CLIENTS - Solvay

Digitizing chemistry to make the mining industry more efficient and sustainable

We Hear You

What you need is a team who understands that what you do is its own form of art-meets-science, which deserves to be supported by technology that elevates your mission, rather than bogging you down. Especially when you have big plans for growth and expansion in the not-too-distant future!

Here’s an example of a project we’ve worked on recently that sounds like it’s similar to what you’re looking to do.

This case study features an application we built, called SolvExtract™.

Why Us?

One of the things we love most about the work we do here at Osedea is that we get to partner with companies across such a wide range of industries.

In April 2018, we submitted a proposal to Solvay, one of the world’s leading creators of innovative chemicals and advanced materials, who were in need of a web application to support their clients in the mining industry. We soon began work on what would be one of our most ambitious web application projects to date. We helped Solvay repackage their core technical expertise and their Minchem® algorithm in a modern app.

Solvay says they chose us for the job because they were impressed by the technical expertise we demonstrate and the way we continually push ourselves to attain new levels of mastery in the work that we do. They also liked that we knew so much about bleeding-edge technologies that most other firms haven’t yet wrapped their heads around.

What can we say - one of our values here at Osedea is “go big or go home”, and we’re always excited when we work with clients who have a similar mindset!

The task at hand

Solvay has pioneered a new method for optimizing solvent extraction, which is a major part of the mining process, and they granted us the opportunity to create the app (called SolvExtract™) that would allow Solvay Account Managers to monitor this process using a simple and intuitive interface.

In the mines run by Solvay’s clients, copper is one of the primary metals extracted from the pools of chemical products that result from the mining process (these pools are referred to as “trains”, and each is equipped with sensors that monitor their contents). Solvay hired us to evolve and automate their current process by developing a way for them to see the efficiency of the extractions on a train-by-train basis, as well as a way for the mines to adjust the solvent in each train to optimize mineral extraction.

We designed SolvExtract™ to catch the raw data provided by the sensors in the train directly at the mine, run a decision tree, and propose a recommendation for the optimal operating conditions.

This recommendation, which is sent by SMS, in addition to being displayed in the web interface, represents the correct action to take in order to maximize extraction productivity.

The SolvExtract™ app allows Solvay to fulfill their corporate mission of “asking more from chemistry” - using resources as sparingly and as efficiently as possible in order to create optimal and sustainable value for their clients.

Good thing we love a challenge!

SolvExtract™ was a challenging project by its very nature. The main hurdle was that we had to get familiar with various chemistry concepts and calculations in order to integrate them into the code for the app.

Thankfully, we’re a multilingual team here at Osedea, so we were able to thoroughly train everyone on SolvExtract™ with confidence.

The second was that we had to process thousands of data points while executing complex algorithms, ensuring that all this happened extremely rapidly - so that mine operators can react quickly and improve their process.

The third was that while our main client was based in Princeton, New Jersey, their client (the mine) was located in Chile, and meanwhile, Solvay’s infrastructure team was in Singapore!

And to top it all off, we offered to provide training on the app in both English and Spanish, so that everyone, in all three locations, was up to speed on how to use it. We did this to ensure a 100% successful implementation of SolvExtract™ across the board.

But we didn't stop there...

SolvExtract™ had to support optimization of the extraction process in three different ways. It had to be easy for the project managers to use, providing dynamically adjusted recommendations through an efficient user experience. It had to generate robust data analytics for use by Solvay’s business team. And finally, It had to scale easily, to allow for increased volume, as well as new features to be added in the future.

To ensure that the app met these stringent requirements for projected growth, we built the frontend of the application with React, a JavaScript framework that lets us modularize the user interface (to allow for more efficient scaling). We used Laravel, a PHP framework with its own native scalability, for the backend of the application. And we hosted all services used by the app within a Google Cloud Project (on several App Engines), leveraging Google’s Cloud SQL for the database.

These are just a few of the technical details that will enable a virtually unlimited number of new clients to come on board with Solvay - without the worry of technical hiccups.

The end result

Fast-forward to today: Solvay’s Account Managers use the app to seamlessly compile and communicate their recommendations to the Plant Metallurgists, who can clearly see what recipe they should use to optimize mineral extraction at any given moment.

The fact that all this can now happen throughout the web app, using a clear and attractive mobile interface that users can literally hold in the palm of their hands, has brought everyone on the Solvay team, and their clients, a new sense of ease and efficiency that they’re greatly enjoying.

Let's see how far we can help you go!

Information

An app to digitize chemistry to make the mining industry more efficient and sustainable.

  • #webapp
SolvExtract™
Projects Web & Mobile Application
Year 2018-2019
Client Solvay
Technologies ReactJS
Docker
Laravel
Google Cloud Platform
Bitbucket Pipelines