GE signs smart factory agreement with Korean steelmaker Posco
The new smart factory platform aims to improve steel mill’s production efficiency
South Korea’s largest steelmaker Posco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with General Electric (GE) to develop a smart factory platform that is expected to improve steel mill production efficiency and prevent workplace accidents.
Posco said that under this new agreement, the two companies will focus on technical and business cooperation to develop and commercialize a smart factory system dubbed PosFrame+.
PosFrame+ is a smart factory platform specifically designed for steel makers, and will be developed by integrating Posco’s self-developed smart factory platform and GE’s asset performance management (APM) solution for monitoring plant facilities.
The two firms will initially implement GE’s APM solution in a Posco power generator at the company’s Pohang steel mill in North Gyeongsang Province to test its compatibility with Posco’s system. They aim to develop the integrated system by the end of 2018.
Posco also said the new smart factory system will not only help to boost operational efficiency but also prevent accidents in the workplace.
The Asian steelmaker said it will also work together with GE to expand application of the smart factory platform to other related sectors and prepare for commercialization of the new system.
In March 2017, Posco had a meeting with GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt to discuss potential partnerships to increase smart factory technologies in Posco’s steel and non-steel factories. The two companies discussed different ways that smart technologies could be incorporated into Posco’s factories. By combining GE’s strength in equipment manufacturing and Posco’s expertise in the steel industry, the two firms were looking to create more advanced smart industrial solutions. Posco, in particular, was aiming to introduce smart features to their material, energy, and construction businesses through this partnership.
The previous month, Posco’s CEO Ohjoon Kwon made trips to Germany and the U.S. to visit Siemens and GE factories. At that time, he met with executives to discuss best practices and share thoughts on potential collaborations in the smart factory field.
In 2016, Posco had formed the Smart Solution Council, with the aim of integrating ICT into the firm’s core businesses – steel, construction, and energy. In its smart factories, Posco said it combines IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence technology to produce and supply high-quality products.
Posco’s steel plate factory at Gwangyang Works has already transformed its integrated production process by building a data integration infrastructure that encompasses all of its operations and facilities. It has also created a data pre-analysis system that can detect abnormalities.