Pioneering improved quality and enhanced throughput
A strong client relationship and detailed 3D simulations helped Pesmel deliver cutting edge technology for JSW Steel’s CRM2 mill.
In 2013, Pesmel commissioned a modern, automated Material Flow How® concept-based Yard Management System (YMS at JSW Steel’s CRM2 plant in Karnataka, India. Aiming to produce 34 million tons of steel by 2020 through the construction of new mills, JSW Steel is the largest private sector steel manufacturer in India in terms of capacity. Pesmel joined the greenfield project at an early stage to assist JSW Steel in planning and executing a CRM2 mill that seamlessly integrates production with an internal logistics system that includes automated high-bay storage control in one complete solution.
“As Logistics experts, it’s always good to be involved in projects at an early phase, as normal practice for the customer is to focus on the production lines and not the logistics, packing, and storage systems, which may lead to major complications at a later date,” says Juha Suksi, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Pesmel Oy. “We consider the project from a total logistics point of view, and a greenfield site is a good opportunity to optimize at an early date”.
Pesmel’s expertise in combining logistics and production requirements contributed towards the delivery of a CRM2 mill that enables intelligent material flows across the whole plant that can minimise distribution errors, lower costs, and increase production efficiency. To achieve this, Pesmel conducted a comprehensive study of JSW Steel’s mill requirements to produce a solution that meets their needs as efficiently as possible.
“The Advanced Configuration and Simulation study rendered by Pesmel to advise the customer on the precise resources, building, and storage requirements – including phase-wise installation options – makes it easier for such projects to be understood and adapted by the customer,” explains Jagannathan Rajagopalan, Managing Director of Pesmel India.
One mill, one screen
As a result of this study, Pesmel created a comprehensive YMS for JSW Steel that integrated the various functions contained within the mill into one logistic entity. The whole factory is accessible from a single screen and all the functions within the yard are linked via an efficient high-speed coil car system working in support of Electric Overhead Travelling (EOT) cranes.
In practice, coils enter the hot-rolling area on railway wagons. Semi-automated overhead cranes fitted with HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) are supported by operators who scan coil barcodes and automatically generate task lists for the overhead cranes. A simple push of a button calls a crane into position, which in turn moves the coils to the correct storage area. The process is highly automated, apart from the operator manually controlling the lifts movements in the channel. Coil cars also feed the PLTCM line coil saddles, which then distribute coils throughout the factory. Systematic and sequential loading of the PLTCM at its entry is carried out by the four-way coil car with suitable interfacing with the PLTCM walking beam conveyor. A coil car system then picks up the cold-rolled coils from the PLTCM exit for the cold-roll storage. After storage, the coil car system delivers the coils to the annealing and galvanizing lines. This four-way coil car system minimizes overhead crane usage, greatly reducing their time investment and enabling the cranes to focus on working efficiently in one area for mainly the “pick and place” task. This also assures the least amount of handling damage to the coils. Similarly, the work in progress (WIP) coils are managed with a suitable automatic Yard Management System (YMS) for the finishing operations.
The mill also includes an automated high-bay Finished Goods Storage (FGS) fitted with high-speed stacker cranes. With over 50,000 tons of capacity, the rack-supported construction of the high-bay warehouse uses only one-third of the footprint of traditional floor storage solutions.
“10 coils can be stored vertically and can be accessed immediately – gone are the days of moving two coils to access one at the bottom in a typical three-tier floor storage system. We help JSW Steel minimize handling of the coils, thus saving time, reducing the risk of damage and the need for manpower,” continues Juha Suksi.
All coil movements are tracked throughout the entire mill. The data is fed into the control system, which processes all mill material flows and automatically controls all logistic devices, 24/7. Pesmel’s expertise in creating intelligent material flows has greatly influenced the effectiveness and productivity of the JSW Steel mill. Coil throughput rates are much higher than in traditional factories, as lowered loading times, reduced building costs, and the elimination of tracking errors and lost products mean JSW Steel can now deliver even more products to their customers at the highest possible quality levels.
Support through contractual maintenance
In order to keep operations running smoothly, Pesmel provides JSW Steel with Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) services and is planning the delivery of a host of smaller updates across the site in the near future. Pesmel’s Indian subsidiary also stations engineers on the factory floor to ensure smooth performance, assuring local and dedicated support by Pesmel India. In addition, a 24/7 helpdesk comprising Service/WMS experts can have remote access to the factory logistics system from Finland and solve potential problems that may occur, enabling JSW Steel to keep the mill running with maximum efficiency at all times.
As a major player on the Indian steel market, JSW is in initial discussions to roll out similar solutions across its other factories.
“Feedback from the customer has been very positive,” comments Juha Suksi. “They now have plans to make investments in other JSW units as well, and we are discussing possible options for integrating our logistics system and high-bay storage into their existing mill floor plan.
“They are extremely satisfied with our YMS and high bay storage concepts. After installing one of the most modern automated logistics systems, JSW Steel now understands how efficient this new technology is, and they will use similar solutions when building new factories and updating existing sites in the future,” he remarks.
Ashish Chandra, Chief of JSW CRM2, reflected this sentiment when giving feedback during discussions with Jagannathan Rajagopalan and Pesmel’s Project team after their CRM2 mill had been in operation for two years.
“Pesmel internal logistic solutions made material handling and storing at JSW highly effective. With the help of Pesmel solutions, we at JSW CRM2 could ramp up the production level from around 50% in the first year of operation to beyond 75% in less than 20 months of operation. Pesmel solutions not only became the backbone for processing of materials, but also strengthened the outbound deliveries in less stipulated time,” he says.
“Secondly, the customization of solutions as per the requirement and support provided by Pesmel engineers to nurture and mature the solutions is appreciable. Having understood the benefits, JSW is keen to adapt modern logistics concept similar to CRM2 in other units and projects,” concludes Ashish.
It is a fact that modern technology has become a significant force of change in logistics, which in turn can be the deciding success factor in any industrial operation. Efficiency is no longer an option in the steel industry. It is a necessity.