High complexity in logistics for steel production

The supply chain still faces huge challenges after more than two years of pandemic: Chain disruptions, labor shortages, high costs and unconnected and barely digital systems all affect operations. Speed and scalability are among the two biggest requirements retailers and warehouse operators have for supply chain innovation today. One way to increase supply chain efficiency quickly and easily is through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Designed for industrial areas of the supply chain, the IIoT uses networked devices to create high-level intelligence. Importantly, it is easily scalable, allowing users to add devices as needed rather than completely overhauling an existing system. Today, many warehouses and distribution centers are already equipped with smart devices such as conveyors, sensors, cameras, and collaborative robots. But for the most part, the connections between these devices and technologies are not yet in place. What is needed now are viable solutions such as Ivanti Neurons for IIoT. This connects systems in warehouses to low-code or no-code applications and allows for quick and easy expansion of systems as new nodes are added to the supply chain. This allows companies to easily and cost-effectively create applications that automate and improve supply chain processes, as well as provide entirely new functionality. And, most importantly, companies can seamlessly integrate these innovative IIoT applications into existing operations for further performance improvements and operational efficiencies.

Complexity in steel production as a special challenge

The supply chain for steel production as well as the intralogistics requirements in the plant are particularly demanding. A large number of suppliers, raw materials, high stock levels, temperature differences, disposal and high safety requirements give an idea of how many factors come together here. Intelligently networking these and uniformly controlling, synchronizing, and optimizing them is possible with the use of IIoT solutions. The basis is to see on a dashboard which raw material, which vehicle is currently where and in which condition. Sensors record temperature and weight and a transmitter the location, so that not a meter is driven too much and not a gram of raw material is lost. All routes, procedures and processes are coordinated. If something does not go according to plan, the system recognizes it and intervenes directly or issues a warning. This is also a huge advantage for factory safety, as sensors for toxic substances can also be integrated into the system: If an area exceeds a limit, all vehicles, whether self-driving or human-controlled, are automatically directed out of the danger zone. From delivery in the global supply chain, through intralogistics in the plant, to disposal and delivery of the end product, an overview can be maintained immediately, in real time. At the same time, this absolute transparency and optimization also ensures massive savings in resources and thus climate-friendly steel production.

One option for straightforward implementation with IIoT, for example, is the Ivanti Neurons for IIoT platform. It quickly integrates with Ivanti Velocity Telnet or WEB, for example, and can be used to add IIoT automation to existing task worker processes without having to invest in expensive WMS changes. At its core, it connects machines, devices, workers, and software systems to maximize productivity, deepen insight and improve visibility.

Key features and benefits:

  • Connect: Ivanti Neurons for IIoT seamlessly integrates data from connected devices and operational technology applications, including Ivanti Velocity, to ensure a single source of diverse business insights.
  • Design: With a low-code/no-code workflow builder, Ivanti Neurons for IIoT provides application enablement capabilities so organizations can deploy solutions quickly.
  • Analyze: Ivanti Neurons for IIoT provides tools and capabilities to derive insights from data, enabling a deeper understanding of the environment and identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • Automate: In a single platform, Ivanti Neurons for IIoT orchestrates productivity workflows, optimizes devices for peak performance, and improves process automation.
  • Visualize: With real-time contextual dashboards that deliver cross-device insights, deep analytics, and predictive recommendations, Ivanti Neurons for IIoT optimizes decision making.

Application scenarios

For example, companies can attach geotags to trailers and shipping containers, so warehouse employees know exactly when shipments arrive and adjust staff resources accordingly. But geotags can just as easily be used indoors in the warehouse to locate and track products. Robots are becoming more and more intelligent, but they can only be used optimally in the warehouse if they are also networked with all other vehicles, systems and, via the handhelds/scanners/goggles/headsets, with the people working there. Or refrigerated transports can be monitored live with exact temperature information. Cameras can monitor processes automatically and thus accompany and control individual pallets on their way. In addition, there are application possibilities such as location tracking in real time or the monitoring of storage conditions: For example, customers collect data on temperature, pressure and humidity that could endanger the product and trigger automatic condition warnings. Today, cameras can be used so intelligently that they are automated, filming only a specific product/pallet for a defined period and documenting a condition. But this information is only as valuable as it is communicated with all other systems in use and passed on intelligently accordingly. Every acoustic or optical impulse, every triggered signal can improve even the most minimal steps in the process chain, provided that all parts of the system are connected and can communicate with each other. And this networking goes far beyond the warehouse: from pallets, containers, trucks, and ships to the producer thousands of kilometers away. Connectivity with Ivanti Neurons for IIoT has virtually no limits and any use case can be mapped and implemented.

Ultimately, IIoT solutions democratize information, increase transparency, and make KPIs easily visible - whether steel production or other industries, the use cases are almost limitless. The supply chain of the near future is comparable to the future of transportation, when all vehicles are connected, everyone gets to their destination at optimal speed and without accidents or delays. IIoT can now be the gamechanger in the retail and supply chain when it comes to further increasing processes in efficiency and scaling the entire process further up.

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