BlueScope Steel is the leading steel company in Australia and New Zealand, supplying a large percentage of flat steel products sold in these markets. New Zealand Steel Ltd., a BlueScope subsidiary, is New Zealand’s sole producer of flat rolled steel products for the building, construction, manufacturing and agricultural industries. The company operates a fully integrated steel mill at Glenbrook, about 60 kilometers south of Auckland, surrounded by 500 hectares of farmland that acts as a “greenbelt” buffer zone.
The company uses locally sourced ironsand to produce around 650,000 tons of steel a year. Some 60 percent of the company’s steel output is exported – a good example of how an industry can successfully adapt to take advantage of a natural resource that, according to New Zealand Steel, is unlike any other in the world.
The company’s mines supply ironsand to the Glenbrook mill, as well as to customers in North Asia. Up to 1.2 million tons are mined each year at New Zealand’s Waikato North Head mine, which contains more than 150 million tons of ironsand.
Data-centric approach to engineering data
Beer and his engineering design team have moved from a CAD environment to a data-centric environment. The team now uses Intergraph SmartPlant® Foundation, which can create and manage a digital representation of the plant and all its activities throughout its life cycle – and over the Internet. The system is locally supported by Intergraph partner Matrix Applied Computing, which has developed a browser-access, Web-based front end that enables users anywhere on New Zealand Steel’s site to find, view and print engineering drawings.
The decision to move to SmartPlant Foundation was prompted by the release of a new version of New Zealand Steel's existing CAD software, which made it impossible for the company to read its own “as-builts.” Beer realized his team would need to adopt a longer-term approach to the creation and management of its engineering data. “We knew that moving to SmartPlant Foundation would mean a bigger annual maintenance bill, but as it is the backbone for a number of related engineering design products, the overall package is attractive,” Beer explains.
For the last year, New Zealand Steel has been using Intergraph SmartPlant P&ID, in conjunction with SmartPlant Foundation to store its piping and instrumentation diagrams as data and update them in line with its as-builts.