For steel-makers to stay competitive even after 40 years since plant start up, the company’s Siemens Metals Technologies (SMT) is developing new solutions to secure plant operations and plant performance over the entire life-time of the installed equipment.
“Lifecycle partnerships between plant operators and Siemens will help to maintain state-of-the-art plant performance while setting new standards for steel production,” said SMT chief executive officer Werner Auer on the occasion of the International Media Summit in Mexico City.
“Only jointly can we develop and implement the solutions needed to manage steel plants even better and keep them competitive over their entire lifecycle,” Auer said.
According to Siemens, steelmakers will become more flexible in adjusting their production to new market developments and customer demands, produce new steel grades in their plant and on request while at the same time achieving further cost savings and complying with increasingly strict environmental regulations.
“The change from a manufacturer market to a buyer market has made the global competition in the steel world even tougher and has set new standards for steel production,” Auer said.
The development of new automation solutions and the use of comprehensive corporate IT networks promotes such lifecycle partnerships. “The steel mills have more and more better and reliable data available from the shop floor, from the status of a single motor to a wide variety of process parameters to mathematical models for the condition of pig iron in the blast furnace or the
quality of the steel strip during the rolling process,” said Michael Irnstorfer, who is responsible for “Electrics and Automation” at SMT.
With an increasing level of automation, deployment of sensors and mechatronics, a steel mill produces an increasing amount of information. This information ensures the transparency of complex processes and help to control he production on the basis of new targets.
In addition to its metallurgical and process expertise gathered over a long period of time, SMT has broad knowledge of electric drives, automation systems and plant components.
Andreas Flick, a representative from Siemens VAI, said: “By checking current information about the condition of plant components in a production environment against this database, we can make a prognosis about equipment and its condition and predict when it is advisable to replace a component or when it is bound to fail”.
Especially the ability to detect changes in the plant or to accurately predict changes after interventions in the workflow was an essential element of the lifecycle partnership between plant engineers and steel mill operators, according to Siemens.
Flick saw simulation as another lever for successful lifecycle management. “During a simulation, we compare the modeled ideal condition of a production process with real-world operations. A wide variety of data tells us where and how operations or components of a plant can be modified in order to consume less energy, to roll higher-quality steel or to use lower-cost raw materials.
“By simulating plants and processes, we can determine the optimum process flow and the associated lever to control complex steel mills better than before. This also enables us to focus on any weak points that use to appear everywhere during the long lifetime of a plant,” he said.
Thanh Tung (vir.com.vn)