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We report from EuroCoke 2018 in Düsseldorf

Two articles from Kloeckner Metals and Liberty House Group

Educating and retraining the workforce of tomorrow

Preventing lance skull formation at Gerdau Ouro Branco July/August 2018 - Vol.42 No5

STEEL TIMES INTERNATIONAL – July/August 2018 – Vol.42 No5


09/07/2018 14:28:29

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CONTENTS - July/August 2018





We report from EuroCoke 2018 in Düsseldorf

Two articles from Kloeckner Metals and Liberty House Group

Educating and retraining the workforce of tomorrow

Preventing lance skull formation at Gerdau Ouro Branco July/August 2018 - Vol.42 No5

“Making our planet more productive” is the Praxair mission and delivering its products safely is a major focus. Pictured is a Praxair gas delivery truck.

STEEL TIMES INTERNATIONAL – July/August 2018 – Vol.42 No5

FUTURE STEEL FORUM 2018 – CONFERENCE REPORT STI Cover may june - 2.indd 1

09/07/2018 14:21:28

EDITORIAL Editor Matthew Moggridge Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855151 Consultant Editor Dr. Tim Smith PhD, CEng, MIM Production Editor Annie Baker Advertisement Production Martin Lawrence SALES International Sales Manager Paul Rossage Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855116 Sales Director Ken Clark Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855117

2 Leader By Matthew Moggridge, editor, Steel Times International. 4 News Astounding facts and figures, industry news and diary dates. 6 Innovations The latest new products. 12 USA update The trade war. 15 Latin America update Brazilian steel and Industry 4.0 18 Iron ore China’s steel reforms - for the best?

Managing Director Steve Diprose Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855164 Chief Executive Officer Paul Michael


Conference reports 22 Eurocoke 2018: BOF steelmaking - all to play for? 26 Future Steel 2018: Industry 4.0... the continuing story. 32 Industry 4.0 Educating the workforce of tomorrow. Steel processing 35 Process in parallel 38 Adding value in a complex supply chain. 42 Oxygen steelmaking Preventing lance skull formation. 49 Perspectives: Praxair Exciting times ahead 52 History Skyscrapers - keeping the US steel industry busy in the depression

SUBSCRIPTION Elizabeth Barford Tel +44 (0) 1737 855028 Fax +44 (0) 1737 855034 Email Steel Times International is published eight times a year and is available on subscription. Annual subscription: UK £182.00 Other countries: £258.00 2 years subscription: UK £324.00 Other countries: £460.00 ) Single copy (inc postage): £41.00 Email: 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 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 2018


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A ‘tornado of change’ is sweeping the industry...

Matthew Moggridge Editor

All of a sudden there appears to be a lot of ‘game changing’ going on in the world of steel manufacturing. On one level we have the arrival of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. Since Mr Trump’s arrival the steel industry globally has been wondering (and dreading) what’s going to happen next and now, of course, it knows: 25% tariffs on steel, the strong possibility that exports destined for the USA will head for Europe, and let’s not forget the promised trade war, which is about to kick off. Then we have the more positive news of greener steel making in the shape of the HYBRIT initiative in Sweden, which, it is claimed, will reduce the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven recently broke ground on the world’s first pilot plant for creating fossil-free steel. It’s hard to talk about steelmaking without mentioning digitalisation and Industry 4.0 – something else that has, to a degree, crept up on the steel industry and is gradually gaining ground thanks to forward-thinking steelmakers and conferences like the Future Steel Forum,

which last month had its second outing at the Sheraton Warsaw hotel in Poland and was well received by delegates. Dr. Pinakin Chaubal, general manager, ArcelorMittal Global R&D, opened this year’s event with a keynote presentation in which he spoke of a ‘tornado of change’ sweeping across the world. He said that there were massive technological changes taking place – such as ‘big data’, additive manufacturing, autonomous and electric cars – and warned delegates that those who don’t innovate will die. Everything moves on and the Future Steel Forum is no exception. Next year we are planning not one, but two events: our key conference in Europe, which will be held in Budapest in 2019, and an Asian Future Steel Forum that will take place in November in India. With India now the second largest steelmaking nation in the world next to China, we felt that it would be a good place to widen the Forum’s global perspective and expand the brand. It goes without saying that I am now looking for speakers for both the European and Asian events, so let me know if you’re interested in presenting a paper.

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4 NEWS IN BRIEF Good news all round for Shanxi iron ore A recent report by Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac) has found that the recovery in seaborne iron ore prices since 2016 has been nothing but good news for China’s Shanxi province. According to WoodMac, seaborne ore cannot fully replace domestic production in Shanxi, which is higher in quality and lower in price. Furthermore, Chinese government restrictions on steel production elsewhere in the country are benefiting Shanxi’s iron ore mines. “Shanxi’s iron ore production will remain resilient as its steel production grows thanks to tougher government restrictions curtailing production in neighbouring Hebei province,” WoodMac has reported. Source: Wood Mackenzie.

Merger will reduce Tata Steel debt The recently announced merger between German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel Europe will reduce the Indian parent company’s debt, according to N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Steel. According to a report by Reuters, the deal will allow Tata Steel to transfer up to 2.6 billion Euros of debt hanging over the European business to the new joint venture and thus relieve the Indian parent from heavy interest payments, Chandrasekaran said. Tata Steel in India aims to double steelmaking capacity in India (from 13Mt to 25Mt) within a five-year period. Source: Reuters.

Record steel output for JSPL Indian steelmaker Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) produced 1.2Mt of steel during Q1FY19 (April to June 2018). The figure represents a 36% year-on-year increase in domestic steel production and reflects a utilisation level of 82%. Steel sales were up 46% and other areas of the company’s business reported strong production, according to online reports. JSPL has a domestic steel capacity of 8Mt/yr and a 2Mt/yr steel mill in Oman under the name of Jindal Shadeed. For more global steel news, log on to our news website,

INDUSTRY NEWS In late June, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven symbolically broke ground on the world’s first pilot plant for creating fossil-free steel. HYBRIT is claimed to have the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%, according to Swedish steelmaker SSAB. It is a joint venture company owned by steelmaker SSAB, minerals and mining business LKAB and power company Vattenfall, all of whom are Swedish. It was initiated in spring 2016 and the goal is to have an industrial process in place by 2035. The Swedish Energy Board (SEB) has awarded financial support to the project on three occasions: for two feasibility studies and one research project. It was recently announced that the SEB will contribute SEK528 million to the pilot plant, in which the three owning companies (SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall) will collectively invest an additional SEK830 million. The pilot plant is expected to be ready by 2020 and is now entering its second phase, with possibilities of full-scale testing and development of the technique to produce steel using hydrogen instead of coal and coke. “This could lead to a historical shift in production technique, leading to water as a by-product instead of carbon dioxide emissions,” said SSAB. “Fossil-free steel production starts in the mine. We are working intensely with how the future pelletising plant should be constructed to find an energy efficient production process. The challenge

One step closer to fossil-free steelmaking Left to right: Jan Moström (LKAB); Magnus Hall (Vattenfall) and Martin Lindqvist (SSAB)

for LKAB in HYBRIT, and our contribution, is to develop carbon dioxide free direct reduction pellets. This is where the pilot plant will play a crucial part, before we can take it to an industrial scale,” said Jan Moström, president and CEO at LKAB. Vattenfall’s president and CEO Magnus Hall said he wants it to be possible to live fossil-free within a generation. “Helping steel produc-

tion to change is one of the most important contributions we can give,” he said. SSAB’s president and CEO Martin Lindqvist commented: “By starting to build the pilot plant, where we’ll develop and scale up the technology for fossil-free steel production, we’re taking an important step forwards towards SSAB’s goal of being fossil-free by 2045.”

New pickling and cold rolling line Italian OEM Danieli has been selected by Indonesian galvalume sheet producer PT. Sun Rise Mill to supply a new pickling and cold rolling line. The company placed an order with Danieli for the supply of mechanical, technological and automation equipment for a new push-pull pickling line and a 6-high cold rolling reversing mill. The new pickling line is designed to achieve a final production capacity of 600kt/yr. The heart of the supply will be the 6-high cold rolling reversing mill, producing 200kt/yr of high-quality strip with minimum strip thickness of 0.2 mm at a max-

imum strip width of 1250 mm and maximum tensile strength of 780 N/mm2. According to Danieli, the design of the new mill type is focused on optimising operating and maintenance costs, as well as safe and easy operation. The mill will feature integrat-

ed technologies such as Danieli's OSRT, which is claimed to offer 'best strip flatness tolerances' even during thin gauge rolling, as well as Danieli Yield Boost technology for reducing material losses at the strip head and tail end by more than 60%, according to the company.

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Astounding Facts and Figures... • In general terms, iron ore quality in Chinese mills has ranged from 58% to 62% iron. Source: Steel Times International

• India aims to produce 300Mt/yr of steel by 2030. Per capita finished steel consumption will grow from its current 63kg to 160kg.

• The Indian economy is growing at 7.6%. Source: Steel Tech

Source: Steel Tech

• In China, BOFs account for 90% of national steelmaking compared with 75% globally. Source: Steel Times International

• When South Korean steelmaker POSCO began liquid iron production in 1973, it made 41.6 billion won in sales. Last year, it made 28.5 trillion won. In 1968, Korea’s per capita GDP was $198. In 2016, it was $27,539. Source: Korea JoongAng Daily

• The UK cycle industry is worth three times more than the UK steel industry, and employs twice as many people. Cycling-related businesses generate at least £5.4bn for the UK economy each year, and they sustain 64,000 jobs –

• Last year, POSCO sold about 9 million tons of automotive steel. Among global manufacturers, Posco relies the most on automotive steel – the product brings in about a quarter of the company’s total sales, and an estimated 10% of the world’s cars use Posco steel.

• India has moved from 3rd to 2nd largest steel producer having overtaken Japan at the beginning of 2018. Source: Steel Tech

August 2018 8-10 Vietnam Manufacturing Location: Hanoi. Organised by Reed Tradex Over 200 brands from 20 countries will join up with their prospective customers and partners. Complete with education programmes and inspiring activities, this will be a springboard for manufacturers to jump into the Industry 4.0 era and soar. Further information, log on to www.vietnammanufacturing 18-20 17th International Stainless Steel and Special Steel Summit Location: Helsinki. Organised by Metal Bulletin Events Last year's event attracted 140 delegates from more than 80 companies, according to the organiser, and this year's event is looking highly promising with three days of networking opportunities and news of the latest market outlooks from 'some of the industry's biggest names'. Further information,

September 2018

some in bike shops, but most in cycle tourism of one sort or the other. Source: The Guardian

• One in every two cylinders in India are made from Tata Steel hot-rolled coil. Source: Rishi Gupta, Senior Manager, Improvement, Tata Steel Limited


25 8th ICSTI 2018 Location: Vienna, Austria. Organised by ASMET. A wide-ranging conference for steel industry professionals covering a variety of topics linked to the steelmaking process. The Congress will provide a forum for best practice and state-of-the-art technology. Further information, log on to

October 2018

• Nearly every Gillette blade worldwide is made from Tata Steel chrome ore. Source: Rishi Gupta, Senior Manager, Improvement, Tata Steel Limited.

1-3 North American Steel Conference Location: Swisshotel, Chicago, USA. Organised by CRU. The definitive US steel industry conference is an annual event organised by CRU and held in the Swisshotel, Chicago for the second consecutive year. One key area of discussion will be trade regulation. Further information, log on to https://events.crugroup. com/nasteel/home July/August 2018

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Grease is the word, says CONDAT CONDAT offers the steel industry a range of dedicated greases including its high-performance Millennium 505 product. According to the company, lubrication applications in the steel making industry are among the most demanding. They often combine several constraints, including high temperatures, fire risk, loads, presence of water or contaminants. Facing these severe productivity issues, steelmakers are constantly on the look-out for ever more efficient greases in order to increase the longevity of their equipment and simplify maintenance operations. Millennium 505, it is claimed, makes it possible to ensure lubrication under very severe constraints (temperatures, loads, water). “This last-generation chemistry grease consists of calcium sulfonates with a colloidal structure,” says the company, and reached a high level of performance without using high percentages of additives. “This grease chemistry allows effective, multi-purpose and long-lasting lubrication,” claims CONDAT, and because of its high viscosity index its lubricant film is still efficient at high temperatures. CONDAT attributes ‘the outstanding per-

formance’ of Millennium 505 to its high-tech properties: • excellent behaviour over a wide range of temperatures • resistance to heavy loads • outstanding anti-wear properties • strong adhesion • excellent stability in the presence of water or emulsion • excellent anti-corrosion properties Millennium 505 high-temperature grease is a high performer where continuous casting, cold rolling and hot rolling mills are concerned as it can be used for the lubrication of plain bearings, rolling bearings, chocks and axles. Its mechanical stability under severe rolling, and its ability to work with a water presence of up to 40%, ensures an effective lubrication. It is also highly resistant to shocks and vibrations, thus avoiding breakage. It is claimed that CONDAT Millennium 505 allows for ‘faultless lubrication’ resulting in a reduction of lubricant consumption. The increased period between regreasing operations helps to

decrease maintenance times and improve service rates. Millennium 505 can also be used for highend multi-purpose jobs, allowing for optimisation of lubricant grease stocks. Millennium 505 is compatible with other greases and is claimed to meet the requirements of the heavy steel industry and simplify maintenance operations. For further information, log on to

