The steel industry has been the cornerstone of global industrial economies since the late 1850s, but how advanced and efficient is it in today’s rapidly changing industrial world?
With artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics now being applied across industry globally, Australia has a need for increasing levels of innovation to future proof our industries and remain globally competitive.
That’s why Orrcon Steel, of the ASX listed BlueScope, has become a Platinum Member of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub to pursue digital transformation across their business.
Applying the expertise of the ARM Hub, including specialists in AI, data science, computer vision and machine learning, Orrcon’s tubular operations are about to catapult into the future, increasing their competitiveness, improving efficiencies and creating local job opportunities.
Essential to Australian supply-chains, Orrcon steel manufactures a significant portion of the domestically made tubular products. These products are crucial for local manufacturing businesses, domestic and commercial construction. Major infrastructure projects already under way and many more still in concept stage including significant 2032 Olympic building program, will require thousands of tonnes of tubular products.
At the core of their membership with ARM Hub, Orrcon Steel has several transformative projects underway, including a review of their steel coil slitting operations and embedding a data researcher at their Salisbury site to apply the latest machine and deep learning techniques to understand, optimise and futureproof steel production operations.
Tony Schreiber General Manager Orrcon Steel said “For manufacturing businesses to remain competitive and relevant to the market-place, it is imperative they continue to focus on innovation and embrace a digital future. AI provides a window to benchmark our business globally and digital twinning of our manufacturing operations gives us the flexibility to make changes to operations and innovate for future growth without impacting live production throughput”.
Orrcon Steel are exploring the creation of digital twins through their membership with ARM Hub. This investment is equally as important as continued investment in equipment, capability building and development of their people to ensure a sustained and enduring business. Not only does this membership have significance for the company’s Salisbury plant, but the outcomes can lead to immense progress for other sites and BlueScope businesses along with like industries across Australia.
“ARM Hub is assisting Orrcon to move towards becoming a fully digital factory, whether through process monitoring for fault prevention or advanced scheduling, adopting AI for real-world benefits,” says Professor Will Browne, Professor and Chair in Manufacturing Robotics with QUT, ARM Hub and CSIRO. “The ability to capture relevant data to generate low-cost, fast and efficient digital twins, will enable ‘what-if?’ scenarios without posing risk to the highly productive plant.”
Enabling collaborative work between industry and research, the Hub is guiding traditional industry, like steel manufacture, through operational innovations and digital transformation to support Australian businesses in gaining a competitive edge.
Key drivers that prioritise safety, inclusion, and climate change action, are carefully considered for all ensuing Orrcon Steel and ARM Hub engagements, each ensures investment in future technologies, the future workforce and the environment.
As a business of BlueScope, Orrcon plays a role in working towards the ‘zero carbon emissions by 2050’ commitment from their parent company. By working year on year to achieve this aim, Orrcon Steel is in turn contributing to the goal of future proofing their business and benefiting other Australian industries.
Merely the start of a long-lasting business partnership, Orrcon and ARM Hub already have their sights set on future endeavours that will look at the development of digital twin technology in their operations.
About ARM Hub
Since establishment in 2019, ARM Hub has been activating the digital innovation potential that lies within the Australian manufacturing SMEs and microenterprises. ARM Hub specialises in AI, robotics and manufacturing, and works directly with business to translate concepts into commercialisation.