Severstal North America, a flat-rolled steel producer headquartered in Dearborn, Mich., has been recognized as the Gold Medal winner in the Reliability Achievement Award by the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST). The award, open to all North American iron and steel producers, recognizes an individual project that has had significant impact on the plant’s operational reliability.
Severstal North America says its Dearborn ironmaking team focused on improving blast furnace tuyere life. Industry-wide, a tuyere failure is accompanied by furnace instability, increased costs, lost productivity and increased safety and environmental risks. A tuyere is a device that allows heated, oxygