process automation steelmaking

The Level 2 solution for process supervision, control and optimization.

qontrol for steelmaking

qontrol for steelmaking is a comprehensive and holistic solution that enables the process engineers and shop floor operators to supervise, control and optimize the various metallurgical processes. Thanks to the flexible Interface Manager, communication with Level 1 can be established quickly and easily. This allows process data and events to be received and set-points to be sent. Predefined treatment recipes are displayed to the operating personnel in order to ensure the standardization of production. Based on the process data, the metallurgical models dynamically calculate the current status as well as set-points for optimal control of the metallurgical processes. The interaction with the operator takes place by means of graphic user interfaces (software cockpits) either in the control rooms or directly in the production area with the help of our robust operator terminals.


Areas of application

Regardless of whether you need a Level 2 system for one metallurgical unit or for all the metallurgical processes in your melt shop, qontrol for steelmaking is the solution for realizing efficient steel production.

qontrol for steelmaking can be applied for a single metallurgical unit, or for the entire steelmaking process route including the following metallurgical units:

  • Scrap Yard (SY) | Optimized Charge Mix
  • Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)
  • Ladle Furnace (LF)
  • Vacuum Degassing Unit (VD)
  • RH Degassing Unit(RH)
  • Vacuum Oxygen Decarburization Unit (VOD)
  • Argon Oxygen Decarburization Unit (AOD)
Metallurgical Units

Software integration

Regardless of whether it is strictly hierarchical or broken down to individual local and fully networked systems, our modern software system can be seamlessly integrated into any infrastructure.
Automation Pyramid

We know from our experience that the steel industry is characterized by a wide variety of degrees of computerization (i.e. the use of software systems along the levels of the automation pyramid). In connection with process control systems, the current level of computerization ranges from manual control and manual recording of process data to (partially) fully automatic control including complete digital track and trace applications.
qontrol for steelmaking seamlessly integrates the advanced raw material optimization module and the metallurgical models to guide, control and optimize metallurgical processes. qontrol can be customized to suit individual needs and integrated into the existing IT system landscape. With the help of our interface manager, qontrol for steelmaking can communicate with the following systems:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
  • Other process automation software systems (Level 2)
  • Equipment automation systems (Level 1)
  • Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS)
  • Sensors (intelligent sensors and devices)
  • Other customer-specific systems

Software functionalities

Automation Concept

The main functionalities of the software system are process modelling, supervision, control and optimization. The approach illustrated in the figure applies to all metallurgical processes, i.e. starting with the melting of the raw materials in the electric arc furnace (EAF) through all secondary metallurgy processes up to the casting area.
Whenever possible, the system automatically records and tracks process data and events (temperature measurements, material additions, sample analysis) in context of the heat to be produced. Thus, the following information is available to the software user at any times:

  • Heats number and grade to be produced in the steel shop.
  • Values of all measurements (temperature, oxygen, hydrogen).
  • All relevant process data as charts/ diagrams or numeric values.
  • Calculated temperatures as well as steel and slag composition.
  • Treatment time, delays (power on / power off time).
  • Consumptions.
  • Operator instructions and dynamically calculated set-points.
  • Warnings and alarms.
  • Event logs (send and receive).
Communication layer:

Data recording represents a basic functionality of the software system and is realized by the configurable interface manager. The interface, which can be adapted quickly and flexibly, enables process data to be received in real time and set points to be sent to control the metallurgical processes.


Tracking is the process that monitors the state of the entire steelmaking process. The following functionalities are part of this application:

  • Overall tracking of the heats to be produces
  • Tracking of all material additions
  • Tracking of sampling and the chemical analysis of all analysed samples.
  • Equipment tracking (ladles, lances, molds, etc.)
  • Start and end of the metallurgical processes (chronology9
  • Tracking of liquid steel and slag mass (mass balance).
Process modeling:

Based on the process data, the process models calculate and predicts the current state of the heat. The current state of a heat is expressed by the chemical composition of the liquid steel and the slag as well as by temperature. The results will be displayed for the operator by means of software cockpits and act as input parameters for control and optimization functions.
Tthe digital model represents the heart of the entire solution. It is based on a fundamental and holistic approach, in which the fundamentals of thermophysics, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics and all energy and mass balances are developed in a general approach for melting and refining.

Process control

Workflow and recipe management enables static set-point control for process standardization. The following important information will be provided for the operator:

  • Activities (work instructions) to be carried out.
  • Treatment goals (duration, target temperatures).
  • Target composition for melt and slag.
  • Plant-specific setpoints (e.g. blowing pattern including stirring rate, oxygen and inert gas rate and ratio).

