasks or activities, allowing these tasks or activities to be rescheduled or re-allocated in real time during a shift.
These tasks are communicated to equipment operators along with expected duration and/or deliverables. The progress of a task is tracked automatically and supervisors are notified when a task is at risk of delay. Dependencies between each task are shown graphically allowing the effect of a delay to be identified and the overall impact on the shift outcome to be known.
“This type of functionality reflects the dynamic nature of a mining operation, allowing tasks to be rescheduled or re-allocated in real-time during the shift and allowing a manager or supervisor to determine the best way for the shift to be efficient and productive, despite unexpected delays or occurrences that may have occurred in the shift to date,” Micromine said.
Unlike traditional in-shift planning tools that focus on equipment only, Pitram’s Shift Planner monitors the production or development cycle at each location ensuring equipment units are not held up due to delays on other equipment.
“This is extremely important for operations that are constrained by limited access to stopes or development faces,” Micromine said.
Pitram Strategy Manager Gareth Dean said the development of Shift Planner came from collaboration and feedback from Micromine clients: “A missing feature that has been requested by multiple clients is to implement user roles and permissions. Specifically, an often-cited example of this is the inability to lock down a plan and only allow certain users to create or modify a plan.”
The current Shift Planner user interface does not allow for much customisation outside of configuring views. This forces the user to adapt to a design that may not suit their requirements. In Shift Planner 2.0, user interface elements will be dockable (or hidden) as required and can be saved per each user’s preference, for individual customisation.
In addition, the Short Interval Control (SIC) panel provides a graphical view of tasks in the current shift, comparing planned versus actual start and finish times and progress. This will be integrated into Shift Planner 2.0 as part of the application.
Notifications and warnings are an important planning tool to draw attention to the progress of the plan. While the current Shift Planner has no built-in notifications apart from highlighting of tasks behind schedule in the SIC panel, the latest version will include new areas such as: safety messages, tracking the user and being able to add comments.
And Shift Planner 2.0 will also allow users to be able to see how the entire shift is operating in relation to the plan.
Dean said: “We’re moving into a digital age, no longer are mine sites using paper, white-boards and walkie talkies to track people, equipment and their associated tasks on site. Micromine’s soon to be released Shift Planner 2.0 offering is a true example of digitisation that will offer significant increase in productivity gains.”