Product optimization through digital plant planning

by Hans Diederichs

North Star BlueScope integrates digitalization solutions in its hot flat strip production

North Star BlueScope located in Delta, Ohio, awarded SMS digital, a company of SMS group, an order for the digitalization of the hot flat strip production at the Delta site in order to raise it to a new digital level.

Following the order placed with SMS group last year to extend the thin slab caster by a further     strand, NSBS is now relying on SMS group’s digitalization competence and is integrating a digitalization package from SMS digital across the entire production process. A major advantage and also a requirement of NSBS is the digital connection of third-party plants.

The digital solution package includes the SMS digital ( production planning system MES 4.0 (Manufacturing Execution System) and the Quality Execution System QES with Process Data Warehouse PDW module containing a data history extension.

Plant data including historical data are processed within the SMS Data Factory, to allow for future extension of machine learning and artificial intelligence Apps, as well as for full plant visualization functions capabilities. In addition, the Smart Alarm App will enhance maintenance insight through the ability to diagnose cause and effect of signals and alerts. NSBS trusts in the long-standing successful cooperation with SMS group and will further expand the partnership with this joint digitalization strategy.

The digitization solutions of SMS group are able to integrate all interfaces of third-party suppliers in order to represent a complete production flow. MES 4.0 is pre-designed for the capability of further future extensions and enhancement. The flexible modularity offers the possibility to directly add additional features, functions and business intelligence to the system. In the context of digitalization, the MES 4.0 can act as a data hub to quality management systems such as the QES, where quality is monitored, graded and certified for release.

SMS digital specializes in transforming data into information and ultimately into added value and can incorporate individual customer requirements into the development of digital solutions. At NSBS, the MES 4.0 will initially be successively tested in shadow mode during ongoing production and then implemented step by step, until finally in mid to late 2021 the second strand of the thin slab casting plant will also be connected to the MES 4.0.

Key factors for the decision to partner with SMS group for digitally connecting the future twin-strand caster was the high added value resulting from the strong combination from SMS digital’s know-how of technology, functionality, and user-friendliness. By incorporating these production planning systems, energy consumption during production can be reduced, rejects minimized and quality increased, thus achieving a faster return on investment.

With this order, NSBS and SMS continue to extend the successful cooperation.

Source and photo: SMS group GmbH

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