BBE releases 2021 version of the leading VUMA ventilation simulation software – free for the industry


The engineering office for pit ventilation, refrigeration and refrigeration technology BBE Group has released the 2021 version of its flagship VUMA network software for industry – free of charge. It’s a bold move that puts an advanced, industry-leading interactive mine ventilation network simulation tool in the hands of mine and ventilation engineers around the world.

“Intense temperatures, humidity, diesel fumes and gases are health hazards for underground miners. This means that good ventilation is not negotiable, ”says Miguel Coelho, ventilation engineer at BBE. “With so many complex factors affecting environmental conditions, however, dangerous shifts can be difficult to predict. BBE’s VUMA network software, with its ability to simulate multiple variables, addresses this problem. It also promotes system optimization and energy efficiency, a critical cost and operational factor for mines in South Africa. Making it available to industry free of charge brings everyone forward. ”

The latest upgrade from VUMA-network is based on a Microsoft platform and expands it to 64-bit computing with a charged graphics engine. The solution has also been released for global use, with support for various languages, namely Chinese, Polish and Spanish, and the integration of country-specific features and design criteria. Additionally, the software is vendor-neutral – it integrates all major industry software and solutions – and users don’t need to have a relationship with BBE to use it.

VUMA simulation technology – proven

VUMA-network is proven software. It has been developed and used by BBE engineers for over 20 years to plan, construct, operate and troubleshoot ventilation and cooling systems in underground mines around the world. It is already in use in most of the mines in South Africa.

“With advanced simulation technology, mining and ventilation engineers can gain critical control over the critical ventilation and cooling aspects of mining processes across a range of mining methods,” notes Coelho. “This is especially important as energy costs rise and safety regulations rise. As mine planning software becomes more sophisticated, the graphical details of the ventilation network and troubleshooting that software like the VUMA network can provide becomes invaluable. “

The VUMA network simulates air currents, heat loads, gases (including radon, a radioactive gas released during uranium mining), dust, diesel particles from diesel engines, and the effects of blasts and underground fires. The simulations are based on the specific conditions in a mine – the type and intensity of the work, the performance of the cooling infrastructure, the use of machines and the mining method used.

These inputs can be collected from mine systems and sensors, imported directly from various mine plan formats, or defined by mining engineers. This facilitates the planning and design of systems, energy optimization, troubleshooting and troubleshooting, what-if scenario analyzes, dust and / or gas tracking, design of refrigeration systems and verification of environmental compatibility. Importantly, it enables engineers to identify hinge points where infrastructure can be improved and test hypotheses before acting.

The differentiation factor

“What sets VUMA software apart from others is the quality of the inputs that its algorithms contain and continue to inform,” says Coelho, “and the fact that it was developed by engineers for engineers.”

Developed in the early 1990s by CSIR for use in South African mines, the software was developed by BBE in [2009]. With constant updates based on user feedback and changing needs, it is one of the best-informed and most accurate solutions in the industry.

For example, VUMA’s heat flow algorithms were developed using extensive empirical data from some of the deepest and hottest mines in the world. Mine heat load prediction is an extremely complex science that involves geothermal rock heat flux and the effects of heat conduction from hot rock, mining cycle activities, water use activities and changing conditions on all the different rock surfaces. It also depends on the tactics of cooling and air cooling, as well as the use of equipment and machines and their work cycles. This attention to detail enables the integrated solution’s motor to accurately calculate the heat flow from numerous sources.

Digital twin, proactive suction

“Mines everywhere are increasingly using advanced technology to improve efficiency, operations, safety and productivity. BBE’s VUMA network is an important addition to their technology stack, ”says Coelho. “It’s a proven solution and comes with a number of specialized add-ons that can help mines take the next step towards transformation and automation.”

“The VUMA suite is based on the knowledge that BBE has gained through its projects in large mines in South Africa and around the world. We hope that using the VUMA network will continue to add value to the industry and help make mines safer and more profitable, ”concludes Coelho.

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