New colour coating line for Severstal Late last year the Russian steel division of Severstal, one of the world’s leading steel and steel-related mining companies, officially inaugurated its high-performance colour coating line (CCL) which was supplied and installed by CMI Industry, a division of the CMI Group. The Cherepovets Metallurgy Combinat, which is said to be among the world’s largest vertically integrated steel mills, selected CMI for engineering, procurement and construction of a new CCL and Continuous Galvanising Line (CGL) – key equipment for producing coated steel strip at its new complex. The new high-capacity CCL produces 200kt/yr and the CGL has an annual capacity of 400kt of coated steel strip. The lines are designed to reach

process speeds of 120 m/min and 180 m/min respectively. Both lines are designed for high level operating efficiency and eco-friendliness and feature the full spectrum of CMI’s process technologies: Multi-stage cleaning sections and ultra-low emission furnaces. The CGL line also features a CMI patented jet cooling system with energy recovery, Air-Knife and APC Blowstab low vibration cooling system, as well as an Inline skin pass mill and tension leveller, chemical roll-coat post treatment, and rotary exit shear. With the line up and running, Severstal will be able to produce galvanised steel up to 3 mm thick. Other essential components of the CCL line are

its four coaters: a chemcoater, a prime coater, and two finish coaters, as well as the latest generation of strip loopers, which guarantee smooth strip travel, says CMI. While the new CCL is currently able to produce 22 different tints, the line will also produce chromium-free coatings, as well as apply decorative films, and hot lamination. As a direct result of the two new lines, Severstal has significantly increased its output of higher added value products, destined for the construction and white goods industries, but also its share of Russia’s apparent steel consumption. For further information, log on to

Severstal and CMI Groupe worked closely together on the Russian steelmaker’s new CCL

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Leybold at Analytica At the recent Analytica trade show in Munich, Germany, vacuum pump technology specialist Leybold presented its SOGEVAC NEO D, its oilfree SCROLLVAC backing pump, its ‘whispering’ ECODRY and its TURBO.CONTROL i controller. According to Leybold, the SOGEVAC NEO D offers ‘a whole range of advantages’, especially for general challenges. It is claimed to be cleaner and quieter than other products on the market and virtually maintenance-free. The SOGEVAC NEO D is equipped with a high-quality exhaust filter inside the oil casing. Built-in filtration reduces the required integration volume of the pump and ensures a clean environment without oil smoke or loss while pumping down. The system’s acoustic properties are claimed to set new standards: it’s 3 dB (A) quieter than conventional models on the market and is designed for maximum uptime through state-of-the-art shaft sealing technology and the use of durable oils. The end result, claims Leybold, is maintenance-free operating intervals of up to three years. Where SCROLLVAC is concerned, the system is characterised by low power consumption and high pumping speed. It’s also very light and compact in design, making it easier to integrate into new and existing vacuum systems. According to Leybold, “their low level of vibration and noise (less than 55 dB (A)) increases the circle of potential users, especially as these factors play a central role in today’s ergonomically designed work environments.” ECODRY plus is described as a ‘clean, compact and low-maintenance pump in the size class 40 to 60 m3/h, developed to meet the requirements in analytical or research laboratories’. Leybold claims that the ECODRY lies exactly in the transition area between small lab instruments and large machines, but the most important innovation is the reduction of noise levels.

According to Alexander Kaiser, a Leybold product manager, “We have managed to build the pump as compact, easy to operate and quiet as is otherwise only known from significantly smaller devices.” Lastly, the TURBO.CONTROL I controls and monitors the turbo molecular pump product line TURBOVAC I (X) and is suitable for use in high vacuum applications and integration into compact system solutions. It can be operated

intuitively and precisely via the display and the front keys or via a pre-installed web server interface, enabling pump parameters to be easily viewed and set using PC or mobile devices, claims Leybold. The TURBO.CONTROL I can operate one TURBOVAC I (A), and it can be connected to all TURBOVAC I (X) models for on-site control and data reading. There are two communication channels (RS 485 and USB) and these are included in the controller for pump control and connection of up to two vacuum gauges. The log file can be viewed using TURBO. CONTROL I Data Viewer software, which can be downloaded free from Leybold’s website and is MS Windows-based. It can analyse data and event logs and monitors status and other important parameters. Intuitive operating menus and simple operation characterise TURBO. CONTROL I, claims Leybold. For further information, log on to

HWI keeping apace with quality standards US-based HarbisonWalker International, which claims to be the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the USA, has been successful in its bid to certify its first plants to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. According to the company, the new certification is the result of three years of revision work by experts from almost 95 participating and observing countries in order align the ISO standard ‘with modern needs’. Nigel Croft, chair of the ISO subcommittee responsible for the revised standard, said it was a case of bringing the standard into the 21st century. He claimed that earlier versions were ‘quite prescriptive’ and added that the 2000 and 2008 editions were focused more on managing processes and less on documentation. ISO 9001:

July/August 2018

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2015 is less prescriptive and is more focused on performance. HWI’s director of quality, Joe Schartner, said that his company had been ‘reinventing’ its approach to quality and that the new standard was ‘completely in line’ with HWI’s approach. The first HWI plant to earn certification was the Thomasville GA monolithic/precast facility followed by the company’s South Shore facility in Kentucky. According to Douglas Hall, HWI’s senior vice president, “HWI transitioned to SRI as our quality system registrar beginning in early 2017. This partnership provides better alignment with some of our key HWI customers as SRI was founded in 1991 as Steel Related Industries Quality System Registrar, a part of the Steel Industry Supplier

Audit Programme (SISAP). SRI’s expertise and role in the early adoption of the ISO 9001 standard have made SRI a leader in standards and the world’s largest registrar to metals and materials companies,” he said. The plan is for HWI’s remaining locations around the globe to achieve certification to the new ISO standard before the end of 2018. Carol Jackson, HWI’s CEO, commented: “HWI is committed to a quality management system which drives continuous improvement and standardisation in all processes which support our ability to consistently exceed customer expecations and specified requirements.” For further information, log on to

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Steel Dynamics revamps Columbus pickling line

BTU Bridle Technology has received an order from SES Engineering LLC covering the design, construction and supply of three Umlauf bridles for a revamp of a push-pull pickle line operated by US-based Steel Dynamics Flat Roll Group (SDI). After the revamp, at the plant in Columbus, Mississippi, it is claimed that the pickle line will be the first in the world to use exclusively Umlauf Bridles to transport the strip through the line. BTU claims that its Umlauf bridles build up strip tension high enough to ensure that thickgauge and high-strength strip will leave the pickling line levelled. Once revamped, the pickle line will be able to operate at much higher speeds than before, as scale breaking will be much more intensive. According to BTU, the latest 3.0 generation of Umlauf bridle technology is capable of applying much higher forces onto strip in processing lines than conventional units. Furthermore, it claims that Umlauf bridles distribute strip tension ‘extremely uniformly’ across the complete width of the strip. The first of the three Umlauf bridles will be

arranged directly behind the pay-off reel. There it will immediately bite the very first centimetres of the head of the strips, which can range from up to 13 mm thick and up to 1,880 mm wide, guiding them into the stretch-leveller. The stretch-leveller will be supplied by SES. The second Umlauf Bridle will be arranged behind the leveller, where strip tensions of up to 1,250 kN can be achieved. An intensive scale breaking effect will result from elongation rates of 0.5% to 1%, making it possible to operate the line at speeds of up to 150 m/min. As the strip is pulled through the leveller, no roller drive equipment is required in the leveller, reducing investment and maintenance costs and preventing the roller from slipping. The second Umlauf bridle pushes the levelled strip into the pickling tank, and the third will be arranged at the run-out to bite the head of the pickled strip and guide it into the recoiler. At the same time, it creates the strip tension needed to produce exactly wound coils. SES Engineering’s senior sales manager, Daniel Cullen comments: “The most important aspect for us was to find a technology that

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July/August 2018

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would be able to reach very high strip tension and allow us to control that strip tension in a very precise way. Apart from that, the simplicity of the Umlauf principle convinced us: we will be able to set the right strip tension exactly where in the line we need it – without any conventional bridle rolls, driven rollers in the leveller or an additional braking unit. Moreover, in future, stretch-levelling will require less strain energy as there is no bending of strip in the Umlauf Bridles.” BTU Bridle Technology’s Michael Umlauf said that by moving the strip exclusively in a linear way, the Umlauf bridles are superior to bridle rolls in several respects: “Using Umlauf bridles in connection with stretch-levellers means that levelling is performed primarily by stretching and only to a minor degree by bending. Actually, up to 90% of the levelling work comes from the stretching effect.” The line is scheduled to come back on stream after the revamp in January 2019. For further information, log on to

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The trade war Tariffs can disrupt global trade – some US steelmakers are happy, but consuming industries are not, says Manik Mehta* THOSE who had hoped that the G-7 summit conference, held in early June in Quebec, would lower temperatures among the participating leaders over US President Donald Trump’s much-discussed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, must have been disappointed. Steel and aluminium tariffs dominated the summit, which ended on an unpleasant note. The final parting picture of Trump, sitting with his hands crossed, and a glum-looking German Chancellor Angela Merkel with her hands resting on the table and staring down at Trump, sums up the mood at the summit. The picture went viral on social media. The trans-Atlantic discord over the steel and aluminium tariffs will continue for some time and if it is not resolved soon, it could lead to unprecedented challenges that could spill over to other sectors as well. The rumblings of the trade war could be heard in Quebec. Meanwhile, there are some silver linings to be seen on the dark horizon. US Steel has praised the steel tariffs and announced that it was resuming operations at the second of the two blast furnaces at its plant in Granite City, Illinois, and would need 300 workers to support the resumption plan. Its latest announcement comes after it had stated that it was planning to reopen the first furnace at the facility. This reopening would create 500 positions,

which would be filled in by new and former employees who were being rehired. US Steel’s chief executive David Burritt announced this in a press statement, saying that considering the market conditions and customer demand, and the impact of Section 232, the re-opening of the two blast furnaces at Granite City Works would allow the company to meet growing customer demand for high-quality products.

Section 232 is part of the trade law, which Trump invoked in March to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the country, citing national security concerns. After the waivers initially granted to several US allies expired, the Trump administration imposed on 1 June a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminium imports from NAFTA member countries Canada and Mexico, and the European Union, which have, meanwhile, retaliated with tariffs on US products. US Steel is, incidentally, not the only company to hire workers. Nucor Corporation is planning to open a new $240 million steel mill in central Florida, creating 250 jobs. US tariffs have also led to a 13% rise in steel prices since 1 March, as S&P Global Platts’ data suggests. Crossroads businesses, manufacturers and consumers will likely pay more for products used in industries, including construction, automotive, manufacturing and anything that uses steel because of the tariffs. Experts expect most countries to retaliate against the tariffs with their own, which would severely impact US agriculture exports. Meanwhile, Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said that it expected protracted delays from Washington in dealing with the thousands of applications for exclusion

* USA correspondent July/August 2018

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from steel tariffs it has received from companies in the US. The Austrian company said that a third of its US sales would be affected by Washington’s steel tariffs, and revealed that it had been talking to customers on who would bear the cost. Voestalpine derives about 10% of its revenue in the US, with two-thirds coming from Europe and 8% from Asia. Wolfgang Eder, Voestalpine’s chief executive, maintained that none of these tariff exclusion applications had been answered and that his own company had not received any reply. US companies can apply to the Commerce Department for tariff exclusions for products or materials which are difficult to obtain in the US. Companies operating in the United States can apply to the US Commerce Department for tariff exclusions for product grades they might struggle to source locally. The volume of requests received is so huge that the Commerce Department can hardly comply with the 90-day maximum processing time for granting exclusion. The huge backlog of exemption applications at the Commerce Department is also creating a lot of frustration among the applicants, some of whom are threatening to completely close down operations. Indeed, three manufacturing companies in Arkansas have said they need the Commerce Department’s exemption from the tariffs on steel and aluminium imports or they will be forced to close. Arkansas-based sources say the three tire-cord manufacturers, Bekaert Corp., Kiswire America and Tokusen USA, have jointly requested an exemption from the tariffs, specifically on “grade 1078 and above wire rod for tire cord.” The three companies argue that US steel producers are unable to manufacture the quality required. They simply can’t do it Lawyers for the three companies told media that US wire-rod producers are incapable of producing grade 1078 and above wire rod to produce tire cord because that grade of wire rod must be produced in basic oxygen furnaces to achieve the strength, cleanliness and other properties to draw the wire rod to tire cord dimensions. Nevertheless, many pundits believe that tariffs will not be able to peg down steel imports for long; they point out that the difference between US steel prices and global steel prices is so big that even after paying the 25% tariff, imported steel might still be cheaper than locally produced steel. But such a situation could produce negative effects, for example, for the EU steel industry, which could see a surge in imports because suppliers who would have shipped steel to the US would now try to shed their overcapacity in Europe. According to the European steel industry association, EUROFER, an 8% surge in EU steel imports this year was due to Washington’s import tariffs leading to diversion of trade flows to Europe. The association urged the EU to impose both tariffs and quotas on steel imports into the EU to prevent a further steel import surge that will further harm the sector. It added, however, that the measure might put Europe’s steel exports at risk, as other countries might be tempted to raise their own steel import barriers, causing a domino effect that would harm free trade worldwide. EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom called the US tariffs a ‘dangerous game’. �

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Brazilian steel and Industry 4.0 The Brazilian Industry Confederation (CNI) has recently unveiled the final research report about the impacts of so-called Industry 4.0 on the country’s manufacturing sector. This article summarises the main findings of a large and in-depth report. By Germano Mendes de Paula*

