Interlate News

Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day – 2020

At Interlate, we are committed to this and this is what IWD means to Nishara:

“International Women’s day came out of the Socialist women’s movement and used to be called International Working Women’s day, to draw awareness to Women workers’ rights within the framework of workers’ rights more broadly. Progress has been made in so many areas, and of course, there is cause for celebration. However, we have turned March 8th into a marketing tool with phrases that carry no meaning and no challenge to action.

We have stopped talking about:

  • The history of International Working Women’s day and the sacrifices that were made in the protest movement
  • The structural barriers that exist around women succeeding within community (as opposed to succeeding individually)
  • The devaluing of women’s work in general – low-paid women’s work, unseen/exploited women’s work, the work of mothering and caring for the elderly and how we tend to only look upon women’s work through the lens of capitalism (i.e. how much the economy benefits from women’s work)

This International Women’s Day let’s call out the changes that are yet to be made. Let’s strive to be better managers and team members, who actively look for better ways to hire, mentor and volunteer in the circles of influence we inhabit.

Let’s take to time to learn about the struggles of those we don’t often come across.

Let’s use International Women’s Day for raising the issues we need to face in women’s oppression in all its various forms around the world.”

 

Nishara Lyons
Visulation Architect, Interlate

ArticlesIndustry

Stop losing money through contract penalties

What’s the best way to maximise ore revenue? Meet the shipping and specification schedule – all the time.

Interlate can help make this achievable with industry leading operational analytics and an AI -based decision engine. This helps producers stay ahead of the pack, leverage their superior understanding of their operations to make optimal sales and shipping decisions.

Interlate helps clients capture relevant production and processing data by the targeted deployment of cutting-edge technology combined with technical know-how. Using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) supported analytics and with the benefit of deep industry knowledge, Interlate’s clients can then gain detailed insights into key production statistics, including volumes, specification/grade and stockpile characteristics, and near real-time changes in measured variables, with a very high level of confidence (up to 95% statistical accuracy). The potential benefits are significant, and it offers clients:

  • The ability to realise significant improvements that directly improve profitability
  • The capacity to dynamically optimise its processes and outputs in a cost-efficient manner
  • The opportunity to seamlessly integrate operations and marketing to drive business performance
  • The information and insights necessary for effective strategic planning and execution
  • The data to confidently assess the effects of decisions, both operational and marketing, on ultimate business outcomes

Interlate’s success is measured by our client’s improved results.

  • Demonstrated an annualised ROI of 21x investment at one operation
  • Provided decision support that helped a plant realise $30M annualised revenue improvement
  • Identified throughput improvements of 5% in a mine with not requirement for additional capital.

 

Unlock the potential of your operation. Contact Interlate today. info@interlate.com

IndustryInterlate News

Making every improvement count: how small productivity gains can unlock millions for miners

Press Release

December, 2019 – Small productivity improvements, some at less than two percent recovery, arising from near real-time data monitoring and high-speed analytics has the potential to unlock millions in annualised free cash flow for Australia’s mining companies.

Brisbane-based technology company Interlate is using remote optimisation, machine learning and big data analytics to find micro-improvements, which in the aggregate, can improve mining and mineral processing by up to 15 percent without additional capital investment.

The company’s Sentinel™ Productivity-as-a-Service solution mines big data in real-time which is analysed and interpreted using a combination of specialist human expertise and machine learning technologies.

This technology delivers significant financial benefits to Interlate’s customers who typically realise significant cash flow gains within the first three months.

Interlate’s Director of Operations Matthew Magee said even very small productivity improvements of 0.2 or 0.3 percent in aggregate can add up very quickly.

“It’s the quantum of the improvements plus speed at which we can continuously deliver these that is the key,” he said.

“Using Interlate’s approach, we can identify value improvements almost immediately and capture and deliver that value within weeks.

“If a mining company tries to do it themselves it can take two to four years.

“We can do it all in near real-time remotely from our Operations Intelligence Centre in Brisbane, comprising two state-of-the-art C.A.V.E.s (Collaborative Audio-Visual Environments), whether the mine is the East Pilbara or in Papua New Guinea.

“We can isolate improvements, lock them in and aggregate them up to a 95 percent level of confidence.

