Plant Assessment Studies and Cost Improvement

A significant part of the cost of steelmaking will be determined in the primary end: the raw material cost, coke and other energy sources. Efficient use of these materials in the Blast Furnace will have a large impact on the total through cost chain. Furthermore a high utilization factor and an increase in productivity will also indirectly improve the bottom line on these costs. Although the basic requirements are the same. In reality major differences exist between blast furnaces. By carrying out an independent audit, these differences are highlighted, and where improvements can be made, solutions to resolve them are identified.

Lengthening the campaign of the furnace almost endlessly is an obvious way to avoid spending a large amount of money and suffer production losses. However the flip side to this is the increased risk of equipment failure or sudden unplanned termination of the campaign. An audit can identify these risks and quantify the likelihood of occurrence and potential consequences. In the case where insufficient information is available for a comprehensive risk assessment, dedicated inspection and testing programs can be implemented, for instance hearth monitoring, to increase the information source and so quantify the risks more accurately. With this information at hand, informed decisions can be made with regards to productivity levels, intermediate repair plans, contingency plans, and long term reline planning.

Why an external auditor?
It is not immediately obvious why an external resource would be used for such task, however the following benefits add credence to the audit, which may not be present internally;

• Independent, non–biased view.
• Short, dedicated, focused effort.
• Guaranteed deadlines.
• Benchmarking against international BF practice.
• In depth experience with inspection and condition monitoring techniques
• Multi–disciplined team encompassing Process Technology, Operations, Maintenance, Repair and Reline engineering options.
• Immediate reporting to entire BF team on site on completion of audit.

A typical audit for one Blast Furnace will take anywhere between two and three weeks, dependant on the scope, with the report immediately available after the audit period.