Tag Archives: Richard Mathews

RPMGlobal adds electric vehicles to the HaaS simulation mix

RPMGlobal says it has further advanced its environmental, social and governance (ESG) software capabilities following the completion of enhancements to its Haulage as a Service (HaaS) simulation product to incorporate support for electric vehicles.

In addition, the company is planning to add hydrogen haulage vehicle technology into the mix later.

As a cloud enabled, service-orientated approach to haulage analysis, HaaS provides mining companies with the capability to undertake haulage calculations in a cloud environment, according to RPM.

The introduction of electric vehicle support will allow users to model energy usage and regenerative braking within HaaS, providing users with the ability to complete travel time calculations programmatically in a cloud-based environment.

RPMGlobal’s investment in both cloud and sustainability has increased significantly in the past year, culminating in the latest release of HaaS. HaaS, which was the first RPMGlobal solution to be released as a true Software as a Service offering, is a native cloud application that gives miners increased operational agility to undertake haulage calculations from any location, the company explained.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the latest release further demonstrated the company’s commitment to support mining organisations on their journey towards environmentally responsible operations.

“RPMGlobal is focused on contributing towards a sustainable future for the people and organisations that we work with and it is great to see the advancements that our software is contributing to in this space,” he said.

With hydrogen now viewed as having an important role to play in the industry’s bid to decarbonise through the integration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the next step for RPMGlobal’s haulage simulation platforms will be the introduction of hydrogen vehicle technology to the mix. Foundation work has already started on the offering, with completion planned later this calendar year, the company said.

“This new functionality will allow organisations to simulate hydrogen-powered vehicles and run scenarios with the specific characteristics of the new hydrogen technology,” RPM said. “The simulation platform will then provide a way to assess options and scenarios for diesel, electric or hydrogen powered vehicles in any combination.”

Mathews views the platform as critical capability for mining organisations and original equipment manufacturers as they search for ways to remove reliance on fossil fuels in mining.

“As more and more organisations commit to emission reduction targets, it will be critical to have software that can simulate different outcomes based on what combination of diesel-, electric- or hydrogen-powered vehicles are deployed within the mining operation and allow users to quantify the results of each scenario in a way that assists them to make the best decisions inclusive of sustainability considerations,” he said.

An increasing number of miners have formally set emissions targets while the majors have committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Many of the plans to reach these decarbonisation commitments have an element that focuses on haulage of material and the shift from diesel to alternative energy sources that are more sustainable, according to Mathews.

“Whether an organisation is looking to battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen, or trolley infrastructure as a greener alternative, our intent is to ensure RPMGlobal’s simulation solutions can support and enhance those decisions into the future,” he said.

The company added electric vehicle support to its haulage simulation platforms, HAULSIM and SIMULATE, back in May.

RPMGlobal establishes dedicated ESG mining division with acquisition of Nitro Solutions

RPMGlobal is set to boost its environmental, social and governance (ESG) offering with the addition of Australia-headquartered Nitro Solutions Pty Ltd.

The two companies have entered into an acquisition agreement whereby RPMGlobal will buy the privately-owned ESG services company.

“Nitro is a company that provides the mining industry with a quality-focused ESG service in the areas of environmental approvals, impact assessment, regulatory advice, environmental audits, compliance reporting (due diligence) and environmental economics, policy & legislation advice,” RPMGlobal said.

This acquisition will be the catalyst to bring together RPMGlobal’s ESG professionals, who are based across the globe, into one division to be headed by Ngaire Tranter, the current CEO and founder of Nitro.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the acquisition and the inclusion of the Nitro team combined with RPMGlobal’s existing ESG capabilities would see the company form a dedicated ESG division.

“While our mining advisory ESG professionals have been engaged to perform and manage numerous ESG mandates around the world, until now, we have not had a dedicated division focused solely on ESG,” he said.

“Ngaire and her team have an excellent reputation within the mining ESG market which gives us great confidence that we can build a world-class, mining-focused ESG business leveraging an ESG team that knows and understands mining from the ground up.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Tranter said she was proud of the business her team had built over the last six years and was looking forward to continuing to help mining companies take action to improve their ESG performance.

“Alongside the speed of ESG adoption, the opportunity to be part of a larger organisation with a global footprint allows us to assist the mining industry with the increasing requirements in this space right around the world,” she said. “It’s clear that RPMGlobal is passionate about building a premier mining ESG business supported by state-of-the-art software products, and I, together with the rest of the team, really look forward to joining RPMGlobal on this exciting journey.”

