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How Industrial Companies Can Achieve Transformative Outcomes With DataOps

Bobby Soni

November 21, 2019

Digital transformation provides a valuable opportunity for industrial companies to move away from manual processes and automate with digital technologies to improve safety, productivity, and quality for customers. But it can be a daunting endeavor for many. At Hitachi Vantara, we’ve developed an award-winning Smart Manufacturing Transformation methodology that can ensure full-scale digital transformation and success for our customers. Logan Aluminum is a great example of how the manufacturing industry can achieve transformative outcomes from data-driven insights.

Logan Aluminum, established in 1985, is an aluminum rolling mill and the largest, single can sheet facility in North America today. The average piece of metal moving through the plant is about 30-50,000 pounds. It supplies more than 45% of the North American can market, producing more than 2 billion pounds of aluminum annually. About a year ago, the company began evaluating how it must evolve its business with digital technologies in order to stay competitive and deliver better quality products to its clients.

“Admittedly, we didn’t know how to go about changing our business with digital tools. We’re not experts in digital technologies,” said Vijay Kamineni, Business Transformation Leader at Logan Aluminum. “We had to start developing a culture and mindset for digital transformation. But since partnering with Hitachi Vantara, it’s been a wonderful journey.”

Hitachi developed a 2-day Smart Manufacturing Solution Envisioning Workshop for Logan Aluminum – which included in-depth interviews across multiple lines of business and a tour of Logan’s production facilities – to identify weaknesses in its operations and propose a winning solution that would enable the company to meet its environmental, safety, product quality and production-efficiency goals, all while lowering costs.

With Hitachi Vantara, Logan Aluminum is developing the capabilities to:

  • Eliminate data siloes and establish and secure an industrial network to optimize the flow of data between its front and back offices.
  • Capture cycle times, identify and eliminate bottlenecks, so metal flows faster through its cold mill process.
  • Identify and predict large motor failures, allowing Logan to evolve from preventative to scheduled maintenances while increasing availability and asset life of large motors.
  • Reduce accidents with trains, forklifts, cranes and other mobile equipment using lidar sensors and video analytics to monitor employee safety zones.
  • Use machine learning to capture perfect runs or castings and predict future deviations that will spark real-time alerts.
  • Improve and digitize its budget inputs and 5-year forecast process by building financial models that accurately predict supply and demand models.

“The workshop was the key game changer for us. Once the workshop was over, we had a 5-year roadmap of what it would mean for Logan Aluminum to go through this digital transformation journey,” said Kamineni. “Previously, we were very data rich, but were probably not even using 5% of that data. We had sensors on everything – 59 machines with approximately 3000 sensors collecting data for at least the last 10 years. But aside from the few people who operated the machines, no one else had access to that data. With Hitachi Vantara, we now know what’s possible from creating a cloud infrastructure with data analytics. It is exciting to have all our machines integrated in one place and be able to extract value from our data.”

Logan Aluminum has just started its multiphased digital transformation journey but in the near term is already projected to improve performance and availability significantly, reduce risk incidents and operational costs.

It is so rewarding to help our customers navigate the convergence of information technology with operational technology to drive meaningful business outcomes. We expect Logan to realize many more benefits as we continue to roll out their transformation and are excited to be co-creators in their process.

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