Mexican Steel Mill Streamlines Strip Handling and Quality Control

ArcelorMittal Mexico’s production site in Ciudad Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán has put an integrated quality control, production management, and transportation system from Primetals Technologies into operation. ArcelorMittal Lázaro Cárdenas produces billets, wire rods, slabs, and hot-rolled strip and is Mexico’s largest steel producer. The company mainly uses sponge iron (DRI) for steelmaking, producing high-quality slabs and a uniform grain structure. Annual slab output is at around four million tons. The hot strip mill has a production capacity of 2.5 million tons of hot strip per year, and the skin-pass mill processes 650,000 tons annually.

The new system includes a production management system (PMS) with a manufacturing execution system (MES), the Modular Coil Shuttle System for autonomous transport of hot strip, and the Through-Process Quality Control (TPQC) system, which encompasses the entire production chain. The seamless integration of all these solutions with the process control system (Level 1) and process optimization system (Level 2) from Primetals Technologies provides operators with a high level of connectivity, structure, and depth of production data. The new solution orchestrates the quality management process in the hot-rolling mill and skin-pass mill.

Reduces Unnecessary Transport

The integration of all systems results in the availability of vast amounts of information on all products made using the plant’s production lines, which is highly practical if defects occur and need to be analyzed. This system architecture makes the solution stand out from other approaches, allowing the evaluation of the quality of the hot strip directly upon completion of all production steps. The system then automatically decides if the strip should be sent to the storage areas or the skin pass mill for finishing.

It enables automated quality assessment in real-time and reduces unnecessary transport routes, as coils are diverted directly to the skin-pass mill for processing when defects are detected.”

Antoine Dhennin
Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer
at ArcelorMittal North America

With conventional solutions, strips are moved to a yard for storage, where they are kept and checked for defects. In theory, however, strip suited for further processing could be directly forwarded to the next production step—increasing efficiency, streamlining logistics, and shortening overall production time. The solution from Primetals Technologies makes this streamlining of the production process the focus.

TPQC Supported Optimization

All quality-relevant data from the hot-rolling and skin-pass mills are collected and stored in a structured manner in the Through-Process Quality Control system. The accumulation of all relevant data enables long-term evaluation for each production step. Through-Process Quality Control allows automated product and process quality evaluation, and the findings from the system can build the basis for further optimization measures.

The Modular Coil Shuttle System

Automated Planning and Transport

The production management system (PMS) includes modules covering various planning levels, from demand and sales planning to material-flow management, order planning, and sequencing. Material logistics and inventory are continuously optimized using the Production Management System. The Modular Coil Shuttle System moves hot-rolled coils from the hot-strip mill to the storage area or the skin-pass mill using motorized, rail-mounted coil-transport cars.

ArcelorMittal plans to integrate additional parts of the plant into the quality control, production management, and logistics systems in Ciudad Lázaro Cárdenas.


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