With most major and mid-tier miners around the globe having accelerated their efforts to meet decarbonisation targets in parallel with a broader societal commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, RPMGlobal says it has been drawing on its leading technology and the Advisory teams’ strong expertise to deliver a range of ESG-focused services.

“With organisations globally rising to the challenge of meeting increasing sustainability demands placed upon their organisations and operations, I see the merger of Nitro with RPMGlobal as an important step forward to supporting mining companies in their quest to meet decarbonisation, governance and social licence to operate requirements,” Tranter said.

Mathews said this was just the start of RPMGlobal’s ESG journey as the company plans to grow its ESG division with mining services capabilities through a range of organic and non-organic strategies.

“We also intend to harness the deep ESG domain knowledge of the Nitro team to assist RPMGlobal’s technology division identify software products we can either acquire, or alternatively build to service this accelerating market segment,” he said.

The acquisition is expected to close on June 30, 2021, subject to satisfaction of a number of conditions precedent and customary completion events.

RPMGlobal seeks to align short- and long-term mine planning with Attain

RPMGlobal has broadened its software optimisation suite with the launch of Attain, a solution that, the company says, helps mine planners maintain alignment between their long-term and short-term production schedules and improve the net present value (NPV) of their operations.

The company explained: “The dynamic nature of mining operations creates a high degree of uncertainty across many different elements. Unexpected events often arise which require mine planners to reschedule their mine plan. Should the short-term mine plan deviate too far off course from the long-term plan then value can be eroded by the failure to achieve the strategic long-term goals.”

Attain is a software solution that solves the challenge of mine planning horizon misalignment by ensuring operational mine planning is systematically aligned with the long-term plan, resulting in optimised short-term schedules and improved NPV, RPMGlobal claims.

Once a schedule becomes misaligned with the longer-term plan, Attain will produce feasible, optimised short-range schedules aligned with the long-range schedule. These alternatives are offered to the mine planner who is then able to review and selects the preferred short-range schedule.

Attain targets the two-to-six-month planning horizon and builds a short-term schedule that considers the actual results to-date while maintaining alignment with the long-term plan, it says.

“With a highly intuitive user interface, the user simply selects their preferred long-term plan which then becomes Attain’s optimisation objective,” RPMGlobal added.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “Short-term planners are always reacting to events that cause a deviation from the mine plan but they often don’t have a way of knowing what the unintended consequences of the resulting re-planning decisions are on the life of the mine.

“With Attain, users can make informed decisions while adjusting the short-term plan knowing that the long-term plan objectives are being met. Attain complements all mine planning tools and processes that mining operations use.”

Mathews said the team were excited to launch the Attain solution to the market and would be seeking feedback from early adopters to prioritise future development.

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 helps optimise bulk miners’ value chain with latest XECUTE update

RPMGlobal has upgraded its advanced mine scheduling software, XECUTE, with a Demand Chain Optimiser (DCO) module that optimises the flow of material required to satisfy customer orders all the way back to the mine for those mining bulk commodities.

The company says it has been working with miners around the globe to bridge the gap between operational planning and customer demand, with this latest update taking the collaboration to a new level.

DCO, RPMGlobal says, removes many of the value chain challenges that can arise for miners with an integrated supply chain, such as coal operations or iron ore operations in the Pilbara.

The XECUTE short-term scheduling solution enables miners to maximise value through intelligent integration by connecting the mine plan to other departments systems, according to RPMGlobal.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the latest release of XECUTE was focused on bridging the gap between what the customer orders, and what the mine produces.

“Mining companies understand the risks of not having an optimised value chain in place, with bottlenecks and constraints that limit shipped throughput causing significant problems for both the miner and the customer,” he said.

RPMGlobal worked closely with a major Pilbara iron ore producer to develop the DCO module, with significant time spent refining the algorithms to ensure XECUTE fulfilled each customer’s order by blending product from many stockpiles.

The unique DCO functionality enables XECUTE users to define a list of specific product or cargo builds, the qualities and quantities required and the date by which the shipment must be completed. DCO’s optimisation algorithms then allow the quality of each build to converge to the target in time for completion, avoiding off-specification penalties and demurrage costs, it said.

The algorithms allow out-of-specification material to be blended to the required grade, increasing the quantity of saleable product available and maximising the net present value of the mining and supply chain operations, according to the company.

