Smart Machines & Factories
Melt shop digitalisation project
Published:  24 June, 2021
ABB completes melt shop digitalization project with India’s leading steel company

ABB has announced it has built on a long-term relationship with JSW Steel, a leading Indian steel company, by integrating its digital solution ABB Ability Smart Melt Shop into a wider expansion at Dolvi Works plant in Maharashtra state.

With the project, completed on schedule in March 2021, ABB says it has improved productivity and energy efficiency for the steel melt shop by developing an operations optimisation solution, including ladle and crane tracking system, crane scheduling system and thermal loss models, to predict target temperature for ladle furnaces and ensure the correct superheat at the caster. This is expected to increase the company’s EBITDA profit by around USD two million per annum through 4% higher casting speeds, time savings of one working day per month and additional output equating to 24,000 tonnes a year.

The plant now has real time tracking of steel ladles for process synchronisation and better maintenance planning. In wider benefits, the lower energy consumption means fewer consumables used per batch and therefore a lower carbon footprint with less CO₂ per tonne of steel produced. Automatic tracking and scheduling increases personnel safety as they are removed from the production area during crane and ladle movements. The scheduling solution also results in reducing tapping delays by ensuring these movements are synchronised with process requirements.

It is an example of overcoming one of the major challenges facing steelmakers today, which is to maintain the optimal temperatures required to make molten steel while balancing high electrical energy costs. Ensuring the right temperature at the right time, together with other parameters in the molten steel, directly determines steel quality and productivity. ABB’s Industry 4.0 led solution minimises temperature superheat deviation and thermal losses resulting in higher caster speeds by around 4%, improved productivity, energy efficiency and steel quality.

“We relied on the metallurgical expertise of ABB’s Metals team as they proved to us that this digital solution could be integrated into our complex plant with its diversified operational procedures,” said Gajraj Singh Rathore, president, JSW Steel . “The figures and the results from testing stacked up and we could see the capacity to enhance productivity, improve energy efficiency and generate a relativity quick return on investment too.”

“Based on advanced digital algorithms and mathematical modeling, ABB Ability Smart Melt Shop is a true example of technology convergence as it utilises cameras and image-processing, weighing systems, radar, laser and wireless-based technologies to ensure steel melt shops operate at optimum levels where crane and ladle tracking and their availability are critical to the entire steelmaking process.” said Tarun Mathur, global product manager and digital lead for metals, ABB.

“Our data from performance testing has shown significant increase in superheat compliance, returning time savings equating to more than nine hours per month and nearly 2,000 additional tonnes produced per month,” said Amit Kumar Chakraborty, project manager for metals, ABB.

Additional benefits of the ladle tracking system include reduction in tapping delays in the electric arc furnace, reduction of electrode and power consumption at the ladle furnace and reduction in silicon deviation in hot rolled coils produced from slabs from the continuous caster.