Tag Archives: Paul Beesley

RPMGlobal introduces ‘industry first’ Hybrid Scheduling tool to XPAC Solutions

RPMGlobal has unveiled its next evolution of mine scheduling software with the latest release of its leading suite of scheduling products, XPAC Solutions.

The latest release includes speed and performance upgrades and functionality and architectural improvements designed to provide the user with additional agility.

However, it is the introduction of Hybrid Scheduling in XPAC 3.1 that is already generating excitement, according to the company.

Hybrid Scheduling is, RPM claims, an industry first that provides users with the flexibility of manual scheduling, together with the time savings and ease of automated scheduling.

For many years, XPAC Solutions have allowed users to start scheduling manually then seamlessly transition to automatic scheduling at any point. With Hybrid Scheduling, users can define the high-level strategy, such as the timing of shovel moves or opening of a new pit and leave the AutoScheduler to work out the detail.

The Hybrid Scheduling functionality includes a major update to the user interface that completely turns the traditional iterative scheduling workflow on its head, according to RPM.

Users no longer need to process the entire schedule every time they make an adjustment to the configuration. They can now step through the schedule incrementally, pausing at key milestones and refining the schedule as they go.

With most scheduling software products on the market requiring users to choose one of either manual or automatic mode, XPAC Solutions’ Hybrid Scheduling functionality gives mine planners the best of both worlds – the ability to schedule both manually and automatically which can be used across all solutions in any combination, RPM says.

RPMGlobal Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said the release of XPAC 3.1 represented a major step-change in the industry’s approach to planning and scheduling.

“XPAC Solutions 3.1 gives mine planners more flexibility and capability than ever before which is critical for the dynamic environment in which mines operate,” he said.

“Key scheduling decisions can be made manually, while the detail of how those decisions will be achieved is determined automatically. Importantly, all three methods are performed simultaneously in an interactive, highly visual environment that integrates 3D animation, Gantt charts and task sequences.

“Planners can pause the schedule at any point and visualise the status of the mine and key equipment so it’s much faster to build practical, efficient dig sequences for all major equipment.”

The latest upgrade to XPAC Solutions includes major speed and performance enhancements across the process. Data compaction and caching techniques make it much faster to load complex 3D data into memory and virtually eliminates any further delays when the plot is revisited, the company says.

Among other improvements, the new version allows delays associated with equipment relocations to be inserted automatically with durations based on the distance that must be travelled.

RPMGlobal’s enterprise mining software solutions win SAP seal of approval

RPMGlobal says it has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to its SAP partnership and providing interoperable, enterprise software solutions to the mining industry after receiving an SAP integration certification for its enterprise product offerings.

The integration green light was provided by SAP certifying that RPM’s enterprise solutions can integrate with SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition using standard integration technologies. These certifications further support RPM’s development of cloud enabled solutions, the company said.

RPM and SAP have been working together for well over a decade and RPM secured the latest designation following a detailed process whereby separately deployable components were put through stringent qualification procedures to earn the integration approval, it explained. This entailed RPM’s integration connectors and product architecture being scrutinised by SAP’s development laboratory.

The SAP certification is a significant indication of the technical alignment and interoperability capabilities between the solutions, according to RPM. It will will enable the exchange of information between SAP and RPM’s enterprise product offerings which span the entire mine lifecycle, from design and scheduling, through to maintenance and finance.

Paul Beesley, RPM’s Chief Technology Officer, said the SAP certification was a significant endorsement of the company’s quality technical infrastructure which underpins its enterprise offerings.

“RPM remains committed to a robust software integration strategy that builds complimentary products to support the SAP technology stack,” he said. “This enables our customers to have a smooth and direct flow of business data between SAP solutions and our software offerings so it’s very rewarding to receive this additional certification.”

With more mining operations implementing digital transformation initiatives, connecting disparate systems to foster the exchange of critical information is an industry imperative, Beesley added.

With enterprise integration forming a core part of RPM’s philosophy from the beginning, Beesley said the recent certification builds upon the company’s ongoing commitment to working with SAP.

“SAP remains the industry standard for Enterprise Resource Planning software used by mining companies,” he said. “This certification ensures our current and future customers can integrate operational technology with business processes to achieve a connected mining enterprise that provides a single source of truth across the organisation.”

RPMGlobal offers ‘real-time, zero-based maintenance budgeting’ with AMT upgrade

RPMGlobal has unveiled major functionality upgrades in the latest release of its dedicated asset lifecycle costing software – AMT, designed to, it says, accelerate the maintenance budget generation process for miners.

In the release of AMT 8.21, improved maintenance budgeting integration is a key focus, with upgrades drastically improving the speed of the budgeting and forecasting process.

“AMT is already one of the only products on the market that is purpose-built for maintenance cost budgeting that works seamlessly with any miner’s ERP, and this functionality upgrade will further reduce the time it takes teams to produce maintenance budgets,” the company said.

