I hope the following description might trigger an interest in considering a collaborative project converging to application of the IBM Digital Analytics to a steel processing industry – rolling mills.
Background motivation* for this initiative is discussed below.
Present trends in efforts to further optimise large industrial systems, including rolling mills, converge to strategy called industry 4.0 including the Cloud, Edge and Fog Computing. These strategies are closely intertwined with methods such as big data analytics, all including digitization of industrial records.
A research team** operating under the umbrella of the University of South Australia (UniSA) is working now for years on improving methods for automating and adapting the latest aspect – digitization and analyses of industrial records – to the worldwide-employed industrial processes of forming steels (and other metallics). The developed innovative algorithms are suitable for analysing industrial systems that operate processes such as drawing, extrusion and rolling of metallic products. The analyses of the resulting database allow for uncovering otherwise hidden trends, patterns and correlations, which altogether allow for further optimisation of large-scale industrial operations. Initial research [3-11] provided supporting evidence, and the peers of international standing can provide expert opinion about the validity of proposed digitization methods. References can be obtained from Professor Sven-Erik Lundberg, a Board member of the International Association of Roll Pass Designers and Rolling Mill Engineers, AIKW (email@example.com).
In short: Digitalization is a core component of the revolutionized manufacturing. It has become a driving force to innovate and improve mass production processes such as rolling. Our newly developed digitization method enhances substantially the structuring and analyses of industrial records thus enabling an advanced optimisation that is superior to the existing approaches. For example, the already developed algorithms related to computational geometry and probabilistic design can be extended to become applicable to wider range of platforms such as IBM Digital Analytics and Siemens PLM. This opens the gates for online translating real processes into virtual models and digital twins.
Potential of the proposed implementation can be illustrated by considering minimising the production delays in a typical rolling manufacturing line. For example, due to this reason alone, the hot steel rolling operations waste unnecessarily on average about 0.5 million dollars per million tonnes of rolled steel. This rather conservative estimate takes into account only the commercially viewed manufacturing costs associated with the electrical energy, fuel, labour, maintenance and overhead.
The costs to the society are actually significantly higher, when taking into considerations aspects such as the real value of lost fresh water, unnecessary pollution and the carbon emission – during the process delays. Our proposal is to motivate the steel industry to invest once up to $100,000 for each million tonnes of annually rolled steel, with the respective Government backing this by $1 to $1 co-investment.
For example, a project funded by about 1 million dollars would deliver within 2 years the measurable improvements that will be expressed in direct savings during the second year of the project life. The amount of savings during that 2nd year of the project depends on the overall rate of introducing the process improvements. However, during the third year the savings that the industry would register in a project of that scale would reach minimum 2 million dollars. It is important to understand that this saving is to be projected to each subsequent year.
True benefits are actually significantly higher, when taking into consideration aspects such as saving the fresh water, avoiding the pollution and the carbon emission – due to reduction in the process delays.
Australia is a comparably small participant in the overall volume of steel manufactured in World. The impact for the major steel manufacturers such as those from China, India, Japan, EU, South Korea, US etc would be reflected on a much more significant scale.
Our team does have available the developed digitization algorithms and appropriate access to significant computing infrastructure as well as the mathematical, IT and rolling technology expertise. The collaboration is sought for to facilitate access to industrial records, and provide funds for hiring programmers to connect already existing software into a unified platform. Needless to add that any innovative technological contribution to above listed aspects would certainly be met with due attention with major goal to reinforce this innovative application.
A funding partner would gain the privilege for commercially transferring the proven innovation to industry worldwide. In addition, there is a range of governmental schemes that offer co-funding for collaboration with industry. As widely recognised, partnerships between governments and the steel industry are fundamental to a sustainable future .
I would appreciate an opportunity of discussing the details of this initiative for a collaborative project.
