How to achive stabillity in steel production?

Stability is everything in steel production operations and the fundamental criteria for successful steel production management. Without stability, everything will suffer, bringing your production performance, safety, and product quality down – and vice versa.

Increased complexity in steel production is increasing. The never-ending strive to increase manufacturing performance combined with higher customer expectations on the finished steel materials raises the bar for steel producers.
The production of more advanced steel grades requires more complex treatment routes with slim margins. There is less room for errors in the new production environment, with considerably higher requirements set on the processing stability to maintain efficient operations.

Instability in steel production kills productivity

So, how can you identify instability in production? This is not always clear but typically you identify with one or many of the following indications:

  • Does your production suffer from never-ending disturbances?
  • Do your KPIs trend the wrong way?
  • Do you believe you are doing all the right things, but production never takes off?

If yes, there is a good chance your production suffers due to excess instability. Instability in steel production is always there, it is part of the nature of the process, and all your competitors experience the same. What sets you apart is how you cope with instability and the margins you build into your steel production management (SPM) and executing systems.

Stability can become your competitive advantage

Understanding your production.

Start by understanding your production fundamentals and special conditions – what are the core problems, and what performance goal should you be aiming for? Adapt your processing and production design to ensure that minor variations and delays would be addressed within the normal processing scope. If this fails, your (local) process instabilities are likely to spread throughout the production system; it will kill your productivity.

Instability is always luring

Steel production is a linked batch-process at elevated temperatures with a (chemical) dependency between process steps. These are challenging production conditions with high demands on equipment, planning and pacing, and processing.

Preventive maintenance is crucial

If equipment breaks down on a regular basis, preventive maintenance is the only remedy. There are no quick fixes. Do not fall into the trap of cutting down on preventive maintenance efforts to free up production time – it will come around and generate substantial instabilities in a year or two.

If you want to know more about how to master instability in steel production and turn it into a competitive advantage we have written a guide “Improved steel making productivity by achieving operational stability”.

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