Steel Times International Digital December 2021

Page 1

MACHINE LEARNING

MARKET RESEARCH

MOLYBDENUM

ENVIRONMENT

Manufacturers still hesitant to adopt smart manufacturing.

Metals sector ahead of the curve on digitalisation and sustainability.

Ever wondered what makes a watch tick? Well, wonder no more!

Dillinger and Andritz Hydro working together on pumped storage projects

Since 1866

www.steeltimesint.com Digital Edition - December 2021 - No.20

DIGITIZING THE STEEL INDUSTRY


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CONTENTS – DIGITAL EDITION DECEMBER 2021

MACHINE LEARNING

MARKET RESEARCH

MOLYBDENUM IN ACTION

ENVIRONMENT

Manufacturers still hesitant to adopt smart manufacturing.

Metals sector ahead of the curve on digitalisation and sustainability.

Ever wondered what makes a watch tick? Well, wonder no more!

Dillinger and Andritz Hydro working together on pumped storage projects

Since 1866

www.steeltimesint.com Digital Edition - December 2021 - No.20

Front cover photo courtesy of Kocks.

2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge.

100th RSB® 5.0 currently operating in China

DIGITIZING THE STEEL INDUSTRY

EDITORIAL Editor Matthew Moggridge Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855151 matthewmoggridge@quartzltd.com Consultant Editor Dr. Tim Smith PhD, CEng, MIM Production Editor Annie Baker Advertisement Production Martin Lawrence

1

30 Market research Why the post-pandemic metals sector needs to keep its foot on the gas.

4 News round-up Four pages of the latest global steel news.

34 Molybdenum What makes a watch tick?

8 Energy markets Hydrogen is the future.

38 Environment From water to wire.

12 Future Steel Forum 2022 We’re going live in Prague!

44 Automotive Press upgrade cuts cycle times.

16 Opinion Digitizing the steel industry.

48 Decarbonisation Opportunities to cut carbon emissions.

20 Artificial intelligence High-resolution data acquisition is key.

52 Innovations special Streamlining storage operations.

SALES International Sales Manager Paul Rossage paulrossage@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855116 Sales Director Ken Clark kenclark@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855117 Managing Director Tony Crinion tonycrinion@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855164 Chief Executive Officer Steve Diprose SUBSCRIPTION Jack Homewood Tel +44 (0) 1737 855028 Fax +44 (0) 1737 855034 Email subscriptions@quartzltd.com Steel Times International is published eight times a year and is available on subscription. Annual subscription: UK £215.00 Other countries: £284.00 2 years subscription: UK £387.00 Other countries: £510.00 3 years subscription: UK £431.00 Other countries: £595.00 Single copy (inc postage): £47.00 Email: steel@quartzltd.com Published by: Quartz Business Media Ltd, Quartz House, 20 Clarendon Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1QX, England. Tel: +44 (0)1737 855000 Fax: +44 (0)1737 855034 www.steeltimesint.com Steel Times International (USPS No: 020-958) is published monthly except Feb, May, July, Dec by Quartz Business Media Ltd and distributed in the US by DSW, 75 Aberdeen Road, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437. Periodicals postage paid at Emigsville, PA. POSTMASTER send address changes to Steel Times International c/o PO Box 437, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437. Printed in England by: Pensord, Tram Road, Pontlanfraith, Blackwood, Gwent NP12 2YA, UK ©Quartz Business Media Ltd 2021

26 Digital manufacturing Machine learning and manufacturing.

54 Maintenance Proactively managing maintenance costs. 60 Recycling Multi-metal recycling.

ISSN0143-7798

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2

LEADER

The Future Steel Forum 2022 is live in Prague...

Matthew Moggridge Editor matthewmoggridge@quartzltd.com

The COVID pandemic rages on. The Omicron variant is beginning to cause havoc around the world. Scientists have yet to establish whether it poses a greater risk than previous variants (Alpha and Delta). But life goes on, even if we have to wear a mask in crowded places, take regular lateral flow tests and show proof of innoculation. Here in the United Kingdom the vaccination and booster programmes continue apace and everybody hopes that Christmas will be a vast improvement on last year. I have missed live events, and not for the obvious reasons involving foreign travel and pleasant hotels. For me, the big hole was not being able to meet colleagues face-to-face or listen live to some of the great presentations made at fantastic events like AISTech in the USA, especially that event’s live press conference with senior US steel executives. And the same applies to smaller events organised by Fastmarkets and CRU and other leaders in the field of steel events focused on the international trade element of the industry. The pandemic, of course, meant that last year’s Future Steel Forum, which was

destined to take place in Prague, was forced to go virtual, and while the event itself was an unrivalled success – as it has been since its inauguration in June 2017 – there’s nothing better than a live event with everybody under one roof discussing (in the case of the Forum) smart manufacturing. So, we’re back, in Prague, at the Grandior Hotel, 8-9 June 2022, and we’re looking for speakers. In fact, after reading this leader article, turn to page 12 and 13 for more details. Digitalization and sustainability are of vast importance and the steel industry must fully embrace them both. It is argued in this issue that steelmakers are ahead of the curve on digitalisation and that ‘metals leaders’ are embracing the opportunity to operate more sustainably. Steel Times International is committed to sustainability and digitalization. Our online Sustainable Steel Strategies Summit and our AI Summit were great successes and it goes without saying that you’re all welcomed to attend next year’s LIVE Future Steel Forum in Prague. I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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4

NEWS ROUND-UP

• Kevin Dempsey, CEO of the American Iron and Steel Association (AISI) has welcomed Joe Biden’s signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, describing 15 November as a ‘long awaited’ day for steelmakers and all Americans. The act marks the largest investment in US infrastructure since the Federal Highway Act of 1956, claims an online report. Source: Hellenic Shipping News, 17 November 2021

• American steel giant Nucor Corporation plans to add a 120kt/yr blast and prime line to its green field steel plate mill in Brandenburg, Kentucky, USA. The facility is currently under construction. According to Johnny Jacobs, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Brandenburg, the blast and prime line will enable the new mill to ‘better serve customers in key markets’. Source: Nucor Corporation, 18 November 2021.

Digital Edition - December 2021

• Things are looking up for German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp. At the end of September last year the company posted a 5.5 billion Euro loss, but this year just a loss of 19 million Euros. Shares rose 4%. A turnaround in fortunes is evident, CEO Martina Merz told the UK’s Financial Times. Source: Financial Times, 18 November 2021

• South Korean steelmaker POSCO is to continue with its start-up accelerator programme, which supports South Korea’s local start-up ecosystem in fields such as hydrogen, secondary battery and green materials – all areas of future interest to South Korea’s leading steel manufacturer. Known as the Idea Marketplace, the programme was launched in 2011. Source: Korea Herald, 18 November 2021

• A global alliance of steelmakers and mining companies has been brought together by the Chinese steel giant China Baowu Steel Group. The idea was first mooted in late 2019. The idea behind the new alliance is to tackle climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent online media report. Alliance member companies include ArcelorMittal, BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Vale, Fortesque Metals Group, Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp, Angang Group, HBIS Group and Shagang Group. Source: Financial Post, 18 November 2021

• Tata Steel is investing in drone technology to keep a watchful eye on its mines. The Indian steel giant has awarded multiple contracts to Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS) and expects the drones to enhance productivity and overall efficiencies. AUS and Tata Steel has acquired exemptions for

• Indian state-owned steelmaker Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has supplied just over 48kt of steel for the Purvanchal Expressway, a 341km-long, six-lane highway designed to connect several districts of Uttar Pradesh. The plan is to build industrial townships along the route to generate employment for young people and offer market access for farmers. SAIL steel products have been used for a variety of infrastructure projects in India including the Western Peripheral Expressway. Source: Livemint.com, 13 December 2021

drone operations from India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation across all 23 mines, plant and raw material locations.

Source: Daily Pioneer, 19 November 2021

• Following on from an agreement being reached between the US and the EU on steel tariffs, South Korea wants talks on revising its steel exports to the USA. Yeo Han-koo, the country’s trade minister says that demand for high-end Korean steel products is high and that a ‘swift beginning’ of negotiations to resolve the Section 232 issue would be most welcomed. Source: Korea Herald, 22 November 2021 www.steeltimesint.com


NEWS ROUND-UP

5

• US start-up Rivian Automotive has awarded South Korean steelmaker POSCO a contract to supply EV half shafts in a deal worth US$122 million. The deal involves the native Erae Ams Company which, together with POSCO, will supply parts for up to 340,000 EVs to be built by Rivian. Source: Just-Auto.com, 24 November 2021

• Between January and October of 2021, Iran produced 22.4Mt of crude steel, down 5.7% on the corresponding period a year earlier, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO). In October 2021, the Iranians produced 2.2Mt of crude steel, down 15.3% on 2020’s corresponding period. Source: Mehr News Agency, 24 November 2021

• A three-phase road construction programme has been initiated by the Bokaro Steel Plant (owned by Steel Authority of India Ltd) with the aim of repairing roads that had suffered from poor upkeep. The work will be completed by February 2022. Phase one of the process involves the construction of a 5km stretch of road from Nayamod to Mansa Singh Gate. Site inspection and quality studies have been undertaken to ensure against future issues such as waterlogging. Source: Times of India, 24 November 2021 www.steeltimesint.com

• A former stainless steel production facility once owned by Chinese steel giant China Baowu Steel Group, has been transformed into the Baoshan-Fudan Sci-Tech Innovation Centre in Shanghai. According to an online media report, the new facility is the first step towards the city’s ambition to become a scientific innovation centre with global influence. Source: Shine.cn, 24 November 2021

• Tata Steel in India has conducted an online, block chain-based export order with a Bangladesh-based metals company. Tata, says an online report, has made the first such deal between an India-based company and counter party in Bangladesh. In April 2021, the steelmaker had used an HSBC-pioneered block chain platform in a financial transaction with a UAE-based business. Tata’s flat products VP Rajeev Singhal said that the COVID pandemic has accentuated the need for such technology going forward. Source: Livemint.com, 24 November 2021

• ArcelorMittal in France is investing in 4G/5G technology courtesy of Ericsson. The hitech will be used on one level for better connectivity, giving workers greater flexibility and mobility, but will also be employed in conjunction with EasyMile driverless technology to develop an autonomous train on an internal private network, and the development of a heavy-duty road vehicle that can transport up to 120 tons of steel coils. Source: Devdiscourse.com, 24 November 2021

• Indian steelmaker JSW Steel has acquired West Waves Maritime & Allied Services, a port and maritime services company via its subsidiary Piombino Steel (PSL). The company trades coal and steel products. Source: Dalal Street Investment Journal, 24 November 2021

• Two iron ore mines owned and run by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) have won awards at the 5th National Conclave on Mines & Minerals. Shri Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, presented the awards to SAIL chairman Smt Soma Mondal who was accompanied by Shir Kamles Rai, chairman and general manager of Kiriburu Iron Ore Mines, and Shir RP Selvam, chief general manager, Meghahatuburu Iron Ore Mines. Source: PSUConnect.in, 24 November 2021 Digital Edition - December 2021


6

NEWS ROUND-UP

• Another accolade for Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) this time in the shape of an ENCON award. The company’s Rourkela Steel Plant was recognised for energy conservation in a competition organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Oddly, the awards event was held in September, but has only now found its way to the Hindustan Times, who reported the story on 25 November. Source: Hindustan Times, 25 November 2021 • Infrastructure projects around the world will improve global steel demand, according to Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation, says a report by Steel Orbis. Port congestion and the chip shortage, says CSC, has caused a supply chain bottleneck, which has adversely affected steel demand, but conditions are improving and the company remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ in terms of what Q4 will bring. Source: Steel Orbis, 25 November 2021

• South Korean steelmaker POSCO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EcoGraf whereby the latter will supply the former with battery anode material from its facility in Australia and, at a later date, from its planned facility in Europe. The deal will help drive POSCO’s expansion of its anode production in line with the continuing development of the global EV marketplace. Source: Mining Weekly, 25 November 2021

Digital Edition - December 2021

• Gustavo Werneck, CEO of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau, has been appointed chairman of Alacero (the Latin American Steel Association). Mr Werneck takes over from Ternium CEO Máximo Vedoya who has been in the role since 2019. Source: Alacero, 25 November 2021 • Girl power clearly exists at Tata Steel’s Noamundi iron ore mine in Jharkhand, India, where an all-women team will take over the entire mining process next year. Drilling, dumping and shovelling operations will all be done by women, says Tata Steel. The company had already employed 22 women as heavy earth moving operators at the mine, and now 'Tejaswini 2.0' will be training unskilled women to handle top jobs at the mine. Source: Avenue Mail.com, 28 November 2021

• The Chinese port of Rizhao and global mining company Rio Tinto have signed a framework agreement whereby the two entitites engage in greater co-operation on matters such as port safety, environmental protection and safe, efficient, green and smart development. There are also plans to establish a Joint Technology Centre with the sole aim of providing innovation in the field of iron ore mining, handling and transportation. Co-operation between the two companies started back in 2018. Source: Seatrade Maritime News, 26 November 2021

• Eco-friendly ships are the order of the day at Hyundai Steel in South Korea. The company aims to reduce its carbon emissions with the new vessels and has already started the process with the launch of HL Oceanic. Samho Heavy Industries built the 180,000 dwt ship. Source: Hellenic Shipping News, 27 November 2021

• It’s all systems go at POSCO where hydrogen steelmaking is concerned. The South Korean manufacturer is preparing the ground for the future in announcing a plan to set up infrastructure for the supply of hydrogen to its Pohang facility. Furthermore, the company has signed a co-operation agreement with POSCO C&C and Korea Hydrogen Energy Network (Kohygen). A large diameter piping system is in the offing to enable the supply of hydrogen and the company is pushing ahead with plans to produce and supply it at a competitive price. Source: Korea Biz Wire, 26 November 2021


7

• A fire in the transformer former room of an electric arc furnace complex has suspended operations at an MMK plant in Russia. As the company weighs up the situation to assess damage and work out a way forward, it seems likely that resuming normal operations will take up to four weeks. The fact that just one EAF will be responsible for production means a decline in long product production. Source: Steel Orbis, 30 November 2021

