Leading Alloy Producer F.E. Mottram Streamlines Smelting Process with QUEST from Delmia Corp.
DELMIA solution cuts costs and increases worksite safety
Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.A. - July 2, 2003 - DELMIA Corp., a Dassault Systemes company (NASDAQ: DASTY; Euronext Paris: No. 13065, DSY.PA), today announced that alloy metal producer FE Mottram (Non Ferrous) Ltd. has streamlined its smelting processes with QUEST software. QUEST is a 3D simulation tool used to model and analyze facility layout and process flow. The project, which was supervised by the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Research Institute (AMTRI, Macclesfield, UK), enabled FE Mottram to optimize vehicle movement on its smelting site via the QUEST simulation model.
The company secures raw materials (aluminum ingots, chippings, etc.) needed for production from around the world. Trucks deliver these various materials to the site where they are weighed, sorted, and processed. Piecemeal expansion of the site over the years has affected the layout of operations, creating traffic problems and making parking difficult.
“The flow of materials on the QUEST simulation showed how crucial the inter-connection between external and internal transport is,” said Mike Dines, managing director, FE Mottram. “Seeing the total picture also made us realize that the status quo might easily result in an accident one day. This was reason enough for us to separate out the vehicle arrivals from the processing of their loads. However, the new set up will also remove the bottlenecks created by the vehicles, gaining us approximately an extra hour of working a day.
“QUEST is one of the most advanced discrete event simulation packages available,” said Nigel Prue, Managing Director, DELMIA in the UK. “It is an interactive tool that enables the user to quickly produce textured, high quality 3D models, and quickly calculate the optimum solution from a wide range of model parameter combinations and constraints. These qualities were vital in this case because factors such as the site layout and melt times varied.”
FE Mottram has already commissioned Phase II of the project where QUEST will be used to generate “what if” scenarios to reduce internal vehicle movement on site, with the principal goals being a 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption and a further decrease in the risk of accidents.
Bob Lloyd, project manager at AMTRI commented: “Some melts take longer than others and the composition of a melt can be altered even while it is already underway. Therefore, there are no cycle times that you can build into the QUEST model. The vehicle arrivals, for example, are booked in, but vehicle arrival times are not especially predictable, so further flexibility has to be built into the model. AMTRI’s QUEST model generates the alloy “recipe” taking into account the variations that can occur from the differing processes.”
The assumptions the model made were tested when one furnace broke down. FE Mottram expected that there would be a large drop in productivity, but as predicted by the AMTRI model, the increased throughput and improved furnace scheduling that came with addressing the logistics resulted in only a 5 – 6 percent loss of productivity.