THE main goal of the project, entitled ‘Industry 2027’, was to analyse the effects of eight disruptive technological clusters (Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Cloud Computing; Internet of Things (IoT); intelligent and connected production (ICP); fast and secure communication networks (SCN); advanced materials; nanotechnology; biotechnology; and energy storage) on 10 industrial systems (agribusiness; chemistry; oil & gas; capital goods; automotive; aerospace and defence; information and communication technology; consumer goods; pharmaceuticals; and basic inputs). The project was co-ordinated by two leading academic institutions: Institute of Economics/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Institute of Economics/ State University of Campinas (Unicamp). The basic input report, was written by myself and emphasised the steel industry, but also paid attention to the mining, aluminium, cement, glass, ceramic and pulp & paper sectors. Current diffusion The report contextualised the situation of the aforementioned sectors and also provided a review of literature concerned with the impacts of the disrupted technological clusters. More importantly, it gathers the perception of the current and prospective diffusion (in years 2022 and 2027) of these clusters by the Brazilian companies. In fact, the initial sample consisted of the eight largest Brazilian steelmakers in terms of output, while six of them answered the questionnaire,

namely: ArcelorMittal Tubarão; Companhia Siderúrgica Atlântico (CSA, at that time owned by thyssenkrupp); Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém (CSP); Gerdau; Usiminas; and Vallourec. Table 1 shows the predominant perception of Brazilian steelmakers on the current diffusion of Industry 4.0’s technological clusters in the global steel industry. With the exception of the SCN (which has moderate utilisation), all other ones have a low rate of diffusion. According to the perception of the companies consulted, the current diffusion of IoT in the global steel industry is low. Steelmakers, in general, work with a certain level of embedded instrumentation and with concern for the integration and security of information. Today, solutions related to smart sensing and sensors of low cost and easy integration are beginning to spread too. However, the standards currently used are extremely based on the need to control the processes, but not on the preparation for an analytical company. The current diffusion of SCN in the

global steel industry is moderate. In fact, on the one hand, the application of more secure, robust and resilient data networks is already widely found in the sector. As plant-floor communication technologies are increasingly closer to market technologies, companies are showing more interest in the subject. On the other’s, machine-to-machine networks (M2M) are employed timidly. AI, Big Data and analytics have a high potential for change because they involve the ability of machines to learn and acquire predictive functions through cognitive processes that emulate neural networks. Together, they have relevant implications in the configuration of the Cloud Computing segment. Based on the perception of Brazilian steelmakers, the current diffusion of AI, Big Data and Cloud Computing technologies in the global steel industry is low. In reality, although AI is already used, it is not articulated to the context of Big Data and Cloud Computing. Companies consulted have emphasised that AI has attracted much interest, while Big Data and Cloud Computing are still very incipient. 2017

Internet of Things (IoT) Fast and secure communication networks (SCN)

Low Moderate

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Cloud Computing


Intelligent and connected production (ICP)


Advanced materials in the steel industry


Advanced materials in the steel consuming sectors




Energy storage


Table 1. Predominant perception of Brazilian steelmakers regarding the diffusion of Industry 4.0’s technologies in the world steel industry

* Professor in Economics, Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil. E-mail:

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The fundamental elements of ICP are the fusion of the virtual and real world; the use of cyber-physical systems; and the flexibility of the production chain with real-time information available to suppliers and customers. In the predominant perception, the current diffusion of ICP in the global steel industry is low. However, greater differences were observed regarding the applicability diagnosis, perhaps because the concept was less delimited than the other ones. It is interesting to highlight that Brazilian steel players identify an intense interaction among these four first technological clusters (IoT, SCN, AI, and ICP), in the way that the diffusion of one of them reinforces the use of the remaining ones. Advanced materials comprise basically the nanomaterials and the composites. The latter are derived from new materials alloys, providing the performance of specific functions. In the specific case of the steel industry, the advance of the composites ends up worsening the tendency of competition with substitutes. Thus, it is possible to consider three possible implications of this technological cluster: a) those derived from greater use of composites by the steel industry; b) those associated with the loss of the market of steel products for the new composites; c) those resulting from the improvement of the steel product mix as a reaction to the new composites. Greater resistance In the perception of the companies consulted at present: a) the diffusion of new materials (composites) in the global steel industry is low; b) the use of these materials in the consumer sectors is limited too; c) a natural trajectory of the technological development is to produce steels of greater resistance than those developed so far. According to the sample, the current diffusion of nano-structured materials in the global steel industry and in sectors that consume steel is low. They point out that research in nanotechnology prioritises the medical and energy areas. It was verified that the major concerns of steelmakers relate to nanomaterials compared to other nano-structured materials. The current diffusion of new energy storage technologies in the global steel industry is low. Nowadays, the worry of steelmakers highlights more the efficiency of energy use than conservation for reuse. In the same direction, the global steel industry seeks self-sufficiency or, in the least, energy co-generation, in particular for coke integrated mills. However, the initiatives already known for reuse are mainly related to thermal energy for co-generation. Biotech is understood as a cluster with low impacts for the steel industry. The Brazilian steelmakers expect substantial changes regarding the panorama of Industry 4.0’s technological cluster in years 2022 and 2027, which will be explored in the second part of this article. �

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China’s steel reforms – for the best? Michael Schwartz* reviews BHP Billiton’s recent analysis of China’s steel policies

ARNOUD Balhuizen, chief commercial officer of BHP Billiton plc, recently published his report entitled: Iron ore, Metallurgical Coal and China’s Steel Reforms. He factors in the recent rise in the take-up of Chinese steel-making capacity; this has taken place in the wake of that country’s supply-side reforms. Balhuizen estimates that two thirds of this increase will be sustained long-term. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in his opinion, it is the competitive suppliers of top-quality raw materials for steelmaking who are most likely to benefit. He does, however, point out that these supply-side reforms have had a major influence – and not just on Chinese steel mills. Prior to the reforms, it was clear that mills globally had been inflicting on themselves severe over-capacity and substantial financial difficulties. Since the reforms, worldwide profitability has increased greatly. Indeed, the protectionist measures associated with the current US government come at a time when the steel industry is enjoying an upswing – in contrast to normal practice whereby protectionism is applied when conditions are difficult.

idle Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) and obsolete Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) capacity. BOF is dominant in China, constituting 90% of national steel-making (compared with 75% globally). Then the shock. China closed its Induction Furnace (IF) plant in late 2016. Pretty much overnight, 120 Mt/yr of capacity was removed from the equation. The consequences China’s actions had a radical effect on the steel sector just as end-use demand sectors were performing well. Thus it was that steel industry utilisation rates soared from the weak 70% rate during the cycle trough to around 85%. This spike took place despite a major rise in metallurgical coal prices, which were partly due to parallel supply-side reforms in the coal sector.

As to how long these conditions can be maintained long-term Balhuizen is direct: “we estimate about two thirds of the utilisation spike will be sustained, implying a long-run utilisation rate in the vicinity of 80%. That is in line with the target presented in China’s Steel Industry Upgrade Plan (2016-2020). That outcome would be consistent with healthy industry profitability and sustained free cash flow generation.” For BHP Billiton, achieving financial sustainability is one of the ultimate objectives of the reform; a liability-toasset ratio of 60% is the specific industrywide target. The company also visualises 80% utilisation and durable net profit margins of roughly 3-4% for steel during the cycle: this will avoid undue pressure on the competitiveness of trade-exposed downstream steel end-users.

The background Arnoud Balhuizen asks the question: “How did we get here?” To formulate his response, he goes back to late 2015 when Chinese president Xi introduced the reforms, centred on the removal of 150 Mt/ yr by 2020. There was the initial removal of * Iron ore corrrespondent July/August 2018

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Profound implications for steel-making raw materials are imminent. For Balhuizen low margins encourage lower grade raw materials as a cost containment measure, compressing the premiums paid for higher grade metallurgical coal and iron ore and trimming the discounts faced by lowerquality products. By contrast, if margins are high and productivity incentives are amplified, mill procurement teams seek out the highest quality raw materials to serve the productivity imperative; interest in lower quality products declines accordingly. In summary, for BHP Billiton this has been the key driver behind the rise in premiums paid for higher-grade metallurgical coal and iron ore since late 2016. Where iron ore is concerned, it must be borne in mind that different mills have different sensitivities towards the substances collectively lumped together as gangue (the commercially valueless material in which ore is found), usually silica, alumina and phosphorus. This is over and above the basic percentage of iron in the ore. In the report BHP Billiton, it must be said, promotes its own product. It states that its iron ore is low-sulphur and specifically

mentions its Australian Newman Blended Lump, which happens to be “the highest Fe, low gangue lump.” Iron ore quality in Chinese mills has ranged from 58-62% iron.

To the future Arnoud Balhuizen’s predictions are multiple, a reflection of China’s own multi-faceted, complex and wide-ranging actions. He believes that the country’s supply-side reforms will continue albeit away from capacity removal (actually, it is difficult to see where that could occur in the wake of so much to date) towards optimisation and upgrading. Proof of this latter is already in progress across China and has been


mentioned in official channels such as the recent Party Congress. This is not to say that the environment has been neglected. China’s steel sector has pursued a greener capacity to meet everhigher emission standards. Indeed, there is the possibility that the entire steel sector will adopt Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) technology. Here BHP Billiton declares its interest in delivering CCUS as a partner to Beijing University. As if that is not enough, far more stringent SOx and NOx standards are already in place. All the factors mentioned will mean “…the demand for high quality seaborne raw materials going forward.” What is more, for Balhuizen his view, ”… that China’s steel mill fleet would trend in a ‘bigger, coastal, greener’ direction over the course of the next decade” has been consistent. However, China’s bold implementation of its supply-side reform policies have brought this expected future state forward to the present. Arnoud Balhuizen’s report Iron ore, Metallurgical Coal and China’s Steel Reform is available from media-and-insights/prospects/2018/05/ironore-met-coal-and-chinas-steel-reforms. �


North American Steel Conference 2018 1-3 October 2018 • Swissôtel Chicago, Chicago, USA

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• How will the automotive, energy and construction sectors perform, and what does this mean for steel?

• Conrad Winkler, President and Chief Executive Officer, EVRAZ North America

• How will Section 232, Section 301 and NAFTA affect the fortunes of steel mills, steel consumers and service centers? • Focus on global oversupply and trade flows

• Bill Chisholm, President and CEO, Samuel, Son & Co • David Zalesne, Chairman, American Institute for Steel Construction and President, Owen Steel • Jon Bolton, Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Steel • David Cheney, Chief Business Development Officer, Stelco • Chris Houlden, Research Manager, Semi-Finished & Finished Steel, CRU

• What does the boom in the electric and hybrid vehicle market mean for steel?

• Lynn Lupori, Head of Metals Consulting, North America, CRU

• What will the influence of steelmaking costs be in the US and ROW?

• Jay McCloy, Vice President – Sales, Marketing & Technical Service, TOKAI Carbon GE LLC

• Analyzing the outlook for raw materials

• Jean Kemp, Senior Vice President Government Affairs and Trade Policy, Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA)

• Steel price forecasts in key rolled and long product markets

• Alan Price, Partner and International Trade Group Practice Chair, Wiley Rein LLP • Kaylan Ghosh, President & CEO, Algoma

• Josh Spoores, Principal Analyst, Steel, CRU


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BOF steelmaking – all to play for? BOF steelmaking is still relevant and will remain so until 2060, so those involved in the coke industry need not worry too much about electric steelmaking – not for another 40 years at any rate. We focus on four key presentations from EUROCOKE 2018. Matthew Moggridge* reports

From left to right: H&W Wordlwide’s Neil Bristow, Alexander Ignatov of ICG Consulting and EUROFER’s Jeroen Vermeij

THERE was heartening news coming out of the Eurocoke 2018 conference in Dusseldorf in April. According to ArcelorMittal’s group CTO, Carl De Mare, the blast oxygen furnace (BOF) was still relevant and would remain so until 2060, which is heartening if you’re involved in the coke industry. De Mare said that the last 20 years had been an evolution for the steel industry and that it was important that blast furnace technology was further developed going forward. Coke-based steelmaking, he argued, will be needed for decades to come, but the big challenge will be climate change. De Mare said that steel was a good example of the global circular economy in action as it uses less carbon than other materials. There were, however, opportunities to change the business model and create new products from waste BF gas. He mentioned ArcelorMittal’s collaboration with carbon recycling company Lanzatech and how they, in conjunction with Primetals Technologies,

were in the process of developing Europe’s first ever commercial-scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process. “There is definitely a future for the blast furnace. We will make them more carbonfriendly, but we need more collaboration,” he said, adding that where C02 reduction in Europe was concerned, the key challenge was to do better. For De Mare, circular business models, such as heat valorisation, hydrogen capture, municipal waste recycling, waste water and biogas, ammonium recovery and methanol synthesis, open up new opportunities for coke making. Hydrogen should be captured at the coke plant and society should be run on hydrogen gas, he said. While carbon-based ironmaking is the most economical way of primary steelmaking, argued De Mare, there is a real need to adapt for the carbon challenge ahead, he said, highlighting the need for cross-sectoral EU collaborations

to find breakthrough solutions. He said a sustainable steel industry has a major role to play in the circular economy and argued that new value streams need to be created using waste materials for coke and ironmaking. Jeroen Vermeij, director of market analysis and economic studies at EUROFER, asked: will the good times last? He said that 2017 was characterised by increased confidence as a direct result of improving economic conditions and access to finance, which led to a change in the economic fundamentals and greater business confidence. Generally speaking he said the state of the economy was ‘not much to be concerned about’; game changing investment in 2017 is likely to continue into 2018 and 2019 with strong tailwinds from global trade, although again, he said that impending protectionism, particularly from the USA, might prove to be a spanner in the works, particularly if met with retaliatory measures. The European Central Bank was looking

* Editor, Steel Times International

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at measures to slow quantitative easing (probably in 2019) and growth last year was 2.5% with 2.2% expected this year and 1.9% in 2019. Overall, the picture for Europe was positive and for steel using sectors, strength in 2017 was countered by hesitation at the beginning of 2018 due to the strength of the Euro. He said that the construction industry was emerging from a deep downturn caused by the Eurozone crisis and the earlier financial crash, but there has been growth since 2016, which will continue. An inflow of migrants has led to greater housing demand and this, of course, has had a knock-on effect on infrastructure development leading to construction growth in 2017. Automotive has experienced strong

market. The risk of deflection looms large, Vermeij said. Trump’s decision to slap 25% tariffs on EU steel could mean a loss of 10Mt of steel production, job losses in the region of 20,000 and significantly more in terms of indirect jobs. In short, the EU steel industry is at stake. Vermeij said it was crucial to tackle the root cause of global overcapacity, which stands at 720Mt. While China was a ‘significant player,’ steel manufacturing was subsidised in several countries, notably in China, and this has led to a distorted competitive landscape. It must be stopped, he said. In conclusion, Vermeij said that things were pretty good, but that trade wars loomed as a direct result of protectionism emanating from the USA. Nobody was

