Big River Steel

Together, Big River Steel and create the innovative Learning Steel Mill

The Challenge

How could BRS drive unprecedented levels of profit per mill hour while meeting increasing demand for high quality steel at predictable times, all while conserving the amount of energy consumed?


The Big River Steel Backstory

Dave Stickler’s bold dream of building a FlexMill™ is becoming a reality with the world’s first Learning Mill — one that can continuously sense, learn, and improve its processes. With a steel market that is at or near capacity, steel plants need to run at maximum efficiency to compete. Most steel mills, even the newer mini-mills built in the 80s, are run by static business rules put in place decades ago – that’s no way to do business!

Noodle + BRS Strategy

Big River Steel is different. BRS created facility operations that learn something from every ton of steel the mill melts and rolls. Combining massive data, software, and state-of-the-art equipment in a mill that can sense, predict, and recommend corrections to maximize production yields, enhance product quality, mitigate safety risks, and minimize costs was the goal.

To realize this vision, each part of the mill’s operation needed to be connected then co-optimized together – enter

For BRS, planning starts with demand prediction, so our Demand Intelligence application was a perfect fit. Combining historical demand patterns with auto production, commodity & security futures, global news, and macroeconomic events unlocked powerful breakthroughs in forecast accuracy for maximum capacity increases.

With more than 50,000 sensors embedded in the mill, opportunities abounded for AI to make improvements. This sensor data plus domain knowledge, existing internal data, and external data led to dynamic prediction of wear rates and useful life on high-expense consumables, like refractory panels and critical assets like furnaces.

The world doesn’t need another steel mill. The world needs a steel mill willing to push the boundaries of what steel can do.

Dave Stickler, Big River Steel CEO

The Impact

BRS is reducing energy costs through predictive energy sales and energy shaping activities.

  • $21M total contract value energy cost savings
  • $4M/year savings in improved customer service, productivity, inventory movement efficiency, and transportation planning
  • $7M/year impact from scheduling-related efficiencies

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