PSI Blog

ESTAD 2023: Highlighting the Challenges and Opportunities for Steel Producers

18 Aug 2023 - Industry 4.0, Energy, Technology

Product Manager for Energy and Liquid at PSI Metals presenting on ESTAD 2023
ESTAD 2023 in Düsseldorf, Germany © PSI Metals

From 12-16 June 2023, the European Steel Technology and Application Days (ESTAD) welcomed back experts to present major trends revolutionizing the industry. PSI Metals was in attendance, presenting six papers.

ESTAD was founded in 2013 in order to have a counterpart to big conferences in North America and Asia. Its goal is to bring all the steel industry experts together to discuss latest technologies in steelmaking, ranging from blast furnaces to direct reduction, steel rolling, materials and application, environmental protection and CO2 mitigation. ESTAD takes place biennially. And once in four years, the event accompanies METEC, which is the biggest metallurgical event in the metals industry with over 18,000 visitors and 618 different exhibition stands for the 2023 event. But what were the key and recurrent topics in the steel industry at ESTAD 2023?

Currently, the biggest challenge is the transformation of the steel industry to get to the target of green steelmaking in the future. This means the transformation from the Basic oxygen Furnace (BOF) to the direct reduction technology and also the hydrogen-based technology with the melting of the DRI in an electric arc furnace or in a submerged arc furnace (SAF). This produces a liquid hot metal that is transformed to green steel. This key challenge was also highlighted in the opening keynote sessions.

To get clearer insights about what this transition means to steel producers, PSI Metals spoke to Dr.-Ing. Hans Bodo Lüngen, Former Executive Member of the Managing Board at Steel Institute VDEh. He states:

”The transition means the shut down of old plants and the construction of new ones. The construction of new plants also means in the end capital intensive projects. This also requires the huge demand of fossil-free electrical energy supply and CO2-free produced hydrogen.“

Insight into ESTAD 2023 with Dr. Bodo Lüngen © PSI Metals

Opportunities for Transforming and Optimizing Steelmaking

Owing to his many years of experience and deep insights about the steel industry, Dr. Lüngen further adds that digitalization is a helpful tool in the industry. According to him:

“Digitalization helps to increase productivity. It is clear that digitalization also referred to as Industry 4.0 is of great benefits in steel production steps. These production steps are already existing with over a 100 direct reduction shaft furnaces in the world. These direct reduction shaft furnaces produce between 70-80 million tons of DRI steel. Unfortunately, in Europe, there is one of such plants, which is the ArcelorMittal Hamburg, producing about 400,000 tons.”

During the five-day event, about 600 presentations were made with their accompanying presentations. These papers and presentations were further divided into six different sub-categories.

PSI Metals also presented six different papers that touch on Industry 4.0, steelmaking, transformation, environment and electrical energy consumption and management.

Metals Production Management 4.0

PSI Metals' Dr. Stenico Alessandro [LinkedIn], Product Manager Quality, in his presentation details the IT infrastructure and business process management functions that a metals production management system 4.0 must provide, to plainly support and leverage the promises of the industrial internet revolution.

Blockchain-based Tracking of Steel Products’ Properties Enhanced by Zero-knowledge Proofs

Metals consumers are interested in the properties of the products they want to buy. Blockchain technology provides these details and creates transparency. However, this transparency could expose confidential information about production processes that could harm the company's competitiveness. Dipl.-Ing. Roman Markus Holler [LinkedIn] discusses that by combining blockchain technology with zero-knowledge proofs, metal producers can successfully provide this information without revealing confidential details about their production processes.

Zero-knowledge proofs with Roman Markus Holler © PSI Metals

Maximizing Profit through Short-Term Market Prices by Detailed Energy Consumption Projections

Energy consumption, especially CO2-free electrical energy consumption and prices are core issues in the steel industry. In his presentation, Dr. Stefan Albers, Business Consultant at PSI Metals presents that two steps are essential to enable steel producers adapt to energy availability. The first is to forecast the energy demand of production and secondly ensure that the adapted production plans match the energy availability.

Dynamic Order Dressing – The Key Input to Optimized Planning

PSI Metals’ Marc Schwarzer spoke on Dynamic Order Dressing (OD). In his presentation, he marks that this technology provides several advanced features, which combine into the overall system architecture to provide the vital inputs for an optimized planning decision.

Cloud-based Assistance System for AI-cognition Supported In-process Control in Steel Production

The publicly funded KIKA-IPK project (German abbreviation for “AI cognition supported assistance system for in-process control in manufacturing”) aims to provide a cloud-based platform as a standard for industrial AI applications. This platform will interconnect industry partners and AI third-party service providers in such a way that specific problems in production can be analyzed via this platform in a standardized way. The resulting AI application either will be available to the industrial customer remotely or deployed to the on-premise system for offline use.

The particular goal of the research project is the development of an AI cognition supported assistance system for in-process control, which enables a more resource efficient process and material configuration through self-learning correlations of signal characteristics with process properties.

The machine operator's empirical knowledge of the connection between tangible quality features on the one hand and process characteristics on the other is modelled by machine learning methods. This is demonstrated by the example of additive manufacturing of steel parts.

Interview with Dr. Joachim Gnauk at ESTAD 2023 © PSI Metals

Qualicision-based Online Heat Scheduling in Hybrid Melt Shops

The introduction of the hybrid steel plant is a significant step to accelerate decarbonization of steel production. However, managing a hybrid steel plant is more complex and requires efficient planning and scheduling approach in order to harness its full potentials.

In his presentation, Heinz-Josef Ponten [LinkedIn] states that to harness the full benefits of a hybrid steel plants, three approaches need to be applied in the production management.

  1. Use software to schedule heat production at the melt shop.
  2. Forecast effectively both energy and material resource usage, thereby reducing the amount of energy consumption.
  3. Finally make balanced decisions based on production targets and green KPIs.

Expand your knowledge, meet your peers.

Content marketing Manager, PSI Metals

Veronica Ugwu

Content Marketing Manager, PSI Metals GmbH

Veronica is responsible for creating and executing overall contents to meet strategic plans, communications and PR goals at PSI Metals. She proactively strives to tell the story behind the people and the solutions revolutionizing the metals industry. She is fascinated at the power of contents and how it can be used to deliver insights and tell story about anything. In her free time, Veronica enjoys jogging in the nature.

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