Tag Archives: XPAC Solutions

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 expands UGCS software reach to longwall coal sector

RPMGlobal says it has yet again set a new benchmark in the mine planning software industry by introducing longwall support to its Underground Coal Solutions (UGCS) software product.

UGCS, RPMGlobal’s scheduling package purpose-built for underground coal operations, already supported other common mining methods, such as room and pillar. This latest release of UGCS introduces an enterprise, parametric mine scheduling solution specifically for longwall operations globally, it said.

“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 to perform,” RPMGlobal says.

Parametric scheduling allows a planner to rapidly generate multiple scenarios extremely quickly so they can investigate and refine the most attractive options, according to the company.

“The in-built intelligence in the UGCS solution does the heavy lifting, allowing engineers to focus on applying their skills to run different scenarios, deepen analysis and deliver more value,” the company said. “It provides the engineer with tools that help them to identify options that deliver value that would have otherwise been overlooked.”

RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mathews, expects UGCS to transform the scheduling of longwall operations.

“In other commodities and mining methods where XPAC Solutions are available, we have seen a step change in the planners’ mindset and capabilities,” he said. “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.

“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 the introduction of 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, RPMGlobal says.

This dynamic approach to scheduling allows users to provide high-level guidance in terms of where each major item of equipment should work, according to the company.

The automated features then work within this guidance, establishing the detailed tasks the equipment will perform, given ground conditions, the cutting height, the 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 with the comfort of knowing the detail is not being overlooked, RPMGlobal says. “And because the schedule considers each individual continuous miner and longwall, UGCS provides an unparalleled level of confidence in the practicality of the mining sequences produced,” it added.

UGCS also allows far greater flexibility when 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 from the roof, floor and partings.

Working sections are used to create a detailed 3D mathematical model of the project that can be updated when changes occur, while ensuring the adoption of practical assumptions, such as 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 maximise 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, RPMGlobal says, bringing them in line with the advanced software developments using the latest technologies already incorporated across other commodities and mining methods.

Mathews concluded: “The advanced scheduling methodology, Product Optimiser and 3D 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.”

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.