CRU’s Irina Melkonyan

growth through 2014, 2015 and 2016 but it is not expected to continue as there are signs of weakening growth going forward. There is a positive trend in the automotive sector except in the UK where Brexit is having a negative influence. Brexit generally remains a risk, he said. There are positive trends in mechanical engineering in terms of exports, but there are risks surrounding the strength of the Euro, trade protectionism and Brexit, although Vermeij remains optimistic for output growth from 2018. Vermeij sees ‘strong economic and steel user fundamentals’, suggesting a further rise in steel consumption. He said that stocking and de-stocking was fairly neutral and added that the steel market was growing slowly. He said that Trump’s Section 232 tariffs (now a reality for EU steelmakers) will have a direct impact and lead to a reduction in exports, not to mention a surge in imports from exporters unable to penetrate the US July/August 2018

Eurocoke.indd 2

looking to solve the key issue – that of global overcapacity. Things are looking up Dr. Neil Bristow of H & W Worldwide Consulting, a regular and reassuring fixture at EuroCoke conferences, said it was great to see a full room of delegates. Things must be looking good, he said, referring to the industry in general and Eurocoke 2018’s 180 attendees – up from 100 in 2016 and 150 in 2017 – and then piled on even more good news. Prices, he said, are good for met coal, steel demand is looking good and the death of the blast furnace and coal has been exaggerated. He spoke instead of a rebirth of coal after three poor years and said that prices were good again. He said there were supply problems in Australia, Canada, USA and Mozambique, mentioning ownership uncertainty in Australia, problems at Illawara and the Bowen Basin, and political resistance

targeting thermal coal, but affecting met coal. The Greens in Australia, he suggested, are anti-coal, but cannot distinguish between thermal and met coal, the latter being essential for steelmaking. While there has been major growth in Chinese BF/BOF steelmaking, up 8% to 737Mt, the aforementioned closure of induction furnaces has meant more scrap being fed to BOFs. Data suggests that in 2017 the Chinese used 55Mt more scrap and that the scrap rate into the BOF has risen to 16% (up from 12%). Greater scrap usage is anticipated after 2020. According to Bristow, the key issue will be the rise of electric steelmaking. Going forward, Bristow believes that China’s coal industry will be under greater environmental pressure, there will be increased rules and regulations, a strong push towards plant safety and more mergers and amalgamations, not to mention further mine closures and rationalisations. He suggested that Mongolia will become more important. Dr. Bristow argued that India exceeded 100Mt of met coal production in 2018 and is likely to overtake Japan in 2018 as the number two steelmaker in the world. By 2020 India is aiming to produce 120Mt/yr and possibly 220Mt/yr by 2030. He highlighted new capacity in South East Asia, new blast furnace/coke plants in Vietnam and Indonesia and potential expansions and new capacity in Thailand and Malaysia, with major development upgrading in the region to 2020. Other future growth areas are South America, particularly Brazil, and also the Middle East and Turkey, with Africa gaining ground post 2030. In conclusion, Dr. Bristow said that these are good times for steel and coal. He said the markets remain tight, the fundamentals and the outlook strong to 2020 with lower Chinese steel exports but higher coal imports due to industry restructuring benefitting met coal. Poland, Ukraine and Turkey CRU’s Irina Melkonyan concentrated on key market themes in the coke industries of Poland, Ukraine and Turkey. She said that Poland and Turkey remain stable, producing 10Mt/yr and 37Mt/yr of steel respectively in 2017, but that Ukraine – which once produced around 40Mt/yr of crude steel – now produces 22Mt. Melkonyan argues that Ukraine’s hot

09/07/2018 10:42:02



FACTS AND FIGURES • In Poland, modest growth in steel manufacturing will limit the increase in coke production. However, high capacity utilisation will help producers to remain profitable.

• 68% of Ukranian coke-making capacity is within that country’s conflict zone. Some are still operational, some switched off and unlikely to return. Source: Irina Melkonyan, CRU.

Source: Irina Melkonyan, CRU

• India’s economic growth in the financial year 2018 may be the slowest in four years at 6.75%, but it is likely to rebound to between 7% and 7.5% in the next fiscal. Source: Indian Steel and Met Coke Market by Arun Kumar Jagatramka, managing director, Gujarat NRE.

• India is now the second largest producer of crude steel in the world. Source: Indian Steel and Met Coke Market by Arun Kumar Jagatramka, managing director, Gujarat NRE.

• Turkish imports of coke increased almost four times in 2017. Turkey imported over 2Mt of coke from different sources last year.

• For India to achieve a steel capacity of 300Mt/yr by 2030, it will need investment in the region of US$156.8 million. Source: Indian Steel and Met Coke Market by Arun Kumar Jagatramka, managing director, Gujarat NRE.

Source: Irina Melkonyan, CRU.

• India meets 85% of its coking coal demand through imports, primarily from Australia. Source: Indian Steel and Met Coke Market by Arun Kumar Jagatramka, managing director, Gujarat NRE.

• With group revenue of US$103.51 billion, Tata Group employs 660,000 people worldwide.

• Most Brazilian coke plants use 100% imported coal.

Source: Rishi Gupta, Senior Manager, Improvement, Tata Steel Limited.

Source: Guilherme Liziero, Technical Consultant for Coke and Coal, Gerdau, Brazil

July/August 2018

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metal production will increase in 2018 due to increased capacity utilisation. Similarly with coke: utilisation was weak pre-crisis, but will recover this year. The combat zone Most of Ukraine’s coal is produced in the conflict zone where mines have been abandoned and taken over by separatists, causing production to fall 60%. She said that Metinvest couldn’t get sufficient coal to operate its coke plants at reasonable rates. Infrastructure issues restrict the import of coal and transportation. An estimated 68% of Ukrainian coke making capacity is in Donetsk. It all adds up to one thing: increased consumption of imported coking coal, rising from 11.1Mt in 2018 to 12Mt by 2022. Coke plants in central Ukraine are steadily returning to full capacity, however, which should mean a year-on-year increase in production. Poland is split 55% BOF and 45% EAF and CRU believes that steel production will continue to grow, but at a slower rate than in the past five years. Strong steel demand in 2017 has lifted utilisation and the country’s coke capacity is operating at maximum rates (90% in 2016, 92% in 2017). In Turkey, steel production added 13% year-on-year in 2017 and will continue to grow, adding 3Mt going forward. According to CRU BOF production will lose market share to EAF steelmaking due to the availability of scrap and cheaper electricity. However, with old coke batteries at Erdemir and Isdemir in need of replacement, Turkey relied upon imports in the short to medium term (in descending order) from Australia, Columbia, USA, China, Russia, Canada, Mozambique, Italy, Ukraine and ‘others’. In 2017 Turkish coke imports increased almost four times. In terms of cost competitiveness versus benchmark coke production, China was relatively advantaged versus European coke producers between 2006 and 2013, according to CRU. From 2013 onwards, Europe took the lead as costs rose faster in China than in Ukraine and costs in Poland and Turkey were not rising as fast as they were in China and Germany. Lost capacity in Ukraine According to Melkonyan, Ukraine won’t become a coke exporter over the next five years as it has lost capacity that it

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The Russian coal industry Alexander Ignatov of ICG Consulting Inc gave an interesting presentation on the Russian coal industry starting with what he called the ‘restless 2000s’ when there

When steelmakers owned coal mines According to Ignatov, there was a time – during the pre-crisis period – when leading steelmakers, such as Severstal and Evraz, owned the big coking coal mines and bought most of the coal themselves, exporting around 18%. By 2017, half of the coal produced was exported with a shift in destination away from the European Union, following political sanctions in 2014, towards the Asia Pacific region. An estimated 15% of Russian exports are heading for the Asia Pacific region, which is still behind Australia and Indonesia, but nevertheless ‘sharp growth’ when compared with just 3% in the 2008/09 period. While competing with Australia and Indonesia, Russia must also watch the ‘new kids on the block’, namely Kazakhstan,

was a growth in surface mining versus underground operations, a decline in lignite production, a loss of low-cost advantages and continuing business concentration – and also a move to Soviet era production volumes. During the period 2000 to 2008, salaries grew faster than labour productivity and coal production. Partially, it was compensated by the fast growth of coal prices, but whichever way you looked at it, coalmining in Russia was becoming costly, eliminating any low-cost advantages when compared with the West. This year (2018) Russia celebrates 30 years since it achieved a coalmining record (in 1988) of extracting 425Mt. By 1998 that figure had dropped to 232Mt, but privatisation proved to be the ‘magic wand’ and coal growth was reinstated. By 2017, Russia was producing 96% of its earlier USSR record level and it is expected that it will exceed that level this year.

Mongolia, Vietnam and Columbia. Kazakhstan and Mongolia have good rail links to China. Exports will grow faster than domestic supply and the export rate may reach 50% this year (2018). Russian steel mills in the Kemerovo region of the country are the most easterly facilities. Most greenfield projects are located in Southern and Eastern Siberia and they are all targeting the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), not the Russian domestic market. He highlighted five new projects that have been started: Elga in the Southern Yakutian coal basin (Russia’s ‘far east’); Elegesta, Mezhegeiskoye and Kaa-Khem, all in the Ulug-Khem coal basin in Southern Siberia. Ignatov believes that Russian coalmining could go one of two strategic ways: support growing domestic demand or develop a healthy export market with the APAC region. �

won’t restart. However, coke production in Ukraine will rise due to higher capacity utilisation rates and the country will become self-sufficient in coke. Poland will experience modest growth in steel manufacturing, which will limit an increase in coke production, but a high capacity utilisation rate will help producers remain profitable. In Turkey, rising production will mean more coke in the medium term, although there will be a continual shift towards electric steelmaking, which will mean lower demand for coke.

July/August 2018

09/07/2018 10:42:29



Matt Moggridge, STI editor

ArcelorMittal’s Pinakin

and programme director


Industry 4.0…the continuing story Delegates were in for a treat at the Future Steel Forum 2018 conference in Warsaw where leading experts in the fields of Industry 4.0 and steel manufacturing met to discuss the latest trends in this dynamic sector of the market.

EARLY June and Warsaw was basking in 28-degree heat, the pavements scorched by a dry summer sun. The Sheraton Warsaw hotel was preparing to welcome its most distinguished guest of the week, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany. It had been almost year since I last crossed the threshold of this fantastic hotel and discovered that Damon Albarn, formerly of Blur, was in town with his band Gorillaz. Now, virtually a year later, and the hotel’s celeb of the week was a leading German politician. I was too busy to concern myself with the purpose of Steinmeier’s visit, although I did wonder whether he would pop his head around the door of the Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom to improve his knowledge of Industry 4.0 and the steelmaking process. The Future Steel Forum is a steel conference that concentrates on Industry July/August 2018

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worried as the programme was well received by delegates who rated the content ‘high’, ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’; somebody gave it five stars and others described it as ‘informed and engaging’, not to mention ‘thought provoking’ and ‘interesting’. In short, delegates were happy with the conference. Future Steel Forum 2018 attracted some high calibre speakers, experts in the field of Industry 4.0 and steelmaking. The event kicked off with an opening keynote from Dr. Pinakin Chaubal, general manager, ArcelorMittal Global R&D.

4.0 (or ‘smart manufacturing’) and its complex (and growing) relationship with the steel manufacturing process. For many delegates, it’s a first. Steel Times International magazine developed the idea for an Industry 4.0 and steelmaking conference way back in 2015 and spent a good two years talking to leading experts in the field in Europe and the USA and developing a worthy programme. Ever since the inaugural event closed its doors on 15 June 2017, the development of the 2018 conference was often lightheartedly referred to as ‘the difficult second album’, but we needn’t have

Tornado of change Dr. Chaubal spoke of the ‘tornado of change’ sweeping across the world and warned that those who don’t innovate will die. The technological changes taking place in the world are massive: additive manufacturing, big data, autonomous cars, biotechnology, electric cars – these ‘disruptors’ are characteristic of the ‘era of change’ in which we all live, he said, highlighting developments in 3D printing, new concepts in construction and radically new technologies, such as accelerated cooling technology and jet vapour deposition. He referred to digitalisation as ‘an unstoppable trend’, citing the fact that in 2015 there were 25 billion connected devices and a global population of 7.2 billion. By 2020 the population will rise to 7.6 billion and the number of connected devices will double – to 50 billion.

09/07/2018 12:32:41


Primetals Technologies’

Mick Steeper, former Iron &

Eric Vitse, chief technology

Tata’s chief of digital value

Jan Petko of US Steel Kosice

Kurt Herzog

Steel Society chair (IoM3)

officer, Liberty House Group

acceleration, Rajesh Nair

talked about plant safety


SMS group’s Wilfried Runde

Steel Hub’s Emilio Riva and Dr. Valentina Colla, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

1.Diego Diaz, ArcelorMittal Global R&D PwC’s Dr. Nils 2. Frank Adjogble,

Naujok (left)

SMS Group

with SMS Group’s Markus Reifferscheid

3.Emilio Riva, CEO and founder of Steel Hub






4. Heiko Wolf, FutureLab, PSI 5. Jane Zavalishina of Mechanica AI 6. Dr. Marcus Neuer of VDEh


7. Professor Dirk Schaefer, University of Liverpool 8. Dr. Chenn Q Zhou, Purdue University Northwest, Indiana, USA 9.Kristiaan Van Teutem,


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Fives Group

9 July/August 2018

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Dr. Chaubal spoke of the


‘tornado of change’ sweeping PwC’s Dr Nils Naujok (left) talks to Dr. Joe Flynn, Assistant Professor in Manufacturing Engineering, University of Bath

across the world and warned that those who don’t innovate will die.

