Steel supply chain transformation

New applications of enabling technologies and advanced manufacturing to achieve a generational shift in capability across the entire supply chain.

Program Leaders

Academic: Geoff Brooks (SUT)

Industry: Jason Hodges (BlueScope) Bradley Taylor (Infrabuild)

This program will help draw together some elements of the other three program areas, continuing the transformational agenda of the Hub through applying advanced manufacturing principles across Australia’s steel supply chain, i.e. from steel production to channel partners and SMEs. It will foster both novel research and translational activities necessary to ensure a successful intergenerational change across the industry.

The program will assist in the integration of enabling technologies into large complex steel plant systems, such as automation, machine learning and knowledge mapping, to enable the future-proofing and sustainability of Australian steel manufacturing through the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles and knowledge management. It will also help support a resilient, value-adding, steel supply chain of innovative SMEs through providing cost-effective opportunities for engagement with Australian universities, in partnership with industry peak body representatives.

Program 4 is comprised of two sub-programs:

- Enabling Technologies Integration

- SME Engagement & Innovation

Infrabuild Enabling Technologies Integration
BlueScope Program 4 SME Engagement and Innovation

Current projects

Enabling technologies integration

This project brings together the expertise of hte University of Wollongong (UOW) and BlueScope Limited (BSL) to investigate the automation and digitalisation cases at Port Kembla Steel Works.

Integration of robotic automation is a costly exercise. A lot of time and effort is spent in the pre-work of establishing the feasibility of the robotic implementation even before the project is formally approved. It has been identified that it is more economical and efficient to build up the in-house capability for robotic integration within BSL in order to scale up the adoption of robotic automation. 

In order to do this, a solution is required to significantly speed up the bottlenecks in the early stages of the project planning to bring the cost of investment to a realistic level. This project proposes to develop a tool using emerging digital technology to accelerate the early stages of robotic integration to rapidly assess the feasibility and safety requirements of robotic automation in an existing site.

Team: Dr Philip Commins (UOW), Dr Joseph Polden (UOW), Associate Professor Stephen Van Duin (UOW), Dr Jason Lukasiak (BlueScope), Jason Hodges (BlueScope), Andrew Jovanovski (BlueScope), Will Alexander (BlueScope), Post Doc

This project brings together experienced teams from Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) and Infrabuild (Manufacturing) to help further implement Industry 4.0 technologies in Australian steel manufacturing plants.

InfraBuild Manufacturing aims to drive Industry 4.0 adoption across its steelmaking plants, by incorporating new sensor technology into their advanced control systems and hence, improve their steel ladle station operations. 

This project draws on promising results from SUT’s previous work, which was based on physical modelling and plant trials using microphone systems.  Further work is required to develop and establish a fully functioning commercial system for measuring stirring in steel ladles.

Team: Professor Geoffrey Brooks (SUT), Steven Grundy (InfraBuild), Alister King (InfraBuild), Dr Michelle Dunne (SUT), Dr David Sly (SUT), Dr Jaefer Yenus (SUT)

This project is a collaboration between the University of Wollongong (UOW), University of New South Wales (UNSW) and BlueScope Limited (BSL).

Recent advancements in digitalisation and data analytics give rise to a unique opportunity for BSL to integrate key models and new data-driven knowledge, with the high potential for new deeper understanding and knowledge of operational practices and steel product developments.

In this project, the team aims to improve process and technological models through using Machine Learning and Knowledge Acquisition to update existing, and create new, models to increase operational capability and efficiency.

They will look at creating deeper understanding and knowledge of operational practices and products and intergenerational knowledge transfer and futureproofing of process models. In addition to this, they will also look at developing a tool for engineering decision making.

Team: Professor Claude Sammut (UNSW), Harold Kaul (BlueScope), Brian Whelan (BlueScope), Graeme Dillon (BlueScope), Dr David Stirling (UOW), Jason Hodges (BlueScope), Dr Paul Zulli (UOW)

A collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) and BlueScope Limited (BSL), this project will focus on the development of sound sensors for Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) as part of the drive by BSL to implement Industry 4.0 in their steelmaking plants.

BSL is looking to improve control of their BOF process through the development of sensors to incorporate in advanced control systems.

The expected outcome of the project is a real-time analysis system that provides detailed information about the mode of splashing with lance height, the height of the slag foam across the vessel and potentially long-term changes in the vessel geometry. This will create a new and novel understanding of how the height of foaming in a BOF vessel during oxygen blow can be more accurately measured and monitored in real-time using sonic sensors, which would ideally be incorporated into the control systems used at BSL. The expected benefits and impact include improved BOF operations in terms of efficiency, yield improvement, quality improvement, cost reduction and/or productivity.

Team: Professor Geoffrey Brooks (SUT), Rod Snashall (BlueScope), Dr Sheng Chew (BlueScope), Dr Michelle Dunne (SUT), Dr David Sly (SUT), (Jason) Heenatimulage Don Heenatimulla (SUT)

This project has been developed by Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) and Infrabuild (Manufacturing), to enable the futureproofing of Australian steel manufacturing through the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles within this vital industry.

In this project, the team will develop novel IoT and AI technologies, which will use data drawn from production machines, steel products and plant operators, to improve the overall consistency of steel billet products.

Team: Professor Dimitrios Georgakopoulos (SUT), Dr Abhik Banerjee (SUT), Andrew Thomas (Infrabuild Manufacturing), Lewis O’Neill (Infrabuild Manufacturing), Callum McVeigh (Infrabuild Manufacturing), Hardik Mandani (SUT)

SME engagement and innovation

Project titles to come

Header Image credit: BlueScope Steel