In recent months TWP Consulting has made substantial investments in design software and the company says this has placed it in the forefront of engineering design in the mining and minerals sector.

TWP’s Hugh Browner says, “Foremost among these new systems is Autodesk Inventor, now standard in our drawing office, that provides design solutions in the form of 3D format. Among other benefits, this software allows our clients to visualise how the plant integrates and can be checked out before construction begins.

Using Inventor’s live walkthrough facility, client companies can experience and analyse their plant by taking a virtual walking tour of the plant. This feature also greatly facilitates Hazop reviews, where potential hazards can be identified much more quickly and efficiently.

“The beauty of this software is that it allows us to model the new structure and place it within a 3D model of existing mine infrastructure, as well as into potential future modules,” Browner says. “We use the clash detection feature of the software to create an environment where old, new and future structures can be seamlessly integrated.

“Autodesk Inventor redefines CAD workflows by helping our engineers focus on the functional requirements of a design to drive the creation of complex 3D geometry. By rapidly creating error free digital prototypes, our engineers can essentially eliminate the need for design modifications during construction. TWP Consulting is the biggest user of Autodesk solutions on the continent

“We are also using ANSYS, a Finite Element Analysis tool which integrates with the structures designed in Inventor and provides our engineers with information on where the areas of strength and weakness reside and allows us to integrate designs directly into Inventor’s 3D models.”

Masterseries and Prokon are also used for structural analysis.

TWP’s process department uses both LIMN and METSIM process simulation software. LIMN is a general-purpose process design tool incorporating specific packages for comminution, flotation and coal, while METSIM is a more specific tool for hydrometallurgical applications where designers need to track progress through defined process routes. SMARTPLANT is currently being used to generate process and instrumentation drawings (P&ID’s) and has the capability to produce equipment, line and instrument lists as the drawings are developed.

‘“TWP Consulting’s Mining Engineering team has been using advanced mine design and simulation packages for many years,” Browner says. “However, in the last six months, driven by client demand, the team has invested further by upgrading to the full suite of the internationally popular Mine 2-4D for underground and surface mining engineering studies. This complements the existing training investment in CADSmine, the South African mining standard production planning system. Both of these technologies are produced and supported locally by GijimaAst’s mining focused subsidiary, GMSI.”

The well known Whittle pit optimisation package and the Surpac suite of mining design tools are also in high demand by TWP’s mining engineers (both technologies supplied by Gemcom Software International).

Browner says the future of 3D CAD in terms of file and data management is becoming increasingly important, not only from a design perspective, but also in regard to how the design knowledge is carried forward to the operational environment for the safe and effective management of mining assets.