On behalf of the Research Team**
Dr Sead Spuzic
* Sead Spuzic, PhD, MSc, BEng(Hons)
* Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at School of Engineering
* Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment
* University of South Australia
* Mawson Lakes Campus, Room J2-19
* (mobile) 0401021336
* Phone: +61 8 8365 0767 ; +61 8 830 23329; e-mail: Sead.Spuzic@unisa.edu.au
*) Motivation for this open letter is instigated by increasing evidence of global warming, key resource decline, and consequent socioeconomic disruptions. Rather than proposing various cutbacks in basic standards of living (such as reductions in energy supply to urban settlements) a more intelligent strategy is to focus on further improvements and rationalizations in operating large-scale industrial enterprises. These gigantic man-made systems are nowadays governed by multinational corporations that are too often driven by narrowly defined profit. The steel manufacturing plants are typical examples. A conservative estimate indicates that the production of one tonne of steel product requires nearly 90 tonnes of fresh water. The whole metalworking sector is seething with sources of environmental hazard and pollution. The greenhouse gas of most relevance to the world steel industry is carbon dioxide. On average about 1.8 tonnes of CO2 is emitted for every tonne of steel produced. The steel industry generates over 7% of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuel. Out of 30 groups of industrial processes, steel industry is on 7th place in a review that breaks down total global emissions from 2005. [1-3]
However, awareness of this state of affairs must not overshadow the significance of metallic materials such as steel. Steel is a unique material in its capacity to be continually recycled. Moreover, the process of steel production results in the generation of sustainable co-products such as slag which is further used by the cement industry. And finally, the steel products, which are characterised by a very advantageous combination of elasticity, strength, plasticity and strain hardening, are versatile, durable and affordable.
Hot rolling industry is the key link in manufacturing steel products. About 90% of all steel (and about 80% of all metallics) are at some stage processed by hot rolling. It is indicative to note that hot rolled industry delivers input products for most if not all other industries.
In summary, the current socioeconomic and ecological trends imply that the sustainability of large industrial systems such as rolling mills must be urgently improved . Significant improvements have been achieved between 1990 and 2000, however during the recent decades this otherwise promising trend has shown a distinctive slowing down .
**) Research Team
A/Prof Kazem Abhary
Prof Neville Robinson
Dr Wolfgang Mayer
Dr Sead Spuzic
BEng Goran Spuzic
MEng Candidate Dimuthu Hapu Arachchige
 *** Steel's Contribution To a Low Carbon Future. World Steel Association (accessed 24 October 2019) https://www.worldsteel.org/pub...
 *** (2011) Which industries and activities emit the most carbon? The Guardian, 28 April 2011 Australian edition (accessed 24 October 2019) https://www.theguardian.com/en...
 Spuzic S, Narajanan R, Gudimetla P (2016) Big Data Model – An Application to Design of Rolling Process. Conference: International Conference on Innovative Material Science and Technology (IMST2016) Shenzhen, China, August 2016 (available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308467826_Big_Data_Model_-_An_Application_to_Design_of_Rolling_Process)
 Abhary K, Mayer W and Spuzic S (2019) Data-Driven Hot Rolling Optimisation. Transforming Industry Manufacturing Enabler TIME 2018 project report financed by Australian Steel Company - Liberty OneSteel (now InfraBuid Steel) and Division of Information Technology, Engineering and Environment, University of South Australia.
 Hapu Arachchige D, Spuzic S, Abhary K, Mayer W, Robinson NI (2019) Generalized Morphometric Model in Roll Pass Design. in the process of reviewing at The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology.
 Spuzic S, Narayanan R, Kovacic Z, Hapu Arachchige D, Abhary K (2017) Roll Pass Design Optimisation. International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology online, pp 1-7.
 Hapu Arachchige D, Buddineni Y, Narayanan R, Spuzic S, Abhary K (2017) A contribution to predicting spread in hot rolling. International research symposium on engineering and technology (IRSET) Singapore, pp 81-94, 2017.
 Spuzic S, Hapu Arachchige D, Kovacic Z, Abhary K, Narayanan R (2015) A contribution to roll pass design optimisation in hot steel rolling technology. Iron & Steel Review-A global publication on steel and heavy engineering, vol 59 No.4, September 2015, Kolkata, pp. 166-171.
 Abhary K, Kovacic Z., Lundberg SE, Narayanan R, Spuzic S (2015) The application of a hybrid algorithm to roll pass design. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 79:1063–1070.
 Spuzic S, Abhary K (2014) A Contribution to Rolling Mill Technology - Roll Pass Design Strategy for Symmetrical Sections. Der Kalibreur, Heft 75, pp 14-27; also: presented at the 83rd AIKW Conference (Association of International Roll Pass Designers and Rolling Mill Engineers; http://www.aikw.org/) Ostrava, EU, 9-11th October 2013.
 Abhary K, Spuzic S, Ghomashschi R (2013) Aspects of Design Optimisation in Rolling Technology. Materials Forum, Volume 37.