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Daily press, Trade press, 2018-09-07, 05:00 PM

Digitized check-in at one of Germany’s biggest logistics hubs: thyssenkrupp Steel opens modernized plant gates at Duisburg site

• Milestone on the path to fully digitally managed logistics

• Check-in speed at plant gate tripled

• Complexity dramatically reduced: 70 processes reduced to only two

• Total investment of 15 million euros

Starting signal for the digital future of logistics: With the symbolic raising of a barrier North Rhine-Westphalia economics and digital minister Andreas Pinkwart today opened the modernized plant gates at thyssenkrupp Steel in Duisburg. “Innovative projects such as Tor 6 make a major contribution to North Rhine-Westphalia's maintaining its leading position as a logistics location”, said the minister. Andreas Goss, CEO of thyssenkrupp Steel, added: “The gate project is a milestone on the path to fully digital management of our traffic flows. It enhances our capabilities significantly in this area and takes us a step closer to the steel mill of the future.” After a project lasting three years the main goods check-in processes at the mill gates will now be managed fully digitally.

Old system had hit its limits – solution takes fundamentally new approach

Around 2,000 trucks and 13,000 delivery vans and cars pass through the mill gates every day, and the number is increasing. The previous system, involving a large number of uncoordinated analogue processes, had hit its limits. A team from logistics, plant management and IT worked closely together with the aim not of battling individual symptoms but of creating something fundamentally new and sustainable. The solution they developed which was unveiled today streamlines and regulates traffic movements through largely digitized processes.

One visible sign of the modernization move is the digital gate pass. With an embedded QR code it is the key to enter the mill site in the north of Duisburg. It forms the link between the physical transportation process and the digital world and in the future can be produced at self-service terminals or in advance via a web portal. Carriers and truck drivers will also be able to use a smartphone app for this in the future.

A track and trace system will make the whole traffic management process much more efficient because it can now be precisely predicted when a truck will arrive at the mill. If there are unforeseen waiting times, incoming trucks can also be directed to a newly built truck stop near the mill, equipped among other things with sanitary facilities and advance check-in terminals. At the gate itself the weighing processes are now also fully digital and are managed and monitored from a new control station.

Gate project is one of a kind in Europe

Ulrike Höffken, head of logistics at thyssenkrupp Steel, describes the enormous effects the modernization of check-in processes will have: “We will reduce the time for the weighing process by two thirds. Instead of three minutes we now need only one. And we are reducing complexity drastically: instead of 70 different processes we now only need two. That saves time and money. This project is one of a kind in Europe and a model for industrial sites of our size.”

Powerful IT key to success

Powerful IT systems were crucial to the success of the project. Behind the digital gate pass, the digital twin of each movement, lie cloud-based data flows, fed by thousands of daily movements that have to be linked and analyzed. The gate project is therefore an important milestone but just the start. Ulrike Höffken: “We know that the gate project is just the beginning of an evolution. That’s why we’ve deliberately made it modular so that it can be expanded if necessary. We have to be open to technology in order to identify opportunities for improvements in good time.”

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