Digitalization and the Double-Edged Sword: Transparency

Wednesday, 19 August 2020 • 10–11 a.m. EDT
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Dr. Thomas Pfatschbacher, Sr. VP Smart Production & CDO, Primetals Technologies Austria GmbH
Thomas Pfatschbacher received a master’s degree in technical physics from the Technical University of Linz and his Ph.D. in material science from the University of Leoben and the Technical University Munich. In 1998, he joined voestalpine Stahl as head of product development and expert silicon steel. He progressed to technical head of silicon steel, quality, research and development, and production. In 2007, he joined vatron GmbH (a joint venture of Siemens VAI and voestalpine Stahl) as business unit manager for steelmaking, casting, rolling and processing. From 2010 to 2013, he was global vice president and head of mechatronics (steelmaking, casting, rolling, processing, robotics) for Siemens VAI. In 2013, he became vice president, technology and innovation for casting and rolling, ESP, mechatronics, and Through Process Optimization for Primetals Technologies. Since 2019, he has served as senior vice president, digital transformation and smart production for Primetals Technologies.


The implementation of digitalization systems in the steel industry has a significant potential to improve the overall productivity and stability in steel production. The foundation for these improvement is first to generate a high transparency of production and quality. Data is used to generate key performance indicators and is coupled with human expertise and artificial intelligence to realize intelligent digitalization systems. But this full transparency is not always welcome at all levels of operators and experts. Another topic is potential information overload, which has to be considered. The presentation shows an example of an intelligent digitalization system and deals with the mentioned “cultural” topics.


Ms. Liwei Zhang, Lead Engineer, Global RD-East Chicago, ArcelorMittal Global R&D - East Chicago
Liwei Zhang is a lead engineer responsible for machine vision system development and deployment support in the process research division at ArcelorMittal Global R&D Center – East Chicago. She obtained her Ph.D. in electrical and computer systems engineering from the University of Leeds, U.K., and her B.E. in industrial electrical automation from Tianjin Polytechnic University, China. Prior to joining ArcelorMittal in 2006, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology of USA. She has authored/co-authored more than 30 publications and presentations at domestic and international conferences as well as referred journals. She has been active on the AIST Electrical Applications and Digitalization Applications Technology Committees, serving as vice chair of the AIST Electrical Applications Technology Committee in 2016–2017 and chair in 2017–2019. She is currently on the AIST Board of Directors representing Energy, Control and Digitalization Technology Division.



AIST’s Electrical Applications/Sensors Subcommittee and Digitalization Applications Technology Committees.