The ability to conduct real-time, zero-based maintenance budgeting instead of relying on static maintenance plans helps operations gauge the true costs of operating equipment, according to the company.

RPMGlobal Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said innovative technologies such as AMT formed the foundation for smarter asset management decision making.

“As the leading maintenance cost budgeting solution specifically designed for the mining industry, this release has been about taking our clients’ feedback and advancing the maintenance cost budgeting component of AMT’s functionality,” he said.

“With many of our global customers in budget planning mode, this release comes at a great time for operations seeking to speed up analysis of different budget and forecasting options, which leads to improved accuracy and decision making.”

While the focus on this release is centred on upgrading the maintenance budgeting integration process, AMT 8.21 also includes several usability enhancements that improve the experience of the Asset Manager, according to the company.

Some of the notable enhancements include Dynamic Life Cycle Costing engine performance improvements, depreciation forecasting, standard job versions that supports baselining changes made to maintenance strategies, new and redesigned reports, and other functionality enhancements.

AMT is used by hundreds of mine sites worldwide as well as all major OEMs to manage their assets and asset maintenance contracts, according to the company. “With AMT, operators have a holistic life cycle cost view of their asset base to deliver proactive asset management capability,” it said.

At the core of RPMGlobal’s powerful asset management solution is a unique Dynamic Life Cycle Costing engine which enables organisations to be proactive about asset management. As a result, miners have the ability to control and curtail maintenance costs, identify asset life cycle risks and opportunities, and reduce unplanned downtime.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “RPMGlobal’s investment commitment in the industry’s leading asset management solution would continue apace, with additional exciting releases planned over the next 12 months.

“AMT is a major part of our business, and with every release, more enterprise functionality and integration is added.

“We anticipate mining companies will remain focused on keeping their operational costs as low as possible as they seek to unlock greater value from operations. AMT is the proven solution that enables our customers to identify asset lifecycle risks and opportunities to control and reduce maintenance spend which is vital in this current environment.”

RPMGlobal brings automation to underground stope design process

RPMGlobal says it has released an update to its Parametric Design suite of software products specifically tailored to the underground metals space.

Strategic Design Optimiser (SDO) is an innovative design application that combines the complex tasks of strategic optimised stope and development design into a single, coherent automated process, it says.

The intelligent workflow included in the product guides the user through the entire process. This workflow has been developed using the combined industry knowledge and experience of RPMGlobal and its customers.

“SDO is unique in that it uses parametric design principles, combined with several leading optimisation algorithms, in a single user experience,” RPMGlobal says. “SDO uniquely combines both the stope and development optimisation into one package allowing customers to generate, change and update designs on the fly.”

As a standalone strategic design package, SDO can work seamlessly with any existing design tools and is also offered as a fully integrated end-to-end enterprise solution as part of RPMGlobal’s Underground Metals Solution.

Paul Beesley, RPMGlobal’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “The new solution stayed true to the company’s philosophy of creating new products that fundamentally challenged the status quo of how the industry operates.

“SDO reflects RPMGlobal’s large investment in our expanding design portfolio, announced last year, which is underpinned by a strong drive to accelerate innovation in this area of mine planning.”

While the industry has accelerated its uptake of automation, Beesley said the design part of the mine planning process had been largely left out, with existing solutions simply bolting on more functionality to existing tools.

“We have worked closely with miners to bring this unique offering to the market and remain proud to be leading the development of innovative design technologies that provide a step change in mine design,” he said.

SDO builds on the strengths of the Mineable Shape Optimiser by adding a new visual, user interface that automatically manages the large volumes of data generated for resultant stoping scenarios, RPMGlobal says.

Current solutions still rely on the user manually drawing every part of the mine design. Every single change then requires the user to redraw again and again. What usually happens then is the changes simply do not get done, and, with each iteration, it deviates further from the truth.

The underlying principle of SDO is that design changes to one segment are automatically rippled through to any other affected segments, making the necessary design updates, the company says.

RPMGlobal’s fully integrated Development Optimiser automatically generates the first pass underground development network of crosscuts, footwall drives and connecting declines for the selected strategic stoping scenarios and, through its use of parametric techniques, allows for changes to be made and reflected faster than ever before.

Beesley says RPMGlobal’s design solutions are already transforming how the industry thinks and approaches this critical stage of mine planning.

“At RPMGlobal, we are passionate about providing truly innovative solutions that allow for real change in the mining industry and our increased investment in our design and scheduling suite reflects that commitment.

“SDO is the mining industry’s equivalent of what the spreadsheet did for financial modelling when it replaced double entry bookkeeping. This latest release comes at a very exciting time for the company and is a strong indicator of what lays ahead for our design and scheduling solutions.”

