Tag Archives: SSAB

Austin Engineering receives steel award plaudits for two-piece excavator bucket

Austin Engineering has placed second overall at the 2019 Swedish Steel Awards, at the same time as its two-piece excavator bucket was awarded the Peoples’ Choice Award at the event.

First awarded in 1999, the Swedish Steel Prize is an international award for companies, institutions and individuals in the steel industry. The prize, owned by SSAB, has for 20 years been recognising and rewarding those that have developed a method or product that fully utilises the potential of high-strength, wear resistant and other premium steels.

An independent professional jury assesses the entries by considering their applicability, profitability, environmental benefits, performance, innovation and creativity.

The jury said: “Austin Engineering has taken a significant leap in innovation for the design and maintenance of excavator buckets. With a modular approach, they have developed an innovative concept that combines low weight with optimal use of the complete product before scrapping. The solution utilises the characteristics of high strength and wear resistant steel and has extremely low barriers for implementation.”

Designed and manufactured in Australia by Austin Engineering, the two-piece bucket features a reusable upper section and a consumable lower segment designed for quick and safe bucket change-outs during scheduled maintenance intervals.

The reusable upper section has been designed to maintain overall structural integrity of the assembly for a predetermined service life through multiple change-outs of the lower, consumable, section.

According to the company, typical baseline service life for the upper section service will be in the vicinity of 30,000 hours; around four to five years based on industry expectations of conventional one-piece buckets of similar size and capacities.

Along with Austin Engineering, the finalists in this year’s award included Kampang from Brazil for its feeder modules for axial grain harvesters used in soybean farming, Roofit Solar from Estonia for its metal solar roofs that produce electricity and the US-based Shape Corp (overall winner) for its robust manufacturing process for 3D shaped tubes.

Steel award entries must be a method or product that fully uses the characteristics of premium steel within SSAB’s product range, but does not necessarily need to be steel produced by SSAB, according to the organisers.

HYBRIT hydrogen storage facility finds financial backing

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have agreed to invest SEK150 million ($15.2 million) on construction of a storage facility for hydrogen at the HYBRIT pilot plant for fossil-free steel.

The funding, which comes on top of the Swedish Energy Agency’s close to SEK50 million pledge, is an important step towards the goal of fossil-free iron and steel production, the HYBRIT joint venture partners said.

The HYBRIT initiative began in 2016. By using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen instead of coke and coal in steel production, the emissions will be water instead of carbon dioxide. The initiative has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10%, according to company estimates.

The plan is to build the new hydrogen gas storage facility 25-35 m below the ground surface on LKAB’s land in Svartöberget, Sweden, close to the pilot plant currently under construction on SSAB’s site in Luleå. Construction of the 100 cu.m storage facility is expected to start in 2021 and it will operate from 2022-2024. It is expected to be a pressurised hydrogen gas storage facility in a bedrock cavern with a steel lining as a sealing layer.

The implementation study for the HYBRIT initiative showed large-scale storage of hydrogen gas can play an important role in Sweden’s future energy system. As well as acting as a buffer to ensure an even flow to the steel production, a large-scale hydrogen gas storage facility would offer a better opportunity to balance the electricity system with a greater proportion of weather-dependent power generation, and enable a competitive production cost for the fossil-free steel, according to the project partners.

Magnus Hall, Vattenfall’s President and CEO, said: “I am very pleased that we, as partners, are step by step developing our joint fossil-free steel project, and the support from the Swedish Energy Agency is important.

“Now, with the support of the community, we are investing in the next piece of the jigsaw puzzle for a value chain in which hydrogen gas plays a decisive role in the success of the initiative and the development of competitive fossil-free electricity generation in Sweden.”

Martin Lindqvist, SSAB’s President and CEO, said the investment in a storage facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas is “an important building block in achieving our goal of a fossil-free value chain from ore to finished steel”, with Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO, adding that he was pleased the project could make use of parts of the company’s former ore port facility for the experiment.

Robert Andrén, Director General of the Swedish Energy Agency, said large, complex and expensive leaps in technology need to be taken for the sake of the climate, to achieve the goal of zero net emissions.

“Large-scale storage of hydrogen gas will be an important piece of the jigsaw puzzle for a fossil-free value chain for steel manufacturing, but also in a future electricity system with an increasing proportion of weather-dependent power,” he said.

