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‘Smart’ Factory Platform for Steel Melting

Nov. 30, 2021
Digital application automates and optimizes ladle and crane movements, to track and schedule the transport of molten metal from furnace to pouring.

ABB PROCESS AUTOMATION launched a “smart factory” package for steel melting operations, capable of connecting all melting processes and moving equipment to synchronize operations and improve production efficiencies, toward autonomous operations.

Based on advanced digital algorithms, the new solution offers not only real-time ladle tracking but also automated crane scheduling and a predictive thermal modelling engine. The tracking engine follows ladle movement via cranes and transfer cars in real time. Radar and laser positioning technologies provide accurate visualization while reducing hardware footprint and maintenance needs compared to radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions. The automated crane scheduling includes job forecasting, route planning and automatic acknowledgement of jobs.

This will enable producers to move towards autonomous operations by eliminating manual co-ordination, with increased safety in hot zones due to lower footfall.

The thermal engine function uses ladle thermal history from the tracking engine and forecasted heat movement from scheduling engines to predict the thermal loss during ladle transfer and predicts the correct lift temperature at ladle furnace. This results in better superheat compliance at the caster, eliminating caster slowdowns, hence increasing productivity.

The ABB Ability Smart Melt Shop has already been installed by JSW Steel Ltd., in India, and is expected to increase the company’s EBITDA profit by around $2million annually through 4% higher casting speeds.

This application uses all standard communications protocols; employs ABB’s multi-layered defense-in-depth approach to cyber security; and is compatible with both ABB and third-party systems.

Learn more at