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3tn: Efficient material handling and better overview in steel service centers

Technical warehouse management system proves itself at the ThyssenKrupp Steel Service Center in Krefeld, Germany

3tn: Efficient material handling and better overview in steel service centers

TWMS/metals manages and visualizes transport and storage activities from the unloading of the inland vessels (left) through to the delivery of the coils to the slitting and cut-to-length lines.

The technical warehouse management system TWMS/metals controls and visualizes transport and storage activities in the metals industry from continuous casting through to the shipment of the finished products. It optimizes the use of storage capacities across various warehouses or even plant-wide, ensuring that the means of transport, such as cranes or cross transfer systems, are efficiently used.

TWMS/metals from 3tn has been in operation at the ThyssenKrupp Steel Service Center in Krefeld, Germany, since 2010. About 400,000 t/year of quality-steel coils – including higher-strength steels for exposed car body parts – are slit or cut to size at the service center located in the Krefeld Rhine port.

In two warehouses connected by two transfer cars, the system manages all transport and storage activities from the receipt of the coils delivered by truck or ship to the timely delivery of the coils to the four slitting lines and one cut-to-length line. It operates according to the scheduling data provided by the higher-level SAP system.

A central element of TWMS/metals is the visualization of the warehouses in real time as near-reality 3D views. In the crane cabins, the current warehouse situation is displayed as seen by the crane operator. Arrows guide the crane operators from one position to the next, while all information they need for processing an order is being displayed.

A three-dimensional view is also implemented on the client terminals in the offices. The users can move freely about this display and view the warehouse from any perspective. If they want to know where a certain coil is, they can zoom in on it from the total view, as known from „Google Earth“.

According to Hendrik Bodenstein, Managing Director of the logistics service providers Becker & Co. GmbH, who are part of the ThyssenKrupp group and operators of the warehouse at the ThyssenKrupp Steel Service Center in Krefeld, the system offers numerous benefits: „This system helps us to optimally manage all warehouse activities. It enables target-oriented storage and efficient use of the available storage space. The system optimizes crane movements, avoids unnecessary shifting operations – and therefore the associated risk of damaging any stored material – and speeds up the transport activities in general. In addition to these benefits, it creates transparency as it makes all information readily available and all activities intuitively comprehensible – not only for us but also for the warehouse owner, ThyssenKrupp Stahl-Service-Center GmbH.“

All this results in the optimal storage of all products, in short transfer times, efficient use of personnel and means of transport, no damage due to improper storage, and safe working conditions. Moreover, the system reduces the tracing effort to virtually zero.

Thorsten Tönjes, one of the two Managing Directors of 3tn, sees great potential for the technical warehouse management system in steel service centers: „Whereas initially we implemented TWMS/metals mainly in rolling mills, for example at Hoesch Hohenlimburg, Salzgitter Flachstahl, Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp Steel, we are now receiving more and more inquiries from steel service centers. Product variety is much greater and lot sizes are much smaller in steel service centers. This makes it even more critical to have in place an efficient and reliable management system for all storage and transport activities. The system implemented in Krefeld has demonstrated that it is able to cope with these challenging conditions typical of steel service centers.“

3tn developed TWMS/metals specifically for the metals industry. The system is preconfigured for all products, means of transport and warehouse arrangements common in this industry. In one direction, it communicates with ERP and MES systems and, in the other direction, with the basic automation systems and the sensor equipment.

About 3tn

Thomas Niepmann and Thorsten Tönjes founded 3tn in 1999 after several years of working together on warehouse management projects in the metals industry.

Their business plan was to develop customer-specific software solutions for optimizing material movement, specifically adapting to the requirements of the metals industry. This philosophy has been consistently followed ever since.

The 3tn team consists of software developers, computer scientists, electrical technicians and engineers. Their expertise covers every stage of a project, from analyses and feasibility studies, through software development, all the way to project management, commissioning, and user training. Experienced technicians ensure comprehensive after sales support and constant on-call service.

3tn Industriesoftware GmbH
Thomas Niepmann
Rhenus Platz 3
59439 Holzwickede/Germany

Regina Reinhardt
Suesterfeldstrasse 83
52072 Aachen / Germany

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