How RHI Magnesita and Microsoft outsmart time together
More efficient and therefore predictive maintenance is one of the core components of Industrie 4.0. RHI Magnesita, the world leader in refractories, also relies on predictive maintenance. Microsoft and RHI Magnesita will showcase a jointly developed solution at the Hannover Fair 2019 from 1 to 5 April using cameras, artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect the wear of refractories and thereby determine the optimal maintenance times. Predictions and targeted corrections help to avoid downtime, save high costs and extend the life of furnaces.
The business idea of RHI Magnesita is as old as the industry itself – wherever materials with enormous temperatures are generated, the environment needs to be protected from heat. In short: The steel should melt, but not the container. The steel converter is therefore lined with refractory bricks. The refractory products of RHI Magnesita withstand 1,200 degrees and more – a must for the production of glass, cement or non-ferrous metals. “Without refractory products, there would be no cell phone, no car and no house,” explains CEO Stefan Borgas.
How long the refractory bricks withstand the heat is very different, which creates a difficult situation during maintenance. On the one hand, the refractories should reach their maximum service life, on the other hand, of course, downtime should be avoided. To predict the degree of wear and tear, RHI Magnesita focuses on digitization.
“We invest 70 million euros a year in research and development. The insights flow into the quality of our products, which in turn benefits our customers, “says Borgas. Thanks to years of experience and many feedback from customers, RHI Magnesita and Microsoft have been able to jointly develop a solution that can predict the lifetime of refractory products.
The answer to the race against time is called APO, Automated Process Optimization. The use of cameras that scan the refractory products, with the use of artificial intelligence allows early on to prepare for maintenance and saves unnecessary downtime. RHI Magnesita is then almost at the door with the new stones when they are about to give up the ghost.
What RHI Magnesita can do in the area of Industry 4.0 maintenance and what the developed solution for predictive maintenance looks like will be shown at the Hanover Fair at the Microsoft booth (Hello 7, Stand C40) from 1 to 5 April 2019.