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Making Steel Sustainable

Making Steel Sustainable

If the Eiffel Tower was built today, it would require just 25 percent of the steel used for its construction in 1887. This is one example of the impressive development of material science. But as material science develops, so too does the need to find more efficient ways of producing important metals such as steel. Here, Mats W Lundberg, sustainable business manager at Sandvik Materials Technology, explores some of ways to sustainably manufacture steel.  

Steel’s central role in the development of our society means that those working in the industry have a special responsibility to contribute towards its sustainability.

In March 2013, the steel industry in Sweden agreed on a common industry-wide vision: “Steel shapes a better future”. This vision implies three undertakings — leading technical development, nurturing creative individuals and creating environmental benefits. So, what is the industry doing to achieve this?

One initiative to reduce the environmental impact of the steel industry involves cutting out carbon dioxide (CO2) from steel production altogether. By replacing the coking coal that is traditionally needed for ore-based steel making with green hydrogen produced from fossil-free electricity, manufacturers are able to produce steel with virtually no carbon footprint.

When the hydrogen reacts with the oxygen in the iron ore, the result is water vapour, rather than CO2, and the hydrogen itself can be produced sustainably using renewable sources.

Another method to increase steel’s sustainability focuses on material that has already been produced. Global climate targets for 2030 include at least a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990’s levels, a 32 percent share for renewable energy and a 32.5 percent improvement in energy efficiency. If we’re to meet these targets and continue on the path towards a greener future, we must also consider how we manage steel that already exists in the value chain.

Delivering sustainability needs to involve a lifecycle approach that breaks away from the ‘make-take-dispose’ linear economy and towards a circular way of managing resources.

Steel is 100 percent recyclable and can be reused over and over again to create new products in a closed material loop, with around three quarters of all steel products ever made still in use today. Think about it  —  the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge has been carrying road and rail traffic since 1932, and there are no plans to send this bridge to the scrap heap any time soon.

Recycled steel maintains the inherent properties of original steel and is the most recycled material in the world. Since October 2019, Sandvik has been providing its customers with the exact figure of the amount of recycled steel per product on our Materials Certificates. Already today, the products manufactured in our steel mill consist of an average of 82 percent recycled material.

Our long term goal is to become more than 90 percent circular by 2030 in our own manufacturing system, and to drive the shift to more circular business models and use of resources.

Furthermore, using hydrogen in steel production could drastically alter the properties of the finished product. As the reduction agent is changed to hydrogen, the iron ore is no longer smelted in the same way and will not produce a replica result. To deliver a product that is consistent with the steel we have been using for over 150 years, it is more logical to use what we already have.

Materials technology has advanced massively since the Eiffel Tower’s construction. For developments in materials such as steel to align with our efforts to make industry more sustainable, we must not only consider how we create the product in the first place, but also how we manage the volume of steel that already exists in our society.


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Economical Reaming In Cast Iron And Steel In High Quantities

Economical reaming In Cast Iron And Steel In High Quantities

MAPAL is launching a new, particularly economical system of replaceable head reamers – the Press-to-Size-Reamer (PSR) – for customers who manufacture in large series. Thanks to the new development, the costs per bore are reduced massively.

The solid carbide replaceable heads are specifically adapted to individual diameters and geometries. The replaceable head system for the diameter range 10 to 25 mm consists of a robust holder, the solid carbide replaceable head and a coolant distribution element. The connection is highly accurate. This means that the heads can be changed by the customer’s employee on site without any adjustment or logistics effort, a big plus in terms of cost-effectiveness. The replaceable head is merely exchanged and disposed of. There is no provision for reconditioning the replaceable heads.

By eliminating the logistics cycle, the new replaceable head system significantly improves the economic efficiency of reaming operations in large-scale production. This effect is even reinforced by the fact that, in contrast to carbide-tipped reaming tools, the solid carbide replaceable heads can be designed with a CVD coating – with correspondingly positive effects on tool life.


