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A Leading Steel Maker Optimizes and Automates its Integrated Steel Plant

The Problem

The customer is a global producer of steel with fully integrated flat carbon steel plants for production of Slabs, Plates, Hot strips and finished products. Its serves to sectors like automotive, white goods, construction, engineering etc. The overall capacity was over 10 million tons. It has a complex set of processes consisting of a Blast Furnace, Arc Furnaces, thick as well as thin casters, a compact strip mill (CSP) fed online by multiple thin casters, plate mill, hot strip mill and cold rolling mill and slitting Centers. Manual planning and scheduling across different mills was an extremely complex job and there was no real-time visibility of production and quality data. All shop floor decisions were taken manually. Additionally, there was also a key issue of material optimization.

A Leading Steel Maker Optimizes and Automates its Integrated Steel Plant _image 1

Key Challenges

Customer was looking to address a variety of challenges like (a) long-term capacity planning to balance capacity utilization across different mills, (b) realistic commitment of delivery dates to its own customers based on capacity and free stock, (c) optimized and dynamic scheduling of Steel Melt Shop, CSP mill, Plate mill and downstream mills, (d) real-time tracking of Production and Quality through PDI generation and PDO capturing, (e) automated material diversions based on test results, (f) Material optimization for combining smaller coils or plates into larger ones and for creating upstream coil or slab production requirements (MRP) and tracking of Genealogy, Order progress status.

Solution

rhythm 2.0 Steel solutions were used to address the above challenges. Following solutions which are focussed on addressing steel sector problems were used.

1. Order Promise – Generated Promise dates against the requested delivery date based on the Order booking and based on the Plant Capacity and available free stock in various forms like child or mother coils, plates, or slab etc. Additionally, it evaluates technical feasibility of an Order and suggested the Impact of booking an Order on the other Orders.

2. Production Planning – Generated End-to-end Production plan from Steel Making to Plate or Hot Strips to Cold Rolled Products in one step. Synchronized capacities across different processes and maximizes Asset utilization while considering the Campaign Requirements.

3. Production Scheduling – Generated the Loading sequence for all Equipment based on process specific Scheduling rules and ensured minimization of Free Stocks. Key schedulers included Steel Melt Shop Scheduler with Heat Sequencing capability, CSP Scheduler, Plate and Hot Strip Mill Schedulers with Round Building capability and Service centre Scheduler.

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4. Material Allocator – Clubbed child items optimally to create optimal parent dimensions and minimizes yield losses. Created Optimal HR width and thickness from CR specifications, Optimal Mother plate length and width from Child plate specifications and Optimal Slab dimensions from HR Coil and Mother Plate dimensions.

5. MES Production Tracking – Computed & Downloaded PDI to Level 2 and Validated PDO results. Enabled Manual Production Capturing for processes not having Level 2 systems. Tracked Inventory, Order Progress Status, End-to-end Material Genealogy, Production defects, delays, production losses etc. Enabled optimal shop floor decisions in real time & reduction of free inventory.

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6. MES Quality Tracking – Delivered test management system for tracking chemical, mechanical, physical and surface Properties with ability to capture and validate Test result, track Defects, Sample status etc. Auto suggestion and diversion in case of problems was enabled.

Key Results

  • 5% higher On-time Delivery of Orders through realistic Delivery Date Commitment.
  • 10% Lower Inventory & Lead-time through Planning, Scheduling and Shop-floor tracking
  • 2% Improved Product Quality through minimized diversions
  • 2% Yield Improvements through Material Optimization
  • 10% Improved Asset Utilization through Production Planning
  • Higher Profitability through improved Order Mix
  • Complete Automation and Optimization from Planning to Execution