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ArcelorMittal invests in new coil tracking systems, automation

New software is tracking hot rolled coils at No. 4 Shipping at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor in Porter County.

ArcelorMittal is investing in more technology and automation at its steel mills.

The steelmaker has installed sophisticated software to digitally track coil at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor and the I/N Tek and I/N Kote plant in New Carlisle. And the company is fully automating coil transportation at the New Carlisle plant.

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal first adopted Genesis, an acronym for generic stockyard information system, at ArcelorMittal Gent in Belgium. It has since brought the high-tech system to the United States, recently installing it at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor to keep better track of where its coil products move in the mill before shipping.

ArcelorMittal said the inventory tracking system upgrades the overall efficiency of the coil shipment process.

“Genesis is a coil tracking system that allows the crane operator to see the entire coil inventory in the warehouse,” ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor Hot Mill Finishing and Shipping Manager Aaron Webster said. “It allows for better crane optimization because we can stock the warehouse according to shipping method: truck, rail or barge and by customer.”

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Now that a live inventory tracking system has been installed, crane operators at the No. #4 Shipping Department at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor can pinpoint exactly where each coil is stacked when truck drivers show up to haul off a load.

Each coil can now be double-stacked at the steel mill in Porter County so it doesn't have to be stored outdoors and exposed to the elements. And the steel ends up being handled less, so it's less likely to be damaged or suffer from pitting corrosion.

I/N Tek and I/N Kote in New Carlisle, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp which gets all its feedstock from ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, has been automating coil transportation within the plant with automatic guided vehicles. Cranes pluck a coil off the assembly line and place it onto a coil skid that an automated vehicle then takes to a storage area designated by a computer system.

The computer tells the crane exactly where to go when it needs to retrieve the coil in an entirely computer-controlled system that ArcelorMittal says is reliable, efficient and effective at minimizing coil damage.

“The project team did an excellent job in addressing all the needs originally identified at the start of the project,” said Tom Kramer, project manager at I/N Tek and I/N Kote. “They were able to work with the supplier to develop a vehicle that is superior in every way to those replaced.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.