The Croatian company 8Sigma, which is based in Zagreb, has developed an IT solution that connects conveyor belts to ERP and thus monitors production in real time.
As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of August, 2019, 8Sigma, a Croatian software company from Zagreb which employs only ten people, won against seven international corporations with 10 to 150,000 employees.
The Croatian company won in a tender/competition which involved one of the strongest aluminum factories in the world and represents a joint venture of America’s Alcoa, one of the largest global aluminum manufacturers that currently exists, and the Saudi manufacturer Ma’aden, whose Saudi Arabian plant is worth a massive 10 billion US dollars. This win has thus opened up a whole world of new opportunities for this successful Croatian company to expand its business to India, China and even as far away as Australia.
Vladimir Lukić, the co-founder and CEO of 8Sigma revealed that this is their second major deal, which they have concluded directly with the customer. So far, they have mostly worked through partners such as ABB, Andritz and Montelektra, but this is their most important reference. “Three years ago, we contracted a good direct deal with Impol TLM, and now this one in Saudi Arabia. Now, this latest deal has opened up an opportunity for us to get new jobs in China, India, and hopefully for the first time in Australia,” confirmed Lukić.
He added that the Saudi plant is one of the largest integrated aluminum complexes in the whole world, spanning production from the mine right up to the final product. There is no such large industrial facility in Croatia and the country’s immediate region. The plant produces 1.8 million tonnes of aluminum annually, and by comparison, it has been announced in Croatia that aluminum production will increase to 200 thousand tonnes by 2025. 8Sigma has developed an IT solution called 8Sigma MES that connects machines to ERP software, which is the central business information system.
“In this way, factory management can improve operational management, monitor inputs, production flow, and ultimately have an insight into the quality of each individual product, as it has full traceability control, all in real time,” explained Lukić. He stated that the founders of 8Sigma previously worked in ABB for similar jobs as a team. They have more than 80 major projects behind them, from Japan, South Korea and China all the way to Africa, the Americas, and have worked extensively closer to home in Europe lately.
“China is still the world’s number one steel producer, but for the last five years we’ve worked mostly in Europe, perhaps because of the higher labour costs here, because it encourages companies to invest more in modernising production,” said the director of this Croatian software company. He pointed out that they quit ABB four years ago and developed their own software. Initially, as he explained, the idea was to allow the metal industry to monitor the situation on the conveyor belt, but in real time.
For example, factories like the huge one in Saudi Arabia have a conveyor belt which is more than a kilometre in length, and the automotive industry, which is its main customer, is looking for the possibility to trace each product at a similar level to that required by the food industry today.
“We have expanded to other industries, such as the brewery industry, and the next thing we expect is that customers will start looking for MES in the cloud, which we’ve already developed,” concluded Lukić.