Vulcan 10 preview

Maptek Vulcan 10 introduces the Maptek Workbench and includes new tools for conducting grade control and creating scheduling blocks.


Maptek Vulcan 10 will be delivered within the Maptek Workbench, introducing a new architectural backbone for all Maptek products. Improved workflows and data sharing, the ability to establish user roles and permissions, and access to additional applications will complement the new functionality in Vulcan 10.

Workbench project leader Peter Odins said, ‘The new interface is incredibly flexible, particularly for users working in a multi-screen environment. Any window can be detached from the Workbench and moved with associated icons to your desired working location.’

‘A tabbed approach allows easy access to everyday apps such as csv, t-shell and text editors to support design and modelling tasks,’ he continued.

‘Dock two applications, such as an Envisage design window and the Isis database, side by side, and interactively interrogate drillholes. Changes are recorded in a log that creates a session audit trail.’

The Workbench interface is customisable from the very first screen, and includes tips and tricks and inbuilt help.

Vulcan 10 in the Workbench introduces a new option for defining workflows that jump between different menus.

The command list can incorporate any application within Vulcan or run from Vulcan, in a single workflow. Users can add pauses, tips and prompts. This is extremely helpful for training new staff and documenting standard approaches to shared tasks. Users can still set up hotkeys, history lists and custom toolbars for their preferred mode of working with Vulcan.

New functionality in the Vulcan Explorer allows users to easily manage working files through searches and thumbnail views. This saves time when working with hundreds of thousands of files.

‘The release reflects our global user base, with multi-language support in the Workbench interface and Vulcan 10 that goes beyond translated menu options to layer names and plot file output,’ added Odins.

This release includes a free trial of up to 12 months of core drillhole viewing and exploration tools in Maptek Eureka for Vulcan Modeller users. Companies will be able to sign up online and match Vulcan licences to Eureka usage.

The Workbench provides access to licence configuration and operating system details to help guide technical support, as well as a memory performance dashboard.

The Workbench enables Maptek to leverage a flexible environment for development and testing, allowing new functionality to be delivered in a more versatile way. It will be progressively rolled out for Maptek I-Site, BlastLogic, PerfectDig, Sentry and Evolution.

‘Looking ahead to Workbench 2, we foresee applications launched as functionality windows much like Vulcan users now view the Envisage design window. The command list workflow tool will incorporate functionality from across Maptek solutions with the ultimate aim of a single platform,’ added Odins.

‘True integration will be achieved when our users can build the ideal product for their tasks, enable licences online through the Workbench and work with a single data format.’

Feedback from the global beta program has been positive, with Vulcan users enjoying the modern approach to working with spatial design data. Maptek welcomes comments on the new interface at

Grade Control

Revamped tools in Vulcan 10 will make the grade control process more robust, streamlining data management and workflow. Grade control is the first application written in the new Maptek Workbench framework.

Improvements focus on setup and maintainability of the grade control database. New menu modality greys out toolbar menus and icons to direct users through the grade control process. Automatic bench plan output extracts grade blocks and labels them with required attributes.

Validation checks ensure that data types are not mixed. Errors in specification file setup are flagged, and subsequent menu items remain disabled until the issues are resolved.

Key setup fields are automatically pre-populated from the source database. In the calculation rules phase the data type is explicitly enforced to clearly indicate how values are calculated. Grade block logs record how each grade block was calculated, enabling better auditing. Users will find it easy to set up and edit scripts to run conditions with pre-defined syntax, attributes and variables.

Blast solids can be generated from surfaces or levels if blast solids are not provided with grade control output.

Audit trails show changes through log files which record the last user to create, modify or delete blast files, block boundaries, block out and reconciliation files, and record weight assignment rules used to calculate block out values.

Other upgrades include:

  • Separate rule configuration and display avoids change to assignment rules without due process.
  • Using the drillhole database as the source is no longer required in Isis database setup.
  • Display of plotted data is improved.

Cutting blocks

Vulcan 10 introduces a new tool to create scheduling blocks by interactively cutting bench polygons into period-based cut polygons. Target tonnage is reserved against a block model as cuts are made.

The reserves are defined by a schedule of cut polygons, then accumulated and sub-totalled by bench, material type, grade and period in a report displayed as tabbed views. Each schedule reserve view can be exported to csv for inclusion in formatted Microsoft® Excel reports.

The optimised targeting algorithm makes this an ideal tool for short term planning.

The graphical approach allows users to show the mining blocks for the next few periods through a set of user-definable visual attributes. Cut block polygons can be interactively modified, and shared point-pairs moved as one to maintain common block boundaries.

Easy specification setup and parameter recall are features of the new tool. Benches can be automatically defined from design layers, and the option works with polygons and triangulations.

Flexible and custom views of generated bench cut polygons allow display of scheduled cuts on benches above and below, as well as periods forward and back for instant recognition of the scheduled mining sequence.

The new cutting blocks option uses Vulcan templated attributes to store metadata (block, waste tonnage) with scheduling objects for easily labelling of cut polygons by bench.

Usability and onscreen validation are key features. When merging or moving points the changes appear in real time and are reflected instantly in reserves and reported breakdown.

This new Vulcan tool saves time and improves productivity for short term planning. It can also be applied to long term planning exercises.