How network simulation software increases productivity for the mining industry

(News release from Optym) For mining companies, long-term planning requires decisions on capital expenditures, network capacity and rolling stock – crucial choices that have lasting effects on operations and profit levels. One bad judgment call can mean millions of dollars lost when a new system or network layout doesn’t work the way everyone thought it would.

This is changing, however, with the advent of network simulation software designed specifically for the railway systems and operations of mining companies.

“The way mines run their rail operations is quite different from freight railroads,” said Amit Agarwal, Director of Research and Development at Optym, a global technology company that builds software solutions for the transportation and logistics industry. “If we build a simulation application for a railroad and it is used for a mining company, it may not address that company’s unique needs. You need something custom built for the mining industry.”

Mining companies rely on their railroad networks to get materials from the mines themselves to ports or other freight railroads. From there, these materials are shipped throughout the world to be used in everything from buildings to tools to jewelry.

Rail network simulation tools, such as Optym’s GeoSYM software, allow mining companies to see the impact of decisions regarding capacity expansion and other aspects of long-term planning without actually implementing the changes to their networks. Users can perform what-if analyses of these decisions to determine whether the changes will work and generate realistic estimations for future goals.

Having this knowledge helps make informed decisions without spending the money to implement changes that might not work. Simulation and modeling software allows them to visualize the results of their choices and see for themselves whether the changes are financially and logistically feasible.

“With such solutions, operations costs go down for the mining company,” said Agarwal. “The cost of materials such as steel and iron ore can go down due to these more efficient processes, leading to possible decreases in the construction of housing and other development.” Agarwal added that the higher profit margins also benefit the companies and their shareholders, allowing for increased investment and expansion that can result in added jobs and increased production.

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