“Industry can usually only achieve around 50 percent confidence that any productivity improvement they identify will have an impact on the bottom line.

“The kind of cash flow improvements we are talking about can deliver anywhere from $50 million to $100 million in net present value (NPV) in a year for each plant,” Mr Magee said.

He said Sentinel™ has human engagement at its core, working as an extension of operating mine site teams.

“To ensure the best customer service, Interlate takes collaboration at its core and exceeds customer expectations with the quality and speed of its service.

“We use a combination of art, behavioural science and mathematics to visually communicate with site teams, presenting data in a way that can be easily understood, Interlate establishes trust and forms a seamless connection with its customers’ operations.

“Interlate is there to help mining operators. Their success is our success; we want talk about what our customers can achieve,” Mr Magee said.

Interlate will apply its SentinelTM expert decision support and near real-time productivity improvement system to Newcrest’s operations in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Craig Jetson, Newcrest Executive General Manager Lihir and Cadia said partnering with Interlate partnership would deliver near real-time monitoring solutions for Newcrest operations.

“Remote support that leverages advanced data analytics is a key part of our operational improvement strategy,” he said

“Interlate’s SentinelTM service is the solution we were looking for, enabling those improvements to be sustained in the future.

“The ability to rapidly identify significant value-adding initiatives made the decision to partner with Interlate easy.

“Given their experience in remote monitoring, their solution provides us a ‘safe on-ramp’ into this space, without closing the door on developing our own capabilities in this area internally in the future.” Mr Jetson said.

IndustryInterlate News

Capital Shift Disruption in Mining

G. McCullough1, D. Meldrum2 and M. Freyny3
1.Director – Strategy, Interlate, Brisbane QLD 4064. Email: george.mccullough@interlate.com
2.CEO, Interlate, Brisbane QLD 4064. Email: david.meldrum@interlate.com
3.EGM – Digital Industry, Siemens Australia, Melbourne VIC 3153. Email: michael.freyny@siemens.com

 

UNDERCAPITALISED INDUSTRY
The global mining sector is undercapitalised. There are some important reasons for this, but these are outside of the scope of this paper. Nevertheless, the restricted access to capital is constraining innovation and technology adoption, which in turn is constraining productivity improvement. In 2010, the mining industry had a total market capitalisation of $1.7T and was attracting significant capital to fuel growth. In just 3 years however, this dropped to a third of that value. By 2017, it had fallen to just $500B. In this landscape it is important to consider that the current value of funds under management globally, is $90T. This is money being managed by professional fund managers, actively looking to put that money at work. In stark contrast, the current global mining industry market capitalisation represents only 0.001% of this available capital! Effectively the mining industry is cut off from capital, other than the capital that is already active in the industry. As an example, in 2018 Snapchat’s IPO was worth $30B but the total new investment in the mining sector globally for the same year was considerably less than that. Not only has the pace of capital investment in the industry slowed, the profile of capital has shifted from expansion capital to sustaining capital. One of the reasons for external investment shying away from mining is that the drivers of a return on investment are not always clear. Capital will flow, if it can see a clear path to deliver a return.

HOW TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO CAPITAL SHIFT DISRUPTION
The currently held view is that technology causes disruption in traditional industries where manual or inefficient processes are exposed by new technology-enabled ones. Another way to view disruption, is through the capital lens. When case studies of disrupted industries or businesses are examined, it is clear that while the prime mover of the disruption was a new technology or new business model, the wave of the disruption was amplified by a shift in capital. If capital can see that a new technology or business model is likely to generate better returns on investment than the incumbent solution, it is going to shift. The capital effectively accelerates the disruptive process into hyper-growth, making it both global and permanent.

EXAMPLES OF CAPITAL SHIFT DISRUPTION IN OTHER SECTORS
Examples of disruption are well publicised. Case studies such as Skype, Netflix and Wikipedia are well known. However, there are other less textbook or well-known examples of disruption caused by shifting capital. Siemens had a global communications business in the early 2000s that accounted for approximately a third of its global revenues. In that era however, Siemens did not recognise that the technological advancement of data and voice convergence combined with consumer demand for this, could have significant commercial implications. They didn’t understand quickly enough how capital would rally behind the companies that did. As a result, Siemens communications business was carried away with the rest of the telecommunication incumbents in a wave of disruption sparked by Qualcomm and amplified by Apple.

