Steel Mills

Big River CEO Attends AI Summit at the White House

Written by John Packard

On Thursday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy invited government officials, technical experts in academia, heads of industrial research labs and business leaders to attend the “Artificial Intelligence for American Industry” summit. Big River Steel’s chief executive officer Dave Stickler was in attendance as part of the discussions on how industries are adopting AI technologies to benefit their customers, workers and shareholders.

David SticklerA common theme throughout the summit was how AI and related technologies are creating new types of jobs and demand for new technical skills across industries, a point that particularly resonated with Stickler as he reflected on the team at Big River.

“Steel production used to be 80 percent brawn and 20 percent brains. At Big River, steel production is 90 percent brains and 10 percent brawn,” said Stickler. “Our Flex Mill™ learns from every ton of steel we produce via the data that is collected throughout the production process. Our team has developed the skills needed to work alongside that technology to show the world that the highest quality steels are produced most efficiently in the United States.”

Big River has partnered with and EFT Analytics to introduce machine learning throughout its steel mill in Osceola, Ark. Big River’s steelmaking technology was primarily supplied by SMS group and was designed to produce niche steels including advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) for the automotive and transportation industries, as well as electrical steels. Predicting energy consumption and optimizing scheduling are two areas where machine learning models are positively impacting Big River.

Real-world examples such as Big River’s were common throughout the meetings, proving AI and machine learning are transforming every industry. The ability to share and learn from others who are in the forefront of these technologies was a key takeaway for Stickler.

“Sitting at the table alongside of Boeing, Facebook, Ford, Pfizer, Walmart and other companies that are leading the way in terms of fully embracing industry 4.0 was an honor,” said Stickler. “I was extremely proud to present how we drive machine learning and the use of artificial intelligence throughout our company and learn how others are doing the same. It is a great testament to Big River Steel’s employees who work every day to embrace these technologies to produce steel like never before.”

SMU Note: CEO Steve Pratt will be a speaker at the 2018 SMU Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta on Aug. 27-29. Pratt will speak on what companies need to do to prepare for and integrate “Big Data” into their companies. He will be speaking on artificial intelligence during the “Pre-Summit” portion of our program scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27, at the Georgia International Convention Center. For more details about our conference, please go to: 


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