• The Netherlands’ Government is getting tough with Tata Steel Europe’s IJmuiden steelworks following many past concerns over pollution. A seven-point plan has been produced that includes tightening up the facility’s current permits and thus requiring the plant to adapt its production processes. The plant has agreed to bring forward emissions targets. Monitoring progress will be the responsibility of the RIVM public health institute, which plans to conduct independent research on the impact of the new measures in 2022. Source: Dutch News.nl, 1 December 2021 www.steeltimesint.com

• General Motors and POSCO Chemical are to form a joint venture with a view to processing active cathode material for the former’s Ultium electric vehicle programme. Exactly where the processing factory will be located is not known, but it will open in 2024 and is expected to create ‘hundreds of jobs’, according to an online media report. Source: Electrive.com, 2 December 2021

• Over the past seven months, Iran has produced over 17Mt of sponge iron, according to an online media report. The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) claims that the increase in production is because of new sponge iron plants and the fact that IMIDRO has launched several projects in conjunction with the private sector to produce sponge iron, aka direct reduced iron (DRI). Source: Tehran Times, 6 December 202

• Progressive thinking Tata Steel in India has announced the appointment of 14 transgender people to operate heavy earth moving machinery at its West Bokaro division’s coal mines. The company had already appointed 17 women as operators of the equipment and now plans to train transgender people for one year before they commence work at the mine. The company’s vice president of raw materials, DB Sundara Raman, has praised the company’s ‘pioneering diversity’ and says that Tata Steel ‘respects the uniqueness of individuals’. A 30-women team has been put to work on drilling, dumper and shovel operations and will be on-site next year. Source: Times of India, 6 December 2021

• Tata Steel in India has deployed a ship powered by biofuel in order to reduce the amount of Scope 3 greenhouse gases it emits. The Frontier Sky is the name of the ship and it is owned by Tata NYK Shipping Pte Ltd. A successful trial has already been completed, which included the transportation of 160kt of coal from Gladstone in Australia to Dhamra in India. Source: APN News, 7 December 2021

• American steel giant Nucor Corporation has approved construction of a $350 million, 430kt/yr rebar micro mill, with spooling capabilities, to be located in the South Atlantic region. The new facility will be Nucor's third rebar micro mill, joining its existing operations in Missouri and Florida, both of which came on stream in 2020. Source: Nucor Corporation, 6 December 2021

• Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine, a world-leading steel and technology group, is now offering a CO2reduced edition of all flat steel products manufactured by the company's steel division in Linz, Austria. The company claims that the direct emissions generated during the manufacture of its greentec steel Edition products have been reduced by around 10% as a result of 'an innovative raw materials mix and even more efficient processes'. Source: voestalpine, 6 December 2021

Digital Edition - December 2021


8

ENERGY MARKETS

Hydrogen is the future The time is ripe for the world’s major energy exporters to accelerate the energy transition, and mastering the hydrogen trade could make a difference, says Wood Mackenzie

Digital Edition - December 2021

www.steeltimesint.com


ENERGY MARKETS

THE global energy market was worth an eye-watering US$2 trillion in 2020, contributing to more than 9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. In the same year, the top five energy exporters – Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia, the United States of America, and Indonesia – produced more than half of all energy traded. Wood Mackenzie research director Prakash Sharma commented: “The global energy trade is set to see its largest disruption since the 1970s and the rise of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). “In addition to investing in renewables to slash emissions and enhance energy security, countries and industries are now looking to electricity-based fuels and feedstocks, and hydrogen could be the game changer. A key differentiator is hydrogen’s massive potential in traded energy markets. Low-carbon hydrogen and its derivatives could account for around a third of the seaborne energy trade in a net zero 2050 world.” Between now and 2050, Wood Mackenzie forecasts global demand for hydrogen to increase between two- and six-fold under our Energy Transition Outlook and Accelerated Energy Transition (AET) scenarios. Under our AET-1.5 scenario (1.5 °C warming), low-carbon hydrogen demand reaches as much as 530Mt by 2050, with almost 150Mt of that traded on the seaborne market. Low-carbon hydrogen import demand from Northeast Asia and Europe could account for about 80Mt, equivalent to 55% of seaborne hydrogen trade, and 23Mt (16% of total seaborne energy trade), respectively.

9

Several countries are hoping to benefit from developing export-oriented hydrogen megaprojects, with blue and green hydrogen initiatives being developed in Russia, Canada, Australia, and the Middle East. In the burgeoning green hydrogen space, nearly 60% of proposed export projects are located in the Middle East and Australia, principally targeting markets in Europe and Northeast Asia. Over the last 12 months, there has been a 50-fold increase in announced green hydrogen projects alone. Project developers, lenders and buyers will be drawn to locations with a proven track record of exporting natural resources, suitable conditions for low-cost renewable electricity and the potential for large-scale carbon capture. Several countries are hoping to snatch a slice of the hydrogen trade pie. Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Chile, Oman and Kazakhstan have all announced megaprojects targeting the export market, while others, such as Russia and Canada, have vast low-cost gas resources and plenty of carbon capture and storage (CCS) capacity. Wood Mackenzie’s vice chairman, Gavin Thompson, said: “While no two hydrogen export projects look the same, the most obvious difference in proposed projects is between blue and green hydrogen. But portraying this as an either-or choice is an over-simplification.” While current costs of green hydrogen production are typically more than three times higher than those of blue hydrogen, green hydrogen costs are expected to fall as electrolyser manufacturing technology improves and renewable electricity costs decline. An expected drop in costs will support a longer-term pivot from blue to

“While no two hydrogen export projects look the same, the most obvious difference in proposed projects is between blue and green hydrogen. But portraying this as an either-or choice is an over-simplification.

Wood Mackenzie’s vice chairman, Gavin Thompson

www.steeltimesint.com

Digital Edition - December 2021


10

ENERGY MARKETS

“Australia, in particular, stands out from the crowd in its track record of exporting a diverse set of natural resources and minerals, sheer physical scale, solar and wind resources and substantial

potential for large-scale CCS.

Prakash Sharma, research director

green hydrogen. However, each market has unique characteristics and cost declines will not be uniform. Thompson added: “The reality is that the world needs both to achieve the required pace of global decarbonisation. Blue hydrogen production has a scalability advantage over green hydrogen at present and can already be developed in the requisite volumes, though lead times are longer. “Most proposed projects are currently a combination of the two. A blue hydrogen exporter in Australia or the Middle East, for instance, could establish a market position while expanding into green hydrogen as costs decline over time and capacity becomes available. Producers could thus build out their low-carbon hydrogen supply chains as green hydrogen becomes more competitive over time.” Suppliers with access to major, low-cost gas resources and carbon capture and Digital Edition - December 2021

storage (CCS) have a natural advantage for blue hydrogen exports. Regions such as the Middle East, Russia, and the United States, with competitive onshore drilling costs, appear best placed to develop an interregional export position. Countries able to exploit existing ammonia infrastructure will also be on the front foot. Similarly, suppliers with access to low-cost renewables will tip the scales when it comes to green hydrogen production. Based on Wood Mackenzie’s analysis of future costs, Australia and the Middle East sit in the top echelons for solar irradiance and offer massive green hydrogen potential. With conversion and transport costs making up as much as two-thirds of the delivered cost of the inter-regional hydrogen seaborne trade, proximity to market will also be important. For supply to Northeast Asia, for instance, suppliers in Australia would appear to be ahead of the pack. Sharma said: “Australia, in particular,

stands out from the crowd in its track record of exporting a diverse set of natural resources and minerals, sheer physical scale, solar and wind resources and substantial potential for large-scale CCS.” For Australia – as well as other major exporters – the opportunity to produce green hydrogen will help transform its energy export portfolio and align it with the changing needs of its trading partners. And as with Australia’s coal, iron ore and LNG industries in the past, buyers across Asia seem willing to invest and help develop it. Research director Sharma said that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. “In a nascent market, hydrogen participants will need to adopt robust but flexible strategies and business models that support a potentially transformative development in the global energy transition. Today, a number of countries have the opportunity to harness their resources and, through hydrogen, become dominant exporters and players in low-carbon energy trading. Thompson concluded: “Nonetheless, while the scale of these countries’ ambition and success will affect global energy systems in an unprecedented way, the irony remains that the dynamics of the future global trade in hydrogen are likely to look similar to those of traditional fossil fuels. Northeast Asia, including China, and Europe will be the big importers of hydrogen; Australia, the Middle East and, possibly, Russia and the US have the greatest potential to be big exporters.” � www.steeltimesint.com


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“THIS EVENT IS THE ONLY MEETING FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 FOCUSSED ON THE STEEL INDUSTRY IN EUROPE”

The Future Steel Forum is back and it’s LIVE in Prague from 8-9 June 2022

Kiyoshi Ebihara, Nippon Steel Corporation

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – SUBMISSION DEADLINE FRIDAY 7 JANUARY 2022 TOPICS INCLUDE: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE • MACHINE LEARNING • SUSTAINABILITY • LOGISTICS • PLANT SAFETY The Future Steel Forum was launched to address the growing interest in digital manufacturing within the global steel industry, particularly the technologies associated with Industry 4.0 such as Big Data, the Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Over the past five years, the event has attracted speakers from major steelmakers including ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, Voestalpine, POSCO, Emirates Steel, US Steel, Big River Steel, Liberty Steel Group, TMK, Kobe Steel, Metinvest Digital, Badische Stahl-Engineering, Buderus Stahl and many others. Future Steel Forum speakers tend to be involved in the development and/or use of systems that rely upon these technologies, and the event itself endeavours to attract a mixed audience of steelmakers and technologists. In a nutshell, the Forum is an event for forward-thinking steelmakers who embrace new hightech production technologies that embody the essence of so-called “smart manufacturing”.

SPEAKERS ALREADY CONFIRMED FOR 2022 • ARCELORMITTAL • JFE STEEL CORPORATION • POSCO • METINVEST DIGITAL • WORLD STEEL ASSOCIATION

“IT’S AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO ASSESS THE EVOLUTION OF THE STEEL INDUSTRY”

• MATERIALS PROCESSING INSTITUTE

Diego Diaz Fidalgo, ArcelorMittal

“WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO MY COLLEAGUES INVOLVED WITH THE DIGITALISATION OF THE BUSINESS, THE EVENT GIVES A VERY GOOD GLOBAL OVERVIEW” Luigi Morsut, Danieli & Co

Submit your speaker application before 7 January at www.FutureSteelForum.com PAST AND PRESENT EXHIBITORS AND SPONSORS INCLUDE…

FSF_2022_CallforPapers_DPS_Ad.indd All Pages

ORGANISED BY

ORGANISED BY

07/12/2021 12:38


“THIS EVENT IS THE ONLY MEETING FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 FOCUSSED ON THE STEEL INDUSTRY IN EUROPE”

The Future Steel Forum is back and it’s LIVE in Prague from 8-9 June 2022

Kiyoshi Ebihara, Nippon Steel Corporation

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – SUBMISSION DEADLINE FRIDAY 7 JANUARY 2022 TOPICS INCLUDE: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE • MACHINE LEARNING • SUSTAINABILITY • LOGISTICS • PLANT SAFETY The Future Steel Forum was launched to address the growing interest in digital manufacturing within the global steel industry, particularly the technologies associated with Industry 4.0 such as Big Data, the Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Over the past five years, the event has attracted speakers from major steelmakers including ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, Voestalpine, POSCO, Emirates Steel, US Steel, Big River Steel, Liberty Steel Group, TMK, Kobe Steel, Metinvest Digital, Badische Stahl-Engineering, Buderus Stahl and many others. Future Steel Forum speakers tend to be involved in the development and/or use of systems that rely upon these technologies, and the event itself endeavours to attract a mixed audience of steelmakers and technologists. In a nutshell, the Forum is an event for forward-thinking steelmakers who embrace new hightech production technologies that embody the essence of so-called “smart manufacturing”.

SPEAKERS ALREADY CONFIRMED FOR 2022 • ARCELORMITTAL • JFE STEEL CORPORATION • POSCO • METINVEST DIGITAL • WORLD STEEL ASSOCIATION

“IT’S AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO ASSESS THE EVOLUTION OF THE STEEL INDUSTRY”

• MATERIALS PROCESSING INSTITUTE

Diego Diaz Fidalgo, ArcelorMittal

“WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO MY COLLEAGUES INVOLVED WITH THE DIGITALISATION OF THE BUSINESS, THE EVENT GIVES A VERY GOOD GLOBAL OVERVIEW” Luigi Morsut, Danieli & Co

Submit your speaker application before 7 January at www.FutureSteelForum.com PAST AND PRESENT EXHIBITORS AND SPONSORS INCLUDE…

FSF_2022_CallforPapers_DPS_Ad.indd All Pages

ORGANISED BY

ORGANISED BY

07/12/2021 12:38


Making our world more productive

Supporting decarbonization Through increased efficiency and use of Hydrogen

Linde supplies world-leading innovative and sustainable solutions that create long-lasting value and a route to zero carbon. For more than 100 years, Linde has supported the steel industry with gases and energy-efficient technologies. Moreover, Linde successfully covers every part of the hydrogen value-chain, including its use to decarbonize steel production.

linde-gas.com/hydrogensteel

00429_Steel_International_Linde_REN_Sweden_gas_ad_A3_RZ.indd 1-2

17.05.21 11:49


Making our world more productive

Supporting decarbonization Through increased efficiency and use of Hydrogen

Linde supplies world-leading innovative and sustainable solutions that create long-lasting value and a route to zero carbon. For more than 100 years, Linde has supported the steel industry with gases and energy-efficient technologies. Moreover, Linde successfully covers every part of the hydrogen value-chain, including its use to decarbonize steel production.

linde-gas.com/hydrogensteel

00429_Steel_International_Linde_REN_Sweden_gas_ad_A3_RZ.indd 1-2

17.05.21 11:49


16

OPINION

Digitizing the steel industry

Companies that recognise the opportunities of digital technologies and act now will give themselves a competitive advantage that will last long into the future. By Mo Ahmed* DIGITAL technologies are dramatically improving the way that organisations operate. Steel and metal manufacturers face a huge opportunity to transform their operational model by implementing digital technology. Not only does this help in the day-to-day running of the manufacturing process, but it also improves efficiency, profit margins, asset performance management and can even enhance sustainable practices.

