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Our Focus Areas

SMS digital Consulting Services

Our focus areas

With all our activities, we deliver a proven impact on the profit and loss statement and balance sheet of our customers by reducing costs per produced ton.

Product Quality

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Process deviations and plant condition have a decisive influence on product quality. While all customers are targeting a production standard without downgrading or scrap, only a few achieve the goal of an outstanding maximum prime quality rating. Since the product quality during hot rolling process is influenced by approximately 300 factors, it is not surprising that a continuous and sustainable production of prime quality is hard to achieve.

As part of our consulting services, we are able to benchmark and route cause a variety of quality defects such as longitudinal surface or spider cracks, deviations in mechanical properties or geometry variances from casting to processing lines. We offer near-time reaction to process deviations but targeting a real-time response rate to reduce quality deviation and increase prime production to the maximum.

Recent consulting and implementation projects showed a cost saving potential of 6 to 8% lower cost of quality.

Asset Health

Today, major pain points for metal producers are inaccessible equipment conditions resulting in stepwise or ad-hoc process insufficiencies and in worst cases, equipment failure and unplanned production downtime.

We support our customers in identifying equipment and process steps that are critical and advice from developing a time-based or cycle-based maintenance strategy to a condition-based prediction of machine failure. Our consulting offer focuses on identification of anomaly detections, failure predictions, causal investigations and resulting recommendations for improved maintenance operation procedures.

By fully utilizing the potential of predictive asset health, our customers are able to save between 10 to 25% of their maintenance cost coming with a downtime reduction of 15 % to 25%.

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Production Planning

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Production planning based on relevant performance indicators such as throughput, lead times and delivery reliability. All of these key factors for successful planning are strongly influenced by equipment condition and corresponding quality specifications. Based on improved prediction of asset health and equipment availability, also into longer future, we foresee a paradigmatic shift from “sales manage production” to “production availability manages sales”. These offers for long-term (up to six month) and short-term planning (down to 60 minutes) significant cost saving potentials with regard to demand forecasting, optimized order pre-grouping, production sequencing and short rescheduling. We consult our customers in optimizing their general planning strategy, their underlying available-to-promise calculation and capacity planning.

An increased delivery reliability, throughput rate and lead time improvement can increase yield by 2% to 3%.

Energy Management

Modern integrated steel plants have more than 700 assets that can be seen as energy intensive consumers. The consumption of natural gas, process gas or electricity is one of the most significant OPEX drivers.

Therefore, breaking energy consumption down to steel grade, heat, production charge or other relevant context variables are seen by us as a key factor impacting the plant-wide energy performance. This is particularly important for interacted processes, such as reheating furnaces in which several slabs of different qualities and dimensions are processed simultaneously.
As part of our consulting services, we identify energy saving potentials by a two-fold approach. First, we offer energy audits to assess the equipment level, operational procedures and energy management standards to identify and quantify cost saving potentials over the entire variety of process routes. Second, we provide consulting services to improve energy management operations based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms. These varies from AI-based definition of guidelines for operating large-scale water pumping stations to energy efficient batching of dephosphorization process.

By implementing an integrated energy management system, energy savings based on reduced natural gas and electricity consumption can be reduced by up to 25%

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Production Logistics

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Intralogistics in most of our customers' plants is a highly complex matter. The material flow from supply to delivery to the customer is often tightly timed. These circumstance lead to a high variance of lead times and schedule deviations, even fore identical steel grade or batches. To guarantee an “on time in full” handling of customer orders, most metals producers are producing with highly increased inventory levels. These increased level of “work in process” leads to an increased level of bound capital. In particularly with a high dept ratio of inventory, reducing the “work in process” and inventory levels offer significant cost saving potentials. We consult our customers in analyzing and optimizing their production logistics on management and operational level. Strategic improvements are achieved on management level by strategic restructuring of product portfolios, logistical segmentation of plant areas and definition of suitable production strategies. Operational improvements are based on  improved coordination between sales and production planning, AI-based optimization of yard logistics and storage durations.

Improvements in production logistics show a potential of up to 40% regarding logistic performance (delivery reliability) and up to 30% lower logistic costs.

Infrastructure Solutions

Availability of information and data is at an unprecedented scale. Even plants, designed as an integrated mini mill with a capacity of 1,5 MTPA are equipped with around 50.000 sensors and 2.700 sensors that are producing three terra byte of data each month. These huge amount of data offers extraordinary improvement potentials but cannot be fully utilized due to stored data in various silos and in a non-standardized form using a variety of names and different units for same type of signal.

We offer our customers consultant services to assess the full potential of their data. We advise in defining an individual data architecture that suits our customers digital strategy. As needed on premise, hybrid or fully cloud-based. We consult on cyber security policies for operation and data access. Jointly with our customers, we assess current IT operation conditions and how to access automation systems and data sources from machine level (L1) to enterprise level (L4).

With our consulting services, we support our customers to set up their individual data architecture and set the foundations to access, structure and utilize their existing production, process and enterprise data.

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Your contact

SMSgroup Feige, Boris Alexander

Boris Alexander Feige

SMS digital GmbH
Head of consulting & business development
Eduard-Schloemann-Str. 4
40237 Düsseldorf
Germany