Expertise Beyond the Numbers

How Active Minerals Embraced Technology to Turn Dirt into Gold

Active Minerals International’s business couldn’t be simpler.

“We bag dirt and sell it,” says Michael Janney, Chief Information Officer and an investor in the Hunt Valley manufacturing and mining company.

Over the past six years, the company has transformed itself from a distributor to a global leader producing and marketing clay minerals – more specifically kaolin and gel quality attapulgite clay – which are used in scores of products ranging from iPhones and sneakers, to circuit boards, fiberglass, drywall, and carpeting as well as industrial coatings.

Its business is exploding and the company ranks as the U.S.’s 75th largest exporter. Why such a sudden turnaround? In a word: technology.

April 27th at 8:30 a.m. at the Mount Washington Mill-Dye House, Janney will discuss, at this invite only event, how his company took its process of sourcing and producing industrial mineral solutions, and bridged the gap between manufacturing and technology to build a thriving, modern manufacturer.

Janney’s presentation is sponsored by SC&H Group and Howard Bank, which have partnered to launch a new series focused on providing manufacturing executives with fresh examples of businesses that have taken the next step, and can show in detail the impact Industry 4.0 has had on their businesses.

“Active Minerals is a prime example of how manufacturers can take their business to the next level by embracing Industry 4.0,” said Ron Causey, CEO of SC&H Group. “We are pleased to host this event with Howard Bank, one of the leading community and business banks in the area. We share a common interest in providing our Clients and others with valuable and timely information that provides insight and practical advice for business success. This is just another example of how we are fulfilling this effort.”

During the Active Minerals presentation, Janney will explain how the company took “baby steps” adopting technology in its manufacturing process. The move started about four years ago when the company invested in General Electric’s Proficy Historian’s data management software to collect and analyze date on its mill equipment.

In Active Minerals’ case the payoffs have been profound helping spur revenue growth at a double-digit pace along with EBITDA. Almost immediately the company realized savings after the system detected that Active Minerals was over filling its 50 pound bags by an average of one-half pound per bag. After adjusting its bagging equipment, the company saved thousands of dollars and within months, the investment paid for itself.

“We love technology here,” said Janney. “Where we are with technology, and where the average manufacturers are with technology, is light years apart.”

Janney will address other areas where the company has seen major costs savings ranging from tracking data on motors, to improving on the quality of the clay the company sells.

“I am excited to share our story because I am convinced that manufacturers of all sizes can benefit from adopting technology solutions that can transform the manufacturing floor,” Janney said. “Active Minerals is living proof that by having an open mind to technology and taking the time to understand its applications, companies can expand their businesses, operate more efficiently, and compete on a global scale.”