IMPLICATIONS FOR MINING AND METALS COMPANIES
The Siemens example is relevant because Siemens has a market capitalisation in the order of $130B, much the same as the world’s largest mining company, and Siemens will attest that size is no defence. For mining, investment in technology is low compared with other asset intensive industries. A notable consequence of this is the equally low levels of productivity improvement evident in recent years. Historically, the mining industry has been recognised as a slow adopter of technology-led innovation. Although evidence supports growing momentum in this area since 2010, seemingly small gains in resultant productivity have seen capital leaving the sector. Only in more recent years, have we witnessed a modest 2% increase in productivity. These trends are attracting the attention of start-ups and companies from other industries who see mining as a prime target for disruption. Netflix was the prime disruptor of the entertainment industry and the main lesson here is that it did not take a cadre of companies to cause the disruption, it only took one. This is the power of capital shift. The capital got behind Netflix and the rest is history. The implication for mining companies is profound. If they are not tuned into disruptive forces either emerging from within or coming from outside, they could find themselves caught in a structural change. The disruption will be not be caused by technology itself, but by how the capital markets follow the mining companies, or new entrants, that quickly adapt to innovative approaches and service models. A plausible scenario is that one or two mining companies discover a new business model or technology that enables them to release significant value improvement from each asset that they touch. They will be able to find value where others have not. This means that any asset in the world suddenly looks appealing, even a bargain for them. This will get the attention of the fund managers controlling the investment of capital, and the shift, or flow will occur to those companies. This could propel a wave of acquisitions or even introduce new entrants. This has happened in other industries. Mining will be no different.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
In such a scenario, mining companies pondering the potential implications of a capital shift disruption should be considering if they are willing to be the acquired or the acquirer. To be the acquirer, a miner is going to need to attract the attention of “new” capital i.e. capital that is not normally associated with mining. To attract this attention, they are going to need to be able to demonstrate they can add value to assets that others can’t. To do this, they could look to suppliers (mining and other industries) for tools and enablers. They could set up their own separate, arms-length organisations to do this. A more practical solution may be to partner with an organisation or coalition that understands these issues and has the capability to shepherd a progressive and successful transformation in the industry.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to acknowledge Interlate and Siemens for their permission to publish this paper.

Interlate News

Interlate wins Service Excellence award (ABA100 Winner) in The Australian Business Awards 2019

Interlate – an industrial productivity improvement specialist – has been recognised as an ABA100 winner for Service Excellence in the Australian Business Awards 2019.

Interlate was recognised for its unique data productivity solutions and servicing model that uses the power of connected machines and technical innovation to deliver superior value for mining companies.

The Australian Business Awards recognise organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement.

Interlate’s Operations Director Matthew Magee said, “Our team is immensely proud to be recognised as winners in the ABA100 Service Excellence category for our Sentinel™ Productivity-as-a-Service solution.

“Sentinel™ has human engagement at its core, working as an extension of operating mine site teams to unlock and sustain material productivity improvements in real time.

“We are generating 10% improvement in value for our customers within a few months by fusing operating, technical, data science and systems expertise together with live production data.

“This award is fantastic recognition for our people’s unwavering belief and commitment, who together with our customers and partners, are redefining mining productivity on a global scale.”

Winning the Service Excellence category showcases the uniqueness and sophistication of Interlate’s productivity solutions.

Interlate operates a highly sophisticated platform that mines big data in real-time which is analysed and interpreted using a combination of specialist human expertise and machine learning technologies to identify and lock in productivity improvements on a continuous basis.

This technology delivers significant financial benefits to Interlate’s customer who typically realise significant cash flow gains within the first three months.

To ensure the best customer service, Interlate takes collaboration at its core and exceeds customer expectations with the quality and speed of its service. Utilising technology to visually communicate with site teams, Interlate establishes trust and forms a seamless connection with its customers’ operations.

“Interlate is there to help mining operators. Their success is our success; we want talk about what our customers can achieve. Our tools and capabilities help our customers improve their site’s operational performance” Mr Magee.

For more information on The Australian Business Awards and the 2019 ABA100 Winners go to www.australianbusinessawards.com.au

ArticlesIndustry

How to optimise your plant for different feed types?

