The scheduling module ABB Ability™ Smart Melt Shop uses the real-time information in the ladle tracking system to help plan future activities in the most productive and efficient way, up to a particular time horizon. As one schedule of activities draws to a close, the scheduler calculates the next. In generating a schedule for each horizon, the scheduling module:
- Collects information from each piece of processing equipment.
- Establishes where the ladles identified for pick-up need to be dropped off.
- Determines the cranes responsible for the ladle transfers.
- Calculates the precise times at which the ladles are to be picked up and dropped off at the respective equipment by the cranes.
In making these calculations, it must be ensured that certain constraints inherent to melt shop operations are observed. For example, each ladle must follow a particular sequence of operations in a cycle and each ladle must remain at a piece of equipment for a designated period of time before it can be picked up. With these, and more, constraints incorporated, the module produces a schedule for centralized display and supervision. Further to the centralized display, a separate screen is made available to each crane operator in their cockpit that shows future scheduled activities specific to that particular crane. This crane-specific extract from the general schedule serves as instructions for the crane’s timely maneuvering. Finally, in addition to its utility as a guiding tool for productive operation, the output from the scheduling module also provides useful information to the thermal module.