We live in a world of experts. Even early attempts with Artificial Intelligence were called Expert Systems. Experts are important – they are able to solve specific problems others can’t. But what if the problem or task is not limited to a specific topic or region?
With our new release PSImetals 5.15 we count on Interaction – the communication and know-how exchange of experts or in our case of components. Keeping their specific strength but allowing them to act together on a task that belongs to the whole supply chain provides new possibilities and benefits.
A new way of data visualization is available in the field of surface inspection. Data from dedicated inspection systems are transferred – by the way also a way of interaction! – into the PSImetals Factory Model via standard interface and stored with direct relation to material genealogy information. With our PSI Click-Design GUI framework the screen can be added to any Click-Design enabled view. In case of quality issues the operator can immediately check the inspection data for a specific material in a graphical way for further assessment without the need to open another software tool. At the same time this builds the foundation for further data analytics.
Increased Quality inspection requirements also influenced the way defect information is assigned to materials. Therefore PSI introduced the so called Reason Code that could be assigned to a dispositioning task like rework, degrading or scrapping. Following user requirements in addition to this Reason Code, it is now also possible to assign a Defect Code instead to a re-work management operation within the deviation management process. This reduces configuration time and increases reporting capabilities. A context filtered list of defects will assist the user in his operation. For additional transparency PSImetals provides an improved configuration to indicate failed tests by extended defect descriptions. These case specific defect codes allow a quick overview of the related problem.
Additional deviation management capabilities can be configured by triggering rework tasks automatically in case of material de-charging or by registering defect codes.
Tracking auxiliary or packing materials offers a further dimension of cost optimization. With the new Packing PDA screen the operator is now able to track the consumption of packing materials like pallets and films in a very comfortable way. This allows additional (cost) control on this kind of material and offers a new field for improvement.
To further improve manual processes at the production lines the corresponding PDA screens are now proposing additional functions like (un-)bundling and material movements from and to the line.
In some cases autonomy is better than (too much) interaction. The order fulfillment model in the Automotive Business is typically driven by so-called Schedule Agreements. Based on fully specified articles the routings, process parameters and quality instructions are static for all repetitive orders requesting that article. By not elaborating the full Production Order each time a demand comes in, we now support the split of the production order into static and dynamic. The static part is elaborated once (or after a specification change). The dynamic part (volume and target date) is handed over from ERP to PSImetals separately. This ensures a much faster and more efficient processing for this agile business where a change of volume and date is the standard. The static part is stored in a Production Order Template to create an operative Production Order without further communication with the Order Dressing system.
To improve the interaction between Production Management and Base Automation Systems and hence between Product Design and Shop Floor Operators the PSImetals L2 Standard Interface now allows users to send down extensive order, operation and/or material instructions which can be visualized on the relevant screens. Another important field of interaction is between ERP/SAP and Production Management. The standard ERP interface has been extended with additional messages.
With release 5.13 the concept of Dynamic Slots was introduced to the standard. The release 5.15 now supports Destination Finding, which includes dynamic storage places in its decision making process.
In the field of mainly long production the new release supports the relocation of only a part of a bulk. This is realized by implicit splitting and merging of bulk materials.
The optimized usage of high quality coils and the shipment of final products in time is very important to lots of customers. 5.15 therefore focuses sharply on the PSImetals Coil Combiner.
Based on a complete Facelift and new functions the component provides huge improvement potential for our customers and fulfills the latest market requirements. With the support of slit groups users are now able to manipulate groups of small slits very comfortably on the screen. The easy assignment of scrap to pieces in the cutting plan allows a graphical representation of the cutting pattern close to reality. With iterative slit patterns pre-slit calculations are supported to allow the processing of even very complex processes and cutting patterns.
Customers that have a good demand for orders of specific widths might want to have their slitters set to determined patterns to avoid downtimes caused by machine configuration. Newly introduced Fixed Slitting Patterns allow the user to configure one or more of such patterns which will be assigned automatically to orders by Coil Combiner. This has a direct effect on the line utilization.
For improved forecast management the PSImetals Demand Manager has a new screen giving an overview about the forecast and its consumption. To save the investments of our customers into 3rd party systems where they maintain the business forecast data the Demand Manager now offers two comfortable ways to enter this information: either by input in the new forecast screen or as direct import from a CSV file. The data can be used in the future by PSImetals Sales & Operations Planning.
The daily life of metals production is a complex one and it depends on the seamless interaction between the different functional areas of an organization. With PSImetals 5.15 two cross-functional business processes are now supported out-of-the box – combining the strength of more than one software module.
Business Case "Narrow Coils"
Those orders must be combined into larger coils before casting and can then be slit and/or cut. We have therefore created an end-to-end process of coil combination realized using the interaction of the PSImetals components Order Dressing, Coil Combiner, and Production Execution.
In a first step the “narrow orders” are processed within Order Dressing which is storing the elaborated Production Orders in the Factory Model. The Coil Combiner uses these Production Orders along with stock coil information. This component combines the smaller orders, allocates them to coils, and creates cutting plans. These cutting plans are then elaborated again by Order Dressing with combined orders/cutting plans as results. Finally the combined orders and the cutting plans are executed by PSImetals Production and visualized within Material Genealogy.
Business Case "Hot Metal Handling"
This example is around hot metal handling and scheduling within the meltshop. The new release supports the tracking and scheduling of hot metal from the blast furnace using torpedo cars to the BOF. That is why a new type of production orders was created to extend the system coverage from BOF upstream. All these steps are reflected within Online Heat Scheduler (OHS). The OHS is now directly connected with the Treatment Practices and allows the operator to manage deviations by adding rework steps and reassigning actual heats to different orders directly in the Gantt-chart. As such decisions can have huge impact on heat timing, this new function is also supported in scenario mode to check unwanted effects first. Besides the direct manipulation the user can also freeze an amount of upcoming heats on an aggregate. Those heats won’t be considered by Online Heat Scheduler in its next optimization round. This guarantees a stable planning situation for the near future.
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