Steel Service Centers

Application Notes

About Steel Service Centers

Steel service centers look to better understand their machine utilization time and downtime. Distributing anything from plate steel, pipe, tube, or block steel, these service centers aim to turn around cut-to-size orders as quickly as possible.

Types of machines typically monitored:

  • Plasma cutters
  • Laser cutters
  • Oxy acetylene tables
  • Machining centers
  • Band & cold saws
Manufacturing Challenges FreePoint technologies

The Challenge

To meet customer demand, steel service centers often have a wide variety of machines, including various X-Y cutting tables, cut off saws, cold saws, and even machining centers. Optimizing the use of these machines directly affects how long it can take to process orders quickly. Knowing the reasons that cause a machine to be inactive helps management determine which machines are needed to remain competitive, which should be upgraded, and which should be replaced.

FreePoint systems can easily connect to the various types of machines found in this environment. The various reasons for downtime, which often differ from company to company, can all be easily tracked empirically by ShiftWorx.

The Solution

FreePoint connects non-invasively to every machine on the shop floor, without modification to the machine or the company’s IT infrastructure. Our ShiftWorx software tracks machine uptime and makes it simple to track machine downtime, often resulting in immediate productivity increases.

With the data collected, management can provide more accurate job estimates, improving their competitive advantage while increasing overall production capacity. Armed with this information, steel service centers can further refine their process and can consider adding custom scheduling and automated quoting software to be even more responsive.

  • Improve process transparency
  • Increase accuracy of estimates
  • Visualize & mitigate downtime
  • Increase production capacity
  • Identify constraints
Narrative Report on Ipad
FreePoint Technologies Narrative Application

Our Narrative Application & Steel Service Centers

Engaging the operators through our very simple, intuitive Narration tool, does two things: it collects empirical downtime information that facilitates “data driven decisions” on future investments, and it engages the operators and makes them part of the solution, not the problem. Positive operator engagement has proven to pay short term dividends with increased daily productivity, and long term dividends through higher satisfaction that results in less absenteeism and higher retention.



What feed rate the tube mill is running (feet/meters per minute)


What % of time the mill has been running (uptime) by hour/day/shift


Which machines have capacity and which machines are constraints

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