“By automating a process that was previously iterative and time consuming, mine planners see the downstream impact of changes to mining or processing and can react quickly to changing berthing schedules or unplanned events,” the company explained.

Mathews said: “In order to ensure continuity of operations in changing market conditions, operations need to invest in integrated systems and processes that maximise planning efficiency and satisfy customer orders which is exactly what XECUTE achieves.”

RPMGlobal has also made improvements to the grade control capabilities within XECUTE by integrating with an operation’s existing grade control process to allow rapid inclusion of grade control shapes and qualities. This ensures planners are using the most accurate information to plan, it said.

Planners have the option in XECUTE to use the grade control shapes directly as mining areas, but also have the flexibility to define mining areas independently to take multiple grade control shapes in the one task or include areas that do not yet include grade control information.

Mathews concluded: “Typical grade control processes force planners to use only the shapes that have already been defined, but don’t necessarily allow the flexibility to dig areas that don’t have those grade control shapes, and that’s what we’re doing in the latest release of XECUTE.

“Early feedback from clients has been positive as no other tool on the market provides the same level of flexibility and sophistication when it comes to optimising the customer demand chain.”

Leading potash miner takes a liking to RPMGlobal’s UGPS software solution

RPMGlobal says it has concluded the first sale of its latest integrated mine planning and scheduling product developed for the underground potash industry.

The first sale of Underground Potash Solution (UGPS) was concluded following completion of a successful trial program with a leading global potash miner who has purchased UGPS to extract greater value from their Canada operations. The sale follows the original release of UGPS to the market in October 2020.

UGPS was launched upon the completion of a development project that included input from global potash producers. The product uses the latest technologies, such as parametric design and scheduling, combined with several optimisation algorithms to create a unique offering specifically for potash operations, RPMGlobal says.

RPM Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “It has been really fascinating working with some of the leading producers in the industry to build a software planning and scheduling solution which addresses the unique challenges faced by the potash industry.

“At RPM, we continually strive to develop innovative solutions that provide a pivotal step change in the resource industry and we are very pleased that our latest integrated mine design and scheduling solution has been endorsed by a leading potash operator in North America.”

UGPS introduces to the market an enterprise application allowing users to rapidly evaluate different mine design scenarios, the company says.

“Instead of having to manually draw the mine layout in a CAD package, the parametric design techniques of UGPS enable a planner to rapidly generate and analyse multiple scenarios, thereby automating the repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner weeks to perform,” RPMGlobal says.

The intuitive, process-driven interface makes the product easy to use, and, while most mine planning software is driven by customisable coding scripts, UGPS is very different given it is completely script free, according to the company. This feature becomes very important in terms of training and on-boarding new people, enabling each customer to derive immediate benefits following implementation of the product.

Using UGPS, users can complete detailed modelling of their potash deposit in 3D while also creating a complete mathematical model of the mine. Moreover, users are able to import existing designs, create new designs or use a combination of both.

“UGPS also introduces advanced scheduling methodology to the scheduling process to suit the practical needs of engineers operating in an underground potash environment,” the company says. “It also incorporates all aspects of the scheduling process in one, making it applicable for design, reserving and scheduling across all horizons.”

Mathews concluded: “As a fully integrated mine planning and design tool, UGPS is tailored to the needs of the underground potash industry and we are looking forward to rolling out UGPS to additional potash operations in 2021.”

RPMGlobal’s Strategic Design Optimiser gains traction in North America

RPMGlobal says it has concluded the first sale of its new parametric design product, Strategic Design Optimiser (SDO), following successful beta testing.

RPM originally announced its intention to develop and release its new intelligent design solution to the market in March 2019 and, at the conclusion of a long partnership with a Canada-based mining customer, RPM’s beta testing program successfully showcased SDO’s ability to model strategic high-level stope and development design harnessing the application’s automated workflow, RPM said.

This successful program concluded with the customer purchasing a licence to use the RPM solution.

The main benefits of using SDO include its ease of use, ability to evaluate strategic scenarios quickly and the ability to analyse more scenarios with robust analysis in decision making, according to the company.

SDO includes the Mine Shape Optimiser (MSO), which generates the first pass development using RPM’s Development Optimiser, eliminating the requirement of the user to draw every part of the mine design, RPM says. This allows end users to perform their strategic design work in one package.

With SDO, users can make small tweaks to designs in one area and have those changes reflected through the rest of the design, a task that would otherwise take days in traditional CAD-based packages as each edit would need to be done manually, according to the company.

