By the end of the year 2017, digital applications in all process steps will have advanced the steelworks at Big River Steel to the first Learning Factory in the world.
This aim is backed, amongst others, by an electronic parts catalog mapping the plant documentation of the complete supply package of the project in a cloud solution. The database rests on a total of approx. 410,000 bills of material items, 30,000 drawings and 45,000 individual documents from the SMS group business units involved and from all further suppliers of single parts or assemblies which can now be called using a single tool after they have been consolidated and specially prepared in structure for this purpose. The new tool permits Big River Steel to identify and inquire parts quickly and easily. All data are continuously updated and, up to now, used by about 70 internal Big River Steel employees. Time-consuming searching for required information is a thing of the past. Further functions such as displaying identical parts throughout the entire plant, provide Big River Steel with the desired transparency and contribute to increasing efficiency and reducing the inventory.
Randy Martin, Warehouse Material Coordinator at Big River Steel, is enthusiastic about the electronic parts catalog: “The catalog is very helpful, and we use it in the warehouse several times a day. But also maintenance people ask for our help in finding parts with the new system and see obvious benefits from the program. We can search for parts by title, material information, SMS and Big River Steel material numbers, etc. The software is available around the clock seven days a week.”
In addition, the electronic parts catalog serves as the basis for further digital products. Being a virtual image of the plant, it permits digital services to be linked to purchasing actions. The required technical information is immediately available in all applications and can directly be transferred to the procurement process. If, for example, the condition monitoring system forecasts the failure of a component, it will be possible to simultaneously check information on identical parts, inventory and delivery times and to procure the wanted part.
The eService of SMS group makes Big River Steel fit for future challenges and satisfies all conditions to cope with the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0.