Steel Metal

STEEL MAKING /METALS:

SPECIALTY STEEL MAKER STRIVES TO REDUCE ITS ENERGY COST PER TON WITHOUT THE NEED FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS ISSUES–

This client is a producer of specialty steel products using various alloys for the aerospace, nuclear and defense industries.  Scrap metal is melted in a two stage process using first either an arc furnace with AOD refining or Vacuum Induction melting.  The second stage melt is performed using Electro Slag Reduction to further refine the metal from impurities before finishing.  Finishing includes forging, rolling, grinding and annealing into various shapes including bars, plate and sheet.  Final products are shipped by truck.  Utilities used are natural gas, electricity, generated steam, city water and sewer.  Process gases used are argon, nitrogen and hydrogen,  the business was faced with the following issues:

  • Rising energy costs per pound of metal produced
  • State mandates for reduced green gas house emissions
  • Lack of energy impact awareness by front line personnel
  • Facility wide energy management systems did not exist

PROJECT OBJECTIVES–

  • Install furnace inspection programs to monitor 31 furnaces for holes, hot spots, door gaps and door seals and prioritized maintenance furnace repairs
  • Install facility wide leak tagging system within existing maintenance system
  • Install startup/shutdown procedures for all equipment in each department based on production rates
  • Install Steam Trap Testing and Repair/Replace Program to ensure all steam system components are operational
  • Create Energy Action Teams at plant level to facilitate implementation of “energy action items”
  • Install a management energy tracking system for facility and each department

MAL DELIVERED–

  • Designed and installed an Operation-driven Energy Management Operating System including energy KPI’s for the critical energy user departments for the entire site
  • Implemented a zero-base budget energy plan based on volume, mix and weather that related to an actual plan usage for electricity, gas and purchased gases
  • Implemented furnace combustion tuning programs for all natural gas fired units in the facility
  • Installed energy audit systems to ensure energy action item implementation compliance
  • Reduced facility wide electrical usage by 11.6%
  • Reduced facility wide natural gas usage by 12.1%
  • Reduced process gas usage by 10.5% throughout facility
  • Increased the facility’s bottom line profits by $1,731,940 (117% of initial plan)