SSAB involved in platform economy research project in metal processing in Finland
The two-year platform economy research project in metal processing (AMET) brings together two universities, five SMEs and two industrial partners, one of which is SSAB Europe. The project aims to improve the efficiency of metallurgical production processes and the supply chains of metal products. The purpose of the project is to develop process monitoring systems and expert systems for chosen processes, such as the electric arc furnace, continuous casting and rolling.
SSAB Europe Oy’s and Ovako Imatra Oy Ab’s steel mills will serve as industrial test environments for the solutions developed in the project. Kaltio Technologies Oy, Luxmet Oy, Quva Oy, Sapotech Oy and Sensmet Oy represent the SME sector in the project. The universities involved in the project are the University of Oulu and Åbo Akademi University. The two-year project has a total budget of around EUR 5.65 million and is being funded by Business Finland and consortium partners.
The manufacture of SSAB’s increasingly demanding premium products also requires more accurate process control. The main focus of the project is to improve the production process using new measurement solutions, models, the horizontal linking of data streams as well as more advanced analysis of process data.
“Among other things, we aim to utilize novel, innovative and unique measurements in monitoring the process and improving quality production capacity. We also want to introduce certain measurements that are not in use elsewhere. These include measurement of the hot metal desulphurization lance based on acceleration sensors and the use of online water analytics,” says Jarmo Lilja, process development manager at SSAB Europe’s Raahe mill.
“Besides this, we want to improve cost and production efficiency by greater optimization of the blast furnace by developing the quality control of feedstock input and briquetting. We also aim to speed up the monitoring of steel cleanness, to optimize the quality production capacity of the continuous casting process and to use models, monitoring and enhanced process control to improve the throughput and quality of more challenging products in hot rolling,” adds Jarmo Lilja.
“The AMET project will promote regeneration of an industry that is vital to the national economy and will lower the threshold for SMEs to develop industrial-scale solutions and new business for the needs of the steel industry. The industrial processes developed in the project will also have major positive environmental benefits,” says expert Sakari Karppinen at Business Finland.
One example of the applications of the project is the electric arc furnace process, which is considered a best available technology and which will become more widespread as the main technology in low-carbon steelmaking also at SSAB along with the HYBRIT technology aimed at fossil-free steelmaking. In the project, SMEs are developing scrap bucket identification through Bluetooth technology, monitoring scrap bucket fill and discharge as well as the heat-specific consumption measurement of electrodes.