“Any answer is now a few seconds away instead of taking 20 or 30 minutes.”
APU Manager at Constellium
Constellium is a global leader in designing and manufacturing innovative and high value-added aluminum products and solutions for a broad range of applications dedicated primarily to aerospace, automotive and packaging markets.
This global aluminum manufacturer’s recycling unit struggled with a radio- and phone-based communication process that impacted efficiency and productivity.
The company used Domo to build a business app that allows staff to gain complete visibility into everything from truck location to the chemical composition of its molten aluminum.
Thanks to the app, the company has been able to significantly increase its efficiency by eliminating the back and forth of manual communication.
Constellium refines its aluminum recycling capabilities with Domo.
Aluminum is an amazingly versatile material used to make everything from soda cans to jumbo jets. Perhaps more importantly, aluminum can be recycled endlessly while still retaining all its functionality, all at a fraction of the energy cost of new aluminum production, making recycled aluminum the preferred choice for both improving the bottom line and the environment.
As a leading producer of aluminum products, Constellium has significant recycling capabilities that allows the Muscle Shoals facility to repurpose 20 billion cans a year into new material. To improve the efficiency of its recycling facility, Constellium relies on Domo to share real-time information across the organization.
“Domo enables a more continuous process of monitoring, which allows us to react quickly or even predict and prevent issues before they become problems,” said Tyler Holtzinger, APU Manager at Constellium’s aluminum recycling plant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Unlocking insights with a business app.
Recycling aluminum is a complex process that involves consolidating and preparing scrap, melting it down, casting into ingot and rolling it into a sheet for manufacturing. Different aluminum alloys require different chemical compositions that have to be carefully balanced. Smelters burn at more than 1,350º F to get the aluminum into a molten state; once it is molten, it must be quickly transported to the cast house to be processed.
Before Domo, workers and managers at the recycling plant had to rely on walkie-talkies, phones, and shoe leather to communicate positions and track issues.
To improve communication and increase efficiency, Constellium’s recycling facility built a business app in Domo that everyone from facility managers to truck drivers can use to improve coordination and optimize performance. The app shows where material is in the smelting process so that a truck is available when the material is ready to be transported for casting. Truck location can also be monitored in real time so others can be prepared for incoming deliveries. And by capturing data throughout the process, managers can better plan out each shift so there are fewer surprises.
“Domo allowed us to increase our furnace efficiency so we can put more trucks on the road per shift,” said Shawn Chavis, Scrap Manager at Constellium.
Working as one.
One of the key ways Constellium uses its Domo app is to increase visibility into processes to improve communication. Instead of constant radio chatter and playing phone tag, everyone has the ability to look at the Domo app on their phone or tablet to see exactly where everything is in real time. “There was a lot of back and forth looking for the right person, trying to reach coordinators, or tracking down trucks. That’s all been eliminated because now we can see where a truck is, who has the job, and what will happen next, all at the glance of a screen,” said Chavis.
Because the recycling plant is a 24/7 facility, the business app makes it easier for plant managers to stay in the loop after hours and on weekends in case of an emergency. Instead of coming down to the plant in the middle of the night, they can now take action from anywhere.
“We had an instance where we needed to increase one of the hardeners in the molten bath before we went to the crucible. I monitored that remotely,” said Keith Pace, Operations Supervisor at Constellium. “I didn’t have to make a phone call; I was able to see actual real-time changes to the chemistry to ensure we were meeting specifications.”
Because different alloys require different chemical compositions, monitoring the chemistry of each batch is critical. Using the Domo app, workers can monitor the chemistry balance of each batch in real time and receive an alert if something needs to be adjusted.
“The app uses colors to show if we have high or low chemistry, as opposed to looking at a spreadsheet of numbers. It takes away some of the potential for human error,” said Holtzinger. “Visualizing the chemistry lets us take corrective action when it’s still in the furnace, instead of waiting until the material gets to the cast house where it can take hours to correct.”
Thanks to the Domo app, Constellium is able to discover new ways to increase efficiency. The facility’s operations take place in two separate structures that require molten aluminum to be transported in crucibles by truck, making it critical that their work is carefully synchronized to avoid backups or downtime.
“The thing about aluminum is that it starts cooling once we start the process to transfer it to the cast house. Timing is super critical to the process. The app allows us to ensure the material arrives on time, at the right temperature, and in the right amount,” Chavis said. “One of the neat things about the app is the way it helps us visually manage operations. For instance, if a truck sits too long, the app will flash red, which lets the coordinator know that they need to give some attention to that truck.”
By enabling data-driven operation, Domo is inspiring Constellium to explore new ways of leveraging its data.
“The great thing about Domo is that wherever you need it to grow, it grows with you… Every challenge we run across, the first thing we talk about is how we can use Domo to solve it.”
Shawn Chavis| Scrap Manager
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