IIT Bombay and Tata Steel India Achieve International Recognition at 2024 INFORMS Franz Edelman Awards

In an outstanding display of expertise and innovation, the collaborative team from Tata Steel, India, and IIT Bombay were honoured as a finalist at the prestigious 2024 INFORMS Franz Edelman Awards. The ceremony, held during the Edelman Gala Night at the INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in Orlando, USA on April 15, 2024, recognized the team’s significant contributions to operations research and analytics.

The INFORMS Franz Edelman Award, bestowed annually by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS Society, USA) celebrates outstanding achievements in the application of operations research in industrial settings. This year’s intense competition saw the Tata Steel and IIT Bombay team reaching the finals after rigorous scrutiny over four months, competing against global giants such as American Airlines, McDonald’s China, ALDI Süd Germany, Molslinjen Denmark, and Transvision Netherlands.

During the gala, the team’s exceptional work in the steel industry using advanced analytics led to their induction into the Franz Edelman Academy—an honour that marks extraordinary contributions to societal betterment through innovative analytical decision-making. Academy members are regarded as exemplary figures demonstrating that through analytics, organizations can successfully navigate challenges and uncover substantial improvement opportunities.

Pioneering Project Implementation

The project centered around a digital transformation of Tata Steel’s continuous steel annealing operations, aimed at enhancing the quality of cold-rolled steel strips. By developing a novel Model Predictive Control (MPC) technology-based solution, the team addressed multiple challenges such as slow furnace temperature dynamics and frequent changes in steel mass flow rate. This solution, functioning by solving a sequence of finite horizon optimal control problems every minute, ensures consistent quality during steel grade transitions and adherence to operational constraints.

Since its implementation in January 2023, the MPC system has not only improved the quality of annealed products, ensuring 20% of them meet the premium quality standards but has also led to an 8% reduction in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per ton of steel produced annually. These enhancements have yielded significant financial returns and strengthened Tata Steel’s position in the competitive automotive steel market.

For further information and visual insights into the event, please visit: IIT Bombay News.

The success of this collaboration highlights the pivotal role of academic-industry partnerships in driving technological and operational innovations. As members of the Franz Edelman Academy, Tata Steel, and IIT Bombay set a benchmark for future endeavours in the field of operations research and analytics.

Congratulations to both Tata Steel and IIT Bombay on their outstanding achievement and for bringing laurels to our alma mater through their pioneering work.