Why is steel a slow adopter? Disruptive technologies – the Internet of Things, Simulation, Autonomous Robots and Cloud Computing (to name but four) – are leading us to the rainbow, argued Dr. Chaubal, and Industry 4.0 is the basis for enterprise-wide innovation. Pinakin set the tone for what was to come and Dr. Marlene Arens, senior researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation, picked up the baton. Her presentation, Steel 4.0: Perceptions, current activities and expectations for Europe, touched upon a survey, by Fraunhofer, which looked at the perception and impact of Industry 4.0 to 2030. Preliminary survey results showed that, within the European steel industry, rolling and coating will see the biggest changes, while raw material processing is a lesser priority. Changes and upgrades will particularly affect IT infrastructure, and organisational barriers will be a major issue in terms of implementation – particularly the availability of qualified personnel, but also uncertainty or missing information surrounding the economic benefits of smart manufacturing. Words of wisdom Tata Steel Ltd’s chief of digital value acceleration, Rajesh Nair, told delegates that his company relies upon four guiding principles for its digital strategy/ transformation. Words of wisdom from Accenture, BCG, McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company have concentrated the minds of Tata technology executives. Accenture says that 64% of executives fear for their survival if they are unable to deliver on efficiency and growth through their digital investments, but 34% claim to unlock new levels of efficiency while 43% drive new sources of growth and 13% do both. The Business Consulting Group says that global digital leaders spend 5% of operational expenses on digitalisation and deploy 10% of their workforce in digital roles. In other words, ‘digital’ is embedded July/August 2018

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in both business and operations. McKinsey claims that for businesses to derive 70% gains from analytics they will need a strong Internet of Things capability for data acquisition. Bain & Company talk about ‘Net Promotor Score’ (NPS) – the gold standard customer service metric – and claims that digitalisation is a great NPS enabler. Nair talked delegates through aspects of Tata Steel’s Marvel advanced analytics programme and the company’s Aashiyana housebuilding programme, which is a key pillar of Tata’s ‘platformisation’ plan for enhancing customer experience. Marvel, on

the other hand, is all about value creation through a process of ‘templatisation’ with a view to developing multi-modal and multifaceted ‘capability development’. Tata now has 350 analytics-capable team members, 65 citizen data scientists and data architects and 16 advanced data scientists; and claims to have all the components in place for rapid scale-up of the business. Looking ahead, Tata is prioritising the development of a digital supply chain and predictive asset and quality management through intelligent operation. M&S analytics, process automation and workforce productivity enhancement are both medium priorities while a digital sales force and the ‘uberisation’ of shared resources are of low priority. While the ongoing theme of the Future

Steel Forum concept is Industry 4.0 and how its associated technologies can benefit the steelmaking process, Mick Steeper, former chair of the Iron & Steel Society (IoM3) turned the argument on its head, claiming that the steel industry was not a natural adopter of Industry 4.0 – a viewpoint he expanded upon in an article for the exclusive Future Steel Forum 2018 magazine, distributed to delegates only. Why is steel a slow adopter? Because capital intensity is high, product differentiation is low and overcapacity is persistent, and hence margins are low and ROI is weak. But that’s not to say there aren’t any ‘large technology shifts’ – there are, but they are infrequent. Most of the time, the steel industry ‘sweats’ its existing assets until a competitive advantage tempts a disruptor and then, if successful, rapid emulation follows and it is universally adopted. But will the steel industry bite the Industry 4.0 bullet? Steeper argues that if steel wants to go the route of product customisation, it is directly relevant; but if it wants to remain a bulk commodity industry, Industry 4.0 might still apply, but it’s more likely to be demanded by the steel industry’s customers. ‘Sea Change’ characteristics Steeper concluded that new steel technology is adopted on the ‘sea change model’ and that won’t change. Industry 4.0 embodies classic ‘sea change’ characteristics (meaning that if it takes hold, the entire industry will buy into it). Furthermore, Industry 4.0 is already influencing the steel industry’s value chain and, therefore, the changing practices of customers and suppliers ‘will enforce a response from steel’. According to Steeper, the steel industry would benefit from pursuing a strategy of increased customisation. He argued that Industry 4.0 is not a direct change driver, but a powerful change enabler, which may facilitate other sea changes.

09/07/2018 12:32:58


Experience matters. We believe imagination matters too. Curious minds question everything to find groundbreaking solutions. There is still so much to discover. So many great opportunities. We love the heat and we love the cold. We love the glow and we love the dust. We love the quantum leaps and the small steps. We love to innovate and we love to be challenged. We love metals and we will change the way you produce it. We are pioneers at heart.

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11.04.2018 07:07:51


Representatives from TMEIC enjoy a coffee

Jan Petko, general manager of process technology excellence for US Steel Kosice (USSK) based in Poland, focused on how the Internet of Things can improve plant safety. The Polish steelmaker has teamed up with IBM and defined a new set of five capabilities that, it claims, will lead to improved safety at blast furnace facilities. It has already implemented a number of safety regulations and procedures including: PPE and gas detectors; working in pairs; checkpoints (all personnel entering the blast furnace have to use a people locator system and specify visited areas); safety locks; walkie talkie; stationary man down alarm; and paper-based evidence. Blast Furnace number two at USSK has been selected for a pilot project following the development – by IBM and USSK – of five new capabilities designed to improve blast furnace safety and these are: worker location tracking, real time facility occupancy monitoring, safety tracking and real-time incident detection, a personal guard (USSK employees receive alerts in case of incidents), and safety insights (on hazard areas where incidents occur plus incident trends and frequency). Generating innovative ideas Kirill Sukovykh, NLMK-SAP Co-Innovation Lab Lead, discussed the aims and objectives of the Co-Innovation Lab, claiming that its mission was to drive generation and facilitate the implementation of innovative ideas to support development of new competitive capabilities at NLMK. He said that co-operation with other technology partners, such as metals and mining companies and universities, was crucial to the success of the Lab and that creating a platform for the development of a future vision for SAP metals and mining industry solutions was the end game. Liberty House Group’s (LHG) chief technology officer, Eric Vitse, said that Industry 4.0 has huge potential in terms of raw materials flexibility, mass customisation and delivery precision. He argued that modern computer hardware was an July/August 2018

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essential prerequisite and that process modelling capabilities in R&D needed to be strengthened alongside automation support for implementation. Vitse said that LHG would leverage the industrial approach of the UK and Australia and quoted Jeff Connelly, chair of the Australian Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, who commented that ‘Australia should see the fourth industrial revolution as an opportunity’. Vitse said that Industry 4.0 fitted well with LHG’s Greensteel vision in terms of safer manufacturing through the use of

Professor Dirk Schaefer from the University of Liverpool in the UK presented a paper on the subject of open innovation and social product development, the subject of a panel discussion last year, and later took part in a discussion on engineering education and qualifying the Industry 4.0 workforce. Other distinguished panel members included Dr. Chenn Qian Zhou, founding director, Steel Manufacturing, Simulation and Visualisation Consortium, Purdue University Northwest, Indiana, USA. Dr Zhou also presented a paper on the subject of Simulation, Visualisation and Data Analytics for Smart Steel Manufacturing, and Dr. Joe Flynn, assistant professor in manufacturing engineering, University of Bath, not forgetting Dr. Richard Curry, director, operations, Materials Processing Institute. Social product development In his open innovation paper, Professor Schaefer cited pressure to keep innovating and a competitive global environment as two drivers behind the need to consider social product development. He spoke of

Primetals Technologies’ Kurt Herzog and Wolfgang Oberaigner in conversation

automation and robotics and that it offered a significant improvement in throughput and operational costs. He highlighted smart predictive maintenance and safety systems as ‘areas of opportunity’ for applying cyber-physical systems in existing plants and said that ‘modern data technologies’ would allow the company to access real time information efficiently and use data in process models and self-learning systems ‘to improve process adherence and product quality’. Day two started with a keynote from SMS group highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by the company during the development of the world’s first so-called ‘learning mill’. US-based Frank Adjogble, chief engineer, process control and production planning for SMS, said that the Big River Steel facility in Osceola, Arkansas, USA, employs only 450 employees, but that they run the entire mill, which produces 1.5Mt/yr.

‘mass collaboration’ – large numbers of people working independently on a single project – and crowd sourcing (a process of obtaining needed services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people). He said that crowd sourcing was a way of solving problems and producing things ‘by connecting online with people that you otherwise wouldn’t know’. There were many interesting presentations and nowhere near enough space to mention all of them here in what amounts to a brief snapshot of the event. Suffice it to say that the Future Steel Forum proved, yet again, to be a force to be reckoned with and something that Steel Times International will be taking forward. Next year there will be two Future Steel Forum conferences: the European event will take place in Budapest in September 2019 and we are planning an Asian event in November next year �

09/07/2018 12:33:01


Educating the workforce of tomorrow As ‘smart manufacturing’ or Industry 4.0 and its associated technologies start to transform the industrial sector, a strategy is needed to re-educate and retrain the workforce of tomorrow. By Dr Joseph Flynn1 and Prof. Dirk Schaefer2 AT present, the design and manufacturing sector at large is experiencing a fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0 (I4.0). It is anticipated to bring about “the comprehensive transformation of the whole sphere of industrial production through the merging of digital technology and the internet with conventional industry” [1]. The major technological themes surrounding I4.0 include: big data, cloud computing, cyber security, automation, cyber-physical systems, smart factories, the internet of things and the internet of services [2]. In many ways, these themes do not map onto the skillsets of the current industry workforce. As such, a strategy is needed to re-educate and retrain the workforce of today, and to design the education programmes for the workforce of tomorrow. This article continues based on the premise that I4 should, in principle, be embraced and that considerable revenue will be available to those that transition quickly and successfully. This aligns with recent forecasts, suggesting that in the UK, manufacturing could receive a boost of £455 billion from industrial digitalisation [3] . With this in mind, it will explore the possible effects that I4 could have on existing job roles, identifies some of the skillsets that will be necessary in the nearfuture, and issues a call to the community to identify their future requirements and some necessary actions to form an I4 workforce strategy.

Industry 4.0 and future workforce requirements There is no doubt that automation replaces various job-roles. However, new employment opportunities tend to emerge in the form of up-skilled or previously unforeseen job-roles. In fact, a recent UK study suggests that industrial digitalisation could lead to a net increase of 175,000 jobs over the next 10 years in the UK [3]. A crucial part of this period of adjustment is education, re-education and retraining. Recent studies agree that job roles with lower cognitive, creative or empathetic attributes will be most at risk [5]–[7]. Another study frames this differently, stating that high levels of routine are the common factor [8]. This framing is particularly interesting as level of routine can be independent of cognitive load. This actually questions the view that academic attainment and wages reduce the risk of technological unemployment. Some cases that support this assertion include the use computational intelligence within legal services [9] and the medical field [10]. What is clear, though, is that education, reeducation and retraining will be essential if employment is to maintain pace with technological development. This education and training is likely to have to cater to a variety of cognitive abilities, creativity levels and skillsets. The authors recently hypothesised that countries such as France and the UK score well in terms of readiness for I4.0 [11]. So

why is it, that Germany is widely regarded as being the forerunner in the I4.0 race? The answer lies in the fact that ‘readiness’ is only one part of the story. Germany has embraced I4.0 as early adopters and has opened new I4.0 training and education centres across the country, spanning pre-18 schooling, higher education and vocational training. Start-up companies, such as the German Innovation Centre for I4.0, are also addressing the need for practical enhancements and further education to accelerate the transition. This responsiveness within education is critical to ensure that it can maintain pace with shorter innovation cycles within industry. After all, technical education is a pulldemand market dictated by industry [12]. It is clear that technological imperatives and necessary skillsets are changing as a result of increased servitisation within industry, unprecedented gathering and exploitation of data, global collaboration and connectivity via the internet of things (IoT) and social networks, and the creation of cyber-physical systems. A recent study by Stanton Chase [13] identified an on-going talent shortage in the context of I4.0. In the same survey, 30% of the respondents identified a lack of technical skills as the biggest barrier to industrial innovation, whereas 20% of the respondents identified management as stifling development. The three most sought after management skills were: change management (42%), cross-functional management (38%), and

* 1. University of Bath. 2. University of Liverpool. July/August 2018

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technical skills (12%). As such, it is clear that education should not only address technical relevance, but also business and management relevance. Businesses within I4.0 will be generating significant volumes of data. However, it is very difficult to qualify whether a business is maximising the potential usage and revenue afforded by this data [14]. Imagination and creativity are required to fully-explore the usage of production data in this sense. It is the authors’ belief that creativity in business will be vital as I4.0 evolves. By way of example, it is reasonably trivial to identify opportunities for efficiency gains in production processes, maintenance and workforce requirements. It takes slightly more creativity to identify mechanisms to gather data from products that are in-service to drive product development. Further creativity still is needed to appreciate how data can be used to manage a supply chain by better communicating requirements and fluctuations. However, these are all reasonably adjacent to the core of the business operation. Where real innovation could take place is less obvious. For example, the provision of data to influence insurance premiums, the automatic creation of compliance documentation, the use of data to dictate the commissioning of new factories and the provision of data for investments and trading. These are just examples of how new thinking could unlock entirely new revenue streams from data that is primarily used to control a production process. How should education respond? Educating and (re-)training the I4 workforce of near-tomorrow is something that has to be addressed across all levels. Following

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the German school of thought, the competencies required to succeed in I4.0 context ought to become part of middleschool and vocational education. I4.0 competencies are nothing outlandish, they are essential from an employability point of view. Along these lines, it can be expected that degree apprenticeships will become more and more attractive in future. The Higher Education sector at large is urged to respond much more quickly to the pressing need of preparing tomorrow’s workforce – or we, as a nation, will fall behind. One has to critically rethink the number or years until a degree programme becomes dated or even obsolete. The cycle is shortening, and much faster than many want to believe. Hence, a recently communicated idea of moving away from the traditional three to four-year-long degrees towards twoyear-long foundational and specification programmes makes a lot of sense. Similarly, the topic of theme-based rather than discipline-based education opens up new avenues for workforce qualification. Addressing the needs of those already in the workplace suggests that investment in I4.0-related CPD programmes and professional education short courses is likely to become a lucrative route for education providers. This is further fuelled by the fact that today most education and training can be provided online, in virtual distance learning settings. For example, some American Universities are already experimenting with a model known as ‘credentialing’.

data and connectivity, and adopting new business models and management approaches. It is likely that this will require a significant shift in the current education, re-education and professional training landscape to become more responsive. This revised landscape should focus on future technological imperatives, as well as creativity within business strategy and management. This is, however, only one perspective. A concerted, co-ordinated effort needs to be made between academia and industry to identify an education and training model that delivers the right people, with the right skills at the right time. � Selected References [1] R. Davies, “Industry 4.0: Digitalisation for productivity and growth,” 2015. [2] J. Huxtable and D. Schaefer, “On Servitisation of the Manufacturing Industry in the UK,” Procedia CIRP, vol. 52, pp. 46–51, 2016. [3] Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, “Made Smarter Review,” 2017. [4] F. Postel-Vinay, “The Dynamics of Technological Unemployment,” Int. Econ. Rev. (Philadelphia)., vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 737–760, 2002. [5] C. B. Frey and M. A. Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation,” Oxford, 2013. [6] M. Arntz, T. Gregory, and U. Zierahn, “The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis,” Paris, 189, 2016. [7] R. Berriman and J. Hawksworth, “UK Economic Outlook: Will robots steal our jobs? The potential impact of automation on the UK and other Major Economies,” London, 2017.

