Skip to main content

A reusable framework for rolling mills

Exploitable results

Currently, process automation is rewritten from scratch for every new rolling mill in spite of the fact that up to 70% of such systems could be reused. Using REFORM (Reusable Framework for Hot Rolling Mills), new process automation systems can be developed by customizing this framework to the special needs of a particular rolling mill. A framework is a semi-finished software product that captures about 70% of the tasks that are common to all software systems in the given domain (here hot rolling mills). The remaining 30% are custom-made and simply plugged into the framework for a particular mill automation. This will cut down the software development costs by 40-60% and will give European manufacturers a clear advantage over their competitors on both time-to-market and quality. The REFORM framework allows a process automation software vendor to produce this software faster and in a more reliable form. Since about 70% of the necessary software can be reused from the framework, time-to-market will be decreased and the software production costs will be lowered. Object-oriented technology is also an asset in itself. It leads to software which is better structured and easier to maintain. As a demonstrator, the REFORM framework is used to develop the process automation software of a roughing mill at Voest Alpine Stahl Linz AG. Interestingly, several similar frameworks could be developed for other industry domains such as paper mills.