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Tenova Deploys ABB Automation And Drives Systems For New Tinning Line Plant In Southeast Asia

Tenova Deploys ABB Automation And Drives Systems For New Tinning Line Plant In Southeast Asia

ABB contract success in the Philippines metals industry continues to pave the way for productive cooperation with Tenova in the region

Global metals plant solutions provider, Tenova, has selected ABB to supply and install a comprehensive drives and automation package for Southeast Asia tinplate manufacturer, Perstima, at its new electrolytic tinning and tin free steel line in Malvar, Philippines. The new solutions will be operational in June 2021.

Project scope includes the ABB Ability System 800xA DCS (Distributed Control System), which integrates control, electrical and communication systems for optimal visibility into all processes for stable production and the efficient use of raw materials and energy, plus the compact, high-performance AC800 PEC controller, with control desks and posts.

In addition, ABB will supply its Collaborative Production Management for Metals solution to optimise all aspects of process and production planning, asset monitoring and manufacturing execution. ABB’s state-of-the-art ACS880 low voltage multidrives and motor control center (MCC) switchgear complete the package.

When installation and commissioning is complete, Perstima will benefit from a compact, fully integrated, easy-to-use control, automation and drives system designed for flexibility, durability and optimal productivity.

“ABB was the logical choice to equip Perstima’s new electrolytic tinning lines with proven technology for accurate line speed and tension control,” said Stefano Marelli, Global Sales Southeast Asia, Tenova. “ABB’s solutions matched perfectly with their requirements and will provide Perstima with a robust drives and automation system which can be expanded as the plant develops.”

“Discussions with ABB throughout the implementation phase have been hugely productive, quickly understanding Perstima’s desire for adaptability and customised set-up for ease of operation,” said Giuseppe Zanzi, Sales and Marketing Manager, Tenova. “We look forward to moving into the installation and commissioning stages in 2021, knowing we’ll have ABB support throughout.”

“This is another successful cooperation with Tenova in Southeast Asia, following projects in Indonesia, and Vietnam,” said Shailendra Dubey, Hub Industry Lead, Metals. “This is also our first involvement with Perstima, so gaining their trust and approval is a major milestone for us, and we look forward to a productive working relationship both with this customer and in the region as a whole.”

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Battery Electric Vehicles Will Be Less Reliant On Lightweighting By 2030

Battery Electric Vehicles Will Be Less Reliant On Lightweighting By 2030

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are poised to be the future of the auto industry. Looking toward the future of BEVs, a new report from Lux Research, “Electric Vehicle Lightweighting 2030,” analyses the future of vehicle lightweighting and necessary BEV success factors over the next decade.

In the past, lightweighting – or purposely designing more lightweight cars specifically for fuel efficiency – has been a key tool for improving the fuel economy of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However, the transition from ICEs to BEVs changes both the goals and the design considerations around lightweighting.

Anthony Schiavo, Senior Analyst at Lux, states, “BEVs are overwhelmingly more efficient than ICE vehicles due to regenerative braking and more efficient motors and are increasingly outgrowing the issue of limited range. Materials companies need to start planning for a fully mature BEV space.”

Lux predicts that battery pack energy densities will increase by roughly 15 percent over the next decade. This increased energy density can be used to either extend the range of a vehicle by keeping battery size the same or reduce cost by shrinking the size of the battery pack. In its analysis, Lux modeled both scenarios and calculated a lightweighting benchmark. Lux determined that in order for lightweighting to be a cost-effective solution against batteries by 2030, it will need to cost, on average, less than $5 per kilogram of weight saved.

“This benchmark is not the only thing guiding lightweighting decisions,” cautions Schiavo. “To find adoption, materials companies and manufacturers will need to find solutions that save on both weight and cost.”

“We predict vehicle structure will be an opportunity for high-strength steel and aluminum, as they provide weight reductions at minimal cost,” Schiavo continues. “Bumpers are expected to benefit from design advancements that utilise glass fiber, carbon fiber, and thermoplastics. Other material priorities, such as sustainability, durability, and end-of-life issues, however, will take priority over lightweighting by 2030.” Lux found that there’s far more risk of disruption from improving energy storage technologies – which could substantially outstrip forecast improvements by 2030 – than there is from novel innovations in materials.

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ANDRITZ Strengthens Technology Leadership With Train Wheel Production Line

ANDRITZ Strengthens Technology Leadership With Train Wheel Production Line

International technology group ANDRITZ and Allegro – a subsidiary of EVRAZ and RailService established to implement the project to produce train wheels in the Titan Valley special economic zone – have signed a contract to supply a complete production line for train wheels.

