Steel and metals manufacturers are introduced with a huge opportunity to transform their operational model by implementing digital technology, allowing them to improve operational efficiency, customer service, inventory levels, and profit margin.
Fremont, CA: Digital technologies are the driving factor behind the global transformation and dramatically improving the way the organizations operate. Currently, more than a year after the US smacked tariffs on imported steel, the industry is till date in a state of malaise. The steel prices have reduced, the stocks are going up and down regularly, and there is no end in sight. And like every time the manufacturers are under extreme pressure to improve production efficiencies regardless of the turbulence spiked by this geopolitical struggle playing out in the front of the whole world. Following which numerous producers have limited their discretionary capital spending until and unless the project promises a fast ROI, putting few opportunities on the table when it comes down to long term business sustainability.
A specific area that is not supposed to be abandoned without exploring is the strategic necessity to continue down the path of a Digital Transformation. The companies which can recognize the opportunity and take action immediately regardless of the climate condition will have a competitive edge, which will last long into the future, and the ones who don’t will fall behind. The most important thing to account for is how to evaluate the current situation and invest in the right projects strategically.
An area where substantial ROI can be achieved is in the crane operations, which impacts the entire steel manufacturing process, specifically when considering the age and lack of technology embedded in most systems operating today. Generally, cranes are more than 30 years old and running with rudimentary technologies embedded like hardwired relay logic, contractors, and direct-on-line motors, and often with limited monitoring.
This is significant potential to better the efficiency, productivity, and safety, and also reduce product mishandling and the downtime. These are the pain points that can be greatly enhanced through digitization, delivering an estimated rise in efficiency between 50 to 60 percent merely by eliminating bottlenecks and issues in material handling.
Digitization being the answer to healthier steel production is topsy-turvy. Still, the IT/OT convergence in crane operations is a vital aspect of a successful digital transformation in the next step-up in the steel industry’s productivity.