Digital transformation unlocks the potential of your assets and empowers you to adopt predictive maintenance strategies. New technologies can help organisations to identify subtle changes in system behaviour which could be the early warning signs of diminished equipment performance or potential failure. It can also detect anomalies, create alerts and send notifications. With the ability to look ahead, you can prevent costly failures, reduce

downtime, and focus on shaping what’s next. When focusing on the steel industry, steel producers are concentrating on how new technologies, such as AI and predictive analytics, can help them increase the quality of materials and maintenance. The financial benefits of AI are top of their minds. AI can help predict the problems with the quality or health of equipment which will, in turn, have a significant financial benefit,

* Global segment solutions (metals) at Schneider Electric Digital Edition - December 2021

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OPINION

long term business sustainability. Most recently, however, the situation has changed, and the industry is making a significant rebound when it comes to production. The strategic necessity of digital transformation can no longer be ignored. For example, China cut its steel capacity which has helped boost global prices. The US imposed section 232 tariffs and an import quota system, making it harder for imports to flow into the country and lifting US steel prices even further. Manufacturers became profitable again – the US steel price index is running nearly 170% higher than China’s and 65% higher than the European index. Add to that the low cost of energy in the US, a large market of steel scrap and efforts at deregulation and it all adds up to making the US an attractive destination for steel investments once again. The evidence can also be seen in the fact that steel plant construction is once again on the rise, and previously shuttered plants are now being restarted and revamped to expand capacity, accounting for an estimated $12.9 billion in new investment

and the creation of 6,700 jobs.

improving production and ROI. Industry rebound Manufacturers are under extreme pressure to improve production efficiencies regardless of the turbulence caused by the geopolitical struggle playing out in front of the world. However, due to the uncertainties in recent years, many producers have limited their discretionary capital spending unless the project promises a very fast ROI, which has left some opportunities on the table when it comes to www.steeltimesint.com

Digitalization It’s all great news for an industry that has seen its share of hard times, but it raises one important question. How are these plants going to operate given that the skilled workforce that used to run everything has moved on to other jobs, other industries, or into retirement? The answer is digitalization. Digitalization offers enormous potential, but the industry needs to embrace Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation to enjoy all the benefits that it can deliver. As an example, robotics has made good inroads. The use of industrial robots in steel plants is growing at 55% per year,

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where they are being used to replace manual labour in repetitive or hazardous tasks. Another example is the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) to perform sophisticated process analysis to improve plant performance. And now there are fully autonomous trolley cranes, not just automated cranes, that not only help solve the workforce gap, but do so at higher levels of productivity and safety. From stock storage management to fully automated crane operations, this technology will reduce the need for crane operators and allow plant management to reallocate those valuable human resources to other areas where their skills and experience can be used to fill roles steel producers have had difficulty in filling. Achieving significant ROI Companies that recognise the opportunity and act now will give themselves a competitive advantage that will last long into the future, and those that don’t will inevitably risk falling behind their competitors. A notable area where significant ROI can be achieved is in crane operations. Crane operations have a drastic impact on the entire steel manufacturing process, especially when you consider the age and lack of technology embedded in most systems operating today. Cranes are often more than 30 years old and running with rudimentary technologies embedded, including hardwired relay logic, contactors and direct-on-line motors, often with limited monitoring. This makes for significant potential to improve efficiency, productivity, and safety, as well as reduce product mishandling (resulting in poor product quality and damages) and downtime. Digitization can make this a reality. Enhancing operations will deliver an estimated increase in efficiency of between 50% to 60% simply by eliminating bottlenecks and issues in material handling. Take a step-by-step approach Companies who recognise the opportunities of digital technologies and act now will give themselves a competitive advantage that will last long into the future, and those that don’t will risk falling behind. Taking a step-by-step approach, from evolutionary to revolutionary technologies, is a realistic strategy for the resources industry today that will help the sector in the long term. � Digital Edition - December 2021


ANSWER

Danieli Answers to be a step ahead

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Danieli CARBON-FREE benchmark technology From BF route, to hot DRI directly charged into the Danieli Digimelter

Metallurgical results obtained from DRI+DDM (Danieli Digimelter electric steelmaking) equal those obtained with the blast furnace+converter process, for quality clean steel for demanding applications, including exposed automotive parts. Considering the lower CO2 release of the DRI+DDM process, 800 vs. 1,800 kgCO2/tls for the BF+BOF, the DR+DDM route offers the most environmentally friendly solution to couple with the international and particularly European emission regulations (COP 21), which are becoming stricter and more expensive (carbon tax is 57 Euro/t of CO2 as at August 2021). The 800 kgCO2/tls result is obtained thanks to the Energiron DR process technology developed by Tenova HYL and Danieli, and Danieli Digimelter.

Sustainability CO2 reduction 4.0 intelligent plant MIDA ECR QSP DUE Digimelter Energiron DRI Long-life BF

European customers are requesting feasibility studies for Energiron technology combined with Danieli Digimelter via Hytemp hot charging as a replacement for the ironmaking process.

ANIEL

I

D

01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08.

09. Quality slab casters 10. Pickling and cold mills 11. Galvanizing / Air knives 12. Billet casters 13. Billet welders 14. Wirerod mills 15. Rail and section mills 16. The Drawer sizing block 17. Reheating systems 18. Seamless tubes 19. Extrusion lines 20. Aluminium mills

GRE

L

Twenty Danieli answers to be a step ahead

TA

danieli.com

Furthermore, the Energiron Zero Reformer technology development allows the use of up to 70% hydrogen as a reduction agent, instead of 100% natural gas, without compromising the DRI quality and allowing liquid steel production with CO2 emissions down to 324 kgCO2/tls.

EN E M

Danieli_pagine_2020_esecutivi_A3 2021_08_25.indd 3-4

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ANSWER

Danieli Answers to be a step ahead

02

Danieli CARBON-FREE benchmark technology From BF route, to hot DRI directly charged into the Danieli Digimelter

Metallurgical results obtained from DRI+DDM (Danieli Digimelter electric steelmaking) equal those obtained with the blast furnace+converter process, for quality clean steel for demanding applications, including exposed automotive parts. Considering the lower CO2 release of the DRI+DDM process, 800 vs. 1,800 kgCO2/tls for the BF+BOF, the DR+DDM route offers the most environmentally friendly solution to couple with the international and particularly European emission regulations (COP 21), which are becoming stricter and more expensive (carbon tax is 57 Euro/t of CO2 as at August 2021). The 800 kgCO2/tls result is obtained thanks to the Energiron DR process technology developed by Tenova HYL and Danieli, and Danieli Digimelter.

Sustainability CO2 reduction 4.0 intelligent plant MIDA ECR QSP DUE Digimelter Energiron DRI Long-life BF

European customers are requesting feasibility studies for Energiron technology combined with Danieli Digimelter via Hytemp hot charging as a replacement for the ironmaking process.

ANIEL

I

D

01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08.

09. Quality slab casters 10. Pickling and cold mills 11. Galvanizing / Air knives 12. Billet casters 13. Billet welders 14. Wirerod mills 15. Rail and section mills 16. The Drawer sizing block 17. Reheating systems 18. Seamless tubes 19. Extrusion lines 20. Aluminium mills

GRE

L

Twenty Danieli answers to be a step ahead

TA

danieli.com

Furthermore, the Energiron Zero Reformer technology development allows the use of up to 70% hydrogen as a reduction agent, instead of 100% natural gas, without compromising the DRI quality and allowing liquid steel production with CO2 emissions down to 324 kgCO2/tls.

EN E M

Danieli_pagine_2020_esecutivi_A3 2021_08_25.indd 3-4

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

High-resolution data acquisition is key In this article we present different approaches to apply machine learning to measurement data of different aggregation levels and show why a common and consistent data acquisition system is the key to apply such methods successfully. By Tobias Seitz*

While machine learning or AI methods in general are becoming more widely-used in different sectors of industry, the preparation work for the application of such approaches is often underestimated. Especially for fast processes, the acquisition, recording, and management of data is a challenging task. Additional work is required in order to get clean, complete, and reliable measurement data. Why edge analytics is so important While in the context of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation, measurement

data are available for nearly every asset or machine, the highest flexibility can only be achieved by using high-resolution process, machine, vibration, energy and sensor data as a basis for all consecutive computations and aggregation layers. Especially for the partially very fast processes in steelmaking this means that sampling rates down to sub-milliseconds are required. Obviously, sending these data volumes to a higherlevel system ‘as is’ is impracticable in the matter of costs and volume in most cases. That’s were edge analytics comes into play. By applying analytical or data-driven

methods directly where the data are recorded makes it possible to immediately reduce the amount of data. The process data acquisition system has to offer an edge analytics integration which makes it possible to apply suitable methods to the raw or pre-aggregated data. Only the results or condensed data should be passed to higher level systems continuously. Additionally, short raw data snapshots can be transferred to the higher level periodically or triggered when an anomaly is detected. One of the main functions of edge analytics is to aggregate data and compute

Fig 1: Different data layers based on high-resolution time-series data. A suitable data enrichment (meta-data) needs to be provided on each layer.

* Product manager, IBA AG. Email: tobias.seitz@iba-ag.com Digital Edition - December 2021

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

KPIs based on the raw data. Any anomalies or problems detected in trends and values on higher aggregation layers have their root cause in the raw level. With references from the higher layers down to the raw level a verification and analysis on to the original data must be provided. In the case of machine learning, not all required steps should be done on the edge. An important point is the distinction between training and evaluation. The training which is running most preferably on raw or pre-aggregated data is not designed to be executed on edge devices. But the edge device can be used to transfer the raw or pre-aggregated data to a central storage system or data lake and provide the training data for powerful computation systems. The evaluation (or analytics) part of the machine learning can be deployed to an edge device. Different data layers and their relation to machine learning A huge variety of methods can be referred to as machine learning. However, ‘the

method’ usually does not exist. The results for each method will be different depending on the available data, the desired output, and the available time for engineering. Based on different data aggregation layers, see Fig 1, we want to give some examples where AI methods can be applied in a fruitful way. Most important for the application of any machine learning method is an appropriate data management together with a data acquisition, recording and processing system, which fulfills the requirements to support such applications. Especially for fast processes, data can be available in different format and resolution and we categorize them in the following way: • Layer 1: Raw data These time-series data are usually recorded continuously with high-resolution from all available sensors, actors, etc. Triggers, ie a segmentation of the process, need to be available in this layer. • Layer 2: Aggregated data As a first data preparation step data are

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usually down-sampled, pre-selected, and filtered based on triggers (which are part the data enrichment layer), and redundant information can be removed. • Layer 3: Production KPIs (key performance indicators) With KPI we usually refer to any value which was derived from raw or aggregated data and refers to a single product, batch, or other segmentation (e.g. average weight or different quality measures). • Data enrichment While we refer to process data acquired directly at the production with the three categories above, in all stages it is possible to enrich data with additional information from higher-level systems. Next to the triggers already available in the raw data also other meta-data should be added like, for example, material-mix or order information. Depending on the data layer, different analytical and data-driven methods can be applied and we want to give some examples with a focus on the requirements

Fig 2: While data acquisition and storage are done close to the process, online-evaluation of measurement values needs to be available and the results can be provided to higher-level systems. Additional local storage is recommended to avoid data loss.

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Digital Edition - December 2021


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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

of a data acquisition system, which is used to manage the data. It is important to point out that for each data layer, the application of machine learning methods usually requires there to be enriched data available. Otherwise, problems might be detected but not categorized or assigned to the different situations. Analyze time-series data For data layers 1 and 2 typically an edge analytics approach should be preferred in order to avoid sending or copying high data volumes to higher-level systems. The result of any algorithm applied on these layers can usually be characterized as Layer 3 data. With this in mind, combined approaches are also possible by combining different stages or a ‘chain’ of individual methods. For continuous time-series data available in Layer 1, various stream processing methods can be used. The processes should run locally to avoid sending high data volumes over the network. Ideally, the data acquisition system itself already offers different possibilities to do online

calculations. However, a broad connectivity is an important prerequisite to use external tools. Further, by storing the data locally and transferring them to a central storage facility asynchronously, it should be possible to not lose data for further processing. Fig 2 A good example for using raw (Layer 1) data is a coil mix-up identification based on thickness recordings. By using thickness measurements for each coil, a unique fingerprint can be derived and compared at different process stages. For such a method to work, different steps (length-conversion, alignment, and feature extraction) need to be applied to the raw data otherwise too much information is lost and the comparison will fail. Also note that partial data (and not the complete coil) can already be used to identify a possible mix-up. When working on segmented or triggered data, only a semi-online processing is required, ie whenever a batch or product is finished, the corresponding data block can be processed, which requires algorithms based on data arrays rather than streaming data.

Ideally, the data management system offers possibilities to define start- and stop-triggers, and to automatically process the data between those triggers batchwise. For the integration of machine learning, suitable interfaces should be available to request training data and to evaluate models semi-online based on the corresponding triggers. Fig 3 For the application of batch-wise and stream processing, the measurement system should be able to store historical data and triggers in order to use the recorded data for training or further evaluations on higher aggregation layers. Open interfaces should be available to allow asynchronous data requests and enable integration into thirdparty tools for custom applications. A typical example is the monitoring of repetitive and uniform processes like the sawing of steel rods. Each sawing has a characteristic shape in the power profile of the saw and by suitable resampling of the time-series they can be fed into a neural network which can be trained to find and characterize anomalies. Since the process works stably in most cases, a

Fig 3: When high-resolution data are not required, further processing can be done asynchronously based on locally stored data. Results need to be provided to higher-level systems using different interfaces and protocols.

