In an interview with HPY Technology R&D and Laboratory Center’s Public Resource Manager Xie Zhicong, he charts how the company streamlined its automatic and efficient workflow.

Xie Zhicong joined HPY Technology in May 2018 as an after-sales engineer in a modest team of 40 individuals. The role demanded him to be familiar with all four of HPY's sensor-based ore sorting machines. Since HPY's machines were sold to big mining companies across China, helping them to advance their process flow to enrich ore grades entering the grinding stage, while reducing wastewater treatment and transporting costs, this entailed him going on frequent excursions, often in remote, faraway locations from the company's headquarters in Ganzhou, Jiangxi, to oversee equipment on-site, ensure installations, and troubleshooting.

However, after a year and a half, some demands from his personal life prompted a transition to the newly formed Resource Management Department. By late 2019, his responsibilities now encompassed organizing a safe and efficient workspace for the Laboratory and R&D Center and meeting all its engineers' daily concerns, no matter how big or small.

Optimization into Standardized Management

"At the time, the four of us needed to optimize the entire 3000 m2 workspace; the workload was huge, and the process can be quite tedious; our approach is reorganizing the workshop one section at a time," Xie explained. They started by standardizing the treatment of incoming tons of ore samples sent by HPY's clients.

Receiving the ore sample is also critical in the early cooperation between HPY and the mines. HPY needs to evaluate these ore samples and determine if the current sorting machine works for this mine or requires different sensor types and algorithm modifications. Therefore, devising a designated area and a standardized process to deal with these big bags of samples in various stages is critical to ensuring that the laboratory and the testing center's work goes smoothly.

Unfortunately, Xie's new position collided with the beginning of the COVID pandemic; Xie had to learn on the job, becoming juggling impromptu tasks like a newly upgraded sorter machine urgently needing ample open space. The job could become overwhelming as his role often required him to negotiate with the Marketing department, the Laboratory, the Experimental Testing Center, and the four teams of the Product Department.

"I considered myself a 'technical' expert," Xie clarified, "I wasn't the leader-organizational type when I was first put in the management position; it's a trial-and-error process, learning how to designate tasks to someone else; you have to give yourself many pep talks and committed to being a life-long learner." Interestingly, Xie's first response to this interview offer was to say, "Nah, I'm really introverted." The contrast makes it hard to associate that individual online with the man doing the interview.

Proactive Safety Regulations

Central to Xie's responsibilities is fostering a safety culture within the workshop. The team implemented additional safety protocols, signs, and labels to warn of the potential risk that exists in the workplace. Conducting regular inspections is also part of Xie's responsibility. They would perform a daily safety check on the utilities and arrange monthly radiation detection tests. Last December 2023, the company also organized a Radiation Safety Training Test. Xie's team meticulously supervises every aspect to ensure a secure working environment for all employees.

The head engineer's proactive steps to streamline ore sample handling, enhance safety protocols, and refine operational processes did not go unnoticed. Xie admits, "My sense of accomplishment comes from two aspects: one, seeing the workshop's transition to being more scientifically organized, and two, having the engineers' recognition after witnessing these positive changes."

Looking Ahead to the Future: World-class Testing Center and Laboratory

Currently, Xie's attention is directed towards constructing a new facility that provides a modern and efficient workspace for the experimental department. The reason for emphasizing automation and workflow optimization is that the team's goal is to create the most cutting-edge apparatus conducive to evolving innovation and testing better suited to the client's needs.

Take the ore sample storage site as an example again; HPY's new sample storage site will be an automated warehouse, which means the storage space above the ground level will be utilized to its full potential, and transporting the samples will no longer require manual labor, instead a robotic cart will transport the samples to the designated storage unit. To give a glimpse into the future, organizing tons of ore samples will be streamlined and simplified to a one-man job.

"After these series of automated and robotic upgrades, we think it will also be an impressive sight for visiting clients to see and understand HPY's commitment to setting the new industrial standard when it comes to implementing the most efficient and professional work process, and this begins with our own center and testing site." Xie proudly outlines the near future.

Beyond professional achievements and grand renovation plans, Xie's most memorable moment in HPY was a team-building activity for HPY's New Year's Gala and Awards Ceremony, when his department had to perform a dance program in front of the entire company. Like everything they do, putting their heart and soul into these rehearsals has ranked them at the top of all programs, and everyone enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea with the prize money. Their fun rehearsals leading up to the program and winning the top performance underscore the camaraderie and spirit of collaboration within HPY Technology. Teamwork is the cornerstone of progress; together, they navigate challenges and celebrate victories.

Xie's journey is a testament to HPY's continuous technological improvement and teamwork. From navigating technical challenges to fostering a collaborative atmosphere, each experience has contributed to personal and professional growth. As the company continues to evolve, the director remains dedicated to utilizing his managerial finesse to foster world-class customized mining solutions that will help the mineral processing, such as separating the valuable target from the raw ore more efficiently, accurately, and sustainably.