In June last year, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the HYBRIT initiative partners, started the construction of a unique pilot plant in Luleå. Work also began recently on the reconstruction of a pellet works in Malmberget to replace fossil fuel with bio oil, with the aim of manufacturing fossil-free pellets.

The pilot plants for fossil-free steel production will be used from 2021 to 2024, and the partners are already looking into the possibility of scaling up the manufacturing by building a demonstration plant in 2025, three years earlier than previously planned, to produce fossil-free steel from iron ore for commercial use. The aim for 2035 is to sell fossil-free steel on a broad scale.

Baco mining trucks feeling the benefits of SSAB Hardox steels

The use of SSAB’s Hardox® 500 Tuf wear plate in Argentina-based Industrias Baco’s tipper truck bodies has extended the product lifespan by around 30%, according to the Nordic-based steelmaker.

Industrias Baco, the first company in Argentina to use SSAB’s specialist steel wear plate in tipper truck bodies, was so impressed by these results that 90% of its tipper bodies are now made with Hardox wear plate.

The switch to Hardox steels from traditional steel has been a fundamental part of the company’s increased sales, according to Patricia Meers, Financial Manager at Industrias Baco. “I believe Hardox steel has been a great part of our sales success. SSAB has helped us a great deal with marketing over these past years, and sales of our tippers have increased greatly with the help of Hardox wear plate. Our clients are very satisfied because the Hardox material is much more hard-wearing and versatile.”

Industrias Baco is mainly focused on producing heavy duty tippers for the mining industry.

Sales Coordinator, Nelson Bacolla, said the addition of Hardox 500 Tuf has led to the creation of new truck model with a design that helps improve the unloading process – reducing the unload time and, therefore, increasing productivity and the bottom line.

“It has been very successful,” Bacolla says. “When it comes to the distribution of the load, the truck functions much better with the new bodywork made from the new wear plate. It is the perfect combination.”

Meers witnessed first-hand the positive change that came when the company started to include Hardox material in the tipper bodies about 10 years ago. The company has also been a member of the Hardox In My Body customer program for two years.

“By having the sign on our products, it shows the customer what material we use. Nowadays customers know about Hardox wear plate and are asking for it. They know it means stronger, more lightweight and more hard-wearing tipper trucks that can carry heavier loads,” she said.

Industrias Baco uses Hardox wear plate for three different tipper truck models. They all take advantage of the same conical shape facilitated by the wear plates, accelerating the unloading process. Hardox 500 Tuf wear plate is used in its newest released tipper body model, while Hardox 450 wear plate is used in two tipper body models – one with cutaways on the side and one half-piped version. Hardox wear plate is also used in the sides and floors of the truck bodies.

HYBRIT partners to speed up fossil-free steelmaking plans

The partners of the HYBRIT project, LKAB, SSAB and Vatenfall, have said they could move up their plans to build a fossil-free steelmaking demonstration plant by three years, to 2025.

Writing in Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the Presidents and CEOs of the three companies, Martin Lindqvist (SSAB), Jan Moström (LKAB) and Magnus Hall (Vattenfall), said they were ready to step up their work for fossil-free steel production and to move up plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The aim of HYBRIT, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, is to develop a process for fossil-free steelmaking by 2035.

In 2018, the Swedish Energy Agency announced it would contribute funding amounting to more than SEK500 million ($54 million) towards the pilot-scale development of an industrial process, with three owners, LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, each contributing a third of the outstanding capital for the project.

Back in April, the partners said construction of a biofuel-based pelletising plant would shortly begin at LKAB’s Malmberget site, in Sweden. This “world-unique test facility”, a key component of the HYBRIT initiative, will see fossil fuels replaced with biofuel to achieve fossil-free production of iron ore pellets.

In the opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter, the company heads said: “We are ready to increase efforts from our side, but if we are to achieve success, society and lawmakers must do the same.

“We are already looking into the possibility of building a demonstration plant in 2025, three years ahead of plan, so that we can immediately thereafter produce iron ore-based, fossil-free steel for commercial use.

“The goal is to be selling fossil-free produced steel on a broad scale by 2035,” they said.

