Challenge: Embark on a digital transformation journey to maintain a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving market.
Solution: Hitachi Vantara has provided skills and technologies to support various digital initiatives and unlock new data insights.
Established in 1985 and located in southwestern Kentucky, Logan Aluminum is an aluminum rolling mill and the largest single-can sheet facility in North America. Its single plant supplies nearly half of North American aluminum sheeting for canned beverages, such as beer, soda and water. This equates to more than two billion pounds of aluminum every year.
With the average piece of metal moving through the plant weighing between 30,000 and 50,000 pounds, employee safety and energy usage are of critical importance for the company.
“Using recycled rather than fresh aluminum uses about 90% less energy,” says Business Transformation Leader at Logan Aluminum, Vijay Kamineni. “Our product is already around 60 to 70% recycled.”
As new companies enter the market using digital technologies to optimize their rolling process, Logan Aluminum needs to ensure it remains competitive and cost-effective.
Despite having installed between 2,000 and 3,000 smart sensors on its 59 plant machines, Logan Aluminum was not harnessing the full value of the data captured. “We were data-rich but using less than 5% of the data for handling machine operations and customer queries,” reveals Kamineni. “Only the two people processing the data for each individual machine could access it.”
Logan Aluminum’s eyes were opened to new possibilities for leveraging its operational data at the Hitachi’s NEXT 2018 conference in San Diego. The company was inspired to embark on a digital transformation journey that would ultimately enhance the product quality.
Digitalization enables industrial companies to replace manual processes with automated workflows that can help to improve safety, productivity and quality. Digitalization doesn’t just impact processes; it impacts teams, systems and clients, and can change a company’s entire culture. For this reason, Logan Aluminum spent six months evaluating potential partners to guide it on its transformation journey. “We didn’t know how to go about changing our business with digital solutions,” admits Kamineni. “We needed an expert that could help us minimize the risk and maximize the return.”
Hitachi Vantara came on board while Logan Aluminum was investigating and comparing potential partners, joining the company for a Hitachi’s two-day Digital Envisioning Workshop. “That workshop was the game-changer for us during our evaluation of digitalization,” states Kamineni.
A seven-strong team from Hitachi Vantara attended the workshop, most of whom are still working with Logan Aluminum today. They made use of Hitachi Vantara’s digital value enablement methodology for manufacturing during the workshop, talking with Logan Aluminum’s operations, supply chain and technical teams. By the end of the workshop, Logan Aluminum had a five-year road map for its digital transformation, with insights into the potential benefits.
Since the workshop in January of 2019, Hitachi Vantara has been helping the company with a number of digitalization projects, including creating a cloud infrastructure to host a data lake. This has not only centralized operational data but also opened up access to anyone within the company who needs it. “We’re now gathering around 35,000 data points for each of the 250 aluminum coils we make each day – and making those data points available across the company,” confirms Kamineni.
Hitachi Vantara is also working with Logan Aluminum to deploy Lumada Manufacturing Insights, not only to drive quality compliance but also to help to:
Hitachi Vantara’s digital value enablement methodology for manufacturing will help to keep these initiatives on track and maximize the business value for Logan Aluminum. “Hitachi Vantara has helped us develop a culture and mindset for digital transformation,” comments Kamineni. “They not only have the skills to help across a diverse portfolio of projects but also great sector expertise.”
Logan Aluminum is a great example of how the manufacturing industry can achieve transformative outcomes from data-driven insights. “Having all the data from all of our plant machines in one place and available to everybody will be enormously valuable,” says Kamineni.
In the short term, Logan Aluminum expects their digital transformation to improve performance, minimize risk and reduce operational costs. As its journey gains momentum, it will be able to:
For digitalization initiatives to be successful, people need to understand the benefits. Hitachi Vantara’s expertise was critical in ensuring users understood the digital transformation journey. “With Hitachi Vantara’s help, we were able to secure buy-in from everyone involved in the digitalization of our business, which will enable us to deliver on our goals faster,” comments Kamineni.
Hitachi Vantara’s expertise has helped ensure the successful digital transformation essential to Logan Aluminum as the market evolves. “By digitalizing our processes and unlocking our data, we will be able to deliver the best products to our customers in an increasingly competitive market,” confirms Kamineni.
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