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By Elian Zimmermann
22 February 2022

Data Information made simple for South Africa’s largest Coal Mine






1. Introduction

A large coal and heavy minerals mining company in South Africa. The company operates facilities and offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. The mine produces 2,5Mt of semi-soft coking coal every year.

2. Problem

The end-user’s reporting consisted of Excel workbooks connecting to historians for data collection and aggregation. Manual scale readings were entered every shift. Together with erratic Excel-to-Historian connectivity, Excel file corruption and human error during manual entry, this “reporting” process proved inaccurate and frustrating.

3. Solution

Before looking for a software solution, the end-user created a formal definition for each KPI to be reported on. A key take-away from this process was that each KPI definition included the individual who owned and assumed responsibility for the KPI. The end-user required a tool to implement their KPI Management System that business, not technical, personnel with knowledge of the business processes would be able to implement the KPIs without coding or technical assistance. They chose Flow Software as this KPI Management System as it was able to adapt its time buckets to their way of business. Their onsite personnel are creating all the measures (i.e. KPIs), and continuously monitor and share the results. Information is integrated via the Flow SQL Consumer module to a uniformed data structure for users to consume as “citizen report builders”.

4. Results

Together with the rigorous KPI definition and sign-off process, the use of Flow as the KPI Management System has ensured information the users can trust. In addition to this, the Flow system has enabled the KPI Management System to be scaled and integrated into other systems.

  • 800 events
  • 25 000 measures
  • Connected to different data sources:

– SQL Systems

– AVEVA Historian

  • Flow reports are used for the business process engineers to do their own data validation. But users
  • consume the KPI information from a SQL Datamart the Flow continuously integrates into. They are currently generating 20-50 reports, with the near-term estimate being over 100.
  • Approximately 3 reports are being sent automatically to users via Flow Mobile, Email and SMS.
  • The Flow SQL Consumer module is being used to continuously integrate KPI information into custom Data
  • Mart. Future plans include sending KPI information to Wonderware System Platform via the Flow MQTT Consumer module.
  • Flow templates are used extensively to ensure KPI standardisation and governance. This is a powerful Flow feature that adds a lot of value to their business.
  • Approximately 40 users are actively using KPI information generated by the Flow KPI Management System daily. Because there is no “user license”, this number is expected to increase soon.

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