Based on the current temperature, composition and mass of the melt and slag as well as the defined target values, the software system dynamically calculates the following set-points:

  • Transformer tap set-points for melting (EAF) and heating (LF).
  • Set-points for EAF burner and carbon/lime injection.
  • Set-points for stirring (gas rate), pressure (RH/VD/VOD) and oxygen blowing (VOD/AOD)
  • Alloy additions (cost-optimized).
  • Target composition for melt and slag.
  • Type and mass of material additions for deoxidation.
  • Type and mass of material additions for slag reduction.
  • Type and mass of material to adjust the slag conditions (basicity).
Process optimization

All dynamic set-point models take optimization criteria such as economic advantages as well as process related requirements into account. The following optimization criteria are considered in the dedicated metallurgical unit:

  • Optimized process gas input (oxygen, nitrogen and aron).
  • Optimized material input (scrap, alloying agent, carbon, slag-forming agent).
  • Minimizing electrode and energy consumption.
  • Optimized dephosphorization and sulphurisation.
  • Optimized degassing.
  • Optimized decarburization.
  • Minimizing the need for reducing agents.
  • Minimizing the treatment time.
  • Minimization of refractory wear (temperature control).
  • Guarantee of process stability.

software for the metals industry

Step into the future of intelligent production with our software platform.

Comprehensive assistance systems

Transforming processes into customer-oriented software

Our modular software platform, qontrol, enables the digital mapping of all processes and process steps along the value chain under consideration (including raw materials, plants and machines). However, we also know that each of our customers has unique characteristics and specific manufacturing processes and that the one-size-fits-all approach is not applicable. qontrol is not a standard solution; it is tailored to the individual needs of our customers so that the following advantages can be achieved for production:

  • Complete transparency of all processes thanks to seamless data recording
  • Standardization of each individual process, as well as the entire chain
  • Buildup and further development of process know-how
  • Complete material management (consumption and stock)
  • Tracking of the most important operating resources in connection with maintenance tasks
  • Improved and transparent order planning (sequencing)
  • Optimization of raw materials
  • Minimization of energy inputs
  • Reduction of process costs and maximized process efficiency
  • Operator support by modern UX-driven GUIs
  • Supervision and control of the processes
  • Improved user-friendly reporting
  • Possibility of advanced analytics
  • Support for continuous improvement processes
  • Product genealogy: digital linking of products and process data

The qontrol platform

Our software platform, qontrol, is based on the most modern software architectures, including the microservice principles and Industry 4.0 guidelines, and combines both Level 2 and Level 3 functionalities from the classic automation pyramid. In this way, the essential areas of the operational control level and the process control level are embedded in a modular software platform.

Process control level

Data communication

We understand connectivity to be the logical points of contact of our software solution with external systems. Since the degree of automation in the manufacturing and processing industries often differs from application to application, this variability must be taken into account in a highly modular and generic architecture of data recording. The interface manager is an independent solution that can be installed and configured specifically for every customer. ERP systems, LIMS, machines and plants, intelligent sensors and other customer-specific systems can be quickly and efficiently connected to our software system.

Production tracking

With the help of this software component, all process-related data, downtime, resources and materials, as well as semi-finished products, are recorded. During production, the status of production (where and how products are manufactured or processed) is available or known at all times. Definable quality criteria can be evaluated in real time, and possible problems can be identified at an early stage. Complete production traceability production is guaranteed because all data is stored centrally. Subsequently, this data can be easily and holistically evaluated and analyzed.

Process manager

The process manager is the digital mirror image (the digital twin) of the individual processes. It contains both static and dynamic information. Static information can be specifications of process parameters, work instructions, quality criteria or target values. Dynamic information changes over time as the production processes progresses. In the process industry, these have to be calculated using specific models. Thus, the physical manufacturing process can be assessed, analyzed, predicted and optimized. To do this, the process-relevant data from the physical world must be transferred to the models. The simulation data are visualized, and depending on the degree of integration, the process can be controlled.

Operational management level

Master data management

The master data management enables the definition and administration of all the necessary parameters to answer the following questions:

  • What should be produced?
  • How must the product be produced?
  • What resources are needed for this?

Know-how management is at the heart of master data management. It defines how a particular product can be made. For this purpose, process-specific instructions for each step (recipes) can be defined and combined into a production workflow. The products themselves are maintained in the product definition. The raw materials and the equipment (machines/systems) are managed in the resource management module. The locations where the resources are stored are also managed.

Production dispatching

The production dispatching module merges master data, such as the product to be produced, the required resources and the workflow (i.e., the process-specific recipes) using production orders. These production orders can be received by an external system, but they can also be created manually. For a defined planning horizon, the order sequencing module enables the manual generation of a defined production sequence based on all available production orders.

Performance analysis

All cyclically recorded process data and events and material movements, as well as the equipment used, are stored in the database centrally and in relation to the production order. This production data stored in the database is converted into customer-specific KPIs and metrics, and it is made available in the form of trends, dashboards and reports that can be shared with other information systems. This means that all production data is analyzed and prepared so that it can be used to make decisions, evaluate your performance and support the continuous improvement process.

When to contact us

qontrol is a modular platform that can be applied well to different industries.

Main platform features are as follows:

  • A modern platform developed with latest design principles and a microservice architecture.
  • Scalable and expandable setup with easy upgrade possibilities.
  • Web-based client with responsive design.
  • Standardized and well-documented APIs to interface with third-party applications.

Let’s set the sails for your best software project.