Certificate of competence This means, they offer programmes (onsite or online), and anybody who wants to take the exam/test and is willing to pay a certain fee, enrolled or not, may have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and, if successful, receive a certificate of current competence in a specific area. As you can tell, there are bricks-and-mortar education models of the past that may well be on the way out and there is plenty of opportunity to innovate in the realm.

[8] C. B. Frey, R. Buckland, G. McDonald, R. Garlick, A. Coombs, and A. Lai, “Technology at work,” 2015. [9] K. D. Ashley, Artificial Intelligence and Legal Analytics: New Tools for Law Practice in the Digital Age. Cambridge University Press, 2017. [10] R. C. Deo, “Machine learning in medicine,” Circulation, vol. 132, no. 20, pp. 1920–1930, 2015. [11] J. Flynn, S. Dance, and D. Schaefer, “Industry 4.0 and its Potential Impact on Employment Demographics in the UK,” in 15th International Conference on Manufacturing Research (ICMR), 2017. [12] A. Bardhan, D. L. Hicks, and D. Jaffee, “How responsive is higher education? The linkages between higher education and the labour market,” Appied Econ.,

A call to action Technical developments for the underpinning technologies of I4.0 are moving very quickly. The rate at which these can be exploited to create value within industry will largely depend on creating improved products and services through

vol. 45, no. 10, pp. 1239–1256, 2017. [13] Stanton Chase, “2017 Global Industrial Survey,” 2017. [14] D. Schaefer, J. Walker, and J. Flynn, “A Datadriven Business Model Framework for Value Capture in Industry 4.0,” in 15th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, 2017.

July/August 2018

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Processes in parallel Two processes that used to belong to two different domains are now becoming part of the same conversation. PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) and Pre-Paint (also known as continuous coil coating) have undergone vast transformations in recent years. By Aaron Small* ONCE incompatible processes that spoke to entirely different markets and projects, PVD and Pre-Paint have become complementary techniques that are increasingly found together in large-scale commercial construction and automotive initiatives. That trend will only accelerate. At the same time that we see PVD and Pre-Paint trickle down from high-end to mass scale projects in architecture and automotive, we’ll also see it expand to appliance suite and other industries in a revolutionary way. Both PVD and Pre-Paint are processes that have been around for decades. The design directors that frequently utilise them know them well and, until recently, have long found that they rarely intersect on the same project. Runs were small, scopes were limited, and the functional and aesthetic horizons defined. Depending on the physical demands, aesthetic requirements, and placements of the final project, design directors would either go with one or the other. However, for design directors that want to innovate and bring the latest in design process to their projects, that is no longer true. Here’s a summary of the enormous strides both PVD and Pre-Paint have made in the past few years to become more intra-project suite compatible, versatile, and differentiating. PVD explained The PVD process takes place when an inert metallic disc is selected, vapourised, and combined with a select inert gas in a

controlled, high-temperature environment, resulting in the coating of the base metal underneath. Since the PVD process involves the vaporisation and application of a metal coating, it gives designers the opportunity to elevate the appearance and functionality of the base metal. It could be a specialised metallic surface appearance of rose gold, platinum, or emerald or it could be a functional touch surface, or both. PVD like never before The fundamental process behind PVD hasn’t changed, but it has grown in both function and scale. While the topographic appearance of Pre-Paint changes depending on the formulation of the coating beforehand – or any mechanical manipulation done after painting – the appearance of PVD is changed by altering the metal surface before it even undergoes the PVD process. Now that surfaces can be polished, brushed, or mechanically affected in any number of patterns before they’re colour-coated, design directors now have the widest-ever spectrum of metal textures and thicknesses available to them. This new level of realism can now be combined with an unprecedented scale of production. While the medical, industrial, commercial, and jewellery industries have long embraced PVD, it has been ignored by other industries for decades due to the small ‘batch-type’ production runs inherent to the process. Due to the size of the early cabinets or vessels available to vaporise and

apply metal coatings, PVD had been limited to smaller parts and pieces than today’s markets now require. In recent years, the number and size of the cabinets and vessels have grown tremendously and can capably turn out much larger components and sheets. The scale and size of PVD have opened the door to far more industries and projects than is generally realised. Now, architects, designers, and specifiers can put together entire projects with high-end metallics, and do so while employing an environmentally positive process. Pre-Paint grows up Similar to PVD, Pre-Paint started off as a select process for specific markets. The technique involved coating narrow aluminium coils with acrylic and polyester. Nowadays, it’s a high-speed process that can apply paint or laminate onto many different types of metal in very little time. Once monopolised by the aluminium awning industry, it’s now a fixture of numerous industries including interior and exterior architectural design, building products, appliance, HVAC, automotive, office furniture, and other aesthetic and functional markets. As Pre-Paint expands, previously unheard of topographies and surface textures are popping up in every market. Whether it’s designs, textures, pigmented colours, emboss patterns, or lower maintenance surfaces, designers and architects are having a field day with new formulations

* Corporate director of coil coated services

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possibilities are setting new benchmarks for cutting-edge design.

losing out on major opportunities in both design and functionality.

PVD and pre-paint make an early entrance together Pre-Paint and PVD were long relegated to separate projects because of the different aesthetics, but that line has been erased. When it comes to large-scale commercial construction and automotive initiatives, trail-blazing design directors have found

Challenges Even as the design possibilities for Pre-Paint and PVD grow, early limitations continue to thwart full compatibility. However high the number of cabinets and vessels, and however large the size, PVD is still at heart a batch process. Architects, designers, and specifiers looking for two or three panels to improve the aesthetic of their design will probably start and stop their search at PVD. Meanwhile, as compared to PVD, PrePaint is a high-speed affair that typically requires larger batches due to the minimum amount of lineal footage required in the processing equipment/line. Depending on the gauge and width needed for the job and the type of coating to be applied to the

that with recent advances they are in fact complementary techniques. In recent years, Pre-Paint and PVD are most commonly found together on high-end commercial complexes or professional or collegiate athletic stadiums, notably on projects where the project demands definitive branding. Architects and designers are finding that the use of both PVD and Pre-Paint is the perfect formula for a strong logo presence. Today, that trend is trickling down to appliance design shows and showing up in exhibits around the world. There’s been interest from manufacturers and designers across the spectrum of industries and markets, but the potential for high-end appliances is clear, and the excitement palpable. As appliance manufacturers embark on trials and prototypes, and early products get recognition in award-winning architectural designs, the industry as a whole is starting to define processes around incorporating both PVD and Pre-Paint in the same projects. The Design Directors who are already experimenting with the

coil’s surface, the applicable individual coil coating lines can vary significantly in their respective lineal footage minimums per job. PVD is, and will always be, better suited to smaller volume, job-specific needs. Professionals designing on a massive scale often look no further than Pre-Paint due to its ability to process larger perbatch quantities quickly. They both have their place based on the aesthetic and performance attributes of projects, and the qualities of both are fantastic. Even with these challenges, now is not the time to discount one or the other for any one project. The design possibilities have far surpassed the paradigms and norms of manufacturing. Between Pre-Paint and PVD, there are endless combinations of projects with unique coloured, topographical, and functional variations. Most importantly, design directors shouldn’t discount one or the other until the needs of each project have been mapped out and experts with shared experience sought out for their input. Otherwise, projects risk

Next steps If you’re looking to bring innovation to your design practices and have yet to explore Pre-Paint, PVD, or both in combination, there are a series of four essential questions to ask yourself of both the overall project and individual parts and they are: • Durability: Will the final product be placed inside or outside? What durability is required of the material? • Dynamism: What are the dynamics of what we’re trying to make? How is it to be fabricated? To what degree does it need to curve or is it flat? • Aesthetic: What’s the aesthetic that you want to achieve? Does the desired aesthetic require a pigmented coating, a metallic or shaded stainless appearance, or have any other topographic requirements? • Size: What is the overall size of the project? Once these questions are answered in terms of the project overall and each part in isolation, designers and architects will have made substantial progress towards deciding whether PVD, Pre-Paint, or both is most appropriate for their project. The design possibilities have exploded, and the aesthetics of both techniques have expanded, but strengths still prevail and weaknesses limit. Another point of parity, of course, is budget. For specific applications or aesthetic demands, one or the other may still come out on top. Answering functional and design questions and employing an expert with experience in both, and an agenda in neither, will make the process easier. Regardless of your final decision in ongoing and future projects, this is an exciting time for designers and architects. Design directors have more options than ever to guide the creative direction of their projects, and new use cases are popping up daily around the world. The key to taking advantage of the new opportunities is to dive into the specifics of both PVD and PrePaint to understand how the considerations of each might affect your ongoing and future projects. As always, don’t forget you can seek out experts with knowledge in both products to consult with you on the best choice. With both PVD and PrePaint on the precipice of so many new and exciting developments, it’s never been more exciting to work in appliance design. �

of Pre-Paint. In addition to anti-fingerprint, anti-microbial, and anti-graffiti surfaces, to name a few, Pre-Paint is now available in coated widths of up to 72in, allowing an unprecedented range of surfaces and thicknesses when it comes to flat-rolled sheet in coil form. Much like PVD, the options for designers and architects feel almost limitless. Whatever the project scope, it can now feel like anything is possible.

July/August 2018

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Adding value in a complex supply In a cyclical steel and metals industry beset by overcapacity and intense international price competition, the Holy Grail for producers must surely be the ability to customise and add as much value as possible to this most fundamental of all products. We profile Liberty Speciality Steels’ Advanced Machining Centre LIBERTY Speciality Steels’ (LSS) Advanced Machining Centre (AMC) at Rotherham in the UK is certainly an asset that earns its way in the world and allows LSS to differentiate itself from its competitors Set at the heart of Liberty’s 2,000-worker Speciality business in South Yorkshire, this hi-tech operation, with its 25 highly-skilled and qualified engineers, collaborates closely with the company’s advanced service centres in the UK, China and USA to provide complex machined component solutions for OEM and Tier 1 customers across multiple sectors. Working with a broad array of specialist steels and steel alloys emerging from the group’s melting, rolling and processing operations at Rotherham and Stockbridge, the AMC team fashions bespoke component solutions for sectors as diverse as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, yellow goods, construction, industrial machinery and general engineering. AMC was one of the particularly prized assets acquired when Liberty Steel, part of the 12,500-worker global GFG Alliance, purchased Tata Speciality Steels in summer 2017. The facility fitted perfectly with the Group’s strategy of vertical integration and adding value right along the economic chain, from energy production and sustainable metalmaking through to finished component. July/August 2018

LIBERTY steel processing.indd 1

State-of-the-art Studer precision-grinding machine ready for critical finishing operation of a aerospace component

GFG’s business model and core philosophy is embodied in the concept of GREENSTEEL, which involves the use of recycled steel that is melted in electric arc furnaces powered by renewable energy and turned into high-value products. The $12 billion Group, with operations in 30 countries, even hopes to take things a step further by fabricating steel jackets for wind towers which will, in turn, generate power to make more steel. In addition to its metal manufacturing assets, GFG has multiple engineering operations, particularly in the UK Midlands, that use its own steel and alloys and the Group recycles off-cuts

from its own production processes to make secondary steel at its arc furnaces in Rotherham. It’s all part of the ‘circular economy’ espoused by GFG executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, and warmly praised by Prince Charles when he visited Rotherham in February to reignite the firm’s large arc furnace, mothballed by the previous owner (Tata Steel)18 months earlier. AMC sits in the top tier of this multilayered international business, delivering a fully-inclusive service to big name clients. As AMC general manager Mathew Challinor explained, the

09/07/2018 12:39:40





the customer by delivering from concept right through to finished component,” said Challinor who highlighted how the Rotherham-based facility benefits from its links to its sister centres – the Aerospace Service Centre at Bolton in Greater Manchester and the Oil & Gas Service Centre located in Rotherham “We have the ability to source and manufacture a wide range of materials from our own manufacturing capability and through our own in-house Aerospace Service Centre. Typical materials sourced include carbon, alloy, stainless steels as well as nickel alloys and titanium alloys,” he added. The AMC, which is now four years old, grew out of Tata Speciality Steel’s involvement in a £22m collaborative manufacturing initiative in Yorkshire and the Midlands known as ‘The Proving


Rover, Schaeffler, Unipart and the Midland Assembly Network. From that initiative grew the Advanced Machining Centre at Rotherham which has developed beyond the initial automotive focus and is now a specialist supplier to the high-value manufacturing sector, including aerospace, defence and power generation. This enables LSS to provide a manufacturing solution for finished components to its customers – delivering specialised steel components with the added-assurance mill backed steel. This is provided as an additional service to existing aerospace steel customers as well as a stand-alone service to the high-value manufacturing sectors. “The aerospace sector supply chain is long and complex, and it is commonplace for our aerospace customers to buy steel and then sub-contract the first stage and/

