thyssenkrupp Digitizes Cooling Process of Coils in Hohenlimburg
For shorter lead times & stronger customer focus, thyssenkrupp’s site in Hohenlimburg has digitized its shower cooling area for hot strip. The shower cooling area, where coils are cooled off before passing on to the pickling line, was integrated into the existing digital structure in 2020. This allows reducing the lead times of the hot rolled precision strip significantly. Since November 2020, the shower cooling area has existed as a digital twin, a mathematical image of the real site, and the cooling of hot strip is no longer left to chance: the system signals a coil’s readiness to be further conveyed and processed and this as a function of its temperature.
The water shower cooling has several advantages over the conventional air cooling process. Quality defects like corrosion pits can be avoided by the controlled cooling process. Another important feature is that the coils are cooled down in the shower cooling area and the storage area preceding the pickling line only to the extent that is optimal for the pickling process. The basis for this, apart from the consolidation of various process data, is a self-developed mathematical model on the basis of which each individual coil knows when it reaches the optimum temperature. The globally unique method thus has two important benefits: it optimizes warehouse logistics and increases productivity in the manufacturing process.
This means that it is always possible to see where a specific coil is located on the plant floor. The forklift is also integrated in real time.
With the digitization, the precision steel specialist follows the path toward a fully connected steelworks and creates the conditions for giving customers extensive scope of action in the future. Under the catchword “Rolling as a service“, customers are already today involved in determining what’s next up on the Hohenlimburg site’s rolling program. Short lead times are essential to ensure that this business model also works without large inventories.
The digital warehouse management system also meets with a positive response from the employees. It enables forklift drivers to spot or deposit coils more quickly and provides information about where the load can be deposited safely, a benefit for occupational safety and health. It starts with the optimization of logistics processes and ends with controlling, where information on material stocks, turnover rates and tied up capital can be easily retrieved.