Case study: Steel manufacturing

Increasing throughput & yield while cutting CO2 emissions

Increasing throughput & yield while cutting CO2 emissions

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Case study: Steel manufacturing

Increasing throughput & yield while cutting CO2 emissions

Get your personal demo

Case Study: Steel manufacturing

Increasing throughput & yield while cutting CO2 emissions

Get your personal demo

Slide Reduce blast furnace
emissions 3.5%
Increase blast furnace
productivity - 2%
Greater understanding
of the production process
€1.76M savings extra
profit on a single line
Reduce energy
intensity - 1.5%

The Challenge - conflicting KPIs

Increasing blast furnace productivity, while reducing emissions - mission impossible?

Like many steel manufacturers, this factory was in a constant race to throughput, together with other key objectives like energy efficiency and yield

While their team had optimized the process considerably, the complex, dynamic nature of the production process meant that throughput, yield and energy levels were still unstable. And of course, such a dynamic process produced very messy data – further complicating matters for the process experts.

What’s more, recent ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions added yet another layer of complexity.

This challenge was particularly stark at their blast furnace, where process experts struggled with maintaining blast furnace productivity while decreasing coke rates and cutting emissions.

How could they increase throughput while decreasing emissions? These objectives appeared to directly conflict with one another.


The Challenge - conflicting KPIs

Increasing blast furnace productivity, while reducing emissions - mission impossible?

Like many steel manufacturers, this factory was in a constant race to throughput, together with other key objectives like energy efficiency and yield

While their team had optimized the process considerably, the complex, dynamic nature of the production process meant that throughput, yield, and energy levels were still unstable. And of course, such a dynamic process produced very messy data – further complicating matters for the process experts.

What’s more, recent ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions added yet another layer of complexity.

This challenge was particularly stark at their blast furnace, where process experts struggled with maintaining blast furnace productivity while decreasing coke rates and cutting emissions.

How could they increase throughput while decreasing emissions? These objectives appeared to directly conflict with one another.


The Solution - Process-Based Artificial Intelligence™

Unlocking the full potential of their production line

The plant team turned to Seebo to maximize throughput, and optimize energy and emissions levels as much as possible.

After an initial meeting with the Seebo team, the decision was made to start at the blast furnace, as this is where the most immediately-addressable emissions and throughput losses were identified.

After connecting to the production line data, the Seebo solution created a digital model of the entire production process. This enabled Seebo’s Process-Based Artificial Intelligence™ algorithms to understand the intricacies of their process, and in doing so provide accurate insights from their data.

To the team’s surprise, the Seebo solution provided a set of clear, actionable recommendations to help achieve both goals: increase blast furnace productivity (throughput) and reduce emissions.


The Solution - Process-Based Artificial Intelligence™

Unlocking the full potential of their production line

The plant team turned to Seebo to maximize throughput, and optimize energy and emissions levels as much as possible.

After an initial meeting with the Seebo team, the decision was made to start at the blast furnace, as this is where the most immediately-addressable emissions and throughput losses were identified.

After connecting to the production line data, the Seebo solution created a digital model of the entire production process. This enabled Seebo’s Process-Based Artificial Intelligence™ algorithms to understand the intricacies of their process, and in doing so provide accurate insights from their data.

To the team’s surprise, the Seebo solution provided a set of clear, actionable recommendations to help achieve both goals: increase blast furnace productivity (throughput) and reduce emissions.


A single metric for global efficiency

One of the first things the Seebo solution did was to create a multidimensional objective model: a unified metric for overall efficiency at the production line.

This metric takes into account all of the factory’s production objectives, as well as any other necessary constraints – from blast furnace productivity to emissions reduction, energy intensity, and coke rate (yield).


A single metric for global efficiency

One of the first things the Seebo solution did was to create a multidimensional objective model: a unified metric for overall efficiency at the production line.

This metric takes into account all of the factory’s production objectives, as well as any other necessary constraints – from blast furnace productivity to emissions reduction, energy intensity, and coke rate (yield).


Quantifying untapped potential at the line

Using the multidimensional objective model, the process experts could finally identify precisely when their production process was operating more or less efficiently than average.

Specifically, they found that for 38% of the time their line was performing above their average across all objectives – including both high throughput and low emissions!

It was clear, then, that the potential for improvement existed. They just needed to replicate the conditions that led to those higher efficiency levels.


Quantifying untapped potential at the line

Using the multidimensional objective model, the process experts could finally identify precisely when their production process was operating more or less efficiently than average.

