SMS digital successfully completes its first Industry Data Challenge with etventure

20. January 2017

SMS digital, the digital unit of SMS group which was set up with the help of etventure, successfully completed its first Industry Data Challenge with a closing event this week. Data scientists from all over the world took part in the Challenge and the winner was Florian Borchert from Germany, with Thanish Batcha from India the runner up. The aim of the Data Challenge was to explore the opportunities offered by machine learning and data science in the steel industry and to use machine learning to improve the quality of existing processes in traditional steel casting. In addition to prize money of EUR 15,000 for the winner, participants in this week were given a tour of the steel works as part of the closing event.

Latest data science methods meet traditional industry

With the aid of the open innovation approach, the plant manufacturer managed to try out a number of new data-driven approaches in a very short time and only followed up on the best. Dirk Lieftucht, Department Leader for SMS group, was enthusiastic about the submissions: “People went down completely new paths which we had never trodden before.”

Maximilian P. Wagner, CEO of SMS digital, said: “Data are an increasingly important factor in production. Together with etventure, we were able to arrive at a tangible result for the organization in just three months.” etventure is developing new digital business models together with SMS group and set up SMS digital, an independent digital unit, for this purpose.

etventure also played a big role in the Data Challenge and, among other things, looked after the data preparation and the organization of the Challenge. The team also presented the Challenge at meet-ups in Germany to publicize the format among students and professional data scientists. etventure also built a new website especially for the Challenge and supported the participants if any issues arose during the process.

Das SMS digital Team mit den stolzen Gewinnern Florian und Thanish

“Something I have never worked on”

The day before yesterday, the two finalists, Florian Borchert (winner) and Thanish Batcha (runner up) presented their findings at the award ceremony once again. Florian Borchert had developed a conditional-random-fields algorithm for the Challenge which recognizes cracks in steel plates. “It was very exciting to actually work with real data from the steel industry and make predictions. Once it is in use, I hope that it can significantly reduce rejects in the steel plant,” said Borchert.

Thanks to the SMS Data Challenge, runner up Tanish Batcha not only had the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time, but also obtained an in-depth view of the steel industry. “What I really liked about it was that it was something I have never worked on. Steel is something that I really have no idea about. I loved the challenge.”

Then it was off to Duisburg to tour HKM’s steel plant (one of SMS group’s clients). The Krupp Mannesmann steel works specializes in the production of steel and upstream products for the processing industry. The two prize winners, together with the team from SMS and the experts from etventure, were able to take a close look at the live production of steel girders at the furnace and obtained a unique insight into the modern steel works.

The last item on the agenda was for everyone to return to SMS digital’s premises in Düsseldorf, where the participants had the opportunity to get to know the digital unit’s entire team and while away the evening over a shared meal.

With the conclusion of this first successful Data Challenge, the course is set for future projects in the field of data science – this event is therefore just the start.

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Larissa Forker ist Junior Manager im Bereich PR und Marketing bei etventure.

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