ArcelorMittal recognizes the speed and accuracy of information available through digitalization. We use data to generate cost reduction and environmental benefit for the company and the world.

ArcelorMittal has developed a holistic vision as it relates to digitalization, which includes the Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Dofasco has adopted all three to improve reliability, safety and operational efficiency and capture cost savings. 

Digitalization isn’t new to ArcelorMittal or the steel industry. We have been working on digitalization efforts for nearly 20 years. Our team is increasing across the globe, as are our solutions and recognition. 

The digital economy defined 

  • Internet of Things (IoT) enables both the gathering of data and making it available to the Big Data platform. ArcelorMittal’s IoT platform allows the company to manage all devices - security patches, algorithms, metadata - which is key for a data-driven company 
  • Big Data extracts value from huge volumes of information. It stores massive volumes of data, consolidates sources, centralizes the information and exposes a manageable interface to access and exploit it. Big Data has brought solutions to problems we weren’t able to solve before due to memory or execution time. 
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - explores the data, identifies patterns and discovers insights, models behavior and uses optimization algorithms to transform those into recommendations. The outcomes of these actions result in additional data, closing a loop of online learning and continuous improvement.  

How Dofasco embraces digitalization 

  • Dofasco has implemented sensors throughout the operations to measure everything from temperature and vibration to acoustics and particulate matter. The captured data is used for predictive and preventative maintenance, meaning areas of concern are identified and addressed before they become disruptive. 
  • Dofasco leverages the corporate Big Data platform, ARTHUR, to build Machine Learning Models to support various industrial operations and business decisions. The platform also enables Dofasco to build digital twins to simulate the processes and to assist with operator decision making, study performance, optimize business models and generate improvements.
  • Dofasco uses AI to capture historical knowledge of our more experienced workforce and digitize that information to create an automated decision-making processes. AI has eliminated the guesswork of routine operations and automated button-pushing and lever-pulling processes. This allows skilled workers to focus on more critical actions. 
  • We use predictive modeling for the purchase of raw materials to optimize purchasing price and capitalize on market opportunities. 

Dofasco invests $12 million in digital transformation of Ladle Metallurgy Facility 

ArcelorMittal Dofasco is working with Mohawk College’s Sensor Systems and Internet of Things (IoT) Lab. Together, researchers are designing and testing an imaging and deep learning-based automated system for identifying and removing slag from the Lable Metallurgy Facility (LMF). 

Slag is a byproduct produced when molten steel is separated from impurities. For every 310 tonnes of steel produced, about four tonnes of slag must be removed, or raked. Precision and consistency are important in the raking process. Not raking off enough slag compromises quality. Removing too much molten steel with the slag compromises production efficiency.  

Currently, LMF operators manually rake the slag off the ladle using a hydraulic arm. This critical process is run by a joystick and visual assessment.  

Dofasco and Mohawk researchers began the project by pouring water from a cup and measuring the angle of the pour. The dimensions of the water cup will be scaled to represent a ladle carrying 310 tonnes of liquid steel. Machine vision is used to do computational work to ensure the right angle. 

Once the digitalization process is complete in 2023, robots will rake and sample the steel. Digital sensors will control what to add and when. The project will: 

  • Lower energy consumption and costs 
  • Provide consistent quality every time 
  • Enhance metallurgical properties of final steel product 
  • Improve Health and Safety for operators and allow them to focus on higher value tasks in an analytical, supervisory role  

The $12 million project was made possible through a 50 percent investment from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen). NGen is a network of private and public sector organizations that founded and invest in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. An additional 25 percent of funding was provided by technology partners. The two-year Mohawk project is funded by $300,000 from the National Sciences and Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through an Applied Research and Development Grant.

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