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Autonomous stockyard management system improves production capacity and efficiency

Siemens is supplying an autonomous stockyard management system to be used in a new plant for HBIS Laoting Steel Co. Ltd., a Chinese subsidiary of one of the world's biggest iron and steel producers.

The autonomous stockyard management system from Siemens comprises of a material tracking and management system (MAQ), an autonomous stockyard operating system (MOM), a Simatic PCS 7 process control system, industry network, consulting, engineering, project management and commissioning. The interaction between these different components enables control of all the plant's machines and conveying systems, it offers wide-ranging benefits such as the capability for all machines and conveyors to be controlled from a single system. This is achieved using a 3D model of the existing inventory which provides information on the volume and quality of stocked material, enabling autonomous operation of all the plant's storage and retrieval machines.

This allows HBIS Laoting Steel Co. Ltd. not only to drive down its operating costs but also to achieve between a 5% - 10% improvement in system efficiency and between 3% - 7% higher production capacity. The use of autonomous storage and retrieval machinery also improves safety.

The latest environmental regulations set out by the Chinese Government require all newly constructed stockyards to be indoors. The high temperatures and levels of dust involved make for harsh working conditions, meaning that only autonomous storage and retrieval machinery can be operated in these new indoor facilities. This prompted HBIS Laoting Steel Co. Ltd. to look at using an autonomous stockyard management system from Siemens.

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