August 2011 | Mining University

Vulcan - Workbench Layout

Understanding the layout of the Vulcan workbench can do a lot to increase utilization of the software. The default layout gives the user a great amount of information, but a custom layout can give the user power and confidence when using Vulcan. The naming convention of the different sections is also important. With a basic nomenclature everyone can discuss what is happening in Vulcan using the same words. I always prefer to talk about the Vulcan Explorer rather than ‘the white section to the right of the screen.’
When you first start Vulcan the screen that presents itself is very similar to other windows applications. The most dominant section of the screen, the big black rectangle, is the Primary Window. This window will display CAD data and triangulations in 3D. This is where the magic happens. Keep the primary window maximized to see your data better.
Just to the left of the Primary Window is the Vulcan Explorer. This is a list of virtual folders that organize your data. Vulcan creates a large number of files as part of its general procedure. The Vulcan Explorer organizes these files into easy to find virtual folders like ‘Block Models’ and ‘Design Databases.’ The folder structure is virtual, meaning that if you look in the folder where your data is, you won’t see any of the subfolders listed in the Vulcan Explorer. This lack of folder structure prevents you from having to follow a strict hierarchy of folders and sub-folders.

Vulcan – Envisage Resources

Vulcan software uses Environment Variables to specify the line styles, symbols libraries and plot templates that are used by the program.  This allows everyone on site to use the same base templates, but if you’ve never worked with Environment Variables before they can be confusing.
The plot templates, symbols libraries and line styles in Vulcan are stored in a folder called ‘Resources.’  This folder is installed to the program files folder when Vulcan is installed and allows all users to access the default templates.  If you work at a large site that has many Vulcan users who all need access to the same ‘Resources’ folder then a version on the network is perfect for you.  A simple Environment Variable points to the location of the folder and Vulcan will do the rest.
If your site doesn’t already have a ‘Resources’ folder you can copy the default one to the network and start customizing templates.  If your company already has a folder set up, here’s how you access it in Windows 7:
1)      Go to the start icon, right-click on ‘Computer’ and select ‘Properties.’
2)      Select ‘Advanced system settings.’
3)      In the ‘Advanced’ tab select the ‘Environment Variables’ button.
4)      The ‘Environment Variables’ panel has two parts.  The top part is for ‘User Variables’ and the bottom half is for ‘System Variables.’  In the ‘User Variables’ section click the ‘New…’ button.
5)      In the ‘New User Variable’ panel set the variable name and value:
a.      Variable name: ENVIS_RESO
b.      Variable value: path to the ‘Resources’ folder i.e. E:\vulcan\resources
6)      The variable name and value are case sensitive, please type carefully.
7)      Exit the ‘New User Variable’ panel by clicking ‘OK.’
8)      Exit the ‘Environment Variables’ panel by clicking ‘OK.’
9)      Exit the ‘System Properties’ panel by clicking ‘OK.’
10)   Clicking ‘Cancel’ on any of these panels may not save the changes and you will get to do them all over again.
11)   If Vulcan is open, restart Vulcan.  Environment Variables are read at startup.
Now that everyone is using the same ‘Resources’ folder all plot templates and symbols libraries will be the same for everyone.  Just be careful not to delete the plot templates that everyone else is using.

Vulcan - Remove Internal Walls

Maptek sent out their newsletter 'Tech Source' yesterday.  The current edition advertises the new menu option 'Delete Internal Walls.'  This is an option that I have been wanting for a long time now.  In Vulcan, it has always been easy to cut a triangulation into smaller pieces, but to put them back together again is a complex procedure that is often not worth the effort.  The idea behind the 'Delete Internal Walls' option would greatly simplify the task of combining triangulations that share a side but which need to be valid in order to calculate volumes or reserves.

There are three reasons that I typically want to 'Delete Internal Walls' and they all have to do with triangulations that have been split and then appended together again.  The first scenario involves simply cutting a triangulation (Model > Triangle Utility > Cut).  For whatever reason, I have both parts of the triangulations but not the original  and want to combine the parts into a complete whole.  Removing the internal walls in this simple situation can be done using a tool that Vulcan has had for a long time, Model > Triangle Solid > Delete Triangle > Internal Wall Delete.  The new option also does a good job in this situation but I don't really need it, there is something very similar in my tool set.

Overall Slope Angle vs. Interramp Slope Angle

In the mining industry, nomenclature can be very important.  This became especially clear to me a few weeks ago when discussing the slope angle of an open pit mine.  In the context of the discussion, the term 'overall slope angle' was used.  Later, when attempting to apply this 'overall slope angle' I discovered that what we were really talking about was 'interramp slope angle.' 

Very often, when professionals in the mining industry say 'slope angle' they are referring to the 'interramp slope angle' or the angle from the toe of one bench to the toe of the next bench, exclusive of any ramp system.  This measure is consistent and easy to visualize.  It includes one bench height, one catch bench and the offset due to the face angle.  This should not be confused with 'overall slope angle' which is the angle between the lowest toe and the highest crest inclusive of any haul roads (Slope Stability in Surface Mining; W.A. Hustrulid p48).

Complete script

A few weeks ago I was doing some work with Vulcan's Chronos scheduler and became increasingly frustrated, doing tasks that took a few minutes to complete, but which had no alert to let me know when it was done.  This wasn't the first time I have wished for an alert from a program and it finally hit me that if I was looking for this script then someone else might be also.  This script is the result of that realization. 
Prior to writing this script I had very little knowledge of the Microsoft batch file or even c-shell commands.  It took a while to get the syntax correct, and it isn't optimized for performance or simplicity but it does work and it wasn't all that hard.