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THE SMART PRODUCTION REVOLUTION

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

semi-unsupervised method can be used to learn the ‘good’ process state. Any process deviation (abrupt or creeping) is detected and alarms or maintenance recommendations can be derived. Long-term analysis based on KPIs While the previous approaches rely on high-resolution data from, for example, a single production line, a far more common application of machine learning tries to find defects and quality problems by monitoring the complete production chain or plant. By using a common data acquisition system for all available assets, it is possible to transfer KPIs which are computed on the edge to a higher-level system via defined protocols and fixed schemata. With this approach a central and lightweight (in terms of storage capacity) data pool can be generated and used for training and evaluation of advanced analytical models. Due to the reduced amount of data traffic the storage and analysis tools can be easily designed as cloud-based systems and also different production-sites can be

compared and analyzed. Fig 4 When working on these data we are now in the regime of classical data science, data mining and machine learning methods. Depending on the available values or KPIs, different methods and approaches exist which have been adapted to almost every possible situation. Typical approaches include SPC analysis or condition monitoring. The difference, when setting up the data acquisition and using available methods as described above, is that in such a scenario any additional data preparation work (selecting, sorting, clustering, or cleaning the data) is kept to an absolute minimum. The suitable aggregation and enrichment with meta-data information is already done on the lower layers before doing the final aggregation or evaluation. This is also the key to enabling the drill-down to the raw data at any time. Best practice While we tried to focus on the application of machine learning for different situations, we should mention that classical

approaches also exist which are usually not referred to by AI methods. Those methods are already able to provide good ROI in many cases. However, independent of the method or algorithm used, a thoroughly configured and consistent data acquisition and thus a high-quality data-basis is a crucial ingredient for good results. From our experience, machine learning methods perform best if existing insights and understanding of the process are integrated into the algorithms. Any information available should be used to support the used method and rely on the ability of the approach to gain such insight automatically is not recommended. Finally, the most important ingredient is a clearly defined goal or scope for the application. What do you want to achieve? Which specific part of your production do you want to improve? How do you measure an improvement? With the answers to these questions, it will be much easier to define any specific measures needed starting with data acquisition, aggregation, and further evaluation and processing. �

Fig 4: Results (KPIs) from local instances can be collected centrally, enabling an overall evaluation. By using pre-aggregation methods, data volumes are kept low, and condensed information is provided to the upper layer.

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DIGITAL MANUFACTURING

Machine learning and manufacturing Many factories are still hesitant to adopt smart manufacturing methods and remain reliant on visual inspection and legacy equipment. In order to maximize uptime and reduce scrap, factory operators need to harness real-time data with machine learning techniques, says Arjun Chandar*

FACTORIES that seek to utilize smart devices on the factory floor can instantly assess product quality. For example, machine learning (ML) can be integrated with video streaming devices to analyze a product throughout the entire production process. As an Industry 4.0 technology, ML can increase efficiency and deliver savings of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. ML can lead factories to significantly reduce unexpected downtime and achieve better product design. ML software also helps to improve efficiency and transition times, overall product quality, and worker safety. Machine learning is entirely dependent on data, so understanding some key elements about the quality and type of data needed is extremely important in ensuring accurate results. The ease at which manufacturers can implement ML depends on the available amount of data. IndustrialML has worked closely with Daiwa Steel Tubes Inc (DSTI), a Japanese steel manufacturer, over the past couple of years. Based on this experience we can offer plenty of insight into how manufacturers can implement machine learning methods in steel production. Navigation and reporting The first step to incorporating ML is to track metrics properly. A manufacturer

will usually want to improve its tracking of metrics, such as target line speed and current line speed, to make a comparison. IndustrialML works with senior management within the organization to determine what information is most helpful before building the infrastructure to collect the data. This is done with multiple brands of programmable logic controllers (PLCs,)

manufacturing execution systems (MES), streaming video from multiple camera types, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. For DSTI, IndustrialML displayed all that data in an integrated status monitor, with separate dashboards available for different stations on the line and visual formats catering to both managers and

* Founder and chairman, Industrial IML Inc Digital Edition - December 2021

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DIGITAL MANUFACTURING

line operators. In addition to providing this overview of metrics, they need to be properly reported. For example, what were the planned and actual throughput, line speed, and yield for the current shift at the factory? How did the machinery perform? How many cuts of the steel roll were made by the blades during a measurable duration? How many cycles did a machine go through? How many does it have left? A manufacturer will have to www.steeltimesint.com

answer all of these questions to incorporate ML effectively. Machine learning via video feeds and alerts DSTI is now able to use machine learning through monitoring a live video feed. Each frame of the video is analyzed to determine the quality of the steel tube moving down the line. Machine learning generally supplements the workflow established by

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the platform architecture. Over time the algorithm learns which parts are defective quicker so the operators can find these defects earlier in the production line. IndustrialML utilized a text-to-speech engine so that operators could receive information via a headset instead of checking their phones for messages. Operators can incorporate ML here by using alerts to create further recommendations and improving these alerts by logging the Digital Edition - December 2021


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DIGITAL MANUFACTURING

corresponding actions that were taken after each one. Eventually, voice suggestions/ assistance would immediately follow any type of alert from the factory floor. If factories collect comprehensive data acquisition and information on defects from the three key areas of ‘man, machinery, and material’, then via either machine learning or factory operations, managers can optimize processes for both real-time and long-term improvement. Over many months, management can use a dashboard to constantly monitor trends rather than meeting with senior stakeholders intermittently to decide on plans.

trying to burn off the rust that was not eradicated during the initial acid wash. Once they had raised the temperature of the acid wash, they resolved the problem, and it could lead to savings of potentially $150,000 a year due to the forecasted extended furnace life. All machines in a steel factory contain components that cannot afford to fail. By using predictive maintenance for critical equipment that needs continuous monitoring, the risk of failure is reduced, and so production processes can continue unabated, which keeps the customer satisfied.

Predictive maintenance for machine lifetime Aside from monitoring via video feeds for product quality, ML can predict when a machine needs to be replaced and, consequently, extend its lifetime. ML-based predictive maintenance is very useful as it typically generates a reduction of 10% in yearly maintenance costs and also increases productivity by up to 25%. Working with DSTI provided an excellent example of how predictive maintenance can significantly impact operating costs. Their remote team noticed that they had been running a line with a preheat temperature of 100 degrees hotter than necessary, reducing the furnace’s lifetime by 50%. This was because operators were

Equipment utilization at each stage One finished part undergoes many iterative processes in a steel factory. The previous outcome for each process will determine how the finished product will turn out. Collecting data from multiple sources allows ML to conduct principal component analysis. A blast furnace represents an excellent way to conduct this type of analysis. In the lower part of the furnace, where molten iron is collected and trained from the tap holes, the outflow rates can vary due to erosion of the taphole over time. With principal component analysis, it gives the manufacturer an overview of machine performance. They can see whether making adjustments can improve

Digital Edition - December 2021

the operating capacity during the other stages of production. The analysis reveals fundamental differences in the local conditions and liquid levels produced by the erosion of the tap holes. This shows how ML prevents factory managers from relying too much on institutional knowledge to make decisions about machine settings at each stage. It is clear from the above examples that ML is not just something that produces results in both the long and short term. In fact, a Deloitte study looking into intelligent automation found that an ML project can deliver between two to five times better ROIs in the first year. Despite the clear benefits and fairly straightforward solutions presented above, too many manufacturers mistakenly perceive ML as too complex and costly to implement, pointing out the financial constraints imposed upon them by the pandemic. There needs to be a greater understanding in the manufacturing sector that ML can generate revenue by analyzing data faster, allowing for better decision making and increased productivity. In order to embrace ML solutions, manufacturers need to come up with a comprehensive strategy by organizing their data to be ready. Once they take these steps, there is no reason why manufacturers that are hesitant about ML can’t utilize it properly. � www.steeltimesint.com


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MARKET RESEARCH

Why the post-pandemic metals sector needs to keep its foot on the gas

These are exciting times for the metals industry. While initially hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has recovered relatively swiftly and when it comes to making progress on digitalisation it is ahead of the curve. Metals leaders are also embracing the opportunity to operate more sustainably. By Mario Viarengo*

WHILE the metals sector was initially hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic (with demand dropping by an average of 6% following the introduction of global lockdowns ), there are plenty of reasons for leaders to be optimistic. The sector has already seen a relatively swift recovery. Prices, for instance, rebounded far more quickly than they

did during the financial crisis that began in 2008.1 Demand is also set to rise rapidly over the coming decade, with metals products expected to underpin the decarbonisation of other industries – especially in areas such as electrification. One example of this is the increase in the production of electric vehicles (EVs). Sales are forecast to leap from just over three

million units sold last year to more than 11 million by 2025.2 This is not only going to drive a huge rise in demand for metals in general, but also lead to a major shift in the metals needed to manufacture the vehicles themselves. To manage this change, the sector will need to increase its output to meet demand – improving efficiency and productivity

* Global industry marketing general manager, Shell Lubricant Solutions Digital Edition - December 2021

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MARKET RESEARCH

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overall, they have responded positively. Out of the 300 global leaders we surveyed, 88% say their response to the pandemic puts them better positioned to address their future challenges. Metals leaders are slightly less optimistic. However, three-quarters still believe that their businesses are now better equipped to overcome their biggest digital transformation and decarbonisation obstacles. If anything, organisations have made a huge leap forward in both areas – remarkable, given it has happened during a time of unprecedented disruption. Our research shows that 78% of metals businesses have accelerated changes related to digital transformation by up to five years during the pandemic (compared to the industrial average of 75%). And 76% have achieved the same with regards to decarbonisation (level with the industrial average). Another positive sign for the future is the fact that 84% of metals leaders believe their response to the crisis has unlocked untapped potential across their organisations. This will undoubtedly be vital as they now turn their attention to meeting the likely shifts in demand they face.

through innovative digital solutions and processes. Simultaneously, businesses must meet their own climate change goals, reducing emissions and improving the lifecycle impact of the metals they produce. It’s a paradoxical challenge, and not a simple one to resolve. So, how optimistic do metals leaders feel about taking on their next big challenges of digital transformation

and decarbonisation? And how does this compare to other industrial leaders? In our latest research report, ‘Under Pressure: Leading in Paradox Industries’, we asked them what the future holds for the sector. Metals leaders feel better equipped to address their post-pandemic challenges. Across industry, the pandemic has posed organisations with a huge threat. And,

Investment into digital transformation Looking specifically at industrial leaders’ approaches to digitalisation, it is clear that organisations are ready to make significant progress in this area. And metals businesses are largely ahead of the curve. For example, 75% of decision makers in metals identify digital transformation as urgent to their business – and already have plans to achieve it. This is slightly above the industrial average of 73%. And the same can be said when it comes to backing up ambition with budgets. Where less than half of all industrial leaders increased their investment in digital transformation during the pandemic, 57% of metals organisations did so. A note of caution, however, is the impact that digitisation will have on businesses. For instance, 92% of metals organisations face a digital skills gap (up on the industrial average of 85%) when it comes to the workforce. Those companies who aren’t will need to act quickly to bridge the skills gap and avoid falling behind their competitors. It would seem counterintuitive to focus

1. S&P Global. “Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on industrial metals markets - one year on.” 2021. spglobal.com. (accessed 12 November 2021) 2. S&P Global. “Booming electric vehicle demand spurs mining, metals sector.” 2021. spglobal.com. (accessed 12 November 2021) www.steeltimesint.com

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on digital tools and infrastructure, but not the people tasked with using new processes to maximise productivity. This is just one contradiction that leaders will have to address as they take the next steps on their digital transformation journeys. The pandemic has sped up Moving onto decarbonisation, we see that metals leaders are embracing the opportunity to operate more sustainably – even though it seems lower down the priority list than digitalisation. Of those surveyed, 63% view decarbonisation as urgent and already have plans in place to address it – compared with the industrial average of 69%. Despite this, metals leaders have been keener to invest than their industrial counterparts, with 43% increasing their budgets in decarbonisation during the pandemic (versus the average of 41%). However, the challenge for metals organisations is that they still don’t have a clear roadmap for their journey towards sustainability. Three-quarters of leaders highlighted that their business suffers from a lack of expertise in navigating the complexity of available decarbonisation options – and that it represents a significant barrier to progress. It’s something that’s vital to overcome, especially as eight out of 10 leaders believe that sustainability will be more important in bids and tenders over the next five years. This is where we see another contradiction appear, with 67% of decision makers saying their organisation is wellequipped to understand the long-term Digital Edition - December 2021

impact of new sustainability targets. It demonstrates exactly how complex the challenge of increasing output while improving environmental impact will be for businesses. There’s no single global approach to sustainability There are also some fascinating regional differences as we dive deeper into leaders’ thoughts on decarbonisation. For example, Chinese leaders generally view it as more important than their North American and European counterparts. Where seven out of 10 leaders in China see sustainability as central to the future of their business, only 52% of those in the US agree. And this drops to three in 10 among those in France and the UK. The major barriers to decarbonisation differ between countries as well. Chinese and French leaders cite a lack of regulatory pressure as their top issue, while organisations in Germany are struggling most with a lack of in-house skills and expertise. Meanwhile, in the US, leaders say that the biggest thing standing in the way of achieving their sustainability goals is that decarbonisation simply isn’t a priority for their businesses. It’s interesting as well that leaders’ views don’t necessarily match their investment plans. Despite identifying decarbonisation as urgent, only two-thirds of Chinese businesses plan to maintain or increase their budgets in this area following the pandemic. This is compared to 84% in the USA and Germany, 86% in the UK, 88% in France,

and 92% in Canada. Even so, it will be results that speak loudest for businesses everywhere. Ongoing change will be rapid Ultimately, metals sector leaders feel confident about the future – and there are plenty of reasons to do so. While the pandemic has been uniquely disruptive, businesses have risen to the challenge and put their foot on the gas. This means that not only has the sector recovered relatively swiftly, but organisations are now better prepared to take on their next big challenges. There are clearly still barriers to overcome. In both the key areas of digital transformation and decarbonisation, a lack of in-house skills and expertise is currently set to prevent further progress. Businesses will need to identify and resolve any strategic contradictions and take special care to match their budgets to their aims. Regardless, it’s an exciting time for the metals sector. There’s set to be a huge amount of change over the coming decade, and metals businesses will play a key role in underpinning the decarbonisation efforts of other industries. The experience of the pandemic suggests that metals businesses will adapt effectively to this change. But they can’t afford to ease off the pace. To maintain their trajectory and maximise their future potential, leaders need to keep their foot on the gas. Research figures are based on a survey of 300 global industrial business leaders carried out by Shell and Edelman Data Intelligence in June 2021. � www.steeltimesint.com



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MOLYBDENUM

What makes a watch tick? Moly! Mechanical watches rely on a tightly coiled strip known as a mainspring for power. Without the mainspring, these watches and other timekeeping devices, like metronomes, could not exist. The humble mainspring is exposed to great forces within the watch, necessitating uniquely hard materials with superior fatigue resistance. Today, most mainsprings are made of a specialty molybdenum-containing alloy. By Karlee Williston, Alberto Bracchi* and Alberto Sicco**

*Vacuumschmelze GmbH **Générale Ressorts for their valuable input.


