Blending calculation in SAP with itelligence’s blending AddOn – Part 1

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Will it blend? Admittedly, a Google search for an answer to this question brings to light rather input for lunch break at your desk than serious information for businesses with melting and casting processes. Nevertheless, it is exactly the question that arises several times a day in each and every foundry. The less so, managers think about which contribution an ERP system can provide to this crucial but often shabby-treated (at least from an IT point of view) process step. The blending add-on brings together what belongs together and integrates melting and casting processes in their natural surrounding: the complete production process.

Seamless: Melting and casting in SAP

In many areas of the metals industry, SAP solutions have established as the state of the art. Just as any other businesses, foundries focus on integrated business processes with SAP and accept one of their crucial process steps – the blending calculation – to be carried out in an isolated application far from the main ERP system for lack of a complete and integrated software solution.

With our AddOn, a complete, easy-to-use tool is available that integrates this important process step into the software that all other steps are carried out with. Complex, sophisticated and costly interfaces are not an issue anymore.

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As an AddOn to SAP standard, we provide additional functionality in your familiar software landscape that are not available via standard SAP modules. Additional software for blending calculation is not needed anymore – together with standard SAP, the add-on unifies all business processes in the foundry in your familiar environment.

Stocks are available in real-time, without ever being corrupted or blurred on their way from one system into another. Through integration with plant maintenance, furnaces and ladles can only be used if they are not down for maintenance or repair or are unavailable for any other reason. All goods movements are posted in real-time. In short: everything that you have been expecting from your ERP system for years and that is accepted as self-evident is now also available for the melting and casting process.

Mathematics for the best composition

The calculation of a blending can be carried out according to your requirements and the individual process from different points of view, for example:

  • Analysis optimization; the sum of deviations from actual to target analysis is minimized and it is ensured that the boundaries for each element are fulfilled.
  • Cost optimization; the price of the calculated composition is minimized, and the deviation from actual to target analysis plays only a minor part, while it is still ensured that the boundaries for each element are fulfilled.

Employing optimization methods such as the Simplex algorithm and a variant of the Branch-and-Bound method, it is guaranteed that the best solution to the given problem is always determined – reliable and mathematically proven.

Since the definition of the „correct“ solution can be as individual as the whole foundry process in total, the blending add-on is ready to find the customized best solution for your business even if it does not match one of the two best practice cases mentioned above. Additionally to sheer analysis or cost optimization, a combination of the two variants is conceivable, as well as the possibility to weight analysis deviations differently for different elements (e.g. a deviation in the analysis for carbon could be much more critical that a deviations for chrome when casting stainless steel). For requirements (and possibilities), the sky is the limit as long as the individual optimization problem can be described mathematically. At short notice, your individual requirements for the batch calculation are implemented in the SAP system so that not only your business process is available completely and correctly in the system, but rather the system can provide great support by minimizing the number of subsequent correction blendings and improving the quality of each batch and material grade.

Interested in learning more? Then visit this blog to read part two of my blog series next Thursday.

– by Gero Brockschnieder, itelligence AG –

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