Experienced engineer programming at Liberty’s Advanced Machining Centre based in Rotherham

pound state-of-the art facility covers the full spectrum of support, from initial technical discussions of clients’ requirements followed by the use of approved manufacturing processes, tailored to specific customer needs, and finally to the creation of complex components which are then inspected in a dedicated temperaturecontrolled inspection room to ensure all of them meet the required technical specification. “By being part of Speciality Steels, the AMC can deliver a completely-integrated supply chain that reduces the complexity of the component manufacturing process for

LIBERTY steel processing.indd 2

Factory’ set up in the Summer of 2014 to help develop ground-breaking green technologies to power the cars of the future. That initiative was led by what was then Tata Speciality Steels, who provided the materials and component manufacturing capability, and Coventry-based Productiv, who were assembly specialists for the project. Speciality Steels was subsequently bought by international industrialist, Sanjeev’s Gupta, and renamed Liberty Speciality Steels. The Proving Factory’s other core partners were MIRA and MTC, with support also from Jaguar Land

or final machining of components,” said Challinor. “AMC enables them to create internal capacity and allows the customers to concentrate on special processes and assembly manufacturing. The AMC provides a complete solution simplifying their supply chain by working closely with our aerospace service centres in Bolton and Rotherham to provide a just-in-time service to customers, ranging from first-stage machined components to fully-finished components made to the tightest of tolerances and highly complex geometries.” The ever-expanding AMC team includes metallurgists, CAD/CAM engineers, July/August 2018

09/07/2018 12:39:41



CNC machine tool engineers and CMM inspection specialists. Among multiple other projects, it has worked to deliver finished landing gear components to the Airbus supply chain for its A350, A380, A320 and A340 models as well the Boeing 787. AMC has also worked on innovative projects manufacturing various sized Wankel engines for defence and commercial use. The centre’s current manufacturing capability covers: • Complex component geometries up to 658mm diameter and 1.5m long • Horizontal and vertical milling up to 3m long, 800mm wide and 720mm high • Internal and external cylinder grinding up to 1.6m long • Latest in onboard, CMM and comparator checking • Leading edge tool holding and work holding

State-of-the-art Its certifications meet aerospace customer requirements with approvals including AS 9100 Rev D, ISO 9001 and complying with ISO 14001. The AMC features multiple state-ofthe art pieces of equipment with a core manufacturing operation that includes a Mazak I-400ST multi-tasking milling and turning machine, a Mazak VTC800/30SR, 5-axis milling machine and a Fanuc Robodrill 5-axis milling machine. The Mazak I-400ST, with a 12-inch main chuck and a 10-inch second spindle plus lower turret, encompasses a large machining area with high accuracy performance, long strokes for large workpiece capacity and versatility thanks to B-Axis and C-Axis contouring and full simultaneous 5-Axis operation. The VTC800/30SR allows for multiple-face milling and 5-axis simultaneous machining, facilitated by a 110-degree swinging

Careful monitoring of machining parameters during component manufacturing, ensuring compliance to stringent customer specifications

18,000 rmp spindle. The Robodrill is a-DIA series high-performance, compact axis and vertical-machining centre capable of machining operations like face milling, end milling and drilling. Added to that, AMC’s turning centres include Churchill Omega 65, Doosan Puma 240, and BSA Speedturn 30. These are backed up by a Studer S41 where all precision grinding operations are undertaken, ensuring the highest quality. The Centre also boasts a purpose-built temperature-controlled Co-ordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) room where Liberty has installed the latest Nikon LK-V CMM frame complemented by a REVO Renscan5 head which offers 5-axis measurement capability and is designed to maximise CMM throughout while maintaining high system accuracy. This installation is specifically designed for use with the company’s machined parts as they complement the machining capability of its machine tools and generate standard CMM inspection reports. The AMC has invested in the most advanced software which includes: • Solidworks – 3D design software, • Edgecam – CNC programming and toolpath generation software, full 5-axis capability • Vericut – Tool path verification and the material removal process simulation, detecting errors in CNC programs. • Sandvik InvoMilling – Process for machining gears and splines for small batch production and short lead times – benefits from 5-axis machining capability to produce different gear profiles with the same set of tools. Broadening capability AMC’s plans include the acquisition of additional machine tools to increase machining capacity and machine tools for gear manufacturing to broaden capability. Liberty claims that AMC is ‘a powerful resource reinforcing the success of the whole Liberty Speciality Steels business’. Peter Hogg, chief executive of LSS, commented: “Being able to offer customers a precision component manufacturing facility has allowed us to expand supply relationships and work more closely with key players in supply chains across a range of industry sectors. We have an excellent team and highly-sophisticated equipment, in which we will continue to invest, so we are rightly excited about the future.” �

July/August 2018

LIBERTY steel processing.indd 3

09/07/2018 12:39:43


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Preventing lance skull formation Optimisation of the design of an extension to the top lance at Gerdau Ouro Branco, which rapidly cools any skull forming on the lance thereby causing it to crack and fall away, has resulted in reducing metal lost from 531t/month to just 14.1t/month and increased the life of the lance tip from 180 heats to a record 1785. Water leakages are greatly reduced, improving safety, and manpower requirements for lance cleaning have been cut from 13 to 3. By B Totti Maia*, F Silveira Garajau*; M de Souza Lima Guerra*, W Morais de Andrade*, W Marcial da Silva*, E Almeida**, W Assunção** and M Fernando de Oliveira** GERDAU Ouro Branco steelworks started operations in 1986 with 180t capacity BOF converters. Currently, 214t capacity converters are installed with top lance blowing, submerged bottom blowing using six tuyeres, sub-lances, and a static and dynamic control model aided by measurements from the gas recovery system. The BOF vessel has a low height to diameter in the trunnion region ratio making it a very slender vessel. Fig 1 presents the main dimensions of this 214t converter. Due to the geometric relationship of the diameter in the trunnions region and the vessel height, slopping of the charge is frequently observed during blowing. This undesirable feature is due to uncontrolled blow parameters and results in materials Description

Distance bath lance Distance bath lance Static bath level H/D Specific volume Tuyere Tuyere flow



mm (max) 3095 mm (min) 2110 mm 1798 # 0,94 m3/t 0,84 # 6 Nm3/h 600

being project out of the furnace as well as adhering to the lance. The reasons for slopping are: low specific volume (volume divided by charge), the volume of slag which is influenced by the silicon contained in the liquid hot metal, elevation of the metal due to bottom stirring and the addition of ferrous charges through the top bins. The present study shows developments in the blowing process to reduce skull formation on the lance and increase nozzle life by fitting an innovative concept called a ‘cartridge,’ which extends the length of the lance tip and is cooled with internally circulated water to rapidly chill any skull forming, causing it to crack and fall away. Improved tip life reduces the possibility of cooling water leaking into the BOF.

Fig 1. Main dimensions and parameters of Gerdau

Method The cartridge, consisting of a 3m long tapered copper extension, extends the length of the lance tip and has enhanced internal cooling capacity. Named Slagless®, this is illustrated in Fig 2. The high heat conductivity of copper and the geometry of the extension – created by studies of flow and heat exchange using the commercial software ‘Ansys CFX’ – gives the technology the ability to rapidly extract heat from the skull forming around the lance. The consequence of this rapid heat extraction is that solidification of material on the lance surface, which can be metal or slag or a mixture of both, as well as coolant flux, rapidly solidifies. This results in cracking of this skull by thermal contraction causing it to fall from the lance. Vazao de agua 55,0 kg/s = 198,0 m3/h

Heat flux 1000 kW/m2 Heat flux 1200 kW/m2

Ouro Branco converter Heat flux 1600 kW/m2

Tuyeres Heat flux 2000 kW/m2 Heat flux 2400 kW/m2

Fig 2. Slagless® lance extension cartridge with enhanced cooling

* Lumar Metals Ltda. Rod. MG 131, km 09, Nº 100, Santana do Paraíso, MG, Brazil, Zip Code: 35.167-000 ** Gerdau Ouro Branco, Rodovia MG 443 km7 Fazenda Cadete, Ouro Branco - Minas Gerai, Brazil, Zip Code: 36.420-000 July/August 2018

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Sealing lance dome





Fig 3a. Massive skull formation on a lance Fig 3b. Sealing lance pulled from inner lance due to weight of skull causing water to leak into the converter


Average skulls per month



200 150 100 50



0 2010







2013 Year




Fig 4. Oxy-burner cutting of skull from lance

Fig 5. Average lance skulls per month following â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;slaglessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; technology

Fig 3 (a) shows a large skull formed at the tip of a conventional lance. This can progress to a situation of extreme gravity as shown in Fig 3 (b) in which the sealing lance has separated from the inner lance, causing water to leak into the converter. The need for frequent cleanings also reduces the life of the lance nozzle resulting in holes and hence water leaks into the converter. Also regarding the safety aspect, skull cleaning operations are cause for concern due to the high number of occurrences as well as the difficult conditions to carry out the task, especially to perform the vertical oxygen torch cuts as shown in Fig 4. The inconvenience caused by skulls on the lance are shown in Table I as well as the necessary increase in the number of people needed to keep lances available for operation. Analyses Following the introduction of Slagless technology a reduction in the number of skulls, and consequently the need for cleaning showed a sharp decrease in the occurrence of lance skull from 2010 to 2011 (Fig 5). The decrease continues to 2013 due to the improvement of the design

furnaces Lumar.indd 2

of the cartridge. In 2013, Slagless 16" was introduced to further increase the heat extraction capacity by increasing the angle of the cartridge cone and thereby increasing the rate of contraction of any skulls, enhancing their cracking away. The understanding of the process and other variables was essential for these continued improvements. A study was carried out to consider the converter geometry with special attention to the positions of the submerged tuyeres. Fig 6


shows the bubbling effect of the tuyeres on the static bath level. It is important to note that it was considered that all bubbled gas was dispersed in the bath. This is not a fact verified in the industrial processes, but was used to create a reference from that with the traditional static bath level represented by Fig 6 a). Another benefit of this study was the verification of the interference between the oxygen supersonic jets from the top lance nozzle and the plume of bubbling gas from the submerged tuyeres. These two sources of gas must work independently, as too must the oxygen jets from the Slagless cartridge. Coalescing of gas jets must be avoided. The recommended configuration to maximise results requires the supersonic oxygen jets from the top lance being related


Fig 6. Bath level height a) Static bath = 1668mm and b) Bubbling bath at 600Nm3/h = 2594mm

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1,70 1,60

Multi steps between slag formation and decarburisation time

1,40 1,20 L/Lo

1,00 0,80

Fig 8. Behaviour of different mathematical models for lance height

0,60 0,40 0,20 0,00 0





2000 B-Z



Nippon steel



New oxygen valve control - stability during all blow


Balanço Energia

Fig 7. Nozzle pattern of the slagless cartridge extension

Fig 9. Cause and effect between silicon in hot metal and lance skull formation

with respect to the diameter of the circle formed by the bottom tuyeres. Aiming at the separation of the gaseous sources, the assembly of Slagless cartridges was standardised as shown in Fig 7. It was possible to create a reference for the wear behaviour of the cartridge, allowing adjustments in the Bath Lance Distance (DBL) through the energy balance described by Maia et al. This differs from other models according to Fig 8. Changes in the pattern of flux additions have also been developed, mainly for facilitating the formation of the first slag. Charges were programmed to be weighed in parallel and alternated mainly with sources of ferrous oxides, materials that by their nature release gases during dissolution and melting within the metal bath, so causing changes in the flow patterns of the bath, which can lead to skull formation. With the objective of achieving a smoother transition blow stage, a new logic was developed in lance control as well as adjustments in the blow flow modulation system. In the past there was an abrupt descent of the lance, from the formation of slag to the decarburising level, in just three steps causing oscillations in the July/August 2018

furnaces Lumar.indd 3

Item Manpower for lance maintenance

2010 Unit

13 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 (proposed for 2011)


Skull lance rate



Skulls per month



Metallic yield lost



Table 1. Lance skulls numbers at 2010

Item Manpower for lance maintenance


2016 Unit

13 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 (proposed for 2011)



Skull lance rate




Skulls per month




Metallic yield lost




Lance tip / Cartridge life




Table 2. Lance skulls numbers comparison 2010 and 2016

oxygen flow, which was responsible for the projection of material during the change of lance heights (DBL). In the revised method, there are more stages during change of lance height providing a graded descent in small more numerous stages. While the ideal is not yet achievable, a significant reduction in the occurrence of slopping was achieved, resulting in greater stability of the blow and consequently a reduction of lance skulls. To avoid human mistakes, all blow

pattern and lance set-ups work completely automatically. Fig 9 shows the cause and effect between these parameters. This shows that an increase in periods of low silica in the hot metal promotes an increase of lance skull formation. In turn, frequent lance cleaning contributes to damaging the pipes and consequently increases the likelihood of skull adhesion. This vicious cycle leads to reduced cartridge life, but is inherent to the process. Frequent checks of cartridge

10/07/2018 09:49:44



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● Collector ring as an integral part of support structure used for water supply and return for cooling elements; water-cooled centre piece and fume take-off adapter.

● Maximum safety in operation, based on pressure-less function, thus eliminating the risk of explosions.

● Heat transfer through steel plate cooled by a thin water layer. ● Water amount adjustable according to individual heat load areas. ● Suitable for the furnace roof and the elbow.

● Area around electrode openings designed for refractory-lined, easily exchangeable centre piece. ● Usage of clog resistant spray nozzles and access hatches.

● Reliable operation and long lifetime due to proven design with well-balanced cooling performance. ● Lower consumption of cooling water compared to tubular design. ● Reduction of production delays – in many cases production can continue until next shutdown.

● Tested and proven at BSW, the steel plant of the Badische group, and at many customers’ plants worldwide.

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Spray bars with nozzles providing a pressure-less, balanced and efficient water cooling

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of flame rebounds. Table 2 shows the result achieved by the partnership between Gerdau Ouro Branco and Lumar Metals in the continuous development of the lance cartridge concept.


