On September 23, 2020 I joined the “Steel Making Technologies”  panel during MM Steel Club’s “Steel, Metals and Mining Week 2020” to discuss:

  • The outlook for major technology suppliers around the world, post-coronavirus
  • How technology can aid regional steelmakers in staying competitive in this challenging market, and
  • How new technologies can help reduce the industry’s environmental footprint

This was a great, four-day, virtual event; Noodle.ai was pleased to participate.

To learn more about Noodle.ai’s products for process manufacturing, visit our Vulcan Manufacturing AI Suite or contact us to request a demo.

Here’s a transcript of my comments on behalf of Noodle.ai:

Chris Heuschkel, Noodle.ai:

COVID-19 has brought us a lot of challenges around certainly excess capacity, a lot of demand uncertainty, and with that a lot of questions around what to do in pricing decisions of when to lead, when to lose – around really when to build new assets and build new greenfield sites, workforce instability around obviously on top of an existing aging workforce, additional health related concerns and instability on top of that, and last but not least is margin pressure.

If we look at the compounding factors on top of that, our view from Noodle.ai is that legacy and traditional software is failing process manufacturing. You see a lot of hype out there in consumer AI and more focused on marketing and pricing and those types of use cases. But our view is that in heavy asset and particularly in metals manufacturing, traditional software is failing, leaving a lot of massive opportunities on the table. At the bottom here (see slide), I’ve got some stats on an average 10-million-ton producer. And what we’re seeing is $130 million of quality downgrades, $100 million of unplanned downtime events, over maintenance just based on condition-based monitoring. A lot of these rules-based systems out there that we see, they’re failing; not entirely but also leaving a tremendous amount of money on the table and particularly given these times every dollar matters. So, this is really where we feel strongly that AI plays a very strong role.

Thomas Narholz, NPT AG:

We know that the workforce in steel plants is aging. What is your experience in different areas of the world? How did you cope with this situation to bring the whole workforce on board?

Chris Heuschkel, Noodle.ai:

We like to target the folks that have a healthy level of skepticism; we find that once you engage them and you show them that this works, they bring everyone with them. Early on, four years back, we deployed this energy prediction application and at that time, it was just pure data driven, but we sat down with the operators and talked to them about the weather characteristics and the crew and hot starts and cold starts and just getting that level of engagement when you have, a group of data scientists from Silicon Valley. I was it was great to see that interaction, that dynamic because it really is a team sport and it takes inputs from all different types, so, it’s not either or, it’s about everyone working together. So, it’s a fun challenge. It’s part of what gets us up in the morning.


For the full MMSteel Club event recap from September 2020, visit: https://mmsteelclub.com/event/smm2020/.