A major simulation modelling study was undertaken of the complex coal transportation system in place at BHP’s Illawarra Region Collieries.
BHP recognised SMS’s extensive experience in discrete event simulation of logistic systems and understood that a simulation model would be an ideal way to analyse their complex transport network and address their challenges.
SMS developed a model of the raw coal transportation network, incorporating all its complexities, such as the need to handle three separate and distinct coal types, through a single overland conveyor. Emphasis was placed on the careful scheduling of trucks to mines to avoid full bins (and lost production) and of trains to the bins at the bottom of the drift conveyor. Also the washing of different coal types at the steelworks needed to accommodate the limited raw coal storage space as well as the need to supply a consistent blend of clean coal to the coking ovens.
By running scenarios through the model, SMS was able to demonstrate that several relatively minor upgrades to infrastructure were all that were needed to alleviate bottlenecks within the system, and that no additional storage or new stockpiles were required at all.