Case Study - Magotteaux
Founded in Belgium in 1918, Magotteaux is the world’s foremost supplier of crushing and grinding optimization products and services. The company’s expertise and products are instrumental to mining and dredging companies, cemeteries, coal plants and mines—in short, to enterprises of all stripes in the comminution business. In collaboration with its customers, Magotteaux designs, produces, distributes, installs, inspects and ensures the proper performance of its grinding media and wear parts.
- The largest line of crushing and grinding products including grinding media, internal grinder components, crusher and dredging wear parts, small ceramic beads and crusher management tools.
- Complete expertise in a variety of areas such as smelting, crushing and grinding.
- 38 commercial offices and centres of expertise, 12 production units and 2,500 collaborators across five continents.
The Magog plant, which has been part of the Magotteaux Group since 1979,
has approximately 140 employees. Each year, it produces almost 54,000 tons
of grinder balls for mining companies that will use them for ore mining.
“We would like to emphasize Kezber’s top-flight expertise and support in delivering a key project to Magotteaux which is of paramount importance to its operations in Canada, while also staying within the tight deadlines that the project required. Our partnership was mainly focused on meeting agreed expectations and goals in spite of the constraints and the constant need for flexibility.
A unique challenge
A few years ago, Magotteaux began equipping its various facilities with an SAP system, among other things to facilitate order and production management.
The Magog plant was already using two in-house programs, namely X-Métal to create and calculate casting orders and divide them into sub-loads, and X-Charge to send these tasks along to the machines. These two programs managed all production, but they had become unstable, hard to maintain and debug, and most importantly incompatible with Magotteaux’s new SAP system.
A further challenge lay in the fact that Magotteaux was not ready to replace all its systems at once, and preferred to upgrade in stages. As a result, the new tools had to be able to connect with the existing Oracle 9 database, even if the compatible connectors had become obsolete.
Kezber had to find a way to make the Magog plant’s IT infrastructure compatible with the Magotteaux SAP system, while continuing to use the previous database. This would also be an opportunity to automate certain tasks previously performed by staff members, in order to lower risks of errors and boost productivity.
A custom solution
What was Kezber’s solution? First of all, to replace X-Métal with an all-new application, X-Splitter, which was custom-designed to meet the compatibility needs of the Magog-based Magotteaux plant. To do so, Kezber first had to create a development environment that perfectly matched the plant’s production environment by virtualizing the existing production servers. In collaboration with the Magotteaux team (a project analyst and manager together with testers in Belgium and a programmer in Tennessee), the Kezber team then developed X-Splitter and made sure it would communicate with the SAP system and the Oracle database that had to be preserved. Now, thanks to X-Splitter, certain functions previously handled by X-Métal were directly managed by SAP.
The solution also involved adapting X-Charge software so it could act as a bridge between X-Splitter and the plant’s machines, as an intermediate step before shifting these functions over to X-Splitter as well.
Finally, Kezber also had to modify the Oracle database structure to make it SAP-compatible.
Rising to the challenge
Thanks to the project team, which included specialists from Kezber as well as Magotteaux, the Magog plant’s production chain now makes use of the same IT infrastructure as the other factories in the Magotteaux Group. Moreover, since X-Splitter directly communicates with SAP and X-Charge, the ball manufacturing process is more automated and requires less human intervention, thereby lowering risks of errors, simplifying the entire process, and boosting the facility’s productivity.
Kezber’s solution continues to have positive benefits across the plant. When the system updating process is complete, the entire environment will be even more stable, reliable and easy to maintain. Furthermore, the new X-Splitter application will be adapted so that administrators can directly modify various production-related parameters instead of needing to work from a file or database.
Project technical details
Windows Server 2012
Self Hosted Windows Service (OWIN)
Angular JS, Bootstrap, HTML5
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.1
Oracle 8i Database (188.8.131.52)