Digitization will give ArcelorMittal Dofasco a competitive advantage by helping us become more agile and increase efficiency. Digitization is the improvement of our processes, performance and health of our organization through World Class Continuous Improvement, organizational change management and digital technologies, such as cloud solutions, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and drones.
“One of the key strategic initiatives we have identified in 2018 is the advancement of our digitalization strategy,” said Brian Benko, Vice-President, Procurement and Information Technology. “While we have begun to implement many improvements through automation and analytics in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing areas, there is still a lot of opportunity for value creation. With the advances in the new digital technologies, we hope to identify Value Plan projects that will improve our manufacturing and business processes.
“Many of our competitors have already invested quite heavily in digitization and in making their workforce skilled in digital technologies. We can’t stand still. We need to continuously improve to exceed what our competitors are doing today and in the future. It is imperative we adapt to industry transformation.”
For example, market swings that historically spanned years now happen quarterly, requiring a more dynamic response and customers are quickly embracing digital technologies, disrupting existing business models. Customers expect information exchange in real time and are seeking big data information to optimize their operations, for example, surface inspection data.
Our journey to digitization includes setting our direction, identifying challenges and opportunities, educating employees, choosing technologies that will help us to develop our strategy.
“After the digital strategy is complete, we will continue to implement our digital solutions and ready the organization to work differently with these new solutions. Another key effort is to continue to upgrade our information and operational technology foundation so that we can support the new digital technologies,” said Brian, adding that this includes continuing to implement SAP® for business processes and improving the data and analytics environment across Dofasco.
Dofasco will also continue to work with the federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster to obtain final approval and funding to assist in our key manufacturing project to automate our Ladle Metallurgical Facility (LMF) with an objective to improve production by minimizing manual intervention, reducing process variation and improving the final metallurgical properties.
“Digitization at Dofasco is an evolution of our current automation activities, not a revolution. We have already successfully implemented solutions using new digital technologies, such as mobile, cloud solutions, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, drones and advanced algorithms in some of our manufacturing and business process improvement projects,” Brian said.
These include, moving customer-supporting applications to mobile platforms so we can support customers anywhere at any time, using advanced algorithms for Mill scheduling on our Galvanize line, optimizing outbound rail and truck transportation and using autonomous cranes in auto coil management in our M building. We are also piloting 3D printing, using drones to track raw material inventory and IoT sensors to track torpedo cars.