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VGK develops ‘PULSE’ software

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World Coal,

As part of a large-scale project to digitise all production processes, Vostochnaya Mining Co. has begun developing its own PULSE software for online monitoring of the current situation with regard to the performance of each unit of mining equipment at the Solntsevsky coal mine.

The developers of the PULSE program are specialists from the Eastern Mining Company and the Solntsevsky coal mine. As a result, it was possible to determine the current production need and create a convenient and effective interface, taking into account real tasks. In total, over 20 people are working on the creation of the new program.

In test mode, the PULSE system at the opencast has been launched since March 2021 and the first results of implementation have already been recorded. Downtime of dump trucks waiting for loading was reduced, depending on the model, by 14 – 24%, downtime of excavators due to the lack of vehicles decreased by 32 – 42%, and the average downtime of excavator equipment was reduced by 10 – 13%

When creating the PULSE program, a cascade approach is used. At the first stage, the specialists of the Solntsevsky coal mine formed the key requirements for the program, based on the characteristics of the production process. At the second stage, IT and digital specialists got involved in product development. Since March, the software has been tested for performance under real production conditions at the mine. The third stage is testing the created software. For this, the Solntsevsky coal mine introduced the practice of ‘single day of dispatching’, within which an ‘ideal work shift’ was organised with the active use of PULSE. This made it possible to identify the strengths of the program and identify areas for improvement.

“It was a productive experience for everyone involved. We saw the maximum work of the control room in practice when using the created program. Analysed the reaction to possible emergency situations. Identified what additional management decisions and organisational resources can be applied. Based on their analysis, additional algorithms will be developed to increase the speed of response,” Andrey Dorogov, Head of the VGK Development Team.

The main goal of creating the program was the need to control the quality of the working process of mining equipment: indication of events for downtime, overloads, underloads, and an increase in the time of the dump truck loading cycle. For example, earlier in the dispatch office received data on the idle or operation of equipment. It was not possible to carry out a gradation of the quality of work and the degree of influence of various factors. The PULSE program solved this problem by displaying the status of each piece of equipment involved in the production process on the dispatcher's monitor.

Excavators were the first to be introduced into the program, followed by dump trucks. The created system implies extended functionality for dispatch control in order to promptly identify emerging problems and promptly eliminate them. Using the key event monitor created within the program, an online dispatcher monitors the production situation at the mine, identifying possible deviations and takes the necessary actions to eliminate them. The information on the monitor is updated every 20 – 30 seconds. Also, using a special classifier program, the dispatcher identifies the cause of the problem that led to a decrease in performance. All information on the result of the shift is automatically transferred to operational management reporting.

The system is already actively used by dispatchers of the Solntsevsky coal mine. In parallel, it is filled with the necessary additional modules in order to increase the efficiency of mining transport equipment.

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