AG TECH produces off-the-shelf software and hardware solutions for the entire mining and oil and gas industries in Kazakhstan. The company creates scalable and flexible systems that bring huge benefits to the county’s export and local economy. Their Digital Monitoring and Management System (DMMS), integrated into Kazakhstan's mining sites, allows enterprises to reduce fuel costs as well as production downtime, thereby increasing operations' productivity.
QazMonitor talked to Alexander Podvalov, CEO of AG TECH on how their ‘Made in Kazakhstan’ advanced software powerhouse benefits the industry, and what makes their off-the-shelf solutions so lucrative to foreign investors.
What exactly is DMMS?
Digital Monitoring & Management System is AG TECH’s flagship product. It is a set of tools for monitoring, analyzing and managing all production cycles of industrial enterprises. Our system meets all Industrial Safety Regulations for hazardous industrial facilities engaged in mining and exploration.
We automate industrial enterprises to ensure safe production and increase the efficiency of business processes.
Who are your customers?
The DMMS pilot project was started at Kazakhmys Mine 67 in Zhezkazgan. Then we implemented our system at the Kazzinc Dolynny mine.
Kazakhmys liked our project, and bought a system with expanded functionality. We are now actively expanding the functionality of the system at its mine 67, and are also working to scale our solution at 11 other Kazakhmys mines. We also successfully implemented a project on the ground level, where we automated sampling processes at the Balkhash concentration plant.
With regard to the automation of processes in the oil and gas industry, we can note the implemented project - the Interactive Information System of the KazMunayGas Dispatch Center.
Negotiations are also underway to digitize 6 ArcelorMittal coal mines and there is a big project with ERG coming.
Why do mining companies choose your solutions?
The main reasons are increased efficiency and improved industrial safety performance.
When it comes to our mining industry customers, safety control is crucial and our products fully address it. Any industrial enterprise knows that financial losses are inevitable in the event of an emergency. Especially after downtime, until all the circumstances are clarified and an investigation is conducted it's difficult to restart a plant. Our system modules help to prevent incidents with the real-time tracking of the location of people inside the mine, equipment monitoring, emergency alarms, and communication inside the mine.
How flexible is your system?
It is fully customizable and scaleable. Our key solutions allow us to cater to the needs of the industry. Things like interactive mapping, managing transportation infrastructure, positioning of personnel and mobile equipment, or our fatigue-monitoring system for equipment operators. DMMS also offers air quality control and temperature & vibration control of stationary equipment. The customer can choose exactly the modules they need, and we can deliver all these features in a single package with constant tech support.
What is it like in action?
A good example is our integration with Kazzinc and Kazakhmys as part of the implementation a positioning system in the mines. We installed personal tags on the mining lights, which are sensors that help the dispatcher monitor the miners' movements in real-time and know what they are doing at any given moment. If there is a collapse in the mine, the system draws the quickest evacuation way and shows the location of the nearest oxygen chamber. The system also prevents mobile machinery from hitting the workers inside the mine. The tracks are very narrow and warning lights turn on a few meters before the car approaches the person. It's all about real-time safety.
How do foreign markets react to your product?
During the pandemic, when sales dropped all over the world, there were difficulties in relocation, and now against the background of the geopolitical situation, when many international companies are winding down business, we, on the contrary, found a competitive advantage, as we oriented ourselves in time and found a niche.
This year we took part in Digital Almaty 2023 international forum, where we presented our product not only to commercial enterprises, but also attracted the attention of heads of governments of member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.
We have already received requests from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, the United States, and Canada. And we are working on such opportunities in parallel. One of our next steps is to present our solutions at the MINExpo 2024 Las Vegas, organized by the National Mining Association (NMA). MINExpo 2024 will be the largest and most comprehensive global mining event. As far as we know, we are the only company from Kazakhstan presenting our solutions at the event.
I think we have all the chances to get into a major international market, show what we can do, and prove that Kazakhstani companies are worthy of high global ratings. Some companies have already expressed interest in buying us out, but we are carefully considering the offers, taking into account the product’s potential and the competence of our team.
How has DMMS's success affected your company?
In the last two years, our developer staff has more than doubled. Accordingly, the capitalization of our business has grown considerably over this period.
I would like to briefly tell you about our team. They are very professional, creative and reliable people. Initially, there were four people who carried our idea: Askhat Mussanov (Deputy CEO), Dmitriy Martynenko (Analyst - Art Director), Akim Mezhanskiy (Programmer - Architect) and myself as a moderator, co-founder. With the growth of the project there was a need for additional staff: developers, analysts, designers, etc. New people with high qualification and striving for company development joined our team. DMMS projects are supervised by an experienced manager Madina Aytiyeva. Today we already have a big enough team and very cohesive and effective.
We are represented in all industrial regions of the country. We can provide technical support 24/7, while foreign companies take a long time and cost much more. So it is much more profitable for local mining companies to work and resolve issues with us.