Employee in a control centre monitoring cold rolled strip process

Winner of the Excellence in Education and Training Steelie Award 2023

A modern continuous casting operation must strive constantly for operational excellence to succeed in a complex and competitive business environment. Operational errors, especially in the mould area, may result in operational incidents with severe implications for personnel safety, production losses and maintenance costs.

Overcoming these critical situations requires essential abilities like knowledge of the operational procedures and hands-on skills as well as physical and mental capabilities, which need to be developed and evaluated on frequently in a controlled and safe environment.

Through a truly innovative approach, the established low-engagement classroom training utilising written procedures and videos of past occurrences was replaced by a high-engagement training method, designed as a serious game based on virtual reality technology. The continuous casting simulator designed by Ternium, which provides an immersive training experience, was built using commercial off-the-shelf VR hardware and a physical stopper lever as a joystick input.

The developed software running on a PC workstation inside the game engine comprises the virtual 3D model, a mathematical model for the steel flow and a module for evaluating the standard operational procedures in real-time.

The simulator is used today for training newly contracted operators before operating the actual continuous caster, frequent checks of the capabilities of operators in dealing with critical situations as well as a tool for evaluating the emotional, mental and physical condition of operators. By integrating this innovative technology, Ternium is convinced of making a considerable step to develop a safer and more skilled workforce.