How to increase a mining engineer's bandwidth

Dassault Systèmes is pushing into three dimensional modeling to allow users to more quickly understand data, says CEO Raoul Jacquand

"The human being was designed with 3D bandwidth and as a result we apprehend things much better when we see them in 3D," says  Jacquand who spoke with MINING.com in March at PDAC in Toronto

"That is true for us in our everyday life, but it is also the truth in the workplace. In the case of a geologist or a mining engineer, they do a much better job when they can actually monitor their assets in 3D and have a 3D visualization of the mine.

"3D is not only about creating a three-dimensional representation of an object, but it is also a way to represent processes and all the various dimensions that come about. It's a very powerful tool."

Transcript has been edited for clarity.

MINING.com: Who are you?

Raoul Jacquand: Good morning Michael, my name is Raoul Jacquand. I am the head of GEOVIA, which is a brand with Dassault Systèmes, looking after mining solutions.

MINING.com: What does Dassault Systèmes do?

Raoul Jacquand: Dassault Systèmes is a global software company that specializes in 3D modeling, design simulation and creating virtual universes. It helps our customers across a wide set of industries to foster innovation.

MINING.com: Can you tell me why 3D modeling is important?

Raoul Jacquand: Well the human being was designed with 3D bandwidth and as a result we apprehend things much better when we see them in 3D. That is true for us in our everyday life, but it is also the truth in the workplace. In the case of a geologist or a mining engineer, they do a much better job when they can actually monitor their assets in 3D and have a 3D visualization of the mine. 3D is not only about creating a three-dimensional representation of an object, but it is also a way to represent processes and all the various dimensions that come about. It's a very powerful tool.

MINING.com: Can you tell me some successes with 3D modeling?

Raoul Jacquand: Well, 3D modelings have been in the heart of the GEOVIA product suite. GEOVIA was the result of Dassault Systèmes acquiring Gemcom (International), by the way. As a result we have established a strong install base with our 3D modeling products. So in the case of mining, it's been there. However, use has been limited to modelling of the ore bodies themselves. The journey that we would like to take our customers is 3D conceptualization of the whole mining operation. And this is something we have ambition to realize because it has been proven to work in other industries, such as automotive, aerospace and global manufacturing.

MINING.com: Where would that journey be? What would be the other types of applications to do that type of modeling?

Raoul Jacquand: We start with the ore body, which is the very beginning of any mining operations, but we will also use 3D to improve how scheduling is carried out, how mining production is monitored. It's the chain from the resource that’s in the subsurface all the way to the market. That's what we call the 3D EXPERIENCE Mine.

A screen grab of Dassault Systèmes software.

MINING.com: What is a platform and why is important?

Raoul Jacquand: The platform is the cornerstone of our offering to clients. The platform is essentially a business platform. It's an enabler for innovations. It's a way to help our customers navigate through the complexity of their operations and that platform is not something that is a substitute itself to the myriad of applications that our customers already have. The platform is a way to consolidate everything into a single representation. We like to call it the “single version of the truth”, because this is where—through a collaborative system—all the stake holders in a given workflow will have access to the same date. This is a big difference to traditional systems,  which in some way claim they have digitalized things and have basically done the migration towards electronic. Digital is more than electronic, because electronic documents are static entities. A digital environment insures that any change in real time gets registered, recorded in a single entity, a single instance and that allows for true collaboration and avoids a number of inefficiencies, which we have seen too often.

MINING.com: How are you taking along the customers?

Raoul Jacquand: Well, we like to take them on this journey by having them embrace innovations. In the mining sector there is a natural resistance to change. It's slow to adopt new technologies. We understand that because we operate in very tough conditions. They have a number of constraints, which other industries have not had. Nevertheless, I think there is a sense of urgency. People know that innovation is not a question of "if". It is really a question of "when", and the sooner the better. We have to be credible and bring them with proof points and some concrete evidence that this innovative approach—fuelled by 3D—yields substantial and measurable benefits.

A workers uses 3D modelling software.