Gerdau has started the plate mill operation in September 2016 and successfully entered the flat steel market together with the hot strip mill. Their first version of the Plate Combiner already provided an excellent standard: the designed mechanical yield had an average of 88 percent and the percentage of unallocated plates was around 1.4 percent. An improved algorithm enabled a consistent reduction from 2.0 percent to 0.4 percent of the production of unallocated child slabs, which corresponds to 80 percent reduction.
An example: assuming a theoretical slab consumption of 50,000 tons in the plate mill, the amount of slabs to be cast in order to satisfy the same demand could be reduced from 51,000 tons to 50,200 tons. This represents 800 tons of avoided stock slabs per month and 9,600 tons per year. The significant reduction of stock slabs was achieved with no negative impact on any other performance indicator. The amount of unallocated plates and mechanical yield remained stable.
Furthermore, additional features like new reports support Gerdau to continuously keeping the product engineering systems up to date. Plus, a new constraint was created for the maximum spreading index. When converting slabs into plates, the width spread index must be limited in order to avoid a quality defect known as ‘barrel defect’. The new system was tested in parallel with the existing one for many weeks with daily updates on the input data based on updates of the real demand.
Gerdau S.A., headquartered in Porto Alegre in Brasil is one of the main steel suppliers of long steel in the Americas and special long steel worldwide. The company has an installed production capacity of over 21 million tons of steel per year, and is also the largest steel recycler in Latin America.
Based on its own software products, the PSI Group develops and integrates complete solutions for optimizing the flow of energy and materials for utilities (energy networks, energy trading, public transport) and industry (mining, metals production, automotive, mechanical engineering, logistics). PSI was founded in 1969 and employs more than 1.900 persons worldwide.