Pushing mining onto an innovative pathway

Advitech uses its knowledge in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and manufacturing to develop solutions that improve mining operations. Australian Mining reports.

Advitech Group’s humble beginnings have built the platform it stands on today.

From a single engineering consulting company that supported the manufacturing industry, the group has grown into five entities backing more than one sector.

The manufacturing expert retains its founding capabilities, while also driving innovation forward in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Advitech Group provides STEM&M (the second M to stand for ‘manufacturing’)-based products and services to the mining and heavy industries.

Its range of products and services include engineering design, project management, environmental assessment, sustainability, remote communications, monitoring systems, decision support and noise control solutions.

Organic growth and a number of acquisitions have combined a workforce in five highly specialised technical sciences companies – Advitech, Novecom, Hushpak Engineering, Acubis Technologies and Simulation Modelling Services (SMS) – collectively known as The Advitech Group.

The group is collaborating internally, while taking the skills available in one company and complementing them with those in other companies. The strategy paves the way for innovative solutions that cannot be accomplished by one company alone.

Each member company brings strength to the group from its area of speciality. In the area of environment, for example, the group’s expertise isn’t limited to biodiversity and archaeology.

The member companies have recently completed development of automated noise classification capabilities on the back of artificial intelligence, incorporated into environmental noise monitoring systems.

“We’ve managed to combine the skillsets across three of our member companies to develop intelligent noise classification to automatically determine whether monitored noise is mine related,” Advitech Group director Steven Smith tells Australian Mining.

“Our classification system has helped mining operators adhere to their noise limits by identifying whether measured noise is mining or non-mining related. If the noise isn’t related to mining, there is no need to amend operational activities and companies can minimise unnecessary loss of productivity and income.”

Advitech MD Steven Smith started out as an engineering trainee.

 

When it comes to engineering, Advitech rises to the challenges of structural, mechanical and process engineering, while remaining adept in other crucial components of engineering, such as project management and functional safety.

The key to Advitech’s innovation leadership is in identifying people that have the right skillset, and to hire and retain them.

According to Smith, it boils down to “having good staff working for you” and people who know what they need to be doing.

“We’ve got a flat structure in the group, so I’m able to maintain a fair bit of contact with the staff working in Advitech,” Smith says. 

Though the group comprises both younger and more experienced personnel, everyone is part of an internal training framework called the Advitech Group Academy.

The company invests in inviting external speakers and having senior personnel train its staff members, alongside externally run courses.

“We also build specific development opportunities for our people, and we recognise their need to participate in the kind of work they have not done before. This strategy facilitates their professional growth, while building a diversity in skills in the group,” Smith says.

“Interestingly, a lot of our staff members have not come from a mining background. One of our specialist mechanical engineers came from the defence sector, one senior risk and functional safety engineer came from the British nuclear industry, and our engineering manager came from a background of hoisting systems in high rise buildings.

“But all three of them have brought their multi-sector experience to the mining sector to offer third-party design reviews of mine hoisting systems.”

The Advitech Group also develops its own hardware and software solutions for the mining sector, on the back of internal R&D consultation involving people of varying backgrounds and close connections into the industry.

After all, the group is conscious of the need to continually evolve. It is developing product offerings that are “much more advanced” and address the business needs of its customer base.

This effort is part of The Advitech Group’s move to “always look to extend itself” and “remain relevant” across the various elements of the mining industry.

“We recognised some time ago that being a small to medium-sized consulting firm would limit the opportunity for us to grow, so the three owners of Advitech decided to invest in a broader range of activities,” Smith says.

“And we finished up with a group that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

This article also appears in the September edition of Australian Mining.

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