10 Sep 2015

CASE STUDY: Ruukki increases productivity using Quintiq Metal Scheduler

Lorenzo Corea

Ruukki Case Study

“Planning support has been improved dramatically and we are now in a position to be able to measure the production impacts.”
– Pasi Rajala, Development Engineer, Ruukki

The company
Rautaruukki Oyj, best known as Ruukki, is a leading supplier of metal-based components, systems and integrated systems to the construction and mechanical engineering industries. The company has a wide portfolio of metal products and services with operations in 23 countries and 12,000 employees. Net sales in 2005 totaled €3.7 billion (U.S.$4.5 billion).

The business process
One central feature of the production process at Ruukki’s production facility in Raahe, Finland, is the continuous casting of slabs for heavy plate and strip products. Fed from two mixers, three casters are available and produce approximately 8,500 tons per day. After mixing but before casting, metallurgical treatment is provided by a desulphurization station, three converters, a stirring station for composition and temperature adjustment, a ladle furnace and a vacuum degasser. The casting is planned every shift for the next shift period, taking into account the casting orders, the slabs stocked in the slab yard and knowledge about the status of the casters and the upstream facilities.

Casting orders always detail material specification (grade, thickness, quality), a required amount (tons and number of slabs) and a due date for the casting. The width specification of an order consists of a required width, but also alternative widths are defined, allowing the optimization of width jumps within a sequence.

The challenge
There are many possibilities available in planning the sequencing of slabs into strands, and hence a variety of possible solutions. In order to stay competitive, Ruukki set the following related goals:

> Reduced inventory
Inventory is impacted by casting because the cast slabs are sometimes not immediately required and therefore need to be stocked. Sometimes slabs are cast too early, other times slabs are produced when no order exists. Ruukki needed to minimize inventory in order to minimize costs.

> High productivity
Given the usual mix of slab qualities ordered, casting creates a bottleneck. The company has therefore set clear goals to produce long strands in order to maintain high productivity, short and infrequent downtimes and zero waiting time for ladles.

> On-Time Delivery Performance
The deadlines for all orders - customer orders and orders contracted by other plants - must be maintained as tightly as possible. In addition, the deadlines related to the casting itself are important and must be kept. The tactical planning process at Ruukki determines those due dates according to customer deadline and balanced workload objectives.


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Lorenzo Corea





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