ANDRITZ GROUP subsidiaries ANDRITZ Maerz and Schuler will supply the production line. The main part of the contract is expected to be booked in mid-2021, with the first consignment being scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2022.

The production process comprises several stages: The blanks produced by EVRAZ are heated to 1,250 deg C in the rotary hearth furnace, then descaled and preformed in a hydraulic press with 10,000 tons of press force. After this, the blanks are rolled in a wheel-rolling machine developed by Schuler and forged into a finished product in a crimping and piercing press with 5,000 tons of press force. This is followed by a geometric test in a laser measuring system and permanent marking in a marking press. Finally, the wheels undergo heat treatment and the running surfaces are hardened.

Allegro is investing a total of around 16 billion rubles (approximately 180 million euros) in the production of train wheels. With the new production line, Allegro will be able to produce 200,000 train wheels per year, and up to 300,000 with a further extension. Production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the project will create a total of 425 new jobs.

“We are looking forward to reaching this milestone with ANDRITZ as the main supplier,” says EVRAZ Vice President Denis Novozhenov, who heads the Ural Division. “Production of train wheels requires highest competence and strict quality control, and this begins in production of the steel. The know-how from EVRAZ is vital to this project.”

Heinz Autischer, Head of Metals Processing at ANDRITZ: “We are very proud that we have won a railway wheel line again to be supplied jointly by ANDRITZ Maerz and Schuler. With this order, we will deliver the most advanced production line ever built in this segment and also strengthen our technology leadership in this area.”


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Sandvik Creates The World’s Most Sustainable Steel Knives

Sandvik Creates The World’s Most Sustainable Steel Knives

Most customers turn to Sandvik Materials Technology when they’re searching for large steel billets and tubes, or equipment for industrial furnaces. However, Sandvik’s expertise also extends to the kitchen and the company has previously worked with professional chefs to develop steel knives. When Craig Lockwood set out to create the world’s most sustainable knives, he knew where to turn for an environmentally-conscious material choice.

Lockwood is the owner of handmade knives business Chop Knives, and has supplied his products to prestigious restaurants including Michelin-starred Black Swan and L’Enclume in the UK. He doesn’t just want to make the best knives on the market, Lockwood also wants his products to be the most sustainable knife choice.

Steel sustainability

The most common blade steel types fall into three categories: carbon steel, tool steel and stainless steel. While carbon steel is generally used for rough use where toughness is important, stainless steel’s added chromium can increase a knife blade’s performance levels.

Steel is the best-performing blade material, but Lockwood battled with its environmental status when creating the world’s most sustainable knives. “As a responsible maker, I thought a lot about how I could make a kitchen knife with a positive effect on the planet. I knew I needed to closely follow the material supply chain to find the best suppliers.”

Steel provides solutions to infrastructure and construction around the world. The material helps build climate resilient cities and coastal protection, and forms protective designs that minimise the effects of natural disasters. While some of steel’s many uses undoubtedly do good for our planet, the steel industry also generates between seven and nine per cent of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuel.

So why would Lockwood choose steel as his sustainable blade choice? While the initial production of steel emits large quantities of carbon dioxide, industry leaders are acting to improve the material’s sustainability. Steel is infinitely recyclable, and can be continually repurposed without the loss of properties or performance.

Scrap value

When we think of repurposing old steel, or scrap steel, it could be easy to question the used metal’s quality. To ensure recycled steel maintains its properties, it’s important that the original manufacturer takes responsibility over their material. If a scrap dealer disposes of used steel, it could impact its quality and sustainability.

Difficulties start as steel scrap sorting is not always thorough and similar steel grades are often mixed together. This downcycles the quality of the steel when reusing it as a secondary raw material. It also means the manufacturer must add virgin materials to get the right composition when creating a specific steel grade, which perpetuates a less-sustainable supply chain.

Instead, steel manufacturers can ensure the quality of recycled steel by managing their original assets. Across the European steel industry, steel is typically made up of around 50 per cent recycled material, the rest is virgin raw material. At Sandvik, our steel is made up of around 82 per cent secondary raw material, and our goal is to reach 90 per cent by 2030.

