Francisco Chávez
Country Leader
Thermo Fisher Scientific México
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View from the Top

Innovation To Reduce Ore Processing Footprint

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 12:21

Q: What new mining processing and handling techniques or products are being developed for the next five years?
A: The mining industry has undergone a great transformation. Now, digitalization and quality control are critical parts of the business and also drive innovation. The industry is increasingly automated, digitalized and interested in data. Data analysis has become key to improving product quality and ensuring that productivity is positive in terms of reducing costs and increasing the amount of minerals obtained. Mexico is not fast to adopt technology. The country has yet to progress in several areas, such as improving infrastructure for digital processes. We Mexicans are not known for adopting technology early in comparison to the rest of the world.
Q: What are the most important steps and considerations for a mine site that is just starting to invest in digital innovation?
A: Innovation is critical because moving on to the next phase requires the processing of a great deal of highly valuable information. Today, the process is done manually with a large number of people but there are many tools that can allow companies to maximize their output. Getting more information on the mix’s composition is critical to operations and a key part of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s work that allows customers to get valuable data that helps them make better decisions.
We are testing solutions and working to put all this information on the cloud to increase our capabilities. In Mexico, we have an IT Center of Excellence (ITCOE) in Tijuana that is developing software. The products are still under development but we might launch one in 2019.
Q: How are companies like Thermo Fisher helping reduce the environmental risks of processing?
A: Our Environmental and Process Monitoring (EPM) area works with governmental agencies and private companies to develop solutions to improve their quality. Our mission is to help our customers around the globe live in a cleaner world. This division works beyond the mining industry as it helps every sector. We have R&D projects addressing solutions that reduce environmental impact. In the future, solutions will be greener and this is increasingly becoming a necessity for customers. We believe that this will continue to be a trend so we are investing in building machinery and solutions that minimize the environmental impact.
Q: What are supply chain companies doing to overcome resistance to digital change?
A: We are working closely with government and regulatory agencies to promote the creation of standards that address these issues. It is necessary to ensure that we have adequate security around a solution to protect the privacy of information. From a customer-related side, we help them to figure out the “job of the future,” meaning how the workplace will be transformed by digital solutions. Digitalization will not eliminate jobs, but will change them. We hope that this trend creates specialized types of jobs that do not even exist today.
Q: Who are your main clients in the mining industry?
A: We are participating together with all the players in the mining industry, both in Mexico and around the world. Our brands are extremely well positioned, especially Thermo Fisher Scientific, which is widely used in the mining industry. Most mines in the country have at least one piece of Thermo Fisher Scientific equipment. We are an innovation company and our core across all divisions is innovation.
We work closely with clients over their budget cycles and help them identify their priorities. A common concern among clients is productivity; to optimize, it is necessary to invest in technology that is beneficial for clients in the medium and long terms. Mining in Mexico follows some of the best practices in the world. We have many years of experience in the industry and now we have a consolidated presence in Mexico. More than machines, we sell solutions.
Q: How can your technology improve profit margins for mines and what success case demonstrates your expertise?
A: We always place our customers in the center of our strategy. Our philosophy is that productivity is the driver for innovation, which means reducing the effort required to get minerals out of mines or reducing the time it takes for several processes, such as production.