Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see raw materials turn into molten iron inside a blast furnace? ArcelorMittal is using strategic collaborations and technology to improve our operations and develop our workforce of tomorrow. Through a partnership with Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), we are using high tech simulations to solve some of our greatest challenges.
CIVS is a virtual reality laboratory run by Purdue faculty, staff and students. It combines advanced simulation techniques with 3-D visualization and virtual reality technologies. Through the use of the center’s resources, participants can see and interact with complex data in ways that are beneficial for users.
ArcelorMittal began to collaborate with the center a few years ago on projects at our Burns Harbor, Indiana Harbor and research and development facilities in Indiana. The technology offered through CIVS is being utilized by companies, including steelmakers, that are hoping for a technological edge in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
“For the past several years, CIVS has worked with ArcelorMittal to address many steel-related issues, which resulted not only in economic benefit, but also opportunities for our students to learn how to solve real-world problems,” said Dr. Chenn Zhou, CIVS director and professor, Purdue University Calumet. “Partnerships like this have made CIVS a useful resource for using advanced simulation and visualization technologies to provide cost-effective solutions. We truly appreciate the collaboration with ArcelorMittal and look forward to continuing to advance technologies that support the steel industry.” Project topics related to industry include: workplace safety, energy efficiency, operational efficiency, reliability and maintenance, workforce development, environmental impacts, raw materials and smart manufacturing.
“I have worked with CIVS on a variety of successful projects in the past,” said Larry Fabina, manager, continuous improvement, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. “Their modeling techniques can be applied to solve problems throughout our facilities more quickly and economically than methods we used previously. In January 2015, Burns Harbor developed a list of possible CIVS projects that would improve our operations and CIVS is presently working on two of the projects from this list.” All of the projects focus on best practices that can benefit the entire industry. In order to further support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, ArcelorMittal was also involved in a summer STEM camp held at CIVS in 2015. Middle school students from Northwest Indiana participated in a special career camp that focused on future STEM job opportunities. The program is part of Ready Northwest Indiana and Works Council of Northwest Indiana.
CIVS used interactive and innovative simulations to educate the students and introduce them to STEM-related career fields. The simulations allowed the students to virtually explore several career fields without having to leave the center’s Immersive Theater. Throughout the five-day camp, the students saw how a wind turbine functions from the inside and out, how power is generated, how steel is manufactured, and participated in interactive demos with some of the latest evolving technologies – such as Oculus Rift (a 3-D virtual head mount display), augmented reality and 3D printing.
Two ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor steel producing managers provided a fun, hands-on presentation to the young students about the vast STEM career opportunities available in today’s high-tech steel industry. “The students really enjoyed examining the different types of alloys we brought and were engaged by answering our questions,” noted Dave Sena, manager, operations technology, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. “This interaction with our youth is key to the industry’s development in growing local and talented kids to someday support and grow in our community.”