En route to the smart factory, a gateway to competitive and sustainable growth

The no.1 steel producer in France turned a major corner in its technological development with the introduction of “5G Steel,” the 4G/5G network built with Orange Business Services for a critical industrial environment. On the agenda: improving mobility for the teams by deploying driver-less vehicles and boosting energy efficiency.

Coverage for complex industrial sites spanning vast areas

The steel giant has a cast-iron belief in 5G, as demonstrated in late 2021 when ArcelorMittal launched an unprecedented project to equip itself with France’s largest private 5G network. The project initially covered the steel production factories at Dunkirk and Florange, before being extended to other areas. This was a sizable challenge: setting up a dedicated 5G network to cover several dozen square kilometers of indoor and outdoor spaces (mostly tall metal buildings), where reliable connectivity in every area of these complex industrial facilities would soon become a reality.

ArcelorMittal France opted to build the network, named “5G Steel,” using the expertise of operator-integrator Orange Business Services. “Orange was the natural choice for this project,” explains David Glijer, Chief Digital Officer and Director of the Digital Transformation at ArcelorMittal France, “firstly because they’re a national leader in 5G, and also because they have extensive experience with the use of 5G in other use cases and business sectors.”



Orange was the natural choice for this project, firstly because they’re a national leader in 5G (in France), and also because they have extensive experience with the use of 5G in other use cases and business sectors.



 

David Glijer, Chief Digital Officer and Director of Digital Transformation at ArcelorMittal France

Getting the most out of 5G’s super-fast throughput and low latency

“Orange acted as the 5G infrastructure integrator at ArcelorMittal France’s production sites,” explains Valérie Cussac, EVP Smart Mobility Services (a division of Orange Business Services). The expert 5G teams provided support ranging from needs analysis to the implementation of specific use cases for ArcelorMittal France staff.

Owing to 5G’s unprecedented performance levels, the scope of future possibilities has now expanded significantly for the steel giant. “The 5G Steel project will enable us to access mobility for people and machines, to plan the next steps of our decarbonization projects, and to achieve greater control over our energy consumption thanks to the data generated by the sensors,” clarifies David Glijer.

“5G provides crucial extra throughput for exchanging large amounts of industrial data at high speed to improve production processes,” explains Valérie Cussac. But the benefits don’t end there – the low latency ensured by 5G opens the door to innovations that will considerably transform operations in the factories. The use of driver-less vehicles is no longer a fantasy, as it is much easier to perform real-time actions from the control cockpit. 5G also contributes to improving safety levels in hazardous areas, thereby protecting staff.

No doubting the benefits of 5G

Industry 4.0 represents a major challenge in competitiveness for steel and many other industries. “We’re up against fierce international competition, even more so at a time when energy costs are a major factor,” notes David Glijer. “The decarbonization and digitalization of our processes and procedures are major transformations and transitions, and it’s important for us to navigate them successfully.”

For ArcelorMittal France, it is clear that 5G is now more essential than ever. “There’s no doubt about the importance of 5G,” confirms the company’s Chief Digital Officer & Director of Digital Transformation. “Today, in this fiercely competitive and changing world, those who take advantage of these technologies will survive through the ability to compete with other companies that have embraced these game-changing tools.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.