MRO Magazine

Steel shop reduces downtime 88% with software

Burlington, ON --Sterling Steel, a manufacturer of wire rod for its parent company Leggett & Platt, has increased t...

Burlington, ON –Sterling Steel, a manufacturer of wire rod for its parent company Leggett & Platt, has increased throughput and reduced downtime at its plant in Sterling, Ill., using the Ivara EXP reliability software solution from Ivara Corp., a provider of asset reliability solutions based in Burlington, Ont.

Using EXP, Sterling realized significant improvements in asset performance, including an 88% reduction in downtime at the companys rod mill and a 30% increase in meltshop throughput.

To strengthen its competitive position, Sterling Steel is focused on containing costs while increasing throughput. The company recognized that improved asset reliability was critical to its long-term success.

Ivara helped Sterling gain control over equipment failure. By implementing Ivara EXP enterprise software, Sterling was able to bring together a wide range of equipment condition data, including maintenance inspections, operator rounds and online information. Sterling now has a complete picture of its equipment health and performance — online in real time. E


XP automates tracking and alarming on asset condition, triggering online or e-mail alerts and driving corrective work orders into its CMMS application.

Taking advantage of Ivaras reliability centred maintenance methodology, Ivara RCM2, along with Ivaras reliability consulting expertise, Sterling was able to analyze how its critical equipment fails and determine an optimal mix of predictive and preventive maintenance tasks to efficiently manage potential failures. Sterling also used Ivara Maintenance Task Analysis (MTA), an accelerated FMEA methodology designed for less critical assets.

In establishing an enterprise EXP environment, Sterling has brought operations and maintenance together in the management of its equipment. EXP has also served as a repository of equipment and maintenance knowledge — critical at a time where an aging workforce left Sterling exposed to knowledge loss.

Ivara provided us with a solution that has allowed us to adopt a proactive business process for maintenance, says Kevin Mullen, plant maintenance manager, Sterling Steel. Weve not only increased throughput levels, but weve implemented a maintenance strategy that is aligned with our business goals. In addition to the significant gains in rod mill uptime and throughput, the implementation of the Ivara EXP Reliability software solution has resulted in the following benefits:

– Downtime on Sterling Steels crane is virtually eliminated, from several times per month to only minutes per month. This is a significant benefit since failures on this asset would disable operations and pose safety risks.

– Downtime of the arc furnace, reduced from an average of 5%-7% per month to 1.5% per month in only the first six months of applying the Ivara EXP reliability software solution. This has had a positive impact on Sterling Steels production, while significantly reducing the cost associated with maintaining this asset.

– Savings in excess of $100,000 per year due to improvements in cost of maintaining belts and bearings.

In todays competitive marketplace, more and more capital intensive organizations are recognizing the strategic role that improved reliability can have on their bottom line, says Gerry Bleau, president and CEO, Ivara Corp. Sterling Steel is a clear example of how a reliability-focused approach to an operation can drive business results.

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