MOLYBDENUM

MECHANICAL watches tell time without batteries, circuitry or an external power source. Instead, winding a watch loads its mainspring with power that sets the gear train in motion. The mainspring is the backbone of the watch. It stores energy that is released in precisely timed intervals by what is known as an escapement. The escapement mechanism prevents the mainspring from unloading all its power at once and spinning the hands of the watch like a jet turbine. Instead, the regulated energy off the escapement wheel moves the gears of the watch in increments that accurately measure the passage of time. Automatic mechanical watches work similarly, except the winding is replaced by a weight that passively generates power as the wearer moves their arm. In many watches, each part is a painstakingly crafted work of art, which approaches perfection in its mechanical accuracy. Even the seemingly simple mainspring is a metallurgical marvel, centuries in the making. Molybdenumcontaining alloys play an indispensable role in the mechanical properties of nearly all watch mainsprings and certain other watch parts. The history of timekeeping Various tools have recorded time throughout history. Sundials, water clocks and candle clocks ranging from simple to unimaginably complex kept humanity on track for millennia. Contemporary mechanical clocks and watches first appeared in Europe approximately 600 years ago. The invention of the mainspring was indispensable to modern clock and watchmaking. Before the mainspring, clocks were powered by weights. A weighted rope coiled around a pulley used gravity to power the clock. Even this design did not occur until the 12th century AD, possibly later. The mainspring enabled smaller, portable designs for the first time in history. Who invented the mainspring, however, remains a mystery. The oldest spring powered clock known dates to 1430. It is a lavish gold piece made for Phillip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy, and is housed in Germany today. Though the origin of the modern mechanical watch remains unknown, by the 16th century, portable “clock watches”, sort of like an early pocket watch, were popular in central Europe. However, these early devices were so inaccurate that they were used mainly as gear-powered jewelry for curious nobles.

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In 1657, watchmaking took a giant leap with the invention of the balance spring, also known as a hairspring. The balance spring is part of the escapement mechanism, a particularly complex and elegant part of a watch’s movement. This invention reduced watches’ margin of error from several hours a day to approximately 10 minutes. Today, worldclass watchmakers note that the difference of a micrometer in the width of the balance spring can make the watch off by 30 minutes. Even in the 18th century, the metallurgy of watchmaking was already a complicated affair. Watchmaker William Blakey wrote many thick books on handcrafting mainsprings. A quality mainspring in the 1780s could take days of highly skilled effort. Making watches by hand was time consuming and expensive, and therefore, it was mainly the rich who could enjoy timepieces. As with many items now central to life in developed countries, the mass production of watches was made possible only through the mass production of steel. The industrial revolution was the first time in history that huge batches of iron could be produced with consistent properties. Pocket watches or pendant watches for women remained the dominant designs until World War I, which highlighted the utility of lightweight timekeeping devices. From then on, the wristwatch became the predominant design, and the rest is history. Though watchmaking saw all kinds of wonderful developments throughout the centuries, mainsprings remained problematic. The carbon steel originally used for mainsprings lost significant elasticity and strength over time. As a result, the mainspring often failed far earlier than other parts of the watch. Mainspring repair was the number one reason for watch maintenance until the 1960s, when molybdenum-containing alloys and their special properties became a widespread alternative to carbon steel. Saving time with moly Several alloys have been specifically developed in recent decades to produce watches that run for greater stretches in between winding. How long a watch runs depends on its power reserve, or the amount of available mechanical energy stored in the mainspring. With these alloys, the most popular of which contain Digital Edition - December 2021


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MOLYBDENUM

The balance spring (left) is connected by a train of several gears to the mainspring (right), regulating the release of mainspring energy to constant, second-long intervals

molybdenum, watches have longer and longer power reserves. The material for the mainspring must be very strong, elastic and tough. It also needs superior fatigue resistance to withstand years of cyclic loading. If the mainspring fails, it’s not a simple replacement: a broken mainspring can damage or destroy the entire gear train of the watch, which is why today they are safely encapsulated in a barrel. Molybdenum-containing alloys offer a greater elastic limit and are less subject to breakage and permanent deformation than traditional carbon steel, making these springs last much longer. Because of its intricacy, mainspring manufacture remains a highly specialized craft – watchmakers

Mainspring in the barrel (left) and unleashed for cleaning (right). As mainsprings are wound with such force, they must be removed by a special tool to avoid injury to the watchmaker!

Digital Edition - December 2021

almost always order them from one of the world’s few producers. Mainspring materials contain as many as 10 alloying elements, all of which affect the final properties of the spring. Molybdenum specifically helps with hardenability and strength, as well as ductility which are necessary for highly loaded tiny parts. It also improves the corrosion resistance of these alloys. The most popular mainspring alloy is NIVAFLEX®, a cobalt-nickel-chromium alloy with 4% molybdenum. Its very high tensile strength of 3000 MPa gives it incredible fatigue resistance. SPRON 510, with up to 10% molybdenum, and Bioflex®, with 2.5 to

4% molybdenum, are other popular choices for mainsprings. The influence of magnetic fields can also negatively and substantially impact the accuracy of a watch. It is, therefore, important that watch parts are nonmagnetic. Molybdenum alloying helps to make Nivaflex non-magnetic at temperatures typically encountered by a wristwatch. For this reason, sometimes other precision watch pieces, like winding stems, also necessitate molybdenumcontaining alloys. Balance springs, too, were traditionally made with carbon steel and suffered from similar problems as mainsprings. Like the mainspring, balance springs must be exceptionally hard and fatigue resistant, yet also be ductile and able to be machined to extremely minute tolerances. The bestknown balance spring material is NIVAROX® CT, which contains as many as seven different alloying elements, all of which are decisive for setting the material properties, mainly a low temperature coefficient of elasticity. That in particular enables the timekeeping element, the watch’s balance wheel, to keep better time. Although Nivarox does not contain molybdenum, at least one recent patent application exists for a molybdenumcontaining balance spring that leverages the element’s unique properties. Molybdenum even comes to the aid of watches in chemical form: several mechanical watch brands use molybdenum disulfide lubricants on gears and in the mainspring barrel to keep the timepiece running smoothly. Mechanical watches embody centuries of ingenuity, artisanship and curiosity. Though many feared that these works of art would disappear in the wake of battery-powered quartz watches – and now smartphones – the mechanical watch industry remains vibrant. Take for instance the flamboyant watch enthusiast community on YouTube; evidence that the elaborate movements continue to enrapture successive generations of watch fans worldwide. Their tick and movement calls attention to the passage of time in a way the smartphone cannot. Above all, mechanical watches harken back to an era where time actually seemed to run slower. Molybdenum in their most essential components helps keep the nostalgia, tradition and pursuit of mechanical perfection alive in a digitized age. � www.steeltimesint.com


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ENVIRONMENT

From water to wire Andritz Hydro and German steelmaker Dillinger have been working together on pumpedstorage technology projects in Austria, Switzerland and Morocco

Production of a pipe segment for the Abdelmoumen pumped storage hydropower plant.

THE fixing by the UN Climate Conference of all-signatory targets for the containment of global warming has resulted in a rapid rise in the significance of electricity generation from renewable energy sources and, concomitantly, of the need for energystorage facilities. The most important and cost-efficient method of storing energy on a major scale – pumped-storage technology – thus also underwent a steep upward trend. Vienna-based ANDRITZ Hydro – one of the world’s leading suppliers of electromechanical equipment and services for hydropower plants – has been in great demand to partner especially challenging projects. For the development of sophisticated concepts in steel, large component dimensions and high individual item weights, the company has put its faith in German steelmaker Dillinger, a leader in tailor-made heavy plates and based in Dillingen in the Saarland region of Germany. The power-generation projects of Kaunertal (Austria), Nant de Drance (Switzerland) and Abdelmoumen (Morocco) stand as examples of this co-operation between the two companies. The strengths of pumped-storage plants Digital Edition - December 2021

(PSP) can be found in their rapid reaction to fluctuations in the supply of and demand for electricity. Their technology assures high availability, high capacity and high flexibility, but also low operating costs and reduced risk. For the energy corporations, this guarantees the necessary grid stability and black-start capability in case of a sudden power failure. ANDRITZ Hydro is one of the largest global suppliers for hydroelectric power generation. The company is world-market leader in the field of bulb turbines, technology leader in Pelton turbines and an acknowledged leader in the field of service and modernisation for enhancing the output of existing hydropower plants. Its portfolio includes the entire spectrum of electro-mechanical equipment: turbines, generators, hydroelectric engineering in steel, accessory equipment and services for hydropower plants of all types and sizes, ranging up to more than 800MW output per turbine unit. The company employs 7,000 people across 25 global locations in Europe, Asia, North and South America and boasts close proximity to its markets. ANDRITZ Hydro has equipped more than

500 pumped-storage plants, with a total output of 40,000 MW. The company’s Helmut Friedl, vice president, penstocks and gates, is responsible globally for the steelengineering sector for hydropower plants, with a particular focus on penstocks, armouring, branched distribution pipes, grills, gates and the appurtenant equipment. He has also played a leading managerial role in the Kaunertal, Nant de Drance and Abdelmoumen projects. Kaunertal: Toughness indices well beyond the standard The expansion of the existing generating plant at Kaunertal, in the Austrian Tyrol, marked the inception of even more intensive co-operation with Dillinger. At a height of 2,000 metres in a high alpine valley, generating capacity was to be increased by just on 1,000 MW, to a total of 1,370 MW, via the addition of an artificial storage lake as the upper reservoir, a second lower reservoir and a second power plant. This would convert the existing flow-through power plant to a pumped-storage configuration. Rockfalls www.steeltimesint.com


ENVIRONMENT

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3 Section of a closing installation element for the exposed part of the penstock at the Abdelmoumen pumped storage plant in Morocco

on the surface of the slope additionally necessitated replacement of the existing penstock by a new duct located below the slip line. The design and installation of this duct was also to take prior account of an upcoming increase in the output of the power-generating plant. ANDRITZ Hydro was commissioned for the construction of this penstock following an exceptionally complex short-listing procedure. The potential suppliers of this duct received plates from the client, which they then had to weld using specially developed processes based on the selected weld-filler materials. An independent test institute evaluated the results for suitability for use in the rock using sophisticated TOFD and phased-array inspection procedures. The verdict was incorporated into an initial applicant evaluation. Subsequent forming of the plates into a pipe with a diameter of more than four metres, with various wall thicknesses, and welding of circumferential and longitudinal welds, were the definitive elements of evaluation in the next stage of the process. In addition, the candidates also had to locate a steel supplier capable of demonstrating www.steeltimesint.com

Fig 1: ANDRITZ Hydro backs Dillinger's outstanding capabilities in the development of demanding concepts for steel materials, large component sizes and high item weights. Fig 2: The grades of steel required and the high wall thicknesses necessary are major challenges in the construction of pumped storage hydropower plants, with diameters of 5 metres or more for the penstocks. Fig 3: ANDRITZ Hydro knows it’s in good hands with Dillinger when larger plate thicknesses and thermomechanically rolled steel are needed.

significantly higher toughness indices than specified in the relevant standard. The customer permitted Grade S620 steels as the maximum allowable yield strength. Special requirements concerning the size and thickness of the plates to be used also applied in the case of the bifurcations – the branching elements of the penstock, with a diameter of five metres. The search for a suitable supplier of the steel was by no means easy, in view of the relatively small quantity required (900 tonnes) and the challenges associated with the validated requirements – optimised Charpy V-notch indices in the parent material and in the

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weld, and the required cost-efficiency, with on-time production and minimal failure rates. ANDRITZ Hydro located the sought-for partner in Dillinger and was commissioned the steelmaker for supply, design, fabrication and installation of the penstock for the Kaunertal powergenerating plant. “Dillinger is the absolute expert when it comes to high wall thicknesses”, says Helmut Friedl on his selection at the time. He adds: “In addition, Dillinger also had a larger hardening quench than other producers and was thus able to supply these demanding plates not only in the required thickness, but also in correspondingly large lengths and widths.” After extremely intensive discussions between the client, ANDRITZ Hydro, the operator, Tiroler Wasserkraftwerke (TIWAG) and Dillinger, the steel concept elaborated by Dillinger was approved. On this basis, the steelmaker then produced highstrength DILLIMAX S620 QL proprietary steel in thicknesses of 90 to 120 mm at the Kaunertal generating plant, especially for the bifurcations. “One of the greatest challenges in building pumped-storage hydropower plants with pipe diameters of five metres or more is the particular grade of steel used”, remarks Helmut Friedl on the importance of the corresponding capabilities on the part of the steel producer. Wall thickness will also increase in parallel to diameter. Cost-effective production of the hydropower-plant components is made possible only by highstrength steels with good weldability that also permit fabrication using thinner wall thicknesses and thus shorter fabrication and installation times. The carbon equivalent (CEV/ECC) assists in achieving higher mechanical strengths. Good steel weldability necessitates the lowest possible carbon equivalent, however. “Dillinger was willing and able to develop for Kaunertal a solution with a CEV below the standard rating which nonetheless met the requirements for maximum allowable yield strength and dimensions”, enthuses Friedl. Another special feature of the Kaunertal project was a small fabrication shop, which ANDRITZ Hydro created due to restricted transport possibilities at the top of the mountain. Here, the plant engineer welded together the six-metre pipes fabricated in the valley below to make the required 12-metre-long segments of differing diameters. These were then transported and lowered into the rock. Another definitive Digital Edition - December 2021


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ENVIRONMENT

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Fig 4:Haulage of the six-metre pipe segments fabricated down in the valley for the Kaunertal pumped storage plant for subsequent prefabrication of the 12-metre-long segments needed high on the mountain. Fig 5: Pre-assembly of a bifurcation of the penstock for the Kaunertal hydropower plant seen on the fabrication site in the rock. Fig 6:Installation of a bifurcation in the headrace tunnel of the Kaunertal hydropower plant. Fig 7:The TIG hot wire welding system used by ANDRITZ Hydro in the tunnel of the Kaunertal pumped storage plant minimises hydrogen content in the deposited metal and thus the risk of hydrogen-induced cracking.

