Technology and the case for driving better efficiency in steel and rebar factories

17 November 2022Graitec SoftwareFABRICATION, MANUFACTURING, MES

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Technology and the case for driving better efficiency in steel and rebar factories

Technology is not only helping companies build more in less time, but it can also help incorporate sustainable and efficient measures into the construction process.

New, modern construction methods require creativity and innovative thinking. Computers cannot be creative. On the other hand, the human limitations that can result in fatigue and injuries can be resolved by using robotic machinery equipment. Robotics and advanced machinery can eliminate repetitive work. There is a partnership to be had, and it is already in place in many companies.

Humans are innovative when solutions are needed. But we are limited when it comes to consuming and interpreting large amounts of data. Computers can perform that work more quickly than any person can. The cloud can augment that process by accommodating enormous data sets that computers can analyse to reveal the trends behind the data.

The technology is advancing all the time, now we have artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is not uncommon for such technology to save a team a week’s worth of work in collecting data and processing and interpreting data in a mere few minutes. The main challenge is to present the results in a way that people can understand and trust. After all, what you don’t understand you may not trust or ignore.

Tangible benefits come from adopting innovations without waiting for perfection. Technology promises collaboration that could not be imagined before. More can often be achieved when all the stakeholders on a project can see the information collectively. However, it still requires the will to make things work better together. Not only is a conscious change of mindset is needed, but the way work is done also needs to change.

There will always be people who are unwilling to embrace change. A shift in mindset can appear threatening. But the people and companies that do adapt and change are more likely to survive and thrive in the changing construction landscape. There comes a point where it is too late to catch up, and some inevitably get left behind.

One of those changes taking place is in automating manual processes in factory machinery. In particular, you see the advent of smart steel cutting and bending machinery in steel and rebar fabrication factories. However, often the smart investment starts and stops there. The rest of the processes surrounding that expensive automated machinery remain manual and wedded to the past.

To truly leverage the promise of efficiency, companies need to introduce technology to replace manual and inefficient processes in the factory too. This can often be done through the introduction of smart data handling software, but also requires a fundamental mindset change.

This involves letting go of manual time consuming and error prone manual processes and harnessing advanced software solutions to manage all that information handling, so the staff don’t have to.

The software can integrate with the machinery and introduce 100% accuracy when it comes to the transfer of data e.g., the metadata contained with a rebar cutting list can automatically be input into the stirrup bending machine in a rebar factory instead of someone manually entering it.

Consider Graitec’s Advance Workshop Rebar Solution for example which enables the creation of accurate rebar lists, which can be input directly into cutting machinery in the most optimised way. Further, that product line can be automatically assigned to waiting trucks in the most optimised way to ensure the most efficient delivery plan for that company’s site customers.

Or consider Graitec’s Advance Workshop Steel Solution where you can automatically import a SMLX or IFC file into Advance Workshop, thereby importing all the metadata required to start manufacture. How much time and resource would this process take if it was done manually?

Producing with less waste, using your factory machines more efficiently and managing data much more quickly are all goals no business would oppose. You are cutting down your carbon emissions, manufacturing more efficiently and arriving at your day-to-day decisions far more quickly.

Ask yourself (or others!) when was the last time you undertook a genuine review of the software tools that are employed in your fabrication business? The answer may be surprising. I have met many clients who aspire to do great things, but who have software that is decades old! To stay ahead, one must continue to invest and challenge the status quo, If you haven’t recently done so, why don’t you take a look at your software and assess whether it is still fit for purpose with what challenges you are trying to overcome?

Fabrication Management Software cannot solve all your issues, however, not investing in the right kind of software may well be causing you more operational issues than you may be aware of.

Contact your local Graitec Advance Workshop representative regarding how to enhance efficiency in your steel and rebar fabrication factory.

Ismail Makda

Advance Workshop Director

 

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