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Magazine5 Min

Intelligent manufacturing and autonomous production

X-Pact® Integrated Operating Center at Daye Special Steel

First AI-based X-Pact® Integrated Operating Center (IOC) for Daye Special Steel

Daye Special Steel revolutionizes its 460-millimeter tube plant with our innovative X-Pact® Integrated Operating Center, achieving significant automation and efficiency gains while reducing control elements and manpower.

Daye Special Steel, part of CITIC Pacific Special Steel Group, has taken intelligent manufacturing to the next level by improving the operation and information control technology in its 460-millimeter tube plant in Hubei, China. With our Integrated Operating Center (IOC), the production line has achieved an unprecedented level of automation that has reduced the number of control elements from 550 to 60 and cut the operator team for the entire rolling line from five persons to two persons each shift, with a total of four shifts per day. This centralization has minimized the need for operations in harsh environments and streamlined production processes, leading to reduced on-site crews, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced competitiveness of the plant.

Daye implemented a centralized control center and upgraded automation systems, utilizing SMS group's X-Pact® Lights-Out electrical and automation product portfolio. This collaboration symbolizes a significant step for Daye Special Steel towards intelligent manufacturing, significantly improving the tube mill's production efficiency and quality, and marking a step forward in autonomous production. Through effective collaboration as well as our advanced technology and excellent execution ability, this pioneering project in China was successfully completed in September 2022.

To improve the core competitiveness of the 460-mm steel pipe production line, achieve stable and efficient production, and ensure the safe operation of the plant, the Daye 460 project included three important cornerstones based on SMS group’s X-Pact® Lights-Out concept:

  • Centralized control with X-Pact® Integrated Operating Center (IOC)
  • Improved automation with smart tools for communication and plant visualization
  • Streamlined and secure data management to ensure applications work together efficiently

The Integrated Operating Center represents the pinnacle of excellence of the production complex, facilitating plant and logistics management by concentrating information, thus significantly reducing staffing requirements. The IOC at Daye was set up to operate the annular heating furnace, piercing machine/Assel rolling mill, reducing mill, and cooling bed. Existing production planning and scheduling functions were integrated to achieve efficient and dynamic production control.

Mr. Ma Xiangjun, deputy plant director of Daye Special Steel, says: “Our new integrated operating center not only has the latest IT technology for monitoring and operating the plant – there are also AI-based video installations for autonomously recognizing abnormalities in the production and reacting to them. Consequently, we are able to optimize our tube mill production processes from one control station. It plays an important part in improving both product yield and quality.”

X-Pact® Sense cameras are the foundation of centralized monitoring.
The operator is provided with comprehensive information that helps to make operating processes both dynamic and efficient.
High-definition video screens ensure maximum transparency and supervision.
X-Pact® automation system uses AI video analytics to manage any irregularities proactively during production.
Mr. Ma Xiangjun, deputy plant director of Daye Special Steel 460mm tube plant

The newly established Integrated Operating Center replaces the previously decentralized system comprising four separate control rooms. The installation of X-Pact® Sense cameras along the production line serves as the foundation for centralized monitoring, thereby eliminating the need for manual operation in a challenging environment. The X-Pact® automation system uses AI video analytics to manage any irregularities proactively during production. High-definition video screens and an automated video alarm system enhance the system, achieving a remote and precise level of control and stable production conditions.

Video feeds integrated into the X-Pact® automation system's real-time data network provide a broad range of analytical scenarios. The system correlates video feeds to specific machinery and plant areas, enabling instant alarm retrieval and display via pop-up windows on the X-Pact® Vision HMI (human machine interface) in the event of equipment alerts or deviations in parameters. Operators receive comprehensive information that helps to make operating processes both dynamic and efficient. As a result, Daye has streamlined its tube mill production from a single control point.

This transformation has been further propelled by the unification of the operational interface HMI, merging various control elements into one centralized hub. This shift not only reduces the reliance on manual labor but also sets the stage for fully automated operations. The enhancement of control programs has strengthened the production line's automation, allowing it to autonomously address or notify operators of anomalies, thereby significantly increasing the system's ability to operate independently.

The plant's innovation extends to an integrated monitoring and automation system that enables intelligent oversight through the exchange of network data. This system supports a wide array of functions, including real-time processing feedback, event logging, and automated alerts, which streamline the entire production process.

Moreover, deliberate efforts have been made to improve the spatial design of the IOC space and console. This strategic reconfiguration has led to a more efficient and safe working environment, boosting operator satisfaction and projecting a positive corporate image. The emphasis on spatial design not only reflects the company's dedication to a high-quality work environment but also signifies its commitment to leading-edge technology and the well-being of its workforce.

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