Friday, July 15th, 2011
Mining technology developer, Maptek, has released Vulcan 8.1 to its 5500-strong global user base, providing new engineering functionality for underground stope studies, scheduling tools for open pit operations and a host of enhancements to existing features.
Maptek is committed to continual improvement of Vulcan 3D geological modelling and mine planning software through persistent investment in research and development. Speaking at the recent Maptek users conference in Australia, Vulcan Product Manager, Eric Gonzalez, and Director of Global Product Development, Darcy Anderson, flagged innovative upgrades for Vulcan in the immediate pipeline. Vulcan architecture is being reviewed to ensure it can better support new features in the software.
‘For Vulcan 8.1 we ran the largest product beta test program to date. Customers from all our operating regions participated and their feedback and suggestions were instrumental in ensuring a high-quality final product’, said Gonzalez.
The Vulcan 8.1 release includes new bundles – complete packages with standalone feature sets aimed at particular applications, as well as new modules to plug into existing Vulcan licences. Performance improvements, interface redesign and other enhancements complete the release.
The scheduling bundles are aimed at open cut operations and can be purchased with or without Optimisation. The Short Term Planner enables users to create open pit short term mine plans with minimum manual design. It combines a new Sequence Accumulation tool with interactive scheduling tools already in Vulcan. Both of these packages are designed to introduce speed into the scheduling process.
Improvements to the existing Chronos scheduler continue from those delivered in Vulcan 8.0. New configuration parameters and multi-threading can dramatically help reduce the time to run optimisations.
The Vulcan Stope Optimiser, which determines mineable shapes, especially in underground operations, can also be applied to open cut or near-surface deposits. The optimiser will dramatically speed up the running of multiple scenarios based on variables in block models. Output includes 3D mining zones as well as polygons and reports.
A new QuarryModeller bundle provides a set of modelling tools tailored for quarries. A new toolbar streamlines the Grade Control process. Users can now load blast designs on the screen and change the display options through the toolbar.
Enhancements to user interfaces have been delivered in the pit layout and bench & batter projection menus. New geotechnical display options include enhanced tadpole plots and stickplots, as well as the ability to combine them in more understandable features. For example, users who rely on measurements from dip meters, can now easily view data points with the same dip.
Vulcan now uses the cache supplied by acQuire managed databases. The connection time has been improved and by implementing two different caching mechanisms users can avoid connecting to the remote database if they just want to view drillholes.
In a common grade estimation run length compositing task, the last interval rarely matches the actual needed compositing length. Users can now achieve more accurate compositing, by distributing the ‘missing’ information across previous run length intervals or choosing whether to measure it with the last interval given a certain tolerance.
Data exported from Vulcan 8.1 can be displayed using free viewers and embedded into document and presentations using Ngrain and VRML formats. Vulcan 8.1 provides support for ECW image import, a commonly requested aerial image format.
The outlook for Vulcan remains buoyant, with strategies for ensuring Vulcan leverages current technology to handle increasingly larger datasets and take advantage of modern graphics drivers. Near-future projects include a new data access layer for interoperability across all Maptek products along with new geological and engineering tools.
More information: www.maptek.com/vulcan8.1/