The three companies highlighted four important preconditions for this rapid transition to succeed:

  • “We need large volumes of fossil-free electricity. According to our calculations, the transition to HYBRIT requires the equivalent of about 10% of Sweden’s current electricity consumption. There will also be demand for electricity from other companies and consumers. We will need continued good access to fossil-free electricity with a high level of delivery reliability, competitive pricing and initiatives to create greater flexibility, eg through opportunities to store energy. This work must not be delayed. We are prepared to assist in these efforts;
  • “The public sector in Sweden must get involved and share the risk. Investing in groundbreaking technology such as HYBRIT is often risky, time-consuming and associated with major investments. At the same time, the projects bring great social benefit in the form of increased research, competence and opportunities to achieve climate goals. The Swedish government’s proposal to double the Industrial Evolution initiative over three years is good, but it needs to be secured for a long time to come. A fund is also needed at the EU level, and there may also be a need for support in being able to write off and scrap old plants (so-called stranded assets) in favour of new, sustainable technology;
  • “As a society, we cannot afford to keep emitting greenhouse gases. The EU trading system for emission allowances is currently being revised, and as a result, the costs of carbon dioxide emissions are rising. The system should be designed from 2020 to benefit the most climate-efficient methods from quarrying in the rock to finished steel. The system needs to be developed even after the upcoming trading period. Sweden and the rest of the EU also need to strive to change other parts of the world ahead of similar systems. Bold, sustainable solutions must not be prevented because parts of the world have a lower level of ambition and therefore carry on using old technology; and
  • “Effective, appropriate permit testing in Sweden is required so that work on the transition is not significantly delayed or stopped completely, not least so that sufficient electricity can be obtained now that we have the opportunity to move up the demonstration phase. It can sometimes take 10 years to obtain an environmental permit or a concession to lay an electrical cable or to upgrade the grid. The Swedish government is planning some measures, but more work is needed.”

The three concluded: “Steel is an amazing material. It builds communities, is hard-wearing and can in principle be recycled an infinite number of times.

“But recycled steel will not be enough. In line with social development, population growth and increasingly higher standards of living all over the world, demand will increase for new steel made from iron ore. Therefore, sustainable solutions are needed; solutions that contribute not just to solving climate change, but to social development.”

Boosting mine productivity with innovative excavator bucket design

Ian Cornfoot, Managing Director of G&G Mining, is getting ready to educate Truck & Shovel conference delegates about how innovative excavator bucket designs can increase productivity for miners.

The 100%-owned subsidiary company of SSAB has been using advanced high strength steel in the design and production of stronger, lighter and more productive excavator buckets for many years.

The company has long worked with designs to offer increased productivity to miners – with reduced weight and increased volume offering, and an increase in payload, while remaining within the machine suspended load limits.

Cornfoot’s presentation at the event – taking place at the InterContinental Singapore, September 19-20 – will address challenges and offer innovative solutions to four interrelated objectives – weight reduction, volume increase, structural life and resistance to wear – through the development and production of G&G’s XMOR High Productivity Mining Buckets. These high strength buckets use a range of advanced HARDOX steels, including HARDOX 500Tuf, which delivers exceptional wear life at a much lower weight than conventional buckets, the company says.

To hear Cornfoot speak at the event – along with 17 other speakers – click here to register.

HYBRIT fossil-free steelmaking project moves forward with biofuel plant build

A joint initiative between LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall to develop the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking process is gaining momentum, with construction of a biofuel-based pelletising plant shortly beginning at the iron ore miner’s Malmberget site, in Sweden.

This “world-unique test facility”, a key component of the HYBRIT initiative, will see fossil fuels replaced with biofuel to achieve fossil-free production of iron ore pellets.

The aim of HYBRIT, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, is to develop a process for fossil-free steelmaking by 2035.

In 2018, the Swedish Energy Agency announced it would contribute funding amounting to more than SEK500 million ($54 million) towards the pilot-scale development of an industrial process, with three owners, LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, each contributing a third of the outstanding capital for the project.

LKAB said: “Fossil-free steel production starts at the mine and LKAB is working hard to determine the design of the next generation of pelletising plants.”

Back in October, Tenova HYL was contracted by HYBRIT to supply its direct reduced iron solution as part of the project.