RPM Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said the sale was a reflection of the product team’s dedication to successfully bringing SDO to market through strong partnerships and industry collaboration.

“It’s very pleasing to see SDO gaining traction in the North American market, and we are confident this sale will spur further interest in our leading strategic design packages heading into 2021,” he said.

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

The design tool emphasises the visualisation of results on plots, graphs and tables, allowing the user to interpret and select with confidence the best scenarios to bring forward for more detailed designs, RPM says.

Strategic options can then be filtered by the scenarios that maximise value and eliminate unviable scenarios early.

Mathews concluded: “RPM remains committed to providing its customers with the most advanced mining technology solutions and our continued investment in the design and scheduling suite will help ensure mine planners continue to unlock new levels of capability.”

RPMGlobal futureproofs inventory management for miners

RPMGlobal has completed the acquisition of IMAFS, adding a cloud delivered, inventory management and forecasting software solution to a suite of technology solutions that use proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to greatly improve inventory management.

IMAFS analyses inventory data from corporate Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to deduce the optimal timeframe for inventory orders, costs, and order frequency. It supports not only several forecasting methods, but also takes advantage of AI and machine-learning capabilities to optimise the calculation of the key variables in inventory management, RPMGlobal says.

The ‘forward looking’ predictive algorithms become particularly powerful when used in conjunction with RPMGlobal’s asset management system, AMT, the company added. AMT uses a Dynamic Life Cycle Costing engine that forecasts, in real time, every maintenance event for a piece of equipment, at a component level, until the end of its economic life.

The future demand of an organisation’s assets, combined with the optimisation algorithms within IMAFS, are the critical pieces of the puzzle to optimise procurement and management of critical parts and components, according to RPMGlobal.

“The delivery of an integrated AMT and IMAFS offering delivers an industry-first, predictive solution with more certainty of the future and less reliance on historical data,” it said.

ERP systems typically use historical consumption to predict future requirements, which, according to RPMGlobal, has its limitations in a volatile maintenance and repair focused industry such as mining.

“This future demand knowledge will further improve the accuracy of parts availability, reducing inventories, decreasing stockouts and reducing equipment downtimes,” it said.

IMAFS has been proven in industry, according to RPMGlobal, with one operation reducing 78% of stockouts for items with high usage, while concurrently reducing stock levels by 14% for the items controlled by IMAFS. Another operation was able to reduce global inventory by 15% within the first 10 months without any diminution of service levels.

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, said: “The company is leading the way in the practical application of innovative technology that increased miners’ operational competitiveness. With our growing suite of optimisation products, RPMGlobal has built a capacity to help global operations extract more value where it counts. We are excited to be utilising AI technologies to improve the efficiency of mining operations across the asset management function.”

He added: “We intend to build on this AI capability by including additional variables in the models that may impact availability for our customers operating in remote locations. This experience will also assist us as we look to use these same advanced techniques to further optimise mine planning and scheduling.”

RPMGlobal adds predictive element to mine maintenance solutions with IMAFS buy

RPMGlobal has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire Canada-headquartered, inventory optimisation management software company, IMAFS.

As a Software-as-a-Service and cloud-delivered provider of inventory optimisation software, IMAFS has more than 20 years experience developing and selling its flagship IMAFS product, RPMGlobal says.

The IMAFS solution is an inventory management and forecasting software solution that connects to an organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and uses proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to greatly improve inventory management, according to the company. The product has been designed and built for the sole purpose of optimising the inventory holdings of large asset-intensive companies.

RPM CEO and Managing Director, Richard Mathews (left, pictured with David Batkin, Executive General Manager – Technology Consulting), said: “We are very pleased to have concluded negotiations to acquire IMAFS and are really looking forward to welcoming the Quebec-based IMAFS team into the wider RPM family. The product is a great fit with the existing RPM product suite and further builds on our cloud and optimisation offerings.”

RPM explained: “In the mining industry, management and optimisation, specifically the maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) inventory is critical to ensuring operational continuity and attainment of production targets.

“The key to accurately forecasting any type of inventory is understanding future demand. Mining MRO inventory optimisation is often a unique challenge to solve due to low volume and/or erratic turnover with long lead times, high component costs and the complex logistics associated with operating in remote locations leading to companies over-stocking parts inventory and tying up capital unnecessarily.”

