November 2012 | Mining University

Maptek Vulcan 8.2 Release

Maptek Vulcan 8.2 Splash Screen
Maptek Vulcan 8.2 Splash Screen
Maptek came out with their new version today. I think it was today. At least, I got it in the mail today. The letter attached to it was dated the 14th and I have been hearing that it will come out 'soon' for weeks (maybe months). I guess that today is the 'official' day. There is a press release on their website announcing the release on November 20th.

There is a new look to the packaging and the splash screen. The wider space for the working directories is great but other than that it isn't any more helpful.

Useful changes for this release include an expanded color palette and the new rapid pit phase design tool.

The color palette changes have been a long time coming. I remember promising clients a new color palette in 2005 when I first started working in tech services for Maptek. I don't know who thought that 32 colors would be plenty for CAD design but he was one upped by the 'genius' who assigned the first two colors as white for using the plot all wizard and the last two colors as white for plotting with the plot all wizard.

It seems logical that everyone would hate a 28 tile color palette but I have heard people at Maptek argue in favor of a changeable color palette. Mostly this was a color blind engineer who couldn't see all the colors but it looks like someone has finally put their foot down. Congratulations on improving this fundamental part of the software.

The rapid pit phase design has been in production for a long time.  It was a joint development with Barrick Gold that started in 2006. I remember a talk at the 2007 Maptek users' conference that talked about the tool like it was a done deal. Well, it's finally out.

I like the idea of a faster way to do pit design but I haven't had a chance to explore it yet. I look forward to spending more time with this tool in coming weeks.

MINExpo 2012 PandH L-2359 Wheel Loader

P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader Bucket
P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader Bucket

I had a great time looking at all the big equipment at MINExpo 2012. Trucks are impressive, shovels are truly intimidating and I really love tires that are taller than I am. Everything at the show was exciting but the most impressive thing that I saw has to be the P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader.

In the grand scale of mining equipment I usually think of wheel loaders as kind of small equipment. We use them to load freeway vehicles (belly dump semi trailers, highway legal dump trucks, etc...). Some of the really big ones are comparable to hydraulic shovels but they can't load quite as high. Wheel loaders don't even enter into the conversation with wire rope shovels, they're just not big enough. 

Enter the P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader. This loader has a 70 cubic yard bucket. That puts it in the same class as the large wire rope shovels and the body on this behemoth is truly massive. The scale is still the same, it looks just like the small loaders on site and the toys you get your kids for Christmas. It's just several orders of magnitude too big. 

Wheel loaders don't load the same way hydraulic or wire rope shovels do. They don't just swing over the truck and dump their load. Wheel loaders have to shuttle back and forth to go from digging to loading each pass. Because of its size it's hard to imagine something as big as the L-2350 Wheel Loader going back and forth to load a bucket every thirty seconds.

Congratulations to P&H on pushing the boundaries of mining equipment. I am truly impressed.

P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader
P&H L-2350 Wheel Loader