The biofuel-based plant, to be built near to LKAB’s Malmberget iron ore mine, will cost in the region of SEK80 million.

“Testing a bio-oil system is part of the pilot phase and the objective is to convert one of LKAB’s pelletising plants from fossil fuel to 100% renewable fuel,” the company said. “This means that fossil-generated carbon dioxide emissions from the Malmberget operation will be reduced by up to 40% during the test period, which corresponds to about 60,000 t/y. Eventually, LKAB hopes to achieve totally carbon-dioxide-free pellet production.”

Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO, said: “Within HYBRIT, LKAB is examining options for replacing the heating technologies used in the pellet process, which are the heart of our processing plants. In parallel, trials will be conducted in an experimental facility in Luleå using an alternative heating technology. Trials will determine whether new biofuels and plasma burners will work in the unique setting of a pellet plant. Ultimately, this will make LKAB’s iron ore pellets completely carbon-dioxide-free.”

The global iron and steel industry is one of the industrial sectors whose processes emit the most carbon dioxide, according to LKAB. “A growing population, in combination with greater urbanisation, means that demand for steel will continue to grow until 2050. If the HYBRIT initiative succeeds, Sweden’s carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 10%,” the company said.

Mårten Görnerup, CEO, Hybrit Development AB, said: “The initiative is decisive for Sweden’s ability to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and nationally, and it is our contribution to battling climate change. Fossil-free production of iron ore pellets is an important step towards reaching these goals.”

Following a pre-study conducted in 2016–2017, the first sod was turned in 2018 for a pilot plant for hydrogen-based reduction of iron ore in Luleå, Sweden. This plant, expected to be completed in 2020, will be used to test processes downstream from the pelletising plant. The investment in a pilot-plant for bio-oil in Malmberget, which is an important milestone for HYBRIT and the development of fossil-free pellet production, is expected to be completed by 2020. The first tests will be conducted up to 2021.

Magnus Hall, President and CEO, Vattenfall, said: “Our partnership with SSAB and LKAB is playing a very important role in the electrification of the industry and the development of fossil-free hydrogen to enable a fossil-free life within a generation.”

Martin Lindqvist, CEO and President of SSAB, said the partners are on their way to a revolutionary technical advancement, “showing the world that it is possible to produce steel without producing carbon dioxide emissions”.

He added: “Work is proceeding according to schedule and I am confident that we will succeed. As a first step toward creating a fossil-free SSAB, we have decided to switch to an electric arc furnace in Oxelösund. This will entail decommissioning both blast furnaces in around 2025 and will reduce our CO2 emissions in Sweden by around 25%,” he said.

The primary goal of HYBRIT is to eliminate fossil-generated carbon dioxide emissions and thereby stop the net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This will be done by converting to renewable fuel.

In the next step, LKAB’s vision is to fully eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the pelletising plants. LKAB’s iron ore consists largely of magnetite and, even without the use of bio-oil, it already gives the company a big environmental head-start on competitors, according to the company.

Steel produced from 100% LKAB iron ore pellets results in carbon dioxide emissions that are 14% lower when compared to steel manufactured at an average European sinter-based steel mill. “One explanation is that it requires less energy to make pellets from magnetite than from the more commonly occurring hematite. The pellet process currently requires a lot of energy, while a very great amount of heat is released when magnetite is converted to hematite.”

HYBRIT Chooses Tenova DRI for fossil-free steel-making tech

Tenova HYL has been contracted by HYBRIT to supply its direct reduced iron (DRI) solution as part of the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology in Sweden.

HYBRIT, a joint-venture project between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, was established in 2016 with an aim to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen, a fossil-free steel-making technology. This would result in steel with virtually no carbon footprint, the company says.

The Tenova HYL DRI technology will be used at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden, which is expected to begin operations in 2020.

“Thanks to the unique characteristics of its process and its specific expertise in direct reduction with high content of hydrogen, Tenova HYL perfectly fitted with HYBRIT project,” Tenova said.

The company added that the “manoeuvrability” of production of the DRI module was another contributing factor, adding flexibility in terms of operations.

Mårten Görnerup, CEO of Hybrit Development AB, said: “By using state-of-the-art production technology as a starting point, we will more quickly reach our goal of a fossil-free future.”

HYBRIT’s goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035.