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FLEET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS reliable engine of TALPAC but encompassing a fresh, modern UI that was scalable.” TALPAC-3D also offers a “seamless upgrade path” with integration to HAULSIM, according to RPMGlobal. As users become more sophisticated in their simulation requirements and need more functionality through a DES tool, they can easily upgrade to HAULSIM. This isn’t offered by any competitors in the industry, according to RPM Global. The 3D UI of TALPAC-3D delivers several new features such as a fleet planner and a cycle time analysis tool that work across the network. Mathews said: “The industry’s adoption of TALPAC had continued to grow and it was used by miners all over the globe to help them calculate the ideal size of their fleet and understand which machines and sizes of equipment are most compatible. “As a modern software package, TALPAC-3D makes that work easier than ever before, enabling end-users to rapidly achieve the next level of productivity. The world’s biggest miners are consistently looking for ways to unlock greater value from operations. Using TALPAC-3D, mining companies are able to investigate multiple fleet options to optimise productivity.” RPMGlobal Simulation Product Manager Adam Price told IM: “TALPAC-3D doesn’t compete with Fleet Management Systems (FMS) but it can be very complementary for a FMS. TALPAC-3D now has a 3D-network inside it so which means that customers are able to build a model of the haulage network on their site with multiple different types of loading units and types of trucks.” He says the reason why this is complementary to a FMS, and is a good tool for say a dispatch room, is that the dispatchers can use TALPAC-3D to calculate ahead of time what the cycle time is going to be on a new haul that hasn’t been covered yet in the FMS. “This is a major game- changer as FMS traditionally only know about how long a haul is taking after it happened – there isn’t a tool in there to create a new road that hasn’t ever been driven on yet and model what that’s going to be and that’s what TALPAC-3D does.” There is also a tool in TALPAC-3D called the Fleet Planner which enables operations to look at expected productivity for a combination of loading unit, truck and material type across a particular haul. They can look at productivity in real time as well. “One of the key issues RPMGlobal is addressing is getting data from the FMS to inform our models of how the truck should operate. We are starting to see some movement in that area where we can take data from a FMS that shows us what the trucks are actually capable off then compare that to models of the trucks to understand how close our model is with reality. We’re becoming able to calibrate those models a lot 26 International Mining | MAY 2020 more easily now because we now have a haulage service that we can use to run those calculations programmatically.” Another important tool in this conversation is MinVu, RPMGlobal’s data integration and validation solution. “One of the benefits of MinVu is that we basically isolate parts of the whole to make that calibration piece easy. This is achieved as we isolate part of the haul where the truck is travelling full and the truck is travelling empty which is the stuff we want to compare against our travel time calculation engine. So, when we’re modelling the truck, we are not interested to model it at a truck sign or queuing at the loading unit. The calculations that we do are based on the truck moving from a source to a destination and back from the destination to the source. In this way the MinVu data intelligence platform makes it easier to get that data which can otherwise be difficult if you’re relying on the FMS by itself.” He concludes: “It’s important to note that FMS are used to manage what is happening now. However, RPMGlobal’s software solutions can take data from the FMS and use that data to plan in advance. The calibration that we are doing is to help with modelling what is happening today, but the same calculations are also in our medium and long term planning systems so we can start to close the gap between the horizons.” A new era for Cat MineStar underground In 2018, Caterpillar and Minetec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Codan Ltd, announced an agreement for the development and delivery of technologies targeting underground hard rock mining challenges. The collaborative work would deliver best-in-class site solutions for mining customers, and the integrated solutions would be offered as part of Cat ® MineStar.™ Caterpillar said it expected the integrated solutions “to focus on applications of underground mobile equipment and to enable expansion of MineStar capabilities through the use of improved high precision tracking and wireless communications, task management technology and proximity detection.” Caterpillar has also stated: “Recognising that underground mines would benefit from the same technologies that surface mines have been enjoying for many years, Caterpillar recently enhanced its technology portfolio to offer new and expanded capabilities that fully integrate underground mining operations.” Grant Wilson, Minetec GM told IM: “The growth of technology through the Minetec-Caterpillar partnership enabled the release of the latest MineStar for underground offerings that includes Detect, Fleet and Command. The technology enables whole of mine visualisation and tracking for underground mining integrated into a solution that can be provided as a system or in modules to provides solutions in communication, tracking, proximity detection, fleet management and short interval control. The system can be provided in multiple configurations that will suit different methods of underground mining such as stope mining or mass caving operations on any brand of machine. The key in the technology is not just in a communication system, data collection system or in a high accurate tracking system. It is the neat way the system simply works for underground mines and how the system integrates to present and optimise the right information to enable a more productive, safer mine.” Wilson also responded to the question on what FMS means in an underground context versus surface mining where it is almost ubiquitous: “The underground is a challenging environment to gain accurate data, especially over the whole operational mining chain in a manner that is useful. The issues are beyond communication systems and extend to the operational complexity and environment of underground mines. The concept of a digital tracking solutions is considered the first step in the FMS solution establishing the basic understanding of where the equipment is and was around the mine. The digital tracking of equipment is the first phase in establishing a basic fleet management system similar to GPS fleet tracking solutions on the surface many years ago.” Back when the deal was announced, Caterpillar and Minetec said that Newmont Mining Corporation would host the first trial of this technology at their Tanami Operations in Northern Territory, Australia. Newmont Goldcorp’s Tanami gold mine in Australia has implemented MineStar Fleet for underground, which provides real-time visibility to cycle time, payload and other key operational parameters. Thanks to a proprietary high-precision positioning technology, mines can also accurately track personnel and assets to sub- metre accuracy. Aaron Nankivell, Mining Operations Manager at Tanami Operations said in 2019: “Last year I was asked if Tanami Operations wanted to participate in the trial for the MineStar for underground technology. I jumped at the chance, not just because we’d be first in the field but it was our opportunity to influence the direction that it took. A technology that gives us the ability to be able to see what’s going on and where things are at, and to be able to intervene and make decisions in a timely manner is a big opportunity for us, and every mine in fact. This is a game changer in that it removes hope and restores control. The status quo is sitting down at the start of the shift, coming up with what you think is the best plan, putting it in motion and hoping it goes to plan. MineStar for underground gives us the opportunity to work right until the very last minute and recommence