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Urenco ask Lanner to develop a custom planning system to increase efficiency across production sites, reduce stock and improve customer service. 

Background

Urenco Group was established in 1971 as a joint German, Dutch and British partnership to jointly develop a new process of uranium enrichment and today delivers more than 15% of the worldwide enrichment requirements. As the enrichment market becomes more complex and competitive, Urenco asked Lanner to develop a custom planning system to increase efficiency across the production sites, reduce stock and improve customer service.

The Urenco production process passes uranium hexafluoride (UF6) containing around 1% of radioactive Uranium235 through banks of very high speed centrifuges to enrich the U235 to a concentration (assay 2.5 to 5.0%) suitable for fabrication into fuel rods for the nuclear power industry. Urenco is now the acknowledged world leader in enrichment by centrifuge. The process has many advantages over older methods, not least the flexibility of the process to produce any specific assay within the capability of the plant. A given assay can also be produced by blending higher and lower assays together.
Urenco’s production exhibits various complexities which planners must optimise, including:

  • Widely varying quantities and product assays
  • Order fulfillment by direct production, by blending, from stock, or a combination
  • Incorporates complex capacity algorithms
  • Rule-based planning tools
  • Flexible user reports, with export to Excel

Results

The aim of Lanner’s Outline Planning System (OPS) is to provide a fast, flexible application which allows the planning team of 5 users across 4 sites to model their production processes and assess their ability to fulfill customer requirements. This has brought a number of significant benefits to Urenco’s planning process:

  • The ability to offer shorter lead times to customers
  • The evaluation of new customer requests and changes reduced from days to hours
  • More effective balancing of workloads across sites
  • Production inefficiencies and stocks kept to a minimum 
  • Long term and ‘what if’ modeling of stock and capacity
  • Enhanced communication of plans through flexible reports and graphs
  • Effective planning achieved without the need for face-to-face planning meetings.

Key features of the system

  • Interactive, graphical planning board
  • Easy-to-use interface using windows-style navigation 
  • Distributed, multi-user database-based system
  • Interface to SAP system 
  • Secure interchange of data between sites
  • Incorporates complex capacity algorithms
  • Rule-based planning tools
  • Flexible user reports, with export to Excel

Lanner’s Application Development group

Lanner's development team has all the skills expected of a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider. These skills are not only strong in the traditional areas of development such as programming languages, database design and system architecture but also in newer areas such as distributed programming, web design and object-oriented techniques. Core competencies include:

  • Languages : C++/C, .NET, Visual Basic 
  • Databases: MS Access, MS SQL Server
  • Back office: Microsoft Transaction Server
  • Techniques: COM, Object-oriented modeling, including the use of UML


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