The workplace of the future
Company culture for great achievements
The unique innovations of Swedish tech company Orexplore mean new conditions for mapping of minerals and elements in mining. The company's global success has its roots in a corporate culture in which employees challenge each other to take the next big step in their own as well as the company's development.
We look out over the production line at Orexplore's office in Kista in Stockholm. At the end of it are three GeoCore X10, Orexplore's X-ray machine. The only one on the market that can see straight through rock. A patented technology that has taken ten years to develop and is now ready for a huge mining industry leap.
“It takes 15 minutes for GeoCore X10 to measure the contents of a one-metre drill sample. When measuring is complete, our software Orexplore Insight makes a digital 3D model of the entire sample. Geologists, no matter where they are in the world, can begin to map the content. Today’s standard method involves grinding a small part of the drill sample and transporting it to a laboratory. About a month later, the geologist will get the results. Our technology is not only much faster, it also delivers complete documentation for decision making, as we can see all minerals and elements in a sample. In addition, our method has less impact on the environment”, says Kevin Rebenius, founder and MD of Orexplore.
Orexplore is currently going through a comprehensive verification process, in which results of the traditional method are being compared to the company’s results. The technology is also being tested in mines in Sweden and Australia. At the same time, one GeoCore X10 is being equipped with a more powerful technology, allowing it to map gold. “We founded the company ten years ago to come up with technology that could detect gold more efficiently. But at the time, computers weren’t powerful enough. Today, they have finally caught up.”
The first person to joint Orexplore’s founders was physicist Alexander Hansson. In 2013, Hansson finished his PhD in astrophysics in Heidelberg in Germany and was looking for a challenge where he could put his experience of mapping elements in space into practice. At the time, there was only one vacant physicist position in the whole of Sweden. The fact that the job involved developing a technology with which to map minerals was a happy coincidence.
Today, Hansson is responsible for getting GeoCore X10 to analyse and catalogue minerals in the correct way; a task that involves pushing boundaries on a daily basis. Making the impossible possible. “When you work with pioneering technology, it is not just about reaching a new goal, one also has to invent the path to that goal”, Alexander continues.
Early on, Rebenius realised that Orexplore needed a culture in which talents could be challenged but also fulfilled. “We have a flat organisation without project managers. Instead, the responsibility of solving a problem rests on you or your team. And since the task is to solve problems that no one has solved before, everyone has their own way of achieving results. This leads to a strong belief in one's own ability, and our people develop both personally and professionally. Since we are still a small company, there is a good understanding for the challenges that face individuals and departments”, Rebenius explains.
Civil engineer Sandra Egardt, in charge of the production of GeoCore X10, was also attracted by Orexplore's one-step-at-a-time approach. “I came from massive Scania to Orexplore, a company with twenty employees. But even though Orexplore was small, it had invested in a world-class production line, something usually found in very large industrial companies. The combination of high-level production and an insight into what our physicists and programmers are working on makes my job both exciting and interesting.”
Egardt, who has been at Orexplore for three years, and in that time managed a year’s maternity leave, sees Orexplore's corporate culture as a great strength, both for her and the company. “We have a common goal, but are allowed to have different views on how to get there. This means that we are constantly stimulating each other to rethink and think differently. We trigger each other to bring forward arguments and solve problems. Quite simply, we make each other better, which is necessary if we want great achievements and an improvement from yesterday”, Egardt concludes.
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