23rd September 2022
SMS digital, a Center of Excellence of the SMS group, has signed an agreement to implement a package of advanced digital services for the Siderúrgica Huachipato steel mill at the Talcahuano site. This important performance partnership follows on from an earlier Paul Wurth contract for a Bell Less Top (BLT), and the development will see the client achieve significant efficiency cost savings.
The Chilean steel mill, part of the integrated mining and steel group CAP, is undergoing a transformation process with improvements expected mainly to its operations, equipment, and energy sources. Seeking to optimize efficiencies, reduce costs, and reduce operational risks, Huachipato and SMS enter a cooperation intending to provide the agreed-upon workflows within a 36-month subscription-based model.
SMS will implement four applications, the BFXpert® system by Paul Wurth, Viridis Dispatch, Viridis Carbon and Viridis Performance, leading to more efficient production processes and a reduced carbon footprint. The applications enable Huachipato to optimize the gas flows throughout the plant and reducing natural gas consumption by providing real-time AI (Artificial Intelligence) tracking of energy across thousands of consumptions points. Carbon and other emissions can be tracked and certificates for each product unit can be issued, which underlines the impact of a serious commitment to society and the environment: “Efficient energy and sustainability management is of key importance to the metals industries. Companies must continuously invest in improving their processes and energy consumption to sustain competitiveness and contribute to today’s global climate targets”, says Bernhard Steenken, CEO at SMS digital.
At the core of the digital service package provided to CAP is the Paul Wurth BFXpert® system. “We are delighted to be able to support Huachipato steel mill in improving their operational and environmental performance”, complements Jan Krull, Vice President Strategy and Business Development at Paul Wurth. The system combines the best available digitalized process know-how fueled with AI together with cutting edge IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) sensors such as Tuyeres Phenomena Detection System, SOMA, furnoscope and continuous hot metal temperature measurement at the tap hole. “Our know-how regarding blast furnace optimization and digitalization will be applied to the Siderúrgica Huachipato plant, saving up to five kilograms of coke per ton of hot metal, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 14 kilotons per year, and improving safety and overall plant operation.” The BFXpert® application will unlock the full potential of the BLT, which the company recently commissioned Paul Wurth with, and will make it easier to monitor and improve overall plant performance. It further includes comprehensive operational on-site support.
The digital services, which are provided on a subscription model, help reduce operational expenditure (OPEX) by constantly monitoring processes and automatically adjusting them as required to keep them optimized. Huachipato additionally benefits from increased worker safety, more stable operations, early detection of anomalies, and increased plant availability and product quality.
In addition to the digital applications, SMS provides a range of services to support Huachipato with the continuous improvement of their operations and expected transitions, also containing the further digitalization of energy and utilities. The steel mill, part of CAP’s group, will benefit from simulations of future energy and utilities scenarios, including the addition of hydrogen to the energy matrix and its consequences in the distribution of energy flows, providing quantitative feedback on many of the envisioned operational changes. “For us as a manufacturing company, it is essential to not only produce in the most efficient way but also as resource-saving as possible, which has been defined as CAP´s group strategic focus. We are confident that we will significantly improve our performance and processes with the technical and digital expertise of SMS”, says Rodrigo Briceño Carrasco, CEO of Siderurgica Huachipato.
The whole package of digital services is scheduled to go live alongside the commissioning and blow-in of the BLT in March 2023. The improvements to the facility will be immediate, as will the boost in product quality. Energy consumption will fall, and the plant’s working life will be extended as a result of the integration of this technology.