Australian-based RPMGlobal has released a new element to its Underground Coal Solutions (UGCS) software: longwall support.

The UGCS scheduling suite is already purpose-built for underground use, including room and pillar (bord and pillar) mining, and the latest release of the package adds a longwall-specific enterprise, parametric solution that can be used worldwide.

“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,” the company said, pointing out that parametric scheduling gives planners the ability to generate multiple scenarios rapidly – and thus quickly investigate and refine options.

Specifically, the technology approach of the new release gives users high-level guidance as to where each major item of equipment should work. Automated features in the system then work within this guidance to form detailed tasks the equipment will perform, given specific ground conditions, cutting height, 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 that the detail is not being overlooked,” RPMGlobal said. “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.”

Changing and updating models is also made to be much more flexible with the new release, as generated working section composites from imported geological data accounts for equipment capacity and accurately reflects 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 is easy to update when changes occur and ensures the adoption of practical assumptions, such as mining rate,” the company explained.

RPMGlobal noted that its Product Optimiser functionality is available within UGCS, offering optimal blending, washing and stockpiling that will maximise value from mined coal. It can be applied to complexes with multiple mines and shared processing facilities as well.

“This latest release also allows a clear upgrade path for existing XPAC users in the longwall space, bringing them in line with the advanced software developments utilising the latest technologies which are already incorporated across other commodities and mining methods,” the company said.