In early August, several members of the CIVS “Smart Ladle” team were invited by Chase Ault of Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) Butler Division to tour their steelmaking plant in Butler, Indiana. The tour covered the entirety of the process, including an in-depth look at the steel refining ladle and the casting processes, and a walkthrough of the rolling process that converts the steel slabs into coils of thin steel sheets. CIVS members were met with several SDI engineers and operators, gaining insight into the steel production process as well as ideas for collaboration. After the tour of the facility, CIVS members Nick Walla, Yanan Song, and graduate student Venkata Mogali met with Chase Ault to discuss the next steps for the Smart Ladle.
SDI Butler has worked closely with CIVS and the SMSVC to build the award-winning Smart Ladle, which uses machine learning to predict future behavior of the steel casting process to help improve operational stability and efficiency. SDI has been a long-standing partner with CIVS as part of the Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium (SMSVC), where cutting-edge steel research works to improve process efficiency and reduce environmental impacts while also improving productivity.