When it comes to mining, properly managing MRO inventory is vital, RPM says. If the plant, or key pieces of equipment (loaders, trucks, conveyors, etc) stop operating because spare parts are not available, a costly operational problem develops. A poor inventory optimisation process can result in a company ordering inventory urgently due to reactive inventory processes rather than predictive inventory processes.

IMAFS has developed a hosted subscription service that, RPM says, allows inventory data to be extracted from a company’s ERP product or Computer Maintenance Management system and analysed programmatically.

IMAFS’ proprietary and cutting-edge algorithms also include AI logic incorporating parameters such as transport mode, carrier, weather, customs, seasonality, holidays, availability, and many other data points. IMAFS will also identify excess or obsolete stock that can be returned or disposed of, according to RPM.

Mathews added: “Four years ago, we acquired iSolutions because we understood the importance of planning maintenance in parallel with production. AMT stands alone when it comes to forecasting the lifecycle cost of an asset using its dynamic lifecycle costing engine. This real-time engine accurately predicts when customers will require major parts and components.

“In other words, by going back to first principles (as AMT does), we can predict the future demand that can be factored into IMAFS’ advanced AI algorithms. That future demand is the critical piece of the puzzle so that IMAFS can optimise procurement and management of critical parts and components.”

Mathews says the AMT solution is used by the major OEM’s and their dealer network. These organisations can take forecasts from their customers into the IMAFS product, thereby assisting them in optimising their spare parts inventory.

“While we haven’t had a product to do this in the past, we have been involved in a number of discussions with dealers and miners to do exactly this,” he said.

Robert Lamarre, IMAFS Founder, said: “It is immensely pleasing to see the passion emanating from the team at RPM to championing inventory optimisation and cloud-driven enterprise integration. We are convinced that the IMAFS product suite will benefit from increased investment and the sales and marketing support that RPM can offer these products right around the world.”

Following completion, Lamarre will continue his involvement with promoting IMAFS through a third-party business partner authorised to market and distribute IMAFS products to customers in North America outside of mining and resources.

The acquisition is expected to close on November 25, 2020 subject to several conditions precedent and customary completion events.

RPMGlobal brings mine planning and scheduling solution to UG potash sector

RPMGlobal has worked closely with a number of potash miners to develop a new integrated mine planning and scheduling product specifically tailored to the underground potash industry.

Underground Potash Solutions (UGPS) builds on XPAC Solutions’ strong 40-year history and delivers a true integrated mine planning and scheduling package, according to the company.

RPM says it has developed UGPS to address the unique challenges of underground potash operations through a single integrated mine planning and scheduling package that can be used for design, reserving and scheduling across all scheduling horizons – from strategic to short term.

Underground mining is the most common form of potash mining, accounting for over 80% of global potash output, according to RPM.

Commenting on the new product, Richard Mathews, RPM’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are proud to have worked collaboratively with our development partners on UGPS to ensure it meets the everyday practical needs of engineers working in underground potash operations.

“We are confident UGPS can drive a pivotal step-change in mine design and scheduling at potash operations.”

The release of UGPS includes the parametric scheduling benefits pioneered by RPM to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can often take a mine planner days or weeks to perform. Instead of having to manually draw the mine layout in a CAD package, the parametric design techniques of UGPS enable a planner to rapidly generate and analyse multiple scenarios, according to the company.

Changes to any aspect of the design or geology are automatically applied to the final schedule with minimal intervention. “This allows mining engineers to focus on applying their skills to run different scenarios, deepen analysis and deliver more value,” RPM says.

Mathews said UGPS provides a single product that incorporates all aspects of the scheduling process in one.

“Scheduling changes are often triggered by changes to the mine layout, and, in such instances, users are forced to make numerous manual adjustments across several independent tools to correctly model and understand the impacts,” he said.

“Unlike other 2D design tools on the market, UGPS undertakes detailed modelling of the potash deposit in 3D, creating a complete mathematical model of the mine. Moreover, users are able to import existing designs, create new designs or use a combination of both.”

UGPS also introduces enhancements to the scheduling process configured specifically for potash operations.

While users generate detailed schedules for each item of equipment, automated mining rules ensure logical mine development sequences are always followed, according to the company. This allows the engineer to focus on alternative equipment deployment strategies, while having confidence that the detail is being managed automatically in the background.

Mathews concluded: “The release of UGPS is strategically placed to help mine planners unlock new levels of capability, and, as a fully integrated mine planning and design tool, the advanced scheduling methodology and 3D capability contained within UGPS provide a level of sophistication that is unmatched in the market today.”