Specifically, they found that for 38% of the time their line was performing above their average across all objectives – including both high throughput and low emissions!

It was clear, then, that the potential for improvement existed. They just needed to replicate the conditions that led to those higher efficiency levels.


Identifying the most important process parameters - and their optimal ranges

Next, the Seebo solution calculated an Operating Envelope, which detailed the precise process ranges and set points that would optimize all their objectives – resulting in higher blast furnace throughput, as well as lower emissions and optimal energy efficiency.

Seebo also revealed another surprising fact to the manufacturing team. The blast furnace was already achieving that more efficient Operating Envelope 27% of the time! This meant that the target was even more realistic than they had imagined since their production line was clearly capable of it. 

All that remained now was to ensure that the process remained within the envelope more often.

Having revealed the full, hidden potential of their production line, the process experts could now give clear instructions and recommendations to the operators.


Identifying the most important process parameters - and their optimal ranges

Next, the Seebo solution calculated an Operating Envelope, which detailed the precise process ranges and set points that would optimize all their objectives – resulting in higher blast furnace throughput, as well as lower emissions and optimal energy efficiency.

Seebo also revealed another surprising fact to the manufacturing team. The blast furnace was already achieving that more efficient Operating Envelope 27% of the time! This meant that the target was even more realistic than they had imagined since their production line was clearly capable of it. 

All that remained now was to ensure that the process remained within the envelope more often.

Having revealed the full, hidden potential of their production line, the process experts could now give clear instructions and recommendations to the operators.


Preventing inefficiencies before they happen

To ensure these ideal conditions are maintained on the line, the process experts then created Proactive Alerts, which alert the production team to any inefficiencies as they occur. 

Seebo’s Proactive Alerts tell the team precisely what tags need adjusting, and also include Standard Operating Procedures – so operators know precisely how, where and when to act to prevent inefficiencies and continuously maintain the optimal process settings.


Preventing inefficiencies before they happen

To ensure these ideal conditions are maintained on the line, the process experts then created Proactive Alerts, which alert the production team to any inefficiencies as they occur. 

Seebo’s Proactive Alerts tell the team precisely what tags need adjusting, and also include Standard Operating Procedures – so operators know precisely how, where and when to act to prevent inefficiencies and continuously maintain the optimal process settings.


Continuous improvement

Of course, the key to Industrial Artificial Intelligence is a focus on continuous improvement – not a one-time benefit. Once implemented on the line, Seebo’s Process-Based AI continuously monitors the process and adapts to any changes in the line.

In addition, the process experts can use Seebo’s Impact Analysis tool to monitor how changes on the line impact its performance over time. This enables them to refine their existing Proactive Alerts and add new ones, as well as to adjust their production objectives and constraints as appropriate.


Continuous improvement

Of course, the key to Industrial Artificial Intelligence is a focus on continuous improvement – not a one-time benefit. Once implemented on the line, Seebo’s Process-Based AI continuously monitors the process and adapts to any changes in the line.

In addition, the process experts can use Seebo’s Impact Analysis tool to monitor how changes on the line impact its performance over time. This enables them to refine their existing Proactive Alerts and add new ones, as well as to adjust their production objectives and constraints as appropriate.


The Result - global process efficiency

2% higher throughput & 3.5% emissions reduction

Armed with the optimal set points, and the ability to physically maintain those set points on the line, the manufacturing team were able to increase blast furnace productivity (throughput) by 2%, while lowering energy intensity by 1.5% and maintaining a stable coke rate.  

This resulted in €1.76 million in savings and extra profit on that single production line. 

At the same time, they also reduced annual emissions by 3.5%!

In addition, by knowing the Operating Envelope, their process experts gained a deeper understanding of their production processes in general, with concrete metrics and recommendations. This saves time and effort, as process experts no longer have to spend hours theorizing and guessing the root causes of process inefficiencies.

The Result - global process efficiency

2% higher throughput & 3.5% emissions reduction

Armed with the optimal set points, and the ability to physically maintain those set points on the line, the manufacturing team were able to increase blast furnace productivity (throughput) by 2%, while lowering energy intensity by 1.5% and maintaining a stable coke rate.  

This resulted in €1.76 million in savings and extra profit on that single production line. 

At the same time, they also reduced annual emissions by 3.5%!

In addition, by knowing the Operating Envelope, their process experts gained a deeper understanding of their production processes in general, with concrete metrics and recommendations. This saves time and effort, as process experts no longer have to spend hours theorizing and guessing the root causes of process inefficiencies.

Unlock the full potential of your steel factory.

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