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Phosa: BCG’s AI Solution for Continuous-Process Industries

In our proprietary methodology, BCG experts use their end-to-end process and domain knowledge along with advanced analytics to produce next-generation integrated operations—and major results.

Excavating data from mining operations is just as important as excavating ore. But in mining and other continuous-process industries, it’s hard to construct data models that can pinpoint exactly where changing operational controls could improve performance. Analytics alone aren’t enough. You need to account for the multiple variables and underlying physics involved in a given process.

Phosa, the proprietary “human in the loop” AI solution from BCG GAMMA, provides real-time recommendations for changes that yield higher values at any stage of a continuous-process operation. Consultants with deep domain expertise and knowledge of end-to-end processes develop and validate machine-learning methods, which client personnel can operate and continue to refine.


How the Phosa Methodology Works

Just as miners use headlamps to light their way, Phosa helps companies uncover opportunities hidden in existing processes. The AI applications go beyond black-box solutions by combining domain expertise with analytics, proprietary trade secrets, and code libraries to create transformational changes to frontline operations. This AI methodology can be used to improve decisions at any level:

  • Operational. To improve short-term conditions for specific equipment, teams, or processes, or to coordinate structured processes according to shared KPIs. Examples of operational applications include optimizing haul dispatch or responding to unplanned downtime.
  • Tactical. To maximize midterm asset performance by aligning the organization to common objectives and evaluating tradeoffs across the value chain. Examples of tactical applications include making decisions about mine pit development or when to schedule major maintenance.
  • Strategic. To maximize the lifetime value of assets and inform long-term and life-of-mine planning. Examples of strategic applications include turnaround scoping and scheduling.

Phosa recommendations can be integrated into multiple client systems, including control systems, existing diagnostic displays, or custom dashboards. In addition, recommendations can be fully automated in process control systems, entered into the systems manually by client operators, or integrated into the systems but applied only when an operator reviews and approves them.

How Phosa Helps Clients

BCG clients can use Phosa to progress up an S-curve of value:

  • Visualization. Analyze previously inaccessible data and create dashboards that guide management decisions and inform operations.
  • Use cases and basic AI. Improve a KPI or other value for a specific use case.
  • Real-time AI integrated with operations. Build a solution into a discrete yet complicated operation that requires improved connections and trust.
  • AI-driven integrated operations. Integrate a suite of AI solutions to maximize their value.
  • Closed-loop AI operations. In the future, AI will drive enterprise-wide decisions through closed-loop, high frequency predictive systems.

Phosa’s Impact Throughout the Continuous-Process Industries

Existing clients have used Phosa to realize hundreds of millions of dollars in value by optimizing multiple operating setpoints in response to changing raw material and environmental factors. Setpoints can be maintained with traditional, low-level automated process control devices.

BCG clients can apply Phosa’s industry-agnostic, modular approach throughout their value chain to turbocharge performance and advance their digital transformation. In addition to metals and mining, Phosa helps companies harness the power of AI in the oil and gas industry as well as in chemicals, agribusiness, and similar industries.

If clients need other capabilities or functions, our AI applications experts can collaborate with other BCG specialty businesses, including BCG Platinion, to design and implement resilient products, platforms, and solutions for continuous-process industries, and with BCG Digital Ventures to launch, spin off, or invest in digital- or data-based startups.

Learn More About Our Latest Thinking on AI in Mining and Other Continuous-Process Industries

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