Typically, a minerals processing plant (e.g. a concentrator or coal wash plant) is fed by materials that can change from one time to the next based on where the material is coming from in the mine. And different materials have different recoveries (or yields) based on their physical and chemical properties. Traditionally, a metallurgical or process engineer will work with the plant operators to set the operational tactics (the parameter set points) to optimise recovery for a particular feed type. This is done using fundamental metallurgical approaches and experience. It depends largely on the skill set and experience level of the plant personnel and this leads to variability in performance.

Imagine if you could take the knowledge and experience at your site and amplify it 10x? And then have that amplified knowledge available 24/7, no matter who is on shift nor which part of the mine is delivering feed. What if you could provide your site team with an on-demand decision making tool that helps them maximise the value delivered by the plant, no matter what the circumstances?

These were the questions we asked ourselves at Interlate and this led us to develop a tool that determines all the plant set points within seconds to maximise the recovery for a particular feed type. The tool looks at different feed types, considers the plant’s past performance and matches plant set points that will enable optimum performance. This provides a benchmark based on the best performance the plant has ever achieved and provides a foundation to drive even greater performance.

The tools use historical data as a starting point and then applies a hyper-variant machine learning capability to optimise the set points going forward. The advantage that comes from using a data driven approach means the site team can make decisions with extremely high levels of statistical confidence – typically 95% confidence. And as the data collected increases over time, more and more fine tuning is possible until the plant is fully optimised. It is also responsive to real-time data which means that it can adapt to changing circumstances protecting value at all time.

Brett Harries,
Technical Lead, Interlate

IndustryUse cases

Managing water resources in mining operations

Articles

Process Recycle Water Optimisation

Managing water consumption is a major issue in mining operations. Recently, one of our clients, in collaboration with Interlate, significantly reduced its water consumption and costs, and improved its environmental performance by optimising the water recovery process.

Brett Harries, Interlate’s Technical Lead, speaks about this:

“The mining and minerals processing industry is a very large consumer of water. When I was Operating Manager at a mine in Australia, the situation was that the operations were consuming a lot more water than the township and the community connected with that area. As Operating Manager, I could see that the problem was not only the high consumption of water, but the costs associated with that. Importantly, this would also reflect upon the mine’s reputation from an environmental performance point of view within the community.

At that time, we were unable, with our hands on our heart, to say that we were maximising the recycling of process water. I wasn’t confident that the parameters around the recycling circuit for process water, like flocculant addition or thickener underflow densities, were actually being optimised for maximum process water recovery.

Due to my time in mining operations and my experience working at Interlate, I can recognise that, with the development of the Interlate process and tools, we are now able to perform an analysis that looks at historical data combined with real-time data. Simultaneously, we can perform multi variant optimisation of all of the parameters associated with water recovery.

This strengthens the organisation’s position in communications with the community – yes, we are huge consumer of water, relatively speaking, but we are also the most efficient users of recycle water that can be. And we can say that with our hands on our hearts. Then there is the fact that you get the cost benefit of not having to buy fresh water.”

Brett Harries
Technical Lead, Interlate

ArticlesIndustry

Utilizing Data and Technology to Improve Productivity

Real-time data analysis is proving to be a point of difference for Brisbane based Interlate, and according to the company’s Director of Strategy, George McCullough, this live reaction to changes in the value chain provides outstanding results. Mr. McCullough will explain how Interlate is integrating their platform with the operations teams of mines around the country and detailed how Interlate’s systems work to identify potential efficiencies.

Feedback to Operations Teams
The data revolution is sweeping the mining sector, with Interlate at the forefront of the charge, taking a holistic view of the complete value chain for mines. By not only looking at live data, but also historical information, as well as the context of a given mine’s processes, Interlate provides around the clock feedback to operations teams in real time.

While there may not necessarily be anything fundamentally wrong with the procedures of a given operation, Interlate’s systems work to find possible efficiencies that can significantly impact on productivity, or operating costs. The company estimates that of the 1,400 mineral processing plants globally, improvements are possible in 70% of those facilities.

Acknowledged Leadership
George has a mining technical background with significant operational experience in applying technology to improve productivity. He has international experience across a range of commodities and mining methods.

