ArcelorMittal Sagunto has a set of lines for continuous or discrete processing of steel coils at its factory. The main lines comprise pickling, tandem, galvanizing and zinc electro-plating. The sequence in which the steel coils enter the lines of assembly is created taking into account a range of physical, quality, security and economic constraints. This is a highly complex process since there are numerous possible combinations. In scientific language, this kind of problem is rated as an NP-hard type.
The main objective of this project is to create a tool that calculates these sequences automatically. This project has been divided in several stages. At the first research stage, a prototype was developed in order to assess possible solutions to the problem. At the subsequent stages the problem was solved for each of the lines at the plant.
This tool has allowed reducing the number the need for specialized workers from 15 to 5. The plant has become more competitive since there have been significant improvements in the reduction of errors and an increased flexibility for the workers.