What TWMS/metals achieves
When an item – for example, a slab or a coil – is to be transported to a storage place, TWMS/metals receives the corresponding information from the production control system or the MES or ERP systems, or it generates the information autonomously on the basis of internal rule books.
TWMS/metals determines the optimal storage place, the best suited combination of the transport equipment and the best route to the storage place. In doing so, it takes into account the current inventory situation, the availability of resources and the rule books which may have supportive or restrictive effects on the transport and storage operations.
Then TWMS/metals triggers the orders for the vehicle operators and for the automated transport equipment, e.g. cranes or coil ferries. Upon completion of a transport order, the system sends a “complete” message to the higher-lever systems.
TWMS/metals can also be configured to manage the complete dispatch of the products. This may include the issuing of the delivery notes, the assignment of the products for shipment by truck or wagon, the consignment and optimal loading of the goods.
From our extensive project experience we know that it is essential to always bear in mind the operators’ needs. We place greatest emphasis on creating an HMI that supports the human operator as best as possible. In all our projects we give highest priority to user-friendliness and clearly structured, realistic visualization.
Use of our software is highly intuitive. User guidance via context-sensitive menus and touch screens facilitates operation, also for users new to the system. The system is well accepted by the operators – a key requirement for the success of your project.
The HMI is available in different languages and customizable to the specific terminology of the mill.
TWMS/metals generates realistic interactive and real-time 3D displays of the storage situation. The viewing positions and angles can be freely selected. In addition to the current status of the storage area, other useful information is displayed. For example, the operator sees at a glance whether a coil is blocked, whether a certain slab would be suitable for storage in a particular position or whether that would possibly violate a restriction.
With a mouse click additional information can be retrieved, for example, ID numbers and material data, or any existing blocking notices.
On a display in the crane cabins, the operators see the storage situation from their current position and perspective. They are guided by arrows from one position to the next, while seeing all information they need for processing the order on hand.
In all displays, the coils are shown complete with related information, e.g. the coil Ident, and they are highlighted in different colors indicating whether they have to be loaded on a truck or wagon, or whether they have been blocked.
A three-dimensional view is implemented at the client terminals in the offices of the quality assurance personnel and the production managers. The users may freely move about the display and view the storage situation in the plant from any perspective. If they wish to see the exact position of a coil, they can zoom in on it from the total view.
A central element of TWMS/metals are the rule books in which the specific parameters and restrictions for the transport and storage of the individual items are defined. The rules are formulated taking into account the material properties, customer specifications and production planning requirements.
They are freely parameterizable and restrictions or priorities can be modified and extended at any time as desired.
Rules may read as follows:
“IF an item is to be dispatched during the next few hours, THEN it will be stored near the closest loading station.”
“IF an item exceeds a certain temperature, THEN it will not be placed near an aisle.”
“IF an item has top priority in the production sequence, THEN the transport priority of the item will be automatically raised.”
During the installation of the system in the mill environment, the practice-proven core modules are adapted to the specific local conditions or expanded as desired. Whether rolling mills or finishing areas, slabs or coils, cranes or coil ferries – these and many more elements are already pre-installed in the system ready to be configured for the task on hand.
TWMS/metals is easily adaptable: We know that operations in mills are subject to frequent change: production processes are constantly improved, storage rules refined, the material flow optimized, a new line started up, or a storage area may become temporarily unavailable. TWMN/metals can be easily adapted to changing conditions via interactive editors with intuitive user guidance so that no external support is required.
The user can enter new rules during running operation (“at runtime”) without affecting the overall availability of the system.
The report generator is a graphical user tool by means of which reports, lists, etc. can be freely generated from any of the data available in the system.
In order to make the reports generally accessible for the operators, they can be integrated into the user menus as an option. Reports can also be sent automatically to designated users at defined times. For example, a shift report may be sent out every morning at a specified time.