RPMGlobal has leveraged its XPAC mine scheduling engine to develop what it says is a next generation mine scheduling solution in the form of RPM MinePlanner.
RPM MinePlanner is built on the foundation of XPAC, the world’s most utilised mine scheduling engine, RPM claims. This scheduling engine has been continually refined for over 40 years and is used globally across virtually every commodity and mining method. MinePlanner combines all of those mining methods and commodity types into one single enterprise package, it explains.
MinePlanner includes a complete core redesign of the scheduling engine that underpins the product. The release introduces Smart Scheduling, a heuristic-based scheduling engine that combines automated, manual and hybrid approaches and tools. Smart Scheduling provides a streamlined user experience and adds flexibility by, RPM says, eliminating restrictions on the scheduling methodology being used at any point of the schedule.
David Batkin, RPMGlobal’s Executive General Manager of Product Strategy, said the design team was tasked with simplifying the product without compromising sophistication and capabilities.
“RPM MinePlanner takes the complicated mine planning process and simplifies it so engineers can focus on generating value,” he said. “The team has provided more sophistication within the product while making it easier to use.”
Unlike many other scheduling tools, MinePlanner has advanced heuristics fully integrated into the product, RPM says. It can be used for any commodity and is 100% script free. This sophisticated package includes reserving, dump and destination scheduling, equipment modelling, haulage modelling, product optimisation and reporting all rolled into one integrated mine scheduling solution. The smarts of MinePlanner really come to the fore when the scheduling engine is run as all components are considered in parallel rather than in series, the company says.
Reporting also gets a major upgrade with the introduction of live reporting always in sync with the scheduling engine.
According to Batkin, reporting is its most valuable when you are in the middle of making scheduling decisions, so having live reporting ensures the right information is available as and when needed. Being able to see the results of each scheduling change without the need to re-run the schedule provides significant advantages and time savings.
The inclusion of “Breakpoint Scheduling”, which RPM says it pioneered in 2021, has been strengthened significantly with the addition of live reporting. Users now get immediate feedback on current scheduling results every time a breakpoint is reached.
Another new feature of MinePlanner is “Schedule Locking”. Schedule locking allows the user to lock portions of the schedule they are finished with, avoiding the need to reschedule when refining future periods, the company explains. Schedule locking significantly reduces the time needed to complete a schedule by eliminating unnecessary reprocessing of scheduling periods that have already been successfully scheduled.
Batkin concluded: “During our 40 years as the market leader in mine scheduling we have seen copycats come and go, however this evolution of the product will be extremely difficult to replicate given both the architecture and functionality advances.”