One month after announcing the news of the acquisition, FLSmidth has begun to integrate KnowledgeScape, a global leader in digital optimisation solutions, into its organisation and product line.
What does this mean for customers of FLSmidth and KnowledgeScape?
FLSmidth CDO, Mikko Tepponen and the former KnowledgeScape CEO and now FLSmidth Global Product Line Manager KnowledgeScape portfolio, Dustin Collins put their heads together to answer the important questions.
Q. KnowledgeScape has now officially become part of FLSmidth. When will the integration begin and how soon will a combined portfolio of products be available to customers?
Integration will begin immediately and there will be no interruption for customers. One of the reasons for the mutual interest between our two companies was exactly because integration will be easy and because we really complement each other both from a technical solution standpoint but also from a competency point of view – and the customers will really benefit from this.
KnowledgeScape will tap into FLSmidth’s well-established global sales and service infrastructure, which supports customers with solutions ranging from productivity and sustainable upgrades to new capital projects. FLSmidth currently provides state-of-the-art software and a high-end platform – our ECS/ProcessExpert® solution – and this will be seamlessly enhanced with the expertise, advanced algorithms and smart vision solutions that KnowledgeScape offers.
Through our global sales offices, we will be able to – from today – offer the range of smart vision solutions and expert systems from the KnowledgeScape portfolio.
Q. What are main benefits and solutions that KnowledgeScape will bring to the customers? And in which areas of the mining flowsheet has it built its reputation in?
Throughout the years, the focus at KnowledgeScape has been to offer unique products that increase throughput, increase recovery and improve efficiency through the concentrator from primary crusher all the way to filtration. We have built our reputation in optimising control of SAG mills and flotation, using our expert control software, together with exclusive sensors we developed specifically for the task: LoadIQ and PlantVision.
The addition of KnowledgeScape’s advanced solutions to FLSmidth’s already robust digital ENABLR portfolio will deliver an expanded and exciting range of benefits to customers, from increased automation to improved reliability and enhanced productivity. The KnowledgeScape portfolio has documented capabilities in increasing the total output of a processing plant by 4-10%. At the same time, their solutions reduce power, water and reagent consumption, which contribute significantly to the goals of FLSmidth’s MissionZero sustainability strategy.
Q. What does the combination of FLSmidth and KnowledgeScape competences and solutions mean for the now combined customer base?
Seen from a pure digital offering perspective, the combination of our two digital portfolios means that FLSmidth is now – as the only supplier on the market – able to offer a plant-wide digital optimisation solution that enables our customers to reduce operational costs and environmental impact across the entire minerals processing flowsheet.
The combined strengths of KnowledgeScape and FLSmidth guarantees that the best mineral processing equipment now comes with the best software and sensors to measure and control it. It means that the designs are perfectly integrated, and the people who make the equipment work in tandem with the people controlling and optimising it.
On a more person-to-person level, it adds strength to our service networks and creates a deeper expertise in many areas of digitalization that will benefit our customers.
Q. The KnowledgeScape acquisition puts FLSmidth in a market-leading position when it comes to digital solutions for the mining industry. Can you give some examples of areas where we will take customer productivity to the next level?
The ultimate measure of productivity in mining is tons produced. Another measure of productivity for customers is how fast solutions can be implemented. We bring the two together, delivering a system that literally increases tonnage in a concentrator, in the shortest possible time frame, by making our software powerful and intuitive, yet simple. This reduces time to completion, so it is measured in days and weeks, not months or years.
A quick example of the effectiveness of the combination would be the KnowledgeScape LoadIQ and the FLSmidth ECS/ProcessExpert® technology. This is a solution that simply cannot be ignored when it comes to the optimisation of grinding circuits, for instance.
Q. What level of flowsheet coverage can customers expect to access digital solutions for, and why is this significant for the customer, especially when it comes to digital integration across their operations?
KnowledgeScape provides digital solutions for the entire mining process, from primary crusher through dewatering and filtration, and everything in between. This is significant as it eliminates inefficiencies associated with the need to employ and master more than one system. Streamlining to a single system is inherently more efficient and it also allows communication with only one team. Additionally, multiple sites can be integrated with a hybrid on-site/cloud solution to give larger operators real-time insight into all sites without taking away performance or control from the on-the-ground team at the plant itself.
The KnowledgeScape portfolio will now be backed by FLSmidth in terms of technology and competences allowing us to take minerals digitalization to the next level. An example of this is taking the high-level digital edge solutions KnowledgeScape has developed and integrating these with the FLSmidth ENABLR platform. This allows for an additional level of features and services, such as our advanced data analytics, supporting even further optimisation and process data insights.
Q. What are the benefits for customers when it comes to sustainability and how does the addition of the KnowledgeScape solutions and expertise support the FLSmidth MissionZero strategy?
Sustainability is all about maximising the output for any given input, and eliminating waste. That can be wasted material, wasted energy or even wasted time. The new combined portfolio allows for increased production for the same energy, increased recovery for the same feed material, and better overall efficiency.
Reduction of water consumption is a crucial part of the MissionZero goals, and the performance of KnowledgeScape solutions in thickener optimisation especially helps with this. Across the flowsheet we consider the KnowledgeScape products and approach as being in perfect harmony with our MissionZero strategy and our goal to enable customers to do more with less.
Q. Is the KnowledgeScape acquisition part of a larger FLSmidth digital strategy, and can we expect further strengthening through acquisition?
It is a clear yes — we are open for further acquisitions. This acquisition might not be large in scale, although it will be significant in impact. It fits well into our core strategies that are centred on supporting our customers with increased productivity and more sustainable solutions. We are closely monitoring the new generation of tech-driven start-ups that have begun to emerge within our industries. These Industry 4.0 related technologies include digital twins and various artificial intelligence technologies. There is no doubt that we can, and already are, advancing efforts to connect thousands of assets globally and build a significant digital organisation. At the same time, and to accelerate our digital journey even further, partnerships and acquisitions will be an important part of our strategy going forward.