ThyssenKrupp Steel (TKS) has introduced an app to facilitate communication between order schedulers and engine drivers.

The rail network in question covers some 300km and covers the steelmaker's steel site in the north of Duisburg. Rail is the key means of transport for raw materials around the site and beyond its boundaries and the site's previous system, claims company, had reached its limits.

In the past, communication was mainly by radio. The scheduler generated an order in the system, informed the engine driver, waited for confirmation and then confirmed the order in the system. It was time-consuming and complicated, according to Michael Heise, senior engineer (logistics) at the German steelmaker.

"Our goal was to create a digital means of recording work orders without the need for communication between scheduler and engine driver," said Heise.

A prototype system was available for field testing after four weeks along with an underlying cloud-based system architecture and today exchanges between the scheduler and engine driver take place almost exclusively via the newly developed app, making many radio conversations unnecessary.

Future apps can also use the new cloud environment.

"The new app is just one example of the many initiatives TKS is implementing to drive the digital transformation in a targeted and systematic way. The company is co-ordinating its digitisation activities across all areas and constantly expanding its digital expertise," said the company, adding that it is using such solutions to improve production performance, integrate value chains within the company and furthermore enhance the security of the corporate digital landscape.