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Siderúrgica Huachipato commissions SMS with digitalization project

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Author: Lucas Möllers

Siderúrgica Huachipato commissions SMS with digitalization project
SMS digital welcomes CAP’s group at Vetta's headquarters in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (source: SMS group)

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. 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, BFXpert®, Viridis Dispatch, Viridis Carbon and Viridis Performance, leading to more efficient production processes. Furthermore the carbon footprint will be reduced. The applications enable Huachipato to optimize the gas flows throughout the plant. By doing so, the company is 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. This 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.

“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 SMS group company that first developed the BFXpert® blast furnace technology that will now be provided to Huachipato.

BFXpert® application will unlock full potential

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. Also continuous hot metal temperature measurement at the tap hole will take place.

The BFXpert® application will unlock the full potential of the BLT, which the company recently commissioned SMS with. It will make it easier to monitor and improve overall plant performance. Furthermore it 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. Then it automatically adjusts the process as required to keep them optimized. Huachipato additionally benefits from increased worker safety and more stable operations. Further benefits are early detection of anomalies, and increased plant availability and product quality.

Further services by SMS will support Huachipato

In addition to the digital applications, SMS provides a range of services to support Huachipato with the continuous improvement of their operations. Upcoming and expected transitions contain 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. This includes the addition of hydrogen to the energy matrix and its consequences in the distribution of energy flows. Quantitative feedback on many of the envisioned operational changes will be provided.

“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.