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The Acerinox Group

“Acerinox adapts its information system to a Web environment with the help of PowerBuilder and Appeon.”

 

Acerinox- the largest steel manufacturer in the world, partnered with Sybase PowerBuilder to redesign and modernize its industrial information technology infrastructure.

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Redesigning and Modernizing
The Acerinox Group is the largest steel manufacturer in the world at 3.5 million tons per year. It has three factories with integral flat product production processes: the Campo de Gibraltar Factory (Spain), North American Stainless (Kentucky, USA), and Columbus Stainless (Middleburg, South Africa). Thanks to its extensive business network, it maintains an active presence on the five continents with sales in over 80 countries.

The Gibraltar Plant is an integral stainless steel flat product factory where raw materials are made into alloys from which more than 100 different types of steel are produced, which later move on to the hot rolling mill and the cold mill shops. There are two types of information technology applications in this plant dedicated to the production environment (Industrial Information Technology). The first is those applications directed at providing support to factory operators, which fundamentally help direct and control production systems. The second type are those intended to provide service to the supervision engineering system, through which the engineers make consultations, quality controls, or activity analyses at a hundred different work stations.

Almost a decade ago, Acerinox decided to redesign and modernize its industrial information technology infrastructure and opted to implement a client-server architecture by using Sybase PowerBuilder for application development and deployment tool. PowerBuilder allowed applications to reside in the equipment independently from the database server, providing the work stations with greater independence, process capacity, response, and speed.

The Transition to a Web Environment
However, the passage of time and the emergence of Internet-oriented solutions swayed Acerinox – a company accustomed to innovating in every field – into migrating its industrial information technology system from a client-server environment to a Web environment.

Satisfied with the results obtained with the PowerBuilder platform, the factory's Information Systems/Industrial Information Technology Department, advised by TCC and Sybase, dismissed the idea of migrating to another solution, which would entail losing the knowledge and flexibility gained from the existing development tool, and all of the applications already developed and would also require new investments. Instead, the team decided to partner with Appeon to allow the applications developed with PowerBuilder to be displayed on the Web.

Through collaboration between Sybase, TCC and Appeon, Acerinox managed to adapt its information system to a three-layer architecture in which users that access its Web server also have access to the applications and database servers.

Maintaining Applications and Reducing Costs
By enabling Web access for PowerBuilder via Appeon, Acerinox operates in a Web environment with existing applications and maintains the same previous vision and functionality with minimal modifications and without the need to reconfigure the applications to the database server. This translates to a reduction in costs due to better use of existing hardware and software resources and reduces the time dedicated to the development, installation, and maintenance of applications.



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