An evaluation process leads to learning points for future projects at Corus (Tata)

‘Every revision that is examined retrospectively leads to learning points. Learning points can lead to improvements in the approach and processes so that future projects can be carried out even more effectively and efficiently.’ Based on this idea, Corus (now Tata steel) called in PDM after the Hoogoven 07 revision and the Rechte Gietvorm (Straight Mould) project.

Corus IJmuiden is a subsidiary of the international steel manufacturer the Corus Group. With headquarters in London, the Corus Group employs no less than 41,200 people in 40 countries. About 10,000 of these work for Corus in IJmuiden, divided over various business units. Corus has been part of the Indian Tata company since April 2007.

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Hoogoven 07

Part of the Corus Strip Products business unit is the Hoogovens work unit where Dick Veel has been Project Leader of the ‘Reparatie Hoogoven 07’ (Repairs to Hoogoven 07) project. Hoogoven 07 is one of the two furnaces of Corus Strip Products IJmuiden for the production of pig iron. This production process produces two by-products, namely gas and slag sand. The gas is supplied as a raw material to the Nuon electricity power station for producing electricity and the slag sand goes to the ENCI plant for manufacturing cement. Annually, Hoogoven 07 alone supplies Nuon with about 8 million tonnes of gas for a pig iron production of 4 million tonnes.

‘The average campaign time for both furnaces at Corus Strip Products varies from 13 to 15 years. After that large-scale maintenance has to be carried out on the furnace. In the period from July 2002 to December 2007, it was the turn of Hoogoven 07. For the last three months of this period, the furnace was entirely idle in order to carry out the final work,’ says Veel.

‘Rechte gietvorm’

During the revision period for Hoogoven 07, PDM was also busy with the three-year project ‘Rechte Gietvorm’ (Straight Mould) at Oxygen Steel Plant 2. This slab caster had a problem that regularly caused gas blisters in the half-product. To overcome this, we modified the design of the caster and made it straight. With this ‘straight mould’, the liquid steel runs in at one end and two slabs, cut to size, emerge at the other. The slabs are then milled in a hot strip mill into steel rolls with a minimum thickness of 2.5 mm before proceeding to a cold rolling mill. In this plant, the rolls are milled again – this time to a few tenths of a millimetre thick. After that, the steel is ready to be coated with a layer of zinc, paint or tin. Once all of this processing is complete, the steel is ready to be transported to sectors such as the automotive or building industries for further processing.

Approach

When both projects had been completed, Corus asked PDM to analyse the approach to the revisions. The aim of this was to implement possible improvements in the systems and processes used so that future projects could be carried out even more effectively and efficiently. PDM began by interviewing the various employees that were involved in preparation and implementation. We then structured all the information that we gathered with the aid of our Readiness Review/Analysis tool. After that, we compared all the information we had obtained with our ‘best practices’ for turnarounds and then fed back points that differed too much to the people we had interviewed. Based on the 9 management aspects developed by PDM, we also made an improvement proposal with concrete actions for dealing with these points.

Learning points

This exercise was very worthwhile. Learning points emerge every time. For instance, this time it appeared that we had not paid sufficient attention to assessing the condition of the plant to be rebuilt. And we had also overestimated the ability of the contractor that we had hired for the project, as appeared when the project had started. Because this contractor worked with a lot of seconded manpower, the possibilities for upscaling were limited, which made it difficult to keep to schedule.

Veel also says that they re-modified particular parts on the basis of PDM’s analysis. ‘Only by looking critically at your work in this way is it possible to carry out improvements. So it’s important that we, as the people involved, are always open to this, and that can only benefit our project,’ says Veel.

Dick Veel
Project Leader ‘Reparatie Hoogoven 07 (Repairs to Hoogoven 07), Corus Strip Products

Every revision that is examined retrospectively leads to learning points. Learning points can lead to improvements in the approach and processes so that future projects can be carried out even more effectively and efficiently.


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