Arania continues to look to the future, and is setting the pace of the technology transition in the rolled steel sector. The introduction of an innovative automatic warehouse right at the heart of the plant is well under way, a state-of-the-art logistics solution developed by in-house engineering with the assistance of a number of Arania Group departments, alongside cutting-edge businesses working in the digital technology and automation sector. It is a 100% 4.0 project, with many pioneer features in terms of technology and application, involving a large number of company teams in an experience that gives us a glimpse of what the future of our industry will be like.
New technologies are knocking at our door, and Arania has decided to set the pace of digitalisation in the rolled steel sector by adding an automatic warehouse to one of its bays. The main objective is to reduce the use of cranes and limit manual tasks to a bare minimum, gain a capacity for exhaustive supervision of management of this portion of operations thanks to technology, and act as an efficiency booster to be passed on to the other phases of the industrial process.
The ultimate purpose (composed of countless minor objectives) is to change our concept of this phase of the process. It will lead to operational improvements and boost effectiveness (eliminating 150,000 manual movements per year), and also managers of the automatic warehouse operating a relatively simple, fast process will have knowledge of the tiniest details at any time, be they the exact stock, the location of each trolley, orders outstanding etc. But this is merely an example.
The general idea behind the project is to improve working conditions, optimise efficiency and flexibility and, in a word, to give a boost to quality by means of an investment with a future vision fully focused on Industry 4.0, a priority for a leader of the rolled steel sector such as Arania.
The automatic warehouse is a project in phases, with a very short implementation timeline, and it will soon be ready for operation, as we will continue to report via this channel. It involves a multitude of Arania’s teams, and some top-notch external associates working in the sector of new technologies applied to industrial processes and automation. It will feature state-of-the-art technologies such as artificial vision, machine-learning, digital twins etc.
The first effect of Arania’s new automatic warehouse will be noticeable in the improvement of people’s working conditions. The rolled steel sector is a potentially hazardous activity in view of the type of product and the industrial processes it involves. Automation of movements will eliminate the need for any loads to be suspended overhead in areas used by employees, boosting safety and substantially reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders caused by operations.
Obviously new technologies are centre stage in the automation of this section of the rolled steel value chain. They will affect the process in general, and management within the actual warehouse. By means of a totally customised application of new technologies in the field of logistics and movement of heavy loads during industrial processes, Arania’s automatic warehouse will optimise operations by shortening waiting times, improving flexibility in terms of changes and higher quality thanks to automated handling in order to eliminate error.
Technology-driven optimisation extends to the human plane, because rolled steel manufacturing involves a process which, although not strictly serial production, does entail the repetition of tasks in practically every unit of production. Here Arania’s automatic warehouse will help free up human resources, which may be redeployed to operations adding value to the process, thereby boosting volumes and flexibility without increasing direct costs.
Another exciting aspect of this project is the use made of information: digitalisation means securing a large amount of data to improve the entire rolled steel value chain. The new automatic warehouse will provide clear precise information about what is going on at the plant, better control of processes with clear location criteria, permanent non-supervised inventories, traceability of movements of materials and control of intermediate storage facilities.
In short, automation of intermediate storage is essential for Arania in that it represents a situation that is second to none in terms of addressing similar processes in other areas of the plant.
We’ll be back with updates!