Configurable Process Simulator for Steel Companies

In the operational management of a production plant it is essential to understand the evolution of the situation in the short term, in order to timely implement the necessary interventions. This is particularly true for steel plants, often characterized by complexity and operational uncertainty.

ProdSim is a simulation tool that answers this need in an agile and effective mode, thanks to its intuitive graphical interface.

The aim of ProdSim is to provide a view of the situation that, starting from the current state, takes into account the evolution over a time horizon determined by the completion of the ongoing operations and by the activities already programmed through the active schedules.

Therefore ProdSim operates on a horizon that may include some shifts or – at the most – a few days of production.

ProdSim operates on the basis of three main inputs:

  • The Equipment Operations Calendar, which describes the periods of activity of each facility involved in the concerned production process, taking into account the work shifts, maintenance schedules, festivities and exceptional events such as stops for strikes.
  • The Current Process and Equipment is obtained from the production control systems, and describes the current situation of the running process, taking into account ongoing operations, related timing, and setup or evacuation times.
  • The active Production Schedules, which can be  calculated using an automatic or possibly manual Scheduling sistem, define the details of the future production commitments of the plant and the facilities involved in the process.

ProdSim is configured using a tool that allows to define the schema of the process, by describing all the relevant phases (either productive and logistic or of control), their sequence, the machinery possibly involved (e.g. ladles in the Steelmaking).

The actual stages of the process are defined by the cycle associated with the material to be produced, derived from the production order.

Additionally, ProdSim uses a calculation algorithm for the crossing times that is not based on standard average times, but on the specific characteristics of the ongoing process or operation,  which are usually conditioned by the type of material to be produced.

Utilization and advantages

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ProdSim can be activated on demand or periodically, based on configurable intervals.

The scope of use of ProdSim can be:

  • Scheduling, to which ProdSim provides the situation of the plant and equipment up to the time when the active schedules have been completed. In this context, ProdSim is the first step of the Scheduling flow.
  • Forecasting of progress of operations within the process, in order to identify in advance any bottlenecks or problems.
  • Forecasting of use of the machinery, in order to identify any problems of shortages that may occur after the elaboration the Schedule.

Prodsim calculates and displays some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that provide a synthetic overview of elements such as plant utilization coefficient, forecasted total and hourly production, etc., so as to allow calculating a theoretical OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness).

ProdSim is therefore a control dashboard that can be made available to all corporate executives, from Plant or Production Area Managers, to Department Managers and Foremen.

Configurabile System

ProdSim has been designed to be highly configurable according to different plant configurations and operating rules of facilities and equipment. It interfaces with the production management systems existing in the plant.

ProdSim is part of the “Steel Solutions” suite developed by Iso Sistemi for the steel industry.

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