At the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK) there are already 16 software robots successfully imitating the actions of real workers. By the end of 2019, the company plans to have automated a total of 32 manufacturing processes.
The head of the MMK-InformService project office, Valery Rybolovlev, spoke about the company’s automation during the Digital Transformation in Metallurgy conference held as part of the INNOPROM International Trade Fair in Yekaterinburg.
MMK launched the first programmable robot last year at the commercial directorate of the plant: the robot, created on the basis of the innovative RPA technology (Robotic Process Automation), is responsible for interacting with scrap metal suppliers. In particular, it processes e-mail, independently performs searches through the Russian Railways databases and generates reports for the Company’s specialized services. This year, MMK plans to analyze, in detail, another 69 production processes that could possibly undergo automation.
The development of RPA-technologies, one of the possible directions of MMK’s “Industry 4.0”, concept, which provides for the comprehensive digitalization of business processes with the goal of increasing productive efficiency. According to Valery Rybolovlev, the key technologies of digitalization in the next five to ten years will be mathematical models and digital counterparts.
For their development and implementation in the scientific and technical center of MMK, groups for mathematical modeling and system-analytical research have been created.
In three years, the group has done a lot of work: several software solutions based on Big Data technologies and artificial neural networks have been developed and implemented. For example, a mathematical model developed to optimize the procurement and consumption of raw coal materials saved the company over 500 million rubles. The “Sniper” service, developed by MMK in collaboration with Mechanica AI, was introduced as a pilot program in the production process, optimizing the consumption of ferroalloys and additional materials in steelmaking.
MMK has always successfully implemented the most advanced technology intended to automate production management. As part of the strategic initiative “Industry 4.0”, the company uses the capabilities of the new technologies in order to improve planning efficiency, improve product quality and reduce transaction costs. Currently, MMK, in partnership with Deloitte, is preparing a roadmap for the digitization of its plant for the medium term. The roadmap will include the most effective projects that will help MMK achieve strategic goals faster and significantly improve business efficiency. (MMK/Ukrainian metal)