RPMGlobal’s XPAC Solutions 3.0 lays the groundwork for even more enhancements

RPMGlobal has released an update to its scheduling tool XPAC Solutions that, it says, fundamentally changes the technology’s underlying architecture and paves the way for deeper collaboration among mine planners.

The release of XPAC Solutions 3.0 completes a multi-year work program that encompasses some major enhancements, providing even more benefits to the parametric scheduling solutions, the company says.

Among the major improvements is the introduction of a ‘Workspaces’ feature, which provides a far easier way for users to manage the different components required for a scheduling cycle, according to RPMGlobal.

“The introduction of this feature simplifies the use of the solutions, with the improvements to the underlying architecture providing a strong foundation for future enhancements,” it said.

The Workspace Explorer makes it easy and convenient for mine planners to navigate through and check the status of every model in the workspace. The new, automated process has been streamlined to make it easier for end users to collaborate while ensuring they are all working on the ‘single source of the truth’, according to the company.

Workspaces has been integrated into RPMGlobal’s model repository meaning the entire workspace can be controlled in the model repository, allowing datasets to be shared by multiple users across the entire enterprise, it said.

“Users can check-out/check-in parts of a model and can see what’s been checked out and by whom in real time,” the company said. “A full history of all changes is also maintained providing auditability across the different components.”

The ability to share scheduling models and all input data across an entire workforce makes it far more convenient to collaborate on projects, while also providing tremendous flexibility when team members are working remotely, according to the company.

RPMGlobal Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said: “XPAC Solutions 3.0 expands the breadth and depth of the tool’s functionality and provides a level of sophistication that is unmatched on the market today.”

XPAC Solutions, which have more than 40 years of continuous product history behind them, have been specifically built for a range of different commodities and mining methods across the sector to ensure maximum value can be achieved, according to the company.

The new user experience also benefits from, for example, the ability to flag sections of the mine based on location and attributes. This function can be used to control what records are visible in plots and the scope of mining rules like dependencies and constraints, according to the company.

Alongside some significant enhancements to haulage modelling over the last year, RPMGlobal says it has continued to build on the tight integration with its leading discrete event simulation solution, HAULSIM.

RPMGlobal helps unlock standardised communication language for METS sector

RPMGlobal has continued to play a role in the development of the International Society of Automation (ISA-95) committee’s latest Information Exchange Profile which, the company says, will pave the way for industry-specific integration scenarios for the mining sector.

The most recent ISA-95 committee meeting culminated in the “Part 8 – Information Exchange Profiles” being officially accepted as part of the global ISA95 standard, according to RPMGlobal.

According to Paul Beesley, RPMGlobal’s Chief Technology Officer and ISA-95 Committee member, this part of the standard will enable joint development of industry-specific integration scenarios. This is “especially useful when building off-the-shelf integration between mining technology vendors,” he explained.

RPMGlobal said the successful achievement follows 18 months of regular committee liaison meetings to finalise the documentation and more than three years of effort to move from the conceptualisation phase to an approved extension to the standard.

The Brisbane, Australia-based company played a prominent role in building this extension to the standard, it said, adding that the changes were accepted in the first round of voting with no negative votes, which is “highly unusual”.

Beesley said the result “cemented the company’s position as a respected contributor and leader in mining enterprise integration”.

He added: “Having the extension to the standard accepted creates significant value to mining companies as it provides a blueprint for mining software vendors to work together to enable information to seamlessly move between systems.

“This extension to the standard solves a common problem across many standards so it’s pleasing to see early interest from other committees in using Part 8 as reference material to develop similar amendments to their own standards.”

ISA-95 Chairman, Chris Monchinski, said: “As a committee we are excited to have industries outside the traditional manufacturing space participate in evolving and improving the ISA-95 standard to make it more accessible. The work done here allows other industries, such as mining, to build on the experience from the manufacturing sector.”

The ISA is a highly respected professional body responsible for developing widely used global standards for the instrumentation and automation of systems across a variety of industries.

After recognising there was a lack of a framework for mining technology providers, the committee turned its attention to the creation of a best-practice model for the sector after it was approached by BHP, RPMGlobal said.

The ISA-95 standard has since been readily adopted by key technology providers, enabling the breakdown of barriers within the mining industry and across the entire value chain, the company added.

“Connecting disparate systems to share data and critical information has never been more important for the mining industry than it is today,” Beesley said.

“The ISA-95 standard has helped unlock a standardised communication language for mining technology providers and RPMGlobal is proud to contribute to the progression of the standard for the benefit of everyone in the industry.”

RPMGlobal goes beyond the pit with XECUTE short-term scheduler

RPMGlobal says it has released several upgrades to its advanced mine scheduling software, XECUTE, designed to underpin “increased optimisation across the entire mining value chain”.

XECUTE is RPM’s short-term scheduling solution to enable miners to maximise value by using intelligent integration to connect planning with other departments within a mining operation.

RPM has experienced a significant uptick in the adoption of XECUTE in the past 18 months, with the solution now operational across iron ore, coal, oil sands, manganese, gold and copper mines, it said. One of the major reasons for this adoption is the Product Optimiser functionality, which according to RPM, determines the optimal way to process, blend and stockpile products to maximise value from what is about to be mined.

The latest XECUTE release includes upgraded optimiser functionality providing further enhancements when integrated as part of the short-term schedule, the company said.

RPM’s Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said XECUTE’s expanding customer base had led to these product changes.

“The increasing sophistication of XECUTE’s functionality means XECUTE is now capable of going beyond simply planning extraction from the pit. It can now provide optimisation across the entire value chain,” he said.

XECUTE, according to RPM, provides planners with a set of tools that allow users to make dynamic adjustments to mining operations and visualise the impact of these adjustments to mine production as well as the entire downstream value chain. This means a planner can make decisions based on the impact of planning decisions on not just production in the next shift but also alignment to longer-term plans on processing, transport, and shipping.

As part of the new additions, RPM’s coal customers will have increased support with the introduction of coal wash plant features. “This functionality allows the planner to schedule the whole way through the plant rather than stopping at the run of mine,” RPM said, adding that this feature is particularly valuable in a multi-product operation and is currently being implemented at one of the “world’s most sophisticated coal blending and processing operations”.

XECUTE’s architecture means real-time data is made available through any connected source, according to RPM.

“By enabling users to have a better understanding of the economic value produced from a commodity, miners are better placed to make decisions about crucial impacts that are generally outside their control,” the company said.

For example, XECUTE facilitates short-term planners visualising changes in the pit through live integration to fleet management systems/high precision GPS and drill systems. Deviations from the plan are, therefore, identified immediately, allowing planners to adjust if required.

On top of the Product Optimiser enhancements, other key areas of focus include XECUTE’s User Interface and CAD functionality.

“Unlike many other linear programming engines, XECUTE has a highly intuitive, user-friendly interface that allows planners to spend more time analysing results, instead of learning how to program the inputs,” the company said.

“There are also significant enhancements to speed and usability within this XECUTE upgrade, including an 80% improvement in geology and reserving processing speed.”

XECUTE mobile improvements enable users to use integrated data feeds from the pit in a mobile application to quickly compare the short-term plan with actual production, according to the company, giving planners and supervisors a plan compliance tool on the move. Information such as drill holes, bucket positions and machine positions are fed straight to the mobile user.

RPMGlobal’s mining financial budgeting and forecasting tool receives an upgrade

RPMGlobal has launched a “major upgrade release” to its mining financial modelling software XERAS Enterprise (XE®).

This release transforms the product with an updated user experience, improved database technology, performance and enhanced enterprise capabilities, the company said.

The release of XERAS Enterprise 3 also completes a multi-year program of work that encompasses a number of important back-end and front-end features, including a modern user interface and mobile application, the company said.

“The move to a server-orientated database provides significant benefits to the end-user by consolidating disparate data across the platform into one place,” RPMGlobal says. “Users can then quickly access their entire information database to make informed and educated financial decisions.”

XERAS Enterprise has 30 years of continuous product history behind it, according to the company, and remains a leading enterprise financial modelling tool for the mining industry.

RPM Chief Technology Officer, Paul Beesley, said: “The launch of XERAS Enterprise 3 was in line with the company’s strategy of releasing simplified, standardised and integrated solutions that seamlessly inter-operate with other vendors’ systems using our Enterprise Planning Framework.

“XERAS Enterprise 3 expands the breadth and depth of RPM’s financial modelling software, solidifying our position as the financial budgeting and forecasting software solution of choice for the mining sector. Our intention has always been to have a completely integrated enterprise suite of products and this latest update forms a critical part of that vision.”

XERAS Enterprise is able to turn an engineering-oriented mine plan into a complete financial plan with a precise schedule of labour, equipment, consumables and parts, according to the company. “Unlike other budgeting methods which use spreadsheets as their base, XERAS Enterprise provides trust in the numbers by standardising processes and removing manual data entry.”

Richard Mathews, RPM’s CEO, said: “XERAS Enterprise provides the governance and control miners require, while still allowing for the agility and scalability that other systems simply struggle to provide.”

XERAS Enterprise also has the capability to integrate directly with the customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning systems. RPMGlobal said: “While these business intelligence-based tools can complete some level of calculations, they typically do not have pre-existing calculation logic to budget at the detailed spatial level required in the mining industry.”

Mathews concluded: “In today’s mining environment, confidence in the systems and processes is so critical. You need to have standardisation and a shared modelling logic across the business and XERAS Enterprise provides exactly that.”