Leading on from his operational experience, he has had roles in consulting, product development, marketing and executive management for a variety of international mining services and technology companies.

George is an acknowledged leader who relishes in working with high performance teams to create solutions for complex problems. He is an enthusiastic advocate of adopting solutions and technologies from outside industries.

Taking an Alternate Approach
George McCullough, the Director of Strategy for Interlate, explains that by looking at the overall value chain of a given mine in real-time, inefficient sections can be more accurately identified.

While a traditional approach to data analysis sees isolated portions of a mine scrutinised, Interlate seeks to minimise disruptions over the entire production chain.George said, “By having a total picture of what’s happening we can find patterns, which gives us insight to how mining operations can improve. “ The operations teams can react to those insights in the right time frame and increase their productivity. Also, by having access to the right information when operations teams need it, they can avoid potential stoppages or downtime. In that way, delivering data in the right time frame can actually reduce operations’ risk.”

Tunnel Vision
A core strength of Interlate is the fact that the company’s staff come from operational backgrounds, and thus, understand the constraints and stresses of the task. While the attention of operations teams is on mine safety and continual operation, often focus can be lost on the bigger picture.

George said, “We’re not in any way implying that people are doing something wrong in their operations teams, it’s just that in our experience there is a lot of local optimisation; people focus on the things that they know. They take care of those components, but they are not necessarily aware of downstream impacts of their decisions, or what is happening in other areas of that value chain.

“In our experience, the cause of inefficiency is not incompetence; it’s being limited to a view of your local area of operations, rather than an overarching perspective.”

The Advantage of Live
Core to Interlate’s advantage is the live feedback the company’s systems provide to the mines. Some forms of data analysis can look to improve performance down the track, but Interlate seeks to add value as events are unfolding.

George said, “The mining companies in general are pretty good at doing real time data acquisition. Interlate adds value by taking that real time data acquisition, and putting it through some pretty sophisticated analytics – we’ve got experts that can look for improvements, and then we can deliver that back in the same timeframe as the data is being collected.”

Looking Back to Look Forward
While Interlate’s point of difference is in live feedback, that information can only be made possible via insight into the history of the mine. Working from a baseline of previous data, Interlate combines many factors from the mine site to seek efficiencies.

George continued, “There’s actually quite a bit more involved than purely ones and zeroes in data; a part of that historical component is the actual operating context of the site, and this is a key feature of how Interlate works. We are very different in our approach to traditional consulting companies; we don’t do analysis in isolation and hand over a result, we literally become an extension of the operations team.

“Getting that historical data, but also the operating context, is what helps us deliver meaningful insights to the operations.”

The Human Factor

As the digital transformation and continuing progression of automation makes waves in the mining sector, one factor is often overlooked – the human decision-making process. “From the Interlate perspective, you cannot gloss over the role of people, which is still driving productivity. That is really the core of our business, one of our central philosophies.

“When a company makes a decision, it’s a person who makes the decision: a real person, not a machine. People are still vitally important in making decisions that are going to have huge impacts on companies and their productivity.“Data can help those people make decisions more confidently, and make better decisions quicker, by getting real-time insights to those people.”

George McCullough
Director of Strategy, Interlate

Interlate News

Celebrating International Women’s Day (2019)

We are proud to have many talented and resourceful women working at Interlate. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked Melissa, one of our productivity supervisors, why she chose to become an engineer. This is her story about what inspired her to follow her dreams:

“I have two older brothers and the three of us were the first from both sides of our family to go to university. They both completed their university degrees in engineering before I finished high school. I had always looked up to them so, of course, I thought ‘when I grow up, I want to become an engineer too’. Visiting my eldest brother at a coal mine and having the rush of fear and later on, excitement when a blast we were watching went wrong and rocks came flying towards us also seemed to spark that desire to become an Engineer. My career pathway decision didn’t have much more to it than that. I was just a young girl wanting to be a cool engineer like her brothers.

I have been lucky enough, in my 12 years of work, to have some great opportunities and work with some amazing people at large mining companies. The last couple of years have been a whirlwind – having a baby, maternity leave, moving to Brisbane and starting to work at Interlate. Finding a balance has been challenging but every woman should know that “if you want to do it, you can”. Just believe in yourself and you can achieve anything.”

#balanceforbetter