“Our new control room ensures operator alignment and effective communication from a central location, provides a sense of workplace pride and ownership, and leverages technology in ways that allow our talented team to focus their time and efforts on consistently producing safe, environmentally sound, quality tons,” says Travis McClenithan, Sr. Manager, Operations, South Fort Meade.
Rusty Smith has worked in the phosphate industry for 43 years, almost 26 of those years as a Floatation Operator at our South Fort Meade facility. “The job has pretty much stayed the same over the years, but the technology has greatly improved,” he says. “These latest improvements are the best yet.”
Rusty and other operators are managing South Fort Meade’s entire beneficiation process (separating the matrix we mine into sand, clay and phosphate) from a new on-site central control room that opened in September. Tools and technology built into the control room help employees make real-time, data-driven decisions and improve coordination between South Fort Meade’s beneficiation plant and mining areas, as well as with the Integrated Operations Center that opened at Mosaic’s FishHawk Office earlier in the year.
Operators provided input about layout of the room and set-up of the workspaces – including the selection of new desks, chairs and monitors and use of a new digital whiteboard. They also proposed improvements to camera coverage in the beneficiation plant and identified opportunities to transition manual tasks to automated processes they can easily and safely complete without leaving the control room.
“We still make trips out into the plant, but not as much as we used to,” explains Rusty. “We don’t have to be out there making trips up and down the stairs or moving equipment as often, which means we can spend more time in front of the control screens and watching our new cameras. It’s safer for us, and we can spot potential problems more quickly than we can out walking from one side of the plant to the other.”
Other NextGEN work underway at South Fort Meade includes infrastructure improvements with fiber, cameras and connectivity for wireless devices throughout the plant, across the 16-acre footprint of the beneficiation plant, and in mining areas.
“This work is an investment – not just in our South Fort Meade facility and employees – but in the future of our operations here in Florida,” says Travis McClenithan, Sr. Manager, Operations, South Fort Meade. “It will provide the infrastructure and flexibility we need to continue leveraging technology and the combined expertise of our team in new ways to help Mosaic remain competitive in the global market for years to come.”