reason for ANDRITZ Hydro winning the project was the hot-wire TIG welding system used by the plant engineer for the entire sloping tunnel at Kaunertal, which became apparent during installation in the tunnel. The preheated uncoated solid wire used by the automated welding unit minimises the hydrogen content in the deposited metal and thus the risk of cracking. All the branch elements for the penstock were delivered in single pieces up the mountain. There they were welded together into formats that could then be transported into the tunnel and assembled. The new penstock for the Kaunertal hydropower was commissioned in 2016. Commissioning of the upper reservoir is anticipated in 2032. Nant de Drance: Superlative hydropower engineering project Co-operation between ANDRITZ Hydro and Dillinger proved its worth again in the Digital Edition - December 2021

expansion project for the Nant de Drance pumped-storage generating plant in the Valais Alps of Switzerland. This 900MW installed capacity generating plant is presently one of the highest-powered in Europe. Six 150MW output Francis turbines make Nant de Drance highly flexible: in less than five minutes, the plant can, if necessary, change from full-power pumping to full-power turbine operation. It has an efficiency of above 80%, making it a benchmark for electricity storage. In a closed circuit, Nant de Drance exploits the difference in height between two existing reservoirs. These are linked by two parallel vertical headraces, each of which serves three pump turbines located in a gigantic powerhouse cavern at a depth of 600 metres. Each of these headraces consists of a two-kilometre-long penstock tunnel and a 425-metre-long vertical shaft of up to seven metres in diameter. The contract awarded to ANDRITZ Hydro

comprised planning and design, delivery of equipment, installation, and commissioning of the entire system for the two headraces. These are situated, like the cavern, in the interior of the mountain and are accessed by means of a 5-kilometre-long tunnel. The project package awarded to ANDRITZ Hydro also included butterfly valve shutoff systems for the upper knife-gate valve chambers, the rolling sluice gates for the lower gate chamber and the inlet grill for the inflow and outflow structures. The large dimensions of the system components, the stresses acting on them, and the on-site works made implementation an extremely demanding hydropower project. The components for the headrace, for example, had to be very largely prefabricated in a very confined space on the site. Additionally, the client stipulated that steel was used as armouring for the vertical shafts and that the upper and lower pipe elbows were lined with steel. For the armouring www.steeltimesint.com


ENVIRONMENT

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Fig 8: The dam restraining the Lac d‘Emosson reservoir for the Nant de Drance pumped storage hydropower plant in Switzerland's Valais Alps. Fig 9: Elbow for one of the vertical shafts at the Nant de Drance pumped storage plant. Fig 10: Trial assembly of a bifurcation with an external sickle plate for the Nant de Drance pumped storage plant. Fig 11: Installation of a bifurcation for the breeches pipe at the Nant de Drance pumped storage hydropower plant. Fig 12: Workshop assembly of a bifurcation with an internal sickle plate for the breeches pipe of the Nant de Drance pumped storage plant.

of less pressure-stressed parts pre-stressed concrete was deemed the solution. As for steel selection, ANDRITZ Hydro backed high-quality grades supplied by Dillinger. A total of 3.27kt of steel in thicknesses of up to 130 mm were supplied by the company for the penstock. “In the larger thickness ranges, and with S355 ML, we simply felt safer using Dillinger materials”, is how Helmut Friedl reasons this decision. In front of the cavern, the vertical shafts divide into branches of various diameters. In the upper zone, where pressures are not yet so high, thermomechanically rolled S355 plates supplied by Dillinger were used. These permitted welding with a higher specific heat input. For the armouring of the pipe elbows, ANDRITZ Hydro chose DILLIMAX proprietary steel S690 QL1: in the upper branch, this was used for all thicknesses of between 29mm and 90mm. In the lower elbow, at the bottom of the vertical shaft, this steel was used for www.steeltimesint.com

armouring of up to 55 mm in all branch elements. The housings of the gates were also made of this high-strength quenched and tempered steel. For components exposed to especially high transverse tensile stress, such as the flanges in the upper elbow on the access tunnel and the internal sickle plates of the branches, the plant engineer used heavy plates of Grade S690 QL1+Z35 in thicknesses of up to 130mm. Wet commissioning of the Nant de Drance pumped-storage power-generating plant took place in late May 2020 with the filling for the first time of the two headraces. Ultimate complete commissioning of the plant is scheduled for 2021. Abdelmoumen: The challenge of an exposed penstock ANDRITZ Hydro supplied the entire electro-mechanical equipment for the new Abdelmoumen pumped-storage generating plant located in the south-west of Morocco,

70 kilometres to the north-east of Agadir: “A genuine from-water-to-wire package”, enthuses Helmut Friedl. The contract covered not only the design, construction, delivery, installation, and commissioning of two reversible 175 MW pump turbines but also – jointly with the consortial leader, Vinci Construction – the building of the technically demanding three-kilometre-long headrace. The pump turbines are designed for 20 high-speed mode reversals per day, assuring fast reaction and regulation of the transmission grid. The steel-lined water feed route consists of a partially exposed twokilometre-long penstock, more than 700 metres of tunnel and three shafts of depths of more than 60 metres. Unlike the two projects mentioned above, ANDRITZ Hydro produced all the facility components on-site for the Abdelmoumen power-generating plant. The high materials requirements for the steels to be used and special challenges in Digital Edition - December 2021


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ENVIRONMENT

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Fig 13: Section of an elbow element being installed for the steel lined headrace of the Abdelmoumen, Morocco, pumped storage plant. Fig 14: The pre-machined edges of the plates supplied by Dillinger for the Abdelmoumen pumped storage hydropower plant reduce working and fabrication times and simplify installation.

the context of fabrication and installation once again argued in favour of Dillinger. “Sometimes, we need the information very quickly, we have increasingly short times to draft a quotation. And Dillinger’s service in this respect really is very, very good”, Friedl explains. Also of importance to him was that “… Dillinger always plays with an open hand if one has problems” and “they have very amicable access to solutions to problems”. In his view, such service is underlined by Dillinger’s extremely dependable metallurgical prediction models, used for testing customers’ specifications for their feasibility. Neural networks continuously train these smart models, with the result that the Saarland steelmaker can provide reliable information on the implementability of the required properties and risk assessment even prior to production. Dillinger supplied all the steel requirements for the new pumped-storage power-generating plant in Morocco, with a total scope of supply of 9.6kt, comprising not only S500 QL and S690 QL, but also high-strength thermomechanically rolled S690 ML steel. “We were highly satisfied with Dillinger’s services and products at Kaunertal, and also how Nant de Drance was managed”, affirms Friedl. For ANDRITZ Hydro, not only the suppliable parent-plate sizes, but also the out-of-the-ordinary supply capability counted: “In the past, Dillinger has always had extremely good delivery times, even for high-quality grades, and Dillinger can also agree these delivery times for large quantities of steel.” In view of the dimensions of S690 grades for the exposed penstock and in terms of the thickness of the vertical shafts, the achievable item weights were, Digital Edition - December 2021

at Abdelmoumen, of special importance for ANDRITZ Hydro. “Plate length is always a function of diameter, and that was up to five metres here. Higher individual item weights necessarily mean less limitation on lengths, particularly in the case of thick plates”, notes Friedl, adding: “As a result, only one longitudinal weld is necessary, even for the large diameters necessary here.” For the exposed portion of the penstock – apart from the upper area, where 20-millimetre-thick plates were used – 40-millimetre-thick thermodynamically rolled plates were selected. For the branch, ANDRITZ Hydro chose 60mm-thick plate of Grade S690 QL, and a thickness of 100 mm of the same material for the internal sickle plate in this branch. Quench cracking minimised In addition, Dillinger was responsible for all welding-edge preparation and for cuttingto-size for the fabrication of shapes, such as pipe bends. Unlike the use of thermal cutting, no over-hardening occurs in steels of Grade S690 and because of this there is no effect on materials properties and the danger of quench cracking is minimised. The benefit for ANDRITZ Hydro was the fact that it was possible to almost completely omit the manual grinding off of up to two millimetres of over-hardened material on the plate edges, which would have been necessary if thermal cutting had been used. In addition, therefore, to significantly shortening processing and fabrication times, the milled edges supplied by Dillinger simplified assembly. “An exposed penstock of a diameter of up to 4.80 metres with multiple connections must adapt to the terrain and is thus much more difficult

to install than such a pipe in a tunnel”, notes ANDRITZ Hydro’s expert. The climate prevailing in Morocco makes things even more complicated, since exposure to the sun has also to be taken into account during assembly. To balance out the heat from solar radiation absorbed by the steel, ANDRITZ Hydro employed special installation methods, such as systematic pre-deformation with simultaneous allowance for such deformation during assembly and securing. For the welders required to make welds at ambient temperatures of above 40° Celsius in the pipe, such material-dependent preheating of the welds necessary up to 150° Celsius is an additional burden. Commissioning of the new pumped-storage plant at Abdelmoumen is scheduled for 2022. ANDRITZ Hydro is currently undergoing the tendering phase – with Dillinger steel – for two other pumped-storage projects in Austria. In general, Friedl is convinced that pumped-storage will still gain greatly in significance around the globe – and with ever larger pipe diameters, necessitating the use of high-strength steels and high item weights to shorten construction times and assure the project’s economic efficiency. ANDRITZ Hydro sees itself as a dependable partner for planners and clients on extremely demanding projects: “We have the declared intent, the technical capabilities and the necessary staff to also be sure to complete such projects in the specified time”, Friedl says. “But, on the other hand, we also need for such success a partner that we can rely on to put everything into solving a problem if one occurs. And we know we can depend on Dillinger.” � www.steeltimesint.com



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AUTOMOTIVE

Press upgrade cuts cycle times Salzgitter Hydroforming recently commissioned a 5kt hydroforming press supplied by Dango & Dienenthal (D&D). With the newly installed press, the German steelmaker can produce e-vehicle components highly efficiently despite the new challenges these components present for the manufacturing process. D&D’s solution of purchasing and upgrading a used press kept the capital costs of the project very low compared with a newly built machine.

Top. Peter Freytag, managing director of Salzgitter Hydroforming GmbH & Co. KG

Main image. The new press at SZHF has been in operation

Above. Denis Albayrak, senior sales engineer at Dango & Dienenthal

since the beginning of 2021

IN e-vehicles, axles and driveshafts are subjected to higher loads due to the extra weight of the batteries. At the same time, the installation space available in the chassis frames of e-cars is smaller than in conventional vehicles. As a result, the requirements on mechanical properties for complex-shaped frame components are continuously increasing. For this reason, the management of SZHF Digital Edition - December 2021

decided to invest in a new hydroforming press for its Crimmitschau location in Saxony, Germany. The new press was to be able to meet future demands in terms of the components’ mechanical strength properties and have a locking force high enough to produce these components to the required quality. A locking force of 5kt was deemed appropriate. Furthermore, the new machine was to achieve much shorter

cycle times than the existing, older press. While hydroforming was booming as a production method in the 1990s, its importance waned in the early 2000s. New press installations became rare and, consequently, many press manufacturers withdrew from this market segment. With e-mobility advancing, demand for hydroforming systems has recently increased. www.steeltimesint.com


AUTOMOTIVE

As a partner for its project, SZHF was looking for a machine manufacturer familiar with all aspects of hydroforming and the associated plant technology; they turned to D&D as a potential supplier. Peter Freytag, managing director of SZHF, recalls: “When we learned that D&D was active in the field of hydroforming – with experts we already knew from previous projects – we immediately thought they would be an ideal partner for this project.” Instead of building a brand new machine, D&D suggested purchasing a used one, which they would upgrade to the latest state of the art – a solution that saved significantly on investment costs and resources. The project Used presses with locking forces of between 2kt and 3kt would have been readily available, but larger ones were rare on the used equipment market. Nevertheless, D&D succeeded in sourcing a suitable press with a locking force of 5kt in the United States. Originally built in 1995, it had initially been used as a try-out press for prototypes until it was purchased by a fittings manufacturer, who never actually used the machine. The press had performed just 9,000 strokes in total. It was more or less a new machine. The D&D experts performed a thorough inspection of the machine at the owner’s premises. They concluded that it was in good

Above: Bird’s-eye view of the discharge side of the

mechanical condition and that, after a comprehensive revamp, the press would be able to meet the performance requirements specified by SZHF. The only disadvantage was that many of the available drawings did not accurately reflect the machine’s current status. Moreover, many of the technical documents simply no longer existed because of the various changes of ownership. According to Denis Albayrak, senior sales engineer at D&D, this project once again showed how important it is to look at not just isolated processes, but to take a holistic approach, as D&D does: “There are not many companies left on the international market active in the field of

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hydroforming. We fill this gap as specialists covering the full range of plant technology required: from the mechanical equipment to control systems, from water hydraulics to component handling. The project for SZHF is another successful example of our expertise.” After the D&D experts had given the project the green light, engineering activities commenced at the company’s headquarters in Siegen. One particular challenge was achieving the cycle times specified for components that require very high internal pressures, high locking forces, and great filling volumes – namely, the aforementioned axle, driveshaft, and body shell components for e-vehicles. D&D disassembled the press at the location in the USA, shipped the parts to Germany, and carried out a complete overhaul and upgrade of the equipment and systems. Only the key mechanical components were reused; everything else was replaced, including the complete water and oil hydraulics, the pumps, and the filtration and water-treatment systems. The compressor cylinders were damaged, so they had to be removed, re-honed, and fitted with new sealings. Today, the pressure booster pumps can generate pressures of up to 4,000 bar. Streamlined for speed The backbone of the machine controls is the new, D&D-developed Hydax 16 actuation control system.

Cylinders after reworking

new press

www.steeltimesint.com

Digital Edition - December 2021


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AUTOMOTIVE

All handling of the formed parts is robotized

Dango & Dienenthal Group Dango & Dienenthal Maschinenbau GmbH was founded in 1865 and designs and manufactures special machinery for the metallurgical industry. The product range includes machines for open-die and closed-die forging as well as for ring-rolling plants – forging and transport manipulators, heavy-load robots and handling machines. The company also designs and supplies deslagging equipment for steel mills, transport equipment for reduction furnaces and heat treatment as well as equipment for liquid filtration. The range of services also includes the design and planning of complete machines and plants, their manufacture and assembly, commissioning and after-sales service. The company also offers retrofitting and servicing of hydraulic and hydroforming presses as well as press dismantling and installation at new sites.

