Author: Thomas Vieweg, Projektmanager, PSI Metals GmbH

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Source: ArcelorMittal Dofasco
System switchover from old to new at ArcelorMittal Dofasco: a delighted team with the first coil produced with the new production management system.
Source: ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Equipped for the future

With PSImetals as the production management system, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has a solution today that provides the classical MES functions. The system was adapted to the legacy system landscape and forms a sound basis for the future IT landscape.

Production with the new system

One important decision was how to commission the new system. Both a phased and a rapid release (a start up of the system over a 7 day period) implementation were discussed. The rapid release option was selected to minimize the complex integration of a phased implementation. After two days of data migration, the PSImetals solution, and all of the interfaces (level-4 systems, the laboratory, transport management, Decision Support Environment (DSE system), all 22 level-2 systems and external outside processors) were put into operation without any major difficulties within five days. The first coil was produced on schedule with the new system.

Integrated production workflows

Integration into the legacy systems, the level-2 systems and transport control, as well as the connection to the external outside processors via EDI were carried out by WIPRO using PSIintegration, PSI's EAI tool. Although the date for the introduction of SAP has not yet been set, the new MES is to be prepared for SAP to be introduced at a later date. PSImetals guarantees this because it has been accredited as a Powered by SAP NetWeaver and can draw on a wealth of integration experience with other customer projects.

In an effort to offer ArcelorMittal Dofasco a smooth transition to the new world, all the data in the old systems was automatically imported into PSImetals as active material with material parameters and production data along with the complete history. This complex data migration was carried out in close cooperation between ArcelorMittal Dofasco, WIPRO and PSI.

From old to new: 140 systems, 60 interfaces and 3 time zones

The biggest challenge was the introduction of the new backbone into a legacy system landscape with production running. "The IT landscape at Dofasco had grown over time and, when the project began, included around 140 systems/programs that were involved in production planning, control and analysis," reports Thomas Vieweg, project manager at PSI Metals in Germany and responsible for the introduction of PSImetals at Arcelor- Mittal Dofasco. "PSImetals allowed us to completely replace 35 systems, and interfaces were adapted for around 60 systems. This meant that we first had to create trust by proving that a migration of this dimension is doable without long interruptions in production," Thomas Vieweg continues. ArcelorMittal Dofasco partnered India’s WIPRO Technologies as System Integrator for the MES Program. WIPRO was responsible for integrating the remaining systems. The project was hence implemented in three countries with three time zones and a maximum time difference of 11.5 hours. Although there were logistical challenges planning telephone and web conferences with the time zone differences, it also made working around the clock possible.

Always in co-operation with the customer

ArcelorMittal Dofasco and PSI Metals cooperated closely in order to adapt the system to the customer's specific needs and to put it into operation. The project followed the industry's tried-and-tested method involving the requirements specifications phase, system design, build & customizing phase, testing and implementation.

In order to give ArcelorMittal Dofasco the opportunity to exert influence and to control results from an early stage, PSI provided a test system in different stages of development during the build & customizing phase. This meant that the project team and key users were able to compare their expectations with the functions of the future solution at an early point in time. The build & customizing phase was completed in Germany and ended with a software acceptance test with several ArcelorMittal Dofasco participants attending.

Better and faster

The introduction of the new production management system was geared towards achieving significant improvements in all areas of production, business and IT. The most important goals were for the following areas:

Business & production

  • Mapping of all production-relevant business processes through uniform production planning and control
  • Greater transparency, flexibility and speed for planning processes
  • Reduced inventories

Information Technology:

  • Simplification of the IT landscape
  • Improved data quality through the implementation of single-sourceof- record in a central and consistent factory model
  • User-friendly, modern interaction between users and the system

The heart of production

The new production management system plans and controls all the systems in the Finishing mills and its outside processors. The PSImetals Planning, PSImetals Quality and PSImetals Production components in use fully cover planning know-how and integrate comprehensive functions for the planning, control and monitoring of the Finishing production. PSImetals covers all functions of a level-3 system and forms the backbone of the entire IT infrastructure in production. In this position, the new system is an integral part of the new IT landscape and an important tool in Dofasco's manufacturing process.

User report: System conversion with new dimension

PSImetals at ArcelorMittal Dofasco

The importance of efficient and effective planning, scheduling and execution directly supports ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s working capital and cost goals. Prior to the implementation of PSImetals, these functions were supported by many computer based Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) that had evolved over the years. Although these systems provided acceptable functionality and were stable, their combination was somewhat inflexible and hampered reaching levels of business process performance that was possible for order fulfilment in the steel industry.

The above situation resulted in:

  • higher than optimal levels of inventory and work in process,
  • unnecessary product movement and plant set up,
  • limited integration between successive operations,
  • reduced visibility of material and material characteristics, and
  • additional effort required to distribute manufacturing instructions,
  • and provided improvement opportunities.

The availability of an MES package (PSImetals) specific for the steel industry was used to help overcome the current limitations and realize the improvement opportunities.