Steel Hub - Your Steel Consultant Company | Steel Hub service portfolio
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Steel Hub service portfolio

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Operations management

In the experience of Steel Hub, clients often focus on high-capex investment solutions in order to boost profitability of their plants. In many cases, the greater profit potential actually lies in introducing or following more rigorous operations practices. The Steel Hub approach seeks to better utilize existing infrastructure. We leverage our world-wide expertise on best operational practices so that our clients can achieve higher levels of efficiency by implementing low-cost, proven and effective measures.

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Productivity enhancement

With increasing competition world-wide, the steel industry’s no 1 priority is cost optimization. When engaged in a performance improvement program, Steel Hub first measures the relevant technical and financial KPI’s to create an overview of the plant’s strengths and weaknesses. Next, the most significant bottlenecks are assessed and improvement measures identified with a focus on increasing productivity. Upon request, Steel Hub assists with implementation of recommended measures.

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Process yield improvement

Similarly, yield optimization can often be achieved using a mix of measures. An example of such measures can include optimization of scrap handling procedures to increase yield performance. Steel Hub experts place great importance on training workers to ensure that yield improvements achieved are sustained in the long term.

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Defects troubleshooting

Quality defects lead to delays in production routines, cause high rework costs and even reduced production. In the worst case, quality defects are detected by the customers, causing costly complaints. Laboratory analysis of metallurgy combined with production knowledge establishes the reason for defects.

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Resource management

Another key success factor is the efficient use of resources, in particular energy and raw material consumption. In order to improve resource efficiency, Steel Hub experts compare plant KPI’s with best practice benchmarks to make assessments and recommendations on, for example, input materials, furnace design, EAF chemical energy, metallurgy and energy recovery.

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Engineering support

Once productivity gains from operational improvements have been maximised, we then evaluate the plant infrastructure. Every plant benefits from deploying modern equipment – but will the expected financial benefits definitely outweigh the investment cost? Are the conditions and capabilities in place to ensure that new equipment will be used most efficiently? Steel Hub evaluates the current technical conditions of our clients’ plants and identifies the priority areas for technical upgrades. Our experts develop specific recommendations on technological options available and, upon request, manage their implementation.

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Plant layout optimization

Sometimes, plant layout changes are required to unlock further profit potential. Our engineers analyse current production processes and evaluate alternative options to identify superior plant layouts. Working with advanced software solutions and simulations, Steel Hub helps clients determine the optimal plant setup and prevents the risk of sub-optimal large-scale investment decisions.

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By-products reduction

Steel production leads to the creation of significant amounts of by-products. The Steel Hub team provides strategies and implements solutions that reduce by-products generation and increases the reuse of by-products for other applications.

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Capex assessment

Repeatedly, steel plant management needs to take large-scale investment decisions. Wrong decisions can lead to massive waste of capital. Steel Hub first assesses whether alternative, lower-capex strategies exist. If a large-capex investment is unavoidable, Steel Hub runs technical analyses and simulation models to identify the optimal capex decision.

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Tender management

Tender requirements are becoming increasingly demanding. For project proposal documents, expected quality standards and technical accuracy are rising. Steel Hub supports clients at all stages of tender management and proposal preparation, such as fact-finding, interviewing, technical analysis and budget calculation as well as writing and design.

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Artificial Intelligence

Besides optimizing operations management and deploying state-of-the art production technology, a third lever is available to those who want to boost steel plant efficiency to previously unprecedented levels. Advanced optimization methods building on AI technologies enable predictions that are more accurate than those generated by standard methods. Even better, AI algorithms develop over time, when decisions taken by plant management and operators are fed back automatically through machine learning. Steel Hub collaborates with world-leading scientific research institutes, which pioneer the implementation of the most advanced AI and industry 4.0 technologies in the steel industry. Steel Hub Teams are composed of both senior scientists and experienced engineers for the implementation of AI tools in our clients’ plants.

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Quality Assurance

AI technologies help to bring quality assurance capabilities to the next level. Steel Hub leverages computer vision and advanced AI algorithms to upgrade existing monitoring systems. Steel Hub’s AI-augmented monitoring systems automatically alert operators to potential product quality defects and provide recommendations on how to act on the defects; furthermore, they are able to track implementation decisions taken by the operators through machine learning for future defects reduction. Furthermore, AI optimization techniques enable root cause detection from defects pattern analysis across the entire manufacturing process chain.

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Optimal process control

AI-driven engines being fed with data such as material consumption, production cycle lengths, production parameters etc. very often outperform traditional optimization methods in the accuracy of their predictions. Therefore, even for those plants already allocating their human and technological resources efficiently, AI-supported optimization models often reveal pathways to previously unprecedented efficiency levels

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Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is vital to operational efficiency. It prevents both costly unpredicted production delays as well as unnecessary overinvestment in plant infrastructure. Hence, the adoption of AI algorithms helps to further reduce unplanned downtimes and leads to efficient utilization of assets late into their lifetime.

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Supply chain management

Integrated AI technologies increase the accuracy of supply chain forecasts, for example by reducing forecast cycles from monthly to daily/hourly forecasts, by interlinking data pools such as weather data, traffic patterns and competitor pricing etc. This helps to lower inventories, reduce overall required storage capacities, brings down transportation cost, and optimizes procurement planning.

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