RPMGlobal claims to have 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 the most common mining method, room-and-pillar mining. This latest release of UGCS introduces an enterprise, parametric mine scheduling solution specifically for longwall operations globally.

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

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. It provides the engineer with tools that help them to identify options that deliver value that would have otherwise been overlooked.

RPMGlobal CEO 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’ strong 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.

This dynamic approach to scheduling allows users to provide high-level guidance in terms of where each major item of equipment should work. 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 rock 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 that the detail is not being overlooked.