Maintaining high performance steel

Published:  15 August, 2017

The Hofors manufacturing site in Sweden is integral to Ovako Steel group operations throughout Europe, supplying billets to the entire group and maintaining the company’s command of the highly competitive long steel production market. Ovako Steel strives for operational excellence, focusing on maintenance to minimise downtime and maximise production. PWE reports.

Ovako Steel, as the company has been known since 1985, draws on over 300 years of Nordic production expertise and today supplies around 2 million tonnes of low alloy and carbon steel per annum to the automotive, heavy vehicle and engineering industries. The group employs over 5200 people at 16 sites across Europe, manufacturing bars, bright bars, wire rods, and tubes and rings.

As well as supplying the Ovako group with billets, Ovako Steel at Hofors is also a world leader in ring production – and the only site in the group that manufacturers tubes, rings and components. Around 670 people are employed at the company’s Hofors steel melting plant and mills, manufacturing around 525,000 tonnes of high performance steel bars and special steel products per annum.

Sustained year on year improvement at Hofors has been built on the foundation of efficient maintenance at the site. In 1995, Idhammar MMS was implemented to modernise the company’s maintenance methods, establishing greater control of maintenance planning and costs.

Sture Wahlström, service manager, Ovako Steel commented: “Our straightforward philosophy governs everything we do: from providing the right expertise, to delivering the right product, performance and service. Maintenance is a significant part of business for Ovako Steel – and Idhammmar MMS was the natural choice - enabling the sharing of information across our European sites, ensuring straight¬forward and effective maintenance practice.”

Transforming the Hofors site schedule of preventive and corrective maintenance planning, and tightening the inventory and stock control, have given pragmatic improvements that have facilitated a programme of lean maintenance.

For over two decades, Idhammar Systems has supported Idhammar MMS at Hofors, offering Ovako Steel the latest advances in CMMS technology to guaran¬tee that the maintenance management solution meets the continuous improve¬ment requirements of the plant.

Per-olof Hellström, systems manager, Ovako Steel explained: “Idhammar Systems’ support procedures ensure that improvement adjustments and upgrades made to Idhammar MMS are effectively integrated and reliably supported post implementation… Assuring users are entirely satisfied with the system means that it is utilised to the company’s best advantage.”

Ovako Steel is focused on a 5s maintenance programme of sorting equipment, simplifying processes, sweeping/shining (cleaning) the working environ¬ment, standardising operations and practices and sustaining improvements to ensure lean manufacturing of its products – and Idhammar MMS, rich in functionality, fully supports this initiative.


Some of the key Idhammar MMS features used at Ovako Steel, Hofors:

Advanced asset management

Specifically developed to facilitate the management of all maintainable components – asset information is logically defined and recorded according to Hofors site requirements, ensuring comprehensive asset data can be retrieved at the simple touch of a button.

Systematic Inspections

Maintaining the high standards of the working environment is an important consideration at Hofors and the Idhammar MMS enables the scheduling of regular inspections rounds and condition monitoring activities, along with intelligent reporting functionality.

Consistent and effective planning

Standardised and repeatable work order requests containing accurate and up to date information is a basic requirement for effective maintenance management – and the site benefits from the comprehensive, user-friendly planning modules.

Powerful Analysis to sustain Improvement

It provides extensive technical and economical analysis along with plant maintenance history.

System development and standardisation

The modular structure has ensured that the solution continues to develop with the changing requirements at Ovako Steel, Hofors, and across sites with Hällefors, driving valuable benefits by continually controlling maintenance costs, and sharing information and best practices.

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