Smelter operation scheduling

Optimal scheduling of furnaces to downstream operations

Confidential client | 2018

Optimization and debottlenecking of smelter

Increased production throughput

Reduced energy utilization

Reduce consumables

Increased resource utilization


  • The client’s objective was to maximize their furnace production throughput within an environment of numerous furnaces with limited capacity, restricted crane movement, and different product processing rates requirements
  • The key challenge was to optimize the flow of material downstream of the smelters (i.e., from the furnaces going to the caster machines, steel, and metal powder plants). To solve this, the client needed an advanced scheduling model to optimize the short-term material flow management covering the whole activities of downstream of smelters


  • Hatch was engaged to develop a detailed optimization model focusing on the molten-iron product and full/empty ladle movements within the system while also considering the crane’s capacity and other maintenance constraints
  • Using Hatch Optimizer, Hatch created a detailed scheduling model for material flow downstream of smelters including optimal re-positioning of full and empty ladles between furnaces and downstream facilities, including crane movement limitations
  • The client was able to implement the recommendations immediately and utilize the model for dynamic optimization to minimize wait times of molten metal through the value chain


  • Optimal scheduling of the system with multiple constraints
  • Seamless incorporation of the planned maintenance events
  • Flexibility to model different material requirements and production yields based on product type
  • Planning the product sequencing rules, sequence-dependent downtime
  • Address the limited capacities (storage yards, processing equipment) and limited resources such as ladles, cranes, and personnel

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