This system can control up to 16 hydraulic, electrical, and pneumatic axes using a Siemens S7-based PLC. The system controls the closing and locking of the cylinders and actuations, such as hole punching and parts ejection. D&D overhauled the entire electrics. The current safety equipment – protective fences, gates and light barriers – is, of course, in compliance with current regulations. Last but not least, the machine, re-imported from the United States, required an EU declaration of conformity (CE marking). D&D’s scope of supply also included the water hydraulics (complete with the compressors), the automation and control systems for the press, the peripheral equipment of the press interfaced with the automation system, a tool changing table, a purging line, and a lube station. D&D has achieved very short cycle times by integrating numerous sophisticated, efficiency-enhancing design features, such as the quick-fill pumps for filling the tubes. To speed up tool changing, the actuation axes of the tools are connected to the press columns via flexible quick-release hoses. Bottom line Since the beginning of 2021, the press has been in multi-shift operation. Even during final acceptance testing, Salzgitter Hydroforming achieved highly competitive cycle times with series components for automotive applications. In terms of quality, all of the targets were reliably met right from the start of operation. Peter Freytag is currently planning the next step: “Because of how successful the project has been so far, we are already tackling the next upgrading stage. We will convert the press into a truly highperformance machine with ultra-short cycle times, thereby raising the performance bar in hydroforming, particularly for automotive components such as chassis-frame and body-shell parts. We are looking forward to working on this with D&D.” �

Above. A component on its way to the lube station

Left. A successful collaboration

Digital Edition - December 2021

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DECARBONISATION

Opportunities to cut carbon emissions A consortium of companies from the steel and ceramics sectors, led by the Materials Processing Institute, has investigated ways of improving waste heat recovery from furnaces leading to several opportunities to cut carbon emissions.

THE Materials Processing Institute has worked with British Steel, Wienerberger UK, Heatcatcher Ltd and Low Carbon Europe Ltd as part of a project that is contributing to the National Energy and Climate Plan, which includes Clean Growth Strategy requirements to improve business energy efficiency by 20% by 2030. With both the steel and ceramics industries using gas-fired furnaces in continuous operation at temperatures in excess of 1000°C, the project sought to highlight best practice and investigate Digital Edition - December 2021

methods of waste heat recovery to improve energy efficiency and environmental practices. It compared a British Steel reheating furnace with brick kilns operated by Wienerberger UK, examining combustion efficiency and heat flows. The project identified ways to reduce the amount of gas used in the process, including introducing clean-burning hydrogen to the fuel mix by making changes to the furnace burner. It also identified opportunities to www.steeltimesint.com


DECARBONISATION

• Reuse heat from cooling systems to pre-heat the combustion air in brick kilns • Generate electricity from excess heat in the furnace cooling system • Use of remnant heat in the steel furnace exhaust to generate electricity using an organic rankine cycle turbine • Improve combustion efficiency through modern burner technologies Both the steel and ceramic sectors have already made strides in reusing exhaust heat to pre-heat product. In addition, the brick kilns use further exhaust heat to dry product while the steel furnace recuperates exhaust heat. The results are being shared across the foundation industries to encourage take-up of improved technologies and waste heat recovery. This includes more than 40 other brick kilns and 20 steel reheat furnaces in the UK. The project was partly funded by Innovate UK through the Fast Start Competition, a research and development initiative run by the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, providing up to £5

million for cross-sector, collaborative, feasibility studies and industrial research and development projects focused on common resource and energy efficiency opportunities. Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute, commented: “This project is a successful example of how the steel and www.steeltimesint.com

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ceramic sectors have worked together, supported by Innovate UK, to share expertise and develop practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions. “The outcome of this particular project is encouraging, having identified ways to refine an already highly efficient process by improving heat recovery and combustion technologies. “We are confident the improvements identified are applicable to all similar continuous reheating furnaces and brick kilns and have the potential to deliver widespread benefits to the steel and ceramic sectors.” Darren Bryant, chief executive of waste heat recovery specialist Heatcatcher Ltd, said: “The consortium provided a unique opportunity to compare the combustion profiles of the ceramic and steel sectors and recommend best practice solutions to increase the recovery of waste heat. Having worked in isolation across many of the foundation industry sectors, our involvement in the exchange of knowledge and ideas across the sectors provided an innovative shared approach to identifying carbon emissions under the successful leadership of the Materials Processing Institute. An effective project approach that we recommend for adoption across other foundation industry sectors.” Dr. Gari Harris; head of R&D at British Steel, added: “With the support of Innovate UK, this consortium has developed a powerful team that not only delivered a successful collaboration for this project, but can be called on again for subsequent decarbonisation and energy-saving projects. The energy savings identified in this project have generated great excitement within British Steel, as we have around 20 similar furnaces across our parent company with the potential for similar savings in each.” Greg Crownshaw, thermal process engineer at Wienerberger UK added, “Working with the consortium has been fascinating, allowing us to compare two high temperature processes and energy intensive industries. Through this, we have been able to identify improvements and opportunities to share best practices in steel reheat furnaces and brick tunnel kilns. This project is a great example of cross industry collaboration to work on reducing carbon emissions going forward and is aligned with Wienerberger’s sustainability strategy ‘Let’s Build Beyond’, which encourages partnerships to reduce carbon emissions Digital Edition - December 2021


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DECARBONISATION

MATERIALS PROCESSING INSTITUTE from our manufacturing processes”. Darren Jones, managing director of LCE, commented: “Being a part of this consortium allowed us to collaborate with on-site experts in the two fields to not only identify savings, but also identify where the processes differed, and how technologies can improve these areas. It also highlighted solutions that each industry has already undertaken as a standard that, through projects such as this, can be shared with other industries that have not yet identified that solution. We are excited that the consortium’s method could be rolled out across similar processes and indeed, other industries, to ensure best practice is shared effectively.” Innovate UK, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, drives productivity and economic growth by enabling businesses to convert ideas into commercially successful products and services.

The Materials Processing Institute is a research and innovation centre serving global steel and materials organisations that work in advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, the circular economy, and digital technologies. The Institute has served as the UK’s national steel innovation centre since 1944 having been set up by Sir Winston Churchill’s wartime government just before D-Day to equip the British steel industry for post-war reconstruction. It celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2019. Through collaboration with its customers, the Institute provides a range of technology and R&D-based services and consultancy. It also has pilot and demonstration facilities and an SME Technology Centre to support supply chain businesses with the development of new technologies and products. Works with: steel, metals and alloys, chemical processes, aerospace and defence, energy, mining and quarrying, construction, rail, transport, and infrastructure, offshore, subsea, and nuclear. The Materials Processing Institute includes developments funded through Tees Valley Combined Authority, through the Local Growth Fund (Growth Deal). For further information, log on to https://www.mpiuk.com/

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund & The Fast Start Competition The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims Digital Edition - December 2021

www.steeltimesint.com


DECARBONISATION

to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK business and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next four years. It was designed to

ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s industrial strategy and is run by Innovate UK and the Research Councils on behalf of UK Research and Innovation. The Fast Start Competition The Fast Start Competition is the first

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collaborative R&D competition run by the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge. It provided up to £5 million for cross-sector, collaborative, short-duration feasibility studies and industrial research and development projects that focused upon common resource and energy efficiency opportunities. �

LCE LCE is an energy and environmental company, supporting clients to reduce their carbon footprint, use less energy and spend less money. Focusing on strategic and operational energy management as well as organisational sustainability agendas. LCE is a national trainer in partnership with Eastwood Park and provides training and audit services to CIBSE.

Innovate UK Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. LCE funds businesses and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Innovate UK support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For further information, log on to www.innovateuk.ukri.org

www.steeltimesint.com

Digital Edition - December 2021


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INNOVATIONS SPECIAL: KASTO

Streamlining storage operations

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The KASTOlogic warehouse management system and mobile app are streamlining automated and manual storage operations at Schwarzwald-Eisenhandel GmbH in Germany SchwarzwaldEisen is a leading steel distributor in the Baden-Württemberg state of south-west Germany, delivering approximately 120kt/yr of material. The fourth-generation, family-run company dates back to 1870. Since 1966, its headquarters has been located in Lahr and the company has since opened other facilities in Freiburg im Breisgau, Bad Säckingen and Karlsruhe. There are also subsidiaries in the Rhineland-Palatinate state in Germany as well as in Switzerland. Dr Steffen Marco Auer, joint managing director together with his brother Ingo Auer and Alexander Hatt said, "We focus on organic growth and running a decentralised organisation. Instead of operating one major facility, we have several regional sites that are close to the customer, enabling fast and flexible deliveries. "Efficient communication between the individual locations and well-organised logistics are essential for such an operation. That is why we structure all subsidiaries according to a similar principle and utilise proven and standardised technologies and processes across the sites." Kasto is SchwarzwaldEisen’s preferred supplier of storage systems. For about eight years, an automated storage system in Lahr from the UNICOMPACT 3.0 series has been providing quick and efficient storage and retrieval of solid bar, tube and section up to six metres in length. The stockholder offers a range of materials consisting Digital Edition - December 2021

of around 10,000 products, mainly construction steel, stainless steel and aluminium. Seventy to 80% of orders for steel section are semi-processed to customers' specifications using machine tools in Freiburg. For long stock, the Kasto system supplies material to two removal stations via an operating gantry crane having short access times based on a material-to-operator principle. Sheet material is stored in a separate, manually operated area. "Our customers expect us to provide fast, error-free and trackable deliveries,” said Steffen Auer. “To ensure this, we depend on a simple, clear and reliable control system for our entire material flow." SchwarzwaldEisen uses the eNVenta inventory management system (IMS) across all of its sites. The storage system in Lahr is linked to it via an interface created specifically for the purpose, as is the case for two other automated Kasto storage systems in Karlsruhe and Westerwald in Rhineland-Palatinate. It ensures standardised order management and a high level of inventory transparency. The IMS transfers order data electronically to the KASTOlogic WMS, which in turn triggers the required material to be called up at the respective site. All processes can be tracked seamlessly, virtually eliminating operational errors. Auer added, "In the past, our manually operat-

ed metal sheet warehouses required paper-based management. It was not always easy to locate the required material in the long rows of shelves. Due to the broad product range, staff sometimes removed the wrong sheets or incorrect quantities and the customer did not always receive what was ordered." To integrate these storage areas into the intelligent electronic control system, Kasto engineers assessed the problem and developed a solution to display all storage areas in a standardised and consistent control format. One of the tools used was KASTOlogic mobile, a platform-independent, mobile version of KASTOlogic. The software makes it possible to use the essential functions of the WMS on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, independently from the UNICOMPACT's operator panels. The mobile facility is able to manage the UNICOMPACT automated storage system for long stock and, just as easily and flexibly, the manually operated metal sheet storage area. Warehouse staff have access to order and product data at any time. When removing sheets, the system directs the operator to the respective storage location and specifies the required quantity. The shelves have QR and bar codes. When an operator scans one with the mobile device, the material's removal is confirmed and a replenishment order is triggered if the inventory is www.steeltimesint.com


INNOVATIONS SPECIAL: KASTO

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1. For about eight years, SchwarzwaldEisen in Lahr has operated a Kasto UNICOMPACT 3.0 automated storage system for long stock, allowing quick and efficient storage and retrieval of bar, tube and section up to six metres long. 2. The KASTO storage system employs a gantry crane for materials-to-operator picking. 3.SchwarzwaldEisen stores metal sheets in a separate, manually operated storage area. Due to the broad range of products, picking errors occasionally used to occur.

2

3

4. With KASTOlogic mobile, operators use the functions of the WMS on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones for managing manual storage areas as well as the automated store. The shelves have QR and bar codes to identify the material being held to ensure accurate picking and enable replenishment.

4

5.Dr Steffen Marco Auer, joint managing director at SchwarzwaldEisen. 6.Thanks to KASTOlogic mobile, warehouse employees have access to order and product data at any time, preventing errors and increasing efficiency.

running low. All information is available both in the WMS and IMS via customised interfaces. The software system is scalable to include other sites as required. The storage system and the control system can be serviced remotely. Kasto is able to access the software and clear malfunctions quickly and easily at any time. A service engineer can be on-site at short notice. Auer concluded, "The concept is impressive in every aspect and we want to implement it at our other locations to help us become even more efficient across all of our sites. If an ordered product is not in stock at a specific facility, it can be found in the system quickly and delivered from another site."

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6

For further information, log on to www.kasto.com www.steeltimesint.com

Digital Edition - December 2021


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MAINTENANCE

Proactively managing maintenance costs METALS are the bedrock of our global infrastructure. They are the critical material used in the construction of cars, airplanes, buses and trains as well as computers and smart devices. As equally amazing as metals themselves are the manufacturers that produce them, but today those companies are faced with intense and escalating cost pressures, due to three simultaneous challenges: increasing global competition, rising environmental regulations and a skilled workforce that is retiring en masse. The good news is that there is a way to help metal manufacturers navigate these challenges by further reducing and recovering operating costs. It lies in the operational area with the most untapped and underleveraged potential: maintenance. In fact, in metal manufacturing, maintenance is a significant lever to cost reduction. Let’s take a look at just how significant with some real-world examples.

The Opportunity potential (hint: it’s huge) In manufacturing, outcomes are of paramount importance. Since manufacturing is a mature sector, much operational optimization has occurred. However, maintenance still has notable potential for incremental optimization and reduced expense. According to industry estimates, a 10% reduction in maintenance spend can generate a 30% increase in profitability. With this estimation, metal manufacturers must adopt ways to reduce maintenance spend without compromising safety, reliability and production. Condition monitoring provides the answer as a proactive maintenance approach that helps to predict and manage asset condition. According to a position paper from Deloitte, predictive maintenance, on average, can increase productivity by 35%,

reduce breakdowns by 70%, and lower maintenance costs by 25%. Quantified outcomes Let’s look at an example. For mediumto-large steel producers, maintenance comprises 10-15% of production costs. Thus, maintenance budgets can range from $1,000,000 to $4,000,000 per year. (Note: All dollar amounts are in US dollars for this example). On average, metal manufacturers spend 20-25% (average 22.5%) of maintenance costs on unplanned downtime. In one large steel operation, a 24-hour shutdown incurs a 115kt/126kt loss in steel production. At $189/ton, that equates to $23.9 million lost per day.

“One 24-hour unplanned shutdown costs $23.9 million per day.”