Flow (Nm3/h)



60000.00 Nozzle design


Before F=45.000 Nm3/h P=9 kgf/cm2

New nozzle Actual nozzle


0.00 0.00


10.00 Pressure (kgf/cm2)



After F=40.000 Nm3/h P=9,5 kgf/cm2

Fig 10. Nozzle wear and the cartridge face are adversely effected by low silicon iron

conditions and inspections on the face and nozzle outlets are thus necessary (Fig 10). In parallel with the process adjustments, the size of the nozzles and cooling conditions, the current operating conditions were adjusted to maximise the life of the cartridge and eliminate the possibility of water leaks during the blow. The configurations of nozzles designed for high flow rates were not practical in industrial practice as they resulted in premature wear of the nozzles. When the nozzles were resized for practical flow rates and available oxygen pressure, taking into account low-flow periods, such as during sub-lance measurements and occurrences of uncontrolled slopping, any combination of pressure and flow rate below the red line in Fig 11 will result in premature wear of nozzles. The nozzle was previously operated at a pressure of 9kgf/cm2 and flow rate of 45000Nm3/h (blue line) the conditions being modified to 9.5kgf/cm2 at a flow rate of 40000Nm3/h (red line). In mid-2015, a filter was introduced into the cooling water feed to eliminate contamination of feed water causing the formation of solid deposits within the cooling circuit in the cartridge restricting heat flow and causing damage to the face of the cartridge nozzle and subsequently leaking water. The presence of the filter markedly reduced cartridge leaks, increased in cartridge life and improved operating safety. The change in cartridge cooling design, resizing and nozzle adjustment, together with a predictive practice of inspection, have ensured safer operation of the BOF converters. The efforts of process improvements and cartridge improvements have resulted in an average cartridge life increase from 373 heats in 2012 to

furnaces Lumar.indd 4


844 in 2016 with a record of 1785 heats from a single cartridge. By mid-2015 the developments were intensified, resulting in a significant improvement in the average values that culminated in a record value of 1785 heats achieved. Fig 12 shows the face of the cartridge after blowing 1604 and a record 1785 heats, despite the occurrence

Conclusions The main conclusions of the study are: • Safety is improved by preventing water leaks into the furnace from a ruptured lance tip. • Adjustment of the nozzles and cooling circuit of the lance cartridge prevented water leaks in the BOF for a full year; • Predictive inspections of face wear and nozzles are critical to ensure increased cartridge life in a safe operating condition, this cumulating in a 1785 heat record; • Adjustments in process parameters of lance height, lance displacement and method of addition of fluxes contributed to reducing skull formation, even in periods of low Si metal. �



Fig 11. Resizing the lance cartridge nozzle cartridge tip face and damage due bad heat transfer

Fig 12. Cartridges after: left) 1604 heats and right) 1785 heats

July/August 2018

10/07/2018 09:49:46


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Exciting times ahead Praxair is in the process of merging with Linde to become the largest industry gas company in the world. Pravin Mathur*, says that sustainability – both financial and environmental – is the key challenge to the industry. 1. How are things going at PRAXAIR? Is the steel industry keeping you busy? We have exciting times at Praxair. We are in the midst of a merger with Linde to become the largest industrial gas company, and hope to complete the transaction before the year-end. Also, Praxair just announced Q1 results, which were quite strong with 10% sales and 20% EPS growth over the prior year. Steel is an important market segment for Praxair, with metals customers accounting for about 17% of global sales. 2. What is your view on the current state of the global steel industry? Steel industry dynamics are changing as it attempts to rationalise global overcapacity, improve profitability and reduce its environmental footprint. The industry is still facing volatile years as demand is rising, but not at the boom year levels. It is fighting pressures for market share from rival materials such as aluminium, and trying to stay relevant in the public eye in the era of the iPhone. These pressures are driving innovation and pushing the industry to reinvent itself. Steel trade and tariffs are in the limelight, protectionism is likely to stay, and tariffs are raising prices, bolstering US domestic mill volumes and profits. 3. In which sector of the steel industry does PRAXAIR mostly conduct its business? Praxair supplies industrial gases to integrated mills, mini-mills and stainless plants with gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon and hydrogen. The integrated mills generally have the highest intensity of gas use, but intensity is trending up across the board for cost savings, productivity

increase, emissions control and quality improvements.

price, availability, design considerations, maintenance and consumer preferences.

4. Steel Times International is buying, what’s your poison? Prosperity.

7. Is aluminium ‘greener’ than steel? Only if all the electrical power to produce primary aluminium is sourced from green energy such as hydro, wind or solar. Globally, for each ton of steel produced, approximately 2 tons of carbon is emitted. And for each ton of aluminium, the worldwide average is 11.7 tons of carbon emitted, nearly six times as much. However, these figures are impacted by the types of energy sources used, recycling rates and end-use lifecycle analysis, so the answer is much more complex.

5. Where in the world are you busiest at present? Our largest footprint is in North and South America, but we see opportunities globally, particularly in Asia. 6. Where do you stand on the aluminium versus steel argument? No doubt autos will be light weighted, firstly with high strength steel, and secondly with materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre. Wholesale changes are unlikely to occur; as a general trend, aluminium would be considered more applicable for exterior body or skin, and steel for the structural components, but there are multiple factors that will dictate adoption including aluminium

8. “…any hint of doubt when it comes to predictions of climate doom is evidence of greed, stupidity, moral turpitude or psychological derangement.” This is a quote from Bret Stephens writing in The Wall Street Journal. Do you sympathise with his view? I am inclined to believe in data and scientists. The most recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has further heightened public concerns about the use of fossil fuels. World governments continue to press for ambitious goals to lower CO2 emissions, so it is only prudent that the steel industry, as a significant generator of CO2 and a large consumer of electrical power, examine its carbon ‘footprint’. 9. Why is Industry 4.0 so important to the future of steel production? The steel industry faces a daunting task of handling the retirement of the biggest cohort of skilled personnel with decades

* Executive director for metals, combustion and energy

Perspectives PRAXAIR.indd 1

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catering to Tier 2 and 3 players. Tier 1 players in China are installing some of the latest world-class steelmaking equipment. 16. Which breakthrough technologies will have a big impact and will it be something that is ‘one size fits all’ or a number of different technologies? Low carbon steelmaking can have a revolutionary impact on steel production. Natural gas is already used to make directreduced iron (DRI), and it is the fastest growing segment. Hydrogen steelmaking is being explored, but it has many challenges ahead. Finding useful applications for off gases is another way to make an impact. of experience. Industry 4.0 would increase automation, eliminate silos of data, reduce defects and improve efficiency. The challenge is to prioritise the availability of capital for such projects in an existing steel mill; it is obvious to design and incorporate into new steel mills from the get go. 10. Are steel producers looking to companies like PRAXAIR to offer them digital manufacturing solutions? Praxair has digitalised a number of aspects of its production and supply operations. Most of our plants are operated remotely and we are utilising big data analytics to plan maintenance and repairs of our plants. 11. Is the steel industry wellplaced to take advantage of digital manufacturing? Steelmakers can lower costs and improve quality by collecting more data about their complex production processes through improved sensors, enhanced connectivity and advanced analytics. In addition, they can digitise the entire supply chain to improve efficiency and the steel buying experience. Much can be done, and most facilities are at an early stage of this process. 12. Where does PRAXAIR lead the field in terms of steel production technology? In addition to supplying industrial gases, Praxair has always had a strong focus on application technologies. Praxair has developed a number of technologies throughout the steel production chain from mining to finishing; most notable being the Argon Oxygen Decarburisation (AOD) process for stainless steel production and CoJet® gas injection technology for electric arc furnaces – both have become July/August 2018

Perspectives PRAXAIR.indd 2

industry standards. OPTIFIRE oxy-fuel combustion technology is applied to reheat furnaces, ladle preheaters, and we provide technologies for finishing and heat treatment. 13. How do you view PRAXAIR’s development over the short-tomedium term in relation to the global steel industry? Praxair sees growth from current steel customers as they increase their intensity of gas use, as well as opportunities to install air separation units at new steel plants. 14. How would you solve the issue of global overcapacity? Chinese overcapacity will persist as the impact of closures will be offset by slowing demand. After factoring in maximum operating rates, China will have over 150Mmt/yr of overcapacity. Consolidation and enforcement from the central government is the key to rationalising excess capacity. 15. What is PRAXAIR’s experience of the Chinese steel industry? Chinese steel plants, especially Tier 1 players, relied heavily on Western technology in the initial phase of development, both in steel as well as industrial gases. However, there are dominant local Chinese industrial gas players in the market today especially

17. Where do you see most innovation in terms of production technologies? New steel grades continue to expand the scope and competitiveness of steel in the marketplace. But the properties the steel grades possess come from their structure and chemical composition, so the innovation needs to go all the way up the supply chain. Since cost will always matter, productivity and efficiency matter along the chain as well. 18. How optimistic are you for the global steel industry going forward? Sustainability – both financial and environmental – is the key challenge to the industry. I cannot overemphasise the role of management in weighing these challenges and setting appropriate direction, culture and operational discipline to revive the industry. 19. PRAXAIR is based in the USA. How is the US steel industry performing? Capacity utilisation in the US has moved up over 75% and steel prices are soaring, especially relative to the rest of the world. A number of mills have announced restarts, and there are a few green field projects underway too. Therefore, the sentiment has certainly turned very positive, although the underlying demand would suggest a more modest uptick. �

09/07/2018 11:04:55

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Skyscrapers – keeping the US steel industry busy in the depression Crane men at work on a New York skycraper

Skyscrapers and cars kept the US steel industry busy during the depression years. By Harry Hodson* IN 1871 Chicago suffered a disastrous fire which destroyed large parts of the city – the rebuilding programme called for fresh ideas. Chicago had been a trading centre since the early 19th century and its continued expansion meant real estate was at a premium in the city. In 1884 it was decided to build upwards to conserve space. A 10-storey building with a steel inner frame was erected by the Home Insurance Company, which was described as a “skyscraper”. Others reached 20 storeys until the practice was halted in 1916 and steel production was directed to the war effort. This was also the situation in Manhattan, New York, where ‘skyscrapers,’ such as the Flat Iron and Woolworth buildings, had already started to exceed 20 storeys. Some of these buildings were erected as a status symbol by rich property developers – each one trying to out do the other. This practice would be resumed in the inter war and depression years. Two iconic buildings of this period were the Art Deco Chrysler Building (1928) and the Empire State Building (1931). At 380m in height

A hammer-head crane at Philadelphia navy yard was the world’s “largest” and dwarfed a battleship. The tower was 25 feet high and there was an electric passenger lift to the top. It has since been towed away and scrapped.

and using 4 million bricks and 30kt of steel, the Chrysler Building held the title of the world’s tallest building for a few short months until the construction of the Empire State Building. At 443m, the Empire State was building was the world’s tallest until the construction of the Twin Towers in the 1960s. Ever since 9/11 there has been little appetite to build on such a scale in the US, so the Empire State Building has reclaimed its title in the US, but has been exceeded by others elsewhere in the world.

Automobiles for the masses Henry Ford (1863-1945) was quick to realise that the automobile, powered by an internal combustion engine and developed in France, Germany, and Great Britain, could be made affordable to the working classes. Until then, these ‘horseless carriages’, as they became known, were only affordable by the rich. In 1908 Ford began production on his model T automobile at his Detroit workshops. These cars were very simple in design and soon earned the nickname “Tin Lizzie”. His methods of mass production using a minimum of materials allowed him to produce and sell vehicles cheaper than his competitors. Ford sold these cars under the slogan “you can have any colour you like” (they were all black) and continued production until 1927 with an estimated production of more than 20 million vehicles. Employees were able to afford one – paid for by a modest deduction from their wages. Naval Expansion The United States also embarked upon a programme of shipbuilding and dockyard expansion during the inter-war years. This was made necessary by shipping loaned out to its allies or destroyed during World War I. They were kept busy throughout the depression years, which made them better equipped than their European allies during World War II. �

* The author is an iron and steel specialist in the field of the Industrial Revolution July/August 2018

History.indd 1

09/07/2018 11:06:09

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n Approx 10,000 tonnes per annum output on Aluminium Coils n 2 Powder Coating Cabins for Rapid Colour Change n Max Width 1550mm n Thickness 0.8mm – 2.0mm n Coil Weight: 10 tonnes n Speed: 7.5m/min n Also suitable for cold rolled and Galvanised Steel Strip n Footprint: Approx 80m x 15m x 6m high n Available Mid 2018 n Fully operational & can be seen working

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Coil Weight: 25t Coil width: 400-2050mm Gauge: 0.5mm – 2.5mm Coil O/D: 530-2000mm

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Inspection: By appointment with Eddisons CJM Location: Saint-Chamond, near Lyon, France Further Information: Charles Moses T: +44 (0)7831 854971 E:

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Composition: Reversing Uncoiler, Coil Car; Dimeco 11 roll Flattener; Polycoating Roll; Servo Measuring Roll; Dimeco Guillotine/Shear; Run out Table to Semi Automatic Stacker

J24 Proin/Atecnin 1500 x 10mm CTL Line n Coil Width 460 – 1500mm n Thickness 1.5mm – 8mm n Length: 460mm to 12000mm n Coil Weight: 25 tonnes n Speed: 80 cuts/min

Proin 1500 x 6mm CTL Line n Coil Width: 400 – 1500mm n Thickness: 1.5mm – 6mm n Length: 400 – 12000mm n Coil Weight: 20 tonnes n Coil O/D and I/D 2000mm and 508 to 750mm n Speed: 30/40m/min

Composition: Twin Cone Uncoiler; 2 x Levellers (11 Roll and 17 Roll); Atecnin GUN-1810 Guillotine, measuring and runout Composition: Proin Expanding Mandrel table and stacker, Operators Desks etc. Uncoiler; Proin 17 Roll Leveller; Guillotine Shear; Runout Table and Stacker, Operators The line is dismantled and offered for sale Desks etc loaded onto buyers transport. Guide Price €120,000 The line is dismantled and offered for sale loaded onto buyers transport. Guide Price €75,000

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Steel Times International July/August 2018  
Steel Times International July/August 2018