At Primetals Technologies, we are constantly observing trends — not only technological ones — in and outside the metals industry, and we are continually analyzing market developments to anticipate the future needs of our partners and the challenges they will face. In doing so, we currently identify three key areas which will shape and transform the steel industry in the coming years and decades: Green Steelmaking will allow the industry to thrive in the face of environmental challenges and regulatory pressure. Increasing demand for high-quality steel grades will require a new focus on metallurgical online models and superior equipment in new as well as modernized plants. And digitalization will be integral to every part of your operation with adaptive and self-learning properties, eroding traditional barriers in data processing and delivering unimaginable benefits.
The future of metals production is sustainable, carbon-free, safe, intelligent, and it will lead to materials with properties you would not believe.
How can the metals industry become emission-free and zero-waste? Which are the raw materials we are going to work with? How will the material properties change? And what impact will digitalization and other trends have on workplaces and job profiles?
Primetals Technologies has a clear vision for the metals industry of the future. Knowing that this transformation is a long-term effort, our pioneers are racking their brains to constantly push forward and have defined four major pillars of innovation:
"Green Steelmaking" will make the production process much less carbon-intensive, as the carbon reductant is replaced by hydrogen in various ways. A hydrogen-based direct-reduction solution, which allows the direct usage of any kind of iron ore fines, can nearly avoid any carbon footprint in ironmaking. Emissions will be close to zero. By-products will be valorized and recycled, and processes executed with perfect energy efficiency. Examples: HYFOR, EAF Quantum, Maximized Emission Reduction Of Sintering (MEROS), ZeroWaste, Dry Slag Granulation (DSG), and Green Button.
Electric vehicles are advancing fast in the marketplace. Slilicon steel grades, Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) and stainless grades highlight the important role that steel will play in this new, dynamic sector. Primetals Technologies has a rich portfolio for producing high-quality steel grades: Single Roll DynaGap (SRD) segments for continuous casting, Vacuum Argon Oxygen Decarburization (V-AOD), expert systems, Power Cooling, Automated Surface Inspection System (SIAS), and idRHa rail hardening technology are just a few examples.
Digitalization will fully automate all plants and equipment, the use of robots in dangerous working areas will dramatically increase workplace safety, Condition Monitoring Systems (CMS), and Augmented Reality (AR) will, among other things, facilitate maintenance activities. Processes will be optimized by artificial intelligence based on Big Data as well as rule-based Through-Process Optimization (TPO). Defects on final products will become negligable. These are some examples: Through-Process Quality Control (TPQC), Maintenance and Asset Technology (MAT), the robot system Liquirob, turning data into information with m.connect, and the webportal for the metals industry m.space
With our portfolio of productivity-increasing technologies, processes become more flexible regarding feed material mix, they are compressed and directly linked, avoiding multiple cooling and re-heating steps. Productivity of processes reaches a maximum. Examples: Arvedi Endless Strip Production (ESP), the direct rolling of bars with WinLink, idRHa rail hardening technology, BOF-Jet Process, ERT-EBROS Endless Rolling Technology, Acoustic Expert, and Condition Monitoring Systems (CMS).
Fig.1- A pilot plant for dry slag granulation | Fig.2- SRD Segment for single roller adjustment in continuous casting | Fig.3- m.space, the webportal for the metals industry
Read more about “The Future of Metals” in Metals Magazine