* Lead application and solution architect, Bently Nevada, a Baker Hughes business. Digital Edition - December 2021

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MAINTENANCE

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Maintenance is a significant lever to cost reduction in the world of metal manufacturing, says Mahesh Jadhav*

For medium and large steel producers spending $1,000,000 - $4,000,000 per year on maintenance, a 22.5% spend on unplanned downtime equates to $225,000 - $9,000,000. “Unplanned downtime costs $225,000 - $9,000,000 per year.” Based on these numbers, the impact of unplanned downtime is steep and many times, avoidable. Just one unplanned shutdown – conservatively estimated at a 24-hour duration – can deplete almost a quarter of the annual maintenance budget and a significant amount of expense dollars will be ‘wasted’ and non-recoverable – a direct hit to profitability, reputation, and morale. Because of the cyclical nature of the metals industry, this can also help in managing profitability during down cycles and maximize profitability during up cycles.

www.steeltimesint.com

Fig 1. Production capability (OEE) versus injury rate Source: Life Cycle Engineering article https://www.lce.com/A-Reliable-Plant-is-a-Safe-Plant-1266.html

Digital Edition - December 2021


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MAINTENANCE

Fig 2. The P-F curve

The lever Cost issues are not unique by metal type or company size. Thus, maintenance costs must be managed across all types and sizes of metal manufacturing. Proactive condition monitoring systems are the gateway to strategically leverage maintenance and reduce costs while increasing asset reliability, preventing failures and mitigating unplanned downtime. In addition, condition monitoring enhances worker safety, which is especially beneficial in harsh operating environments such as metal manufacturing. Studies show that a more reliable plant is a safer plant. In one study, over the course of a decade, a 52% increase in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) delivered a 69% safety improvement. Fig 1. Proactive maintenance also enables the automation of expertise, helping to soften the impact of massive shifts in the skilled workforce that are underway. Lastly, condition monitoring is a step forward in the adoption of Industry 4.0 Digital Edition - December 2021

capabilities, providing immediate and ongoing results along the way to help justify further expansion and innovation. How condition monitoring helps The underlying tenet of condition monitoring systems is that failure is a process, not an event. By monitoring asset characteristics, such as vibration, temperature and others, latent anomalies can become apparent well before full failure. This allows for low-cost interventions, root-cause analysis for faster and more effective repairs, and proactive planning for resolution, thereby mitigating process interruptions. “The P-F Curve depicts that failure is a process, not an event,” says John Moubray in his book “ReliabilityCentered Maintenance” published in 1992. Fig 2. Concurrent with deployment of wellengineered proactive maintenance

strategy, a thorough rationalization review can minimize unnecessary or redundant maintenance tasks and, in many cases, eliminate human-induced failure modes. Maintenance optimization is a powerful lever – and the first step – to achieving and sustaining lower production costs in metal manufacturing. Getting it right As metal manufacturers journey toward proactive maintenance solutions, it’s important to heed one truth: All condition monitoring systems are not created equal. In fact, as digital technologies and automation are used more frequently in metal operations, and skilled workers are retiring in mass numbers, the value of proven, comprehensive experience becomes increasingly important. Since technology investments must be scalable and connectable, it is essential to start with the proper foundation. To ensure optimal performance, metal manufacturers need industry-tailored www.steeltimesint.com


MAINTENANCE

solutions via a like-minded partner with deep, proven expertise in full-suite condition monitoring technology and metal operations. Essential attributes of top tier condition monitoring systems When paired with an experienced solution partner, here are some of the most essential attributes of a top tier condition monitoring system: • Cyber secure architecture. • Data extractions based upon specific domain expertise and reliability engineering competencies. • Application-specific data processing (slow speed, variable speed, complex gear boxes, REB etc). • Interface to corporate data systems. • Enterprise-wide focus with multiple predictive maintenance techniques and analysis methodologies within a single, standard software platform. • Templating for deployment and maintainability efficiencies. • Human-machine interface (HMI) visualization of all asset health data across enterprise hierarchies (from fleet level to individual production assets). • Exception-based monitoring design, which assigns subject matter expertise to configure and optimize the system only when a pre-configured alarm threshold or automated fault detection triggers the need for analysis. This can drive more effective www.steeltimesint.com

deployment of maintenance and reliability resources and may reduce analysis workload by 90+%. Customer case study: A large steel manufacturer in India averts unplanned downtime At a large steel manufacturing plant in India, a high tension (HT) motor bearing began to experience elevated vibration levels shortly after routine maintenance had found the bearings to be in good condition. The high vibration caused repeated machine trips and the Bently Nevada team was asked to diagnose and identify the root cause issue of the abnormal vibration. Signs of rubbing An analysis of the monitoring data indicated signs of rubbing in close clearance areas, such as a bearing or seal. The motor was opened to find the precise location of the rub and, upon inspection, the root cause was identified as an improper fitting and insufficient clearance on the bearing seals. The seals were adjusted, the motor restarted and the vibration pattern returned to normal. The result? By identifying the problem early, the Bently Nevada MDS team saved the customer valuable downtime. Any further damage to the motor bearings would have resulted in unplanned downtime, forcing the customer to

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stop production and halt downstream operations. Innovation beyond technology While innovation and transformation hold great promise, metal manufacturers must go beyond reducing maintenance costs and implementing technology solutions. Moving from reactive to proactive approaches requires working differently and working smarter. Successful adoption requires overcoming internal organizational barriers and cultural challenges in order to effectively embrace and implement digital transformation. Self-funding initiatives To reduce pressure on capital-intense metal operations, condition monitoring solutions can be used as ‘self-funding’ initiatives on the journey toward Industry 4.0. That’s because the operational benefits of condition monitoring can be realized progressively from the early stages of implementation. The way forward for metal companies is clear. As the world relies on metal for infrastructure, engineering and computing needs, metal manufacturers must adapt production to better optimize maintenance. With this transformation, a stronger future is possible – for manufacturers and societies around the world. �

Digital Edition - December 2021


LIGHTENING THE IMPACT OF HEAVY INDUSTRY

SPEAKERS CONFIRMED INCLUDE:

Lord Adair Turner Chair Energy Transitions Commission

CAN YOUR COMPANY CONTRIBUTE TO A CLEANER INDUSTRIAL FUTURE?

Anthony Hobley Executive Director Mission Possible Partnership

Andrew Purvis

Pernelle Nunez

Dr. Max Åhman

Gökçe Mete PhD

Director Safety Deputy Secretary General Environment and / Director – Sustainability Technology International Aluminium World Steel Association Institute

Christina Sobfeldt Jahn

Head of PPA Origination & Execution Ørsted

Henning Bloech

Ilhan Savut

Jean-Marc Moulin

Lead Analyst - Circular Economy BloombergNEF

Director of Sustainability Extruded Solutions Norsk Hydro

Chris Bayliss

Anne-Claire Howard

Global Director Sustainable Solutions Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials

Director of Standards Aluminium Stewardship Initiative

Geoff Matthews

Dilip Chandrasekaran

CEO ResponsibleSteel

Show the world how at SIM Europe 2022. Hosting leaders from the worlds of industry, innovation, science, government and investment, Sustainable Industrial Manufacturing (SIM) in Brussels will provide an opportunity for those at the frontier of cleaner industrial manufacturing to present sustainable solutions to some of the world’s largest industrial companies and manufacturers across five hard-to-abate sectors.

CONTACT US

40+ years of experience delivering events for the manufacturing industry

Head of Secretariat, Leadership Group for Industry Transitions (LeadIT) and Research Fellow Stockholm Environment Institute

Cédric de Meeûs

Dolf Gielen

Vice-President, Group Public Affairs & Government Relations Holcim

WHAT MAKES SIM EUROPE UNIQUE? No other event is inviting decision makers from across hard-to-abate sectors

Associate Professor in Environmental and Energy Systems Studies Lund University

Three exhibition zones will deliver end-to-end solutions for visitors

Director IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre

Modulation Specialist EnergyFlex Pty Ltd

Dr Jörg Rothermel

Managing Director Energy, Climate Protection, Raw Materials German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)t

Head of R&D and Technology Kanthal

Philippe Bastien Regional President, Architectural Glass Division AGC Glass Europe

Stefan Grüll

CEO and Co-Founder S1Seven GmbH

Zakia Khattabi

Minister of the Climate, The Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Belgium

Sponsored by:

For further information on exhibiting, sponsoring or speaking at SIM Europe, contact the team today:

Nadine Bloxsome, Event & Content Director nadinebloxsome@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855 115

José Sebastião, Commercial Director josesebastiao@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855 013

Organised by:

www.SustainableIndustrialManufacturing.com

Part of:


LIGHTENING THE IMPACT OF HEAVY INDUSTRY

SPEAKERS CONFIRMED INCLUDE:

Lord Adair Turner Chair Energy Transitions Commission

CAN YOUR COMPANY CONTRIBUTE TO A CLEANER INDUSTRIAL FUTURE?

Anthony Hobley Executive Director Mission Possible Partnership

Andrew Purvis

Pernelle Nunez

Dr. Max Åhman

Gökçe Mete PhD

Director Safety Deputy Secretary General Environment and / Director – Sustainability Technology International Aluminium World Steel Association Institute

Christina Sobfeldt Jahn

Head of PPA Origination & Execution Ørsted

Henning Bloech

Ilhan Savut

Jean-Marc Moulin

Lead Analyst - Circular Economy BloombergNEF

Director of Sustainability Extruded Solutions Norsk Hydro

Chris Bayliss

Anne-Claire Howard

Global Director Sustainable Solutions Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials

Director of Standards Aluminium Stewardship Initiative

Geoff Matthews

Dilip Chandrasekaran

CEO ResponsibleSteel

Show the world how at SIM Europe 2022. Hosting leaders from the worlds of industry, innovation, science, government and investment, Sustainable Industrial Manufacturing (SIM) in Brussels will provide an opportunity for those at the frontier of cleaner industrial manufacturing to present sustainable solutions to some of the world’s largest industrial companies and manufacturers across five hard-to-abate sectors.

CONTACT US

40+ years of experience delivering events for the manufacturing industry

Head of Secretariat, Leadership Group for Industry Transitions (LeadIT) and Research Fellow Stockholm Environment Institute

Cédric de Meeûs

Dolf Gielen

Vice-President, Group Public Affairs & Government Relations Holcim

WHAT MAKES SIM EUROPE UNIQUE? No other event is inviting decision makers from across hard-to-abate sectors

Associate Professor in Environmental and Energy Systems Studies Lund University

Three exhibition zones will deliver end-to-end solutions for visitors

Director IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre

Modulation Specialist EnergyFlex Pty Ltd

Dr Jörg Rothermel

Managing Director Energy, Climate Protection, Raw Materials German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)t

Head of R&D and Technology Kanthal

Philippe Bastien Regional President, Architectural Glass Division AGC Glass Europe

Stefan Grüll

CEO and Co-Founder S1Seven GmbH

Zakia Khattabi

Minister of the Climate, The Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Belgium

Sponsored by:

For further information on exhibiting, sponsoring or speaking at SIM Europe, contact the team today:

Nadine Bloxsome, Event & Content Director nadinebloxsome@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855 115

José Sebastião, Commercial Director josesebastiao@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855 013

Organised by:

www.SustainableIndustrialManufacturing.com

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RECYCLING AURUBIS AG

Multi-metal recycling Aurubis AG, a leading global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers in the world, and the SMS group, based in Düsseldorf, have signed a contract for the construction of a multi-metal recycling plant in the USA. CONSTRUCTION of a new Aurubis recycling plant will start in mid-2022 in Augusta (Richmond County) in the state of Georgia. Upon commissioning (scheduled for the first half of 2024), the plant will process around 90kt/yr of complex recycling materials. The new facility will create over 100 jobs in the region. The greenfield project will be known as Aurubis Richmond, with SMS group planning the facility concept, delivering it, and implementing it on-site. The SMS group is delivering the technology for the top-blown rotary converter (TBRC), a state-of-the-art piece of equipment for processing complex recycling materials to recover copper, nickel, tin, zinc, precious metals, and platinum group metals. The scope of delivery includes the sampling and off-gas cleaning facilities. Both partners are contributing their expertise to the construction of a modern recycling site to optimally fulfill the requirements of a sustainable circular economy. Aurubis and the SMS group have signed a co-operation agreement. With this longterm collaboration, both partners claim that their intention is to quickly implement the planning, construction, and development of additional modular recycling facilities in Europe and North America. The construction of Aurubis Richmond is viewed as the starting point of the partnership in the multi-metal recycling sector. Digital Edition - December 2021

“The SMS group is an extremely competent partner for the set-up of the site, a partner that will support us in implementing custom-fit solutions for ecologically sustainable business activity and accelerated decarbonization,” said Hans Rosenstock, managing director of Aurubis Richmond. Michael Rzepczyk, member of the management board at SMS, commented: “In addition to technological expertise, we’re united as partners by our strategic orientation toward continued growth in the circular economy and the recycling business, as well as contributing to climate protection with new technologies. Furthermore, our intelligent and efficient digital concepts enable us to optimize the production processes. This modular facility sets new international benchmarks in recycling electronic scrap and is planned for additional sites as well.” Tapping a new market Aurubis is tapping a market with strong growth potential and expanding its international integrated smelter network. The €300 million investment contributes to the company’s ambitious sustainability targets. The Group expects Aurubis Richmond to generate an annual contribution to earnings of about €80 million EBITDA at full production capacity starting in fiscal year 2025/26.

Aurubis AG processes complex metal concentrates, scrap metals, organic and inorganic metal-bearing recycling materials, and industrial residues into metals of the highest quality. The company produces over 1Mt of copper cathodes annually, and from them a variety of products such as wire rod, continuous cast shapes, profiles, and flat rolled products made of copper and copper alloys. Aurubis produces a number of other metals as well, including precious metals, selenium, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc. The portfolio also includes additional products such as sulfuric acid and iron silicate. Sustainability is a fundamental part of the company’s strategy. It claims to responsibly transform raw materials into value and integrates sustainable conduct and business activities into its corporate culture. Aurubis says it adopts a careful approach to natural resources, responsible social and ecological conduct in everyday business, and sensible, healthy growth. With production sites in Europe and the US, and an extensive service and distribution system in Europe, Asia, and North America, the company has around 7,200 employees. For further information, log on to www.aurubis.com

In the first-ever secondary smelter for multi-metal recycling in the United States, circuit boards, copper cable, and other recycling materials containing metals will be processed into 35kt of blister copper annually. Aurubis will further process the intermediate products into various industrial and precious metals at its European smelter sites to a great extent, but also sell them directly in the US market. � www.steeltimesint.com


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