Which 4 Technologies Are Transforming the Steel Production Industry?
The steel industry has been around for ages. When you think back to the cavemen making their metal tools over an open fire, to more processed methods that become common in the industrial revolution, to what is available now in the twenty-first century, it seems that there is a common thread: technology. The technology field is ever changing, and constantly growing, making each industry that it touches more productive, better at adapting to what the current market needs, and even creating less of a carbon footprint.
Efficiency is always a big aspect in companies that make any sort of product, and the steel products manufacturing business is no different. These manufacturers are still in the business of making a profit and finding ways to make more product in a smaller amount of time, with less waste and clean-up, is a huge concern. Many technologies have come along that have taken the process from a slower moving dinosaur to a higher rated, fast-paced place.
1. Quality of Products
The quality of the products used in the field is a big factor in transforming the steel industry. With more companies to choose from, there are more options on where to get the materials needed for the project a contractor is working on. Places like those that provide steel pipe solely focus on making one type of steel item versus a production plant that may make multiple styles or many different items for a variety of fields or contractors. The benefit of this smaller type of production facility is that their product is a more quality item in the long-run because they only focus on that particular item.
Knowing that a company has a long history in the industry and a history of making steel products would be another thing to look for in terms of quality. They know what works for that particular steel they are making and have evolved with the times to keep up with the trends. They would also provide a great customer service track record and be willing to do service from start to finish, including small details like bringing a forklift to your job to get the steel placed in exactly the right area that it would be needed for work to start.
Products are also easier to move around in the current era. There are more options for moving them in a more cost-effective matter (for both the consumer and the manufacturer) as well as for doing so in a more efficient, using a manner that creates less of a carbon footprint.
Visit www.VarnerPipe.com to get an example of what one of these subcontractors is doing to help the industry and keep work moving.
2. The Mini Mill
With the upswing in the need for steel, and the industry completely different from those days of the 1950s and 1960s, there was a need for greater output without the manpower that was used back then. Enter, the mini mill. The mini mill makes it possible to improve steel plant output without the manpower that was being used over fifty years ago.
Another great benefit of the mini mill is that uses scrap metal that might otherwise end up in a landfill and not being used at all and reprocesses it into new metal that gets repurposed. This is a very eco-friendly option which is very in demand in the current climate. The mini mill is also a friendlier option in the fact that it uses less output of electricity and doesn’t take as much to operate. Greenhouse gasses are hugely reduced as well.
With the whole repurpose, reuse, recycle movement being so popular, this is a fantastic technology that both help the industry work with fewer people and helps the environment by not creating waste, and in fact, repurposing what might have previously been a waste or byproduct of the industry.
3. Blast Furnace Technology
In much the same way that the mini mill takes the steel industry production and turns it into a more earth-friendly option, the blast furnaces of the past have also undergone a huge refurbishment. The output is much more effective and is much more efficient than their previous counterparts.
These modern blast furnaces also have a much longer life expectancy than their old versions. This creates less waste and less time that is needed to replace and get rid of older and outdated models.
4. Oxygen Steelmaking
This method of steelmaking, called oxygen steelmaking, was invented in 1948 by Robert Durrer. Oxygen blowers replaced the old style and there were many benefits across the board. Not only was the time significantly shortened during the smelting process, but the cost that was maintained by the plant was decreased. The time needed to manufacture steel dropped drastically from the time it used to take using the open hearth furnace method. The man-hours required were also lessened making oxygen steelmaking a big technology hit for the steelmaking plants.
Since the earliest days of oxygen steelmaking’s inception, it has gone from a mere one percent of the market in 1954 to over half of the market in the 1970s. With the huge jump in usage, there could be more steel manufactured in a quicker time period.
Steel technology has since come a long way from the twentieth century and places like the American Iron and Steel Institute are constantly promoting the new technologies and benefits going on. Having come such a long way, the technology is the reason steelmaking has gone from a smaller man-powered operation to a huge industry that pulls in billions of dollars a year. Think of the towns that were built around a steel mill where every family had a parent that worked in some capacity in that mill. Today, steel mills like those ones have been replaced by technology leaving the giant behemoth steel structures in their wake. Technology has made the industry fast-growing, but also helped improve output and a lot of eco-conscious habits as well.