The Chop Knives are made up of 78 per cent recycled steel, which Lockwood cuts, shapes and grinds in his workshop to form the perfect blades. The specific steel grades used in the knives are 14C28N and Sandvik 12C27M. This is a martensitic stainless chromium steel developed for the manufacture of kitchen tools.

What’s more, the knives’ steel is produced in one of the most ecologically sound steel mills in the world. A Sandvik steel mill uses an electric furnace to heat the material before it’s casted and hot rolled. The hot-rolled strips are then treated onsite, reducing transport and ensuring traceability throughout the process. To power the electric furnaces, Sandvik relies of nuclear and hydropower.

Environmentally sharp

In addition to the knives’ blades, Lockwood has also worked to create sustainable knife handles. He reuses kitchen waste, such as yoghurt pots, meat packing trays or water bottles, to help his create a product that completely encapsulates his sustainability values.

The perfect blend of materials innovation, paired with creative thinking, have proven the perfect recipe for Craig Lockwood’s sustainable knives.

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New Generation Of Taps For Hardened Steel, Cast Iron Materials

New Generation Of Taps For Hardened Steel, Cast Iron Materials

EMUGE Corp. has launched its A-H family of taps, a new generation of Premium HSS-E and HSSE-PM Taps for hardened steel and cast iron materials. EMUGE has enhanced its H Series of Rekord-A style taps to provide more standard product solutions for threading hardened steel and cast iron material.

The EMUGE A-H family of taps is the best solution for tapping extremely abrasive materials and those materials with elevated hardness levels, such as cast iron, common in the heavy equipment and agricultural vehicle markets. EMUGE A-H Taps are now available with or without coolant through holes and with TiCN coating, or NT nitride surface treatment, for improved tool life.

Premium HSS-E A-H Taps can tap materials up to 48 Rc hardness. Emuge HSSE-PM A-HCUT Taps can tap materials between 44 and 55 Rc hardness and feature a hard, heat resistant, powdered metal substrate for enhanced cutting performance and extended tool life. The new generation of taps with TiCN coating enhance the surface hardness and help increase the tools’ abrasion resistance. A new coolant-fed version with axial coolant holes help aid in chip evacuation.

The new EMUGE A-H family of taps is suitable for short chipping hardened steel and cast iron, and are offered in a Rekord A style for through and blind hole applications. UNC/ UNF thread sizes along with metric and metric fine sizes are available.


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Asia Pacific Registers Strong Growth In Demand For Wear Resistant Steel Plates

Asia Pacific Registers Strong Growth in Demand For Wear Resistant Steel Plates

Strong resurgence of end-use industries, spearheaded by mining, especially in Asia Pacific, is creating a highly conducive environment for growth of the wear-resistant steel plates market. Manufacturers of heavy machinery equipment are preferring wear resistant steel plates over conventional steel plates, as these have significantly longer lifespan at a marginal cost difference. Attributed to the above facts and rising demand for high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel from agricultural, automotive and mining industry, the global wear resistant steel plate market is expected to grow at a CAGR of four percent over 2019 to 2027, according to a report by Fact.MR.

Key Takeaways of Wear Resistant Steel Plate Market:

  • The use of wear resistant steel plates in agriculture is set to increase in terms of market share over the long term forecast, however, mining will retain the lion’s share
  • Demand for wear resistant steel plates has witnessed a spike on account of growing emphasis on improving efficiency in carrying out complex excavation projects.
  • The rapid growth of mining as an industry will drive the demand for wear resistant steel plates, creating an absolute $ opportunity of ~US$ 570 Mn by the end of 2029
  • Hardness combined with good formability- the AR400 segment is projected to witness steady growth in the global wear resistant steel plate market.
  • With high tensile strength and its predominant use as a structural steel, A514 will cater to nearly 40 percent of the global demand in the wear resistant steel plate market till 2029
  • APEJ is expected to continue its supremacy in terms of demand, accounting for close to half the global demand.

On account of its long-term advantages, demand for high quality wear resistant plates has been growing in the agriculture and automotive industry and in the range of new applications which include acidic & freezing environments, the recycling business and municipal waste.


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