Improve production quality and process efficiency

 

SITUATION

The NLMK Group Clabecq plant located in Ittre Belgium, established in 1792 produces steel plates in a thickness range from 3 to 120 mm. With an annual production capacity of 750.000 ton, they offer a wide range of plates products for a broad range of industrial applications.

The 60-year old plant consumes a variety of different materials to fuel its production line’s multi-step heating process. The cost of energy plays a large role in the bottom line for the plant – and the properties, efficiency, and availability of the fuels can differ widely. The plant’s decision-makers realized there were potential savings in their energy consumption. They were already preheating the limestone and clay to increase calcination and prepare it for the kiln. To make an informed decision, the company needed to know more as to what to burn at what stage in the process and have the statistics to back it up.
 

SOLUTION

PEPITe took on the project and analyzed the company’s historical data. The efficiency of the pre-calcification and kiln was calculated and the variability of its energy performance was evaluated. The results were so surprising that the company requested PEPITe confirm their detailed analysis. The data consistently identified the same results: 1 million euros in potential savings for energy consumption and operating costs. To realize this compelling saving, PEPITe was engaged to:

  1. Identify the appropriate fuel to burn in real-time for the pre-calcification and kiln process.
  2. Find the root causes of variations to detect drifts as they happen and mitigate them.
  3. Implement the right decision tools for the entire organization, from operator to plant manager.
  4. Develop a continuous improvement group within the plant to assure long term success.

 

BENEFITS

  • 1 million euros in annual savings by using a better fuel mix in the pre- calcification stage and kiln
  • Improved problem solving based on facts
  • Long term approach with a commitment to sustainability
  • Reduced risk of loss by detecting drifts early
  • Involved plant personnel who can take ownership of the results committed