SmartPlant and Matrix - a smart choice for New Zealand Steel

The Company

New Zealand Steel Limited is the country’s sole producer of flat rolled steel products for the building, construction, manufacturing and agricultural industries. 

Using locally sourced iron sand, the company’s fully integrated mill at Glenbrook, 60km south of Auckland, produces approximately 650,000 tonnes of steel annually – around 60 per cent of which is exported.

The Challenge

The CAD software vendor New Zealand Steel used for as built drawings released a new version, which was not fully compatible with the company’s existing Asset and Information Management System.

The compatibility issues meant that New Zealand Steel was unable to read their own as builts. Not only that, but all of their associated plants asset information was held within the existing control system. 

Andrew Beer, CAD manager for NZ Steel, says the company needed its Asset and Information Management System replaced and the data contained within the legacy system (more than 50,000 MicroStation documents) safely and accurately migrated across.

“Once the data was migrated it was going to be a significant challenge to enable a Digital Interplot system to run in the background.”

Due to the nature of the steel manufacturing industry, NZ Steel could not afford to take its plant offline or delay the production process for longer than was absolutely necessary.



The Solution

As a major exporter with an international reputation for delivering a quality product, on time and within specification, New Zealand Steel had high expectations for its replacement Asset and Information Management System.  Its requirements included:
  • Local support
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Integration with existing plant coding systems
  • Stability to work with instrumentation and P&ID
  • Integration with Microstation V8
  • Data extraction from MicroStation and its existing AIM system
  • Be able to manage hybrid drawing of vector and raster data.
Matrix Applied Computing Ltd was chosen to integrate Intergraph’s SmartPlant Foundation with New Zealand Steel’s existing systems. 

Beer says Matrix has had a long and successful partnership with New Zealand Steel and was handpicked by Intergraph to represent them locally.

“Matrix has an in-depth knowledge about New Zealand Steel’s systems, operations and requirements and we were exceptionally happy they were chosen to implement the project.”

“Our past experiences with Matrix gave us confidence they would complete the job on time, within budget and with minimal disruption to our daily operations.”

The Result

Throughout the process, Beer says Matrix enabled NZ Steel to run parallel systems, ensuring the mill remained productive and running at capacity throughout the upgrade.

“We didn’t experience any downtime or loss of production as a result of the upgrade, even though there were some serious upgrades taking place.”

“Using Intergraph SmartPlant Foundation, Matrix has been able to create a robust and scalable solution for expanding our drawings and managing other asset information.“

Beer says as well as implementing a new Asset and Information Management System, the company was also able to significantly improve other related systems and processes.

“As part of the conversion process, Matrix completely rewrote our customisations using Microsoft COM+ technology and the new system now integrates with the maintenance management system.

“The Matrix rewrite has significantly increased the stability of our system. They were able to seamlessly and painlessly integrate SmartPlant Foundation with other key systems including the maintenance management system.”

“What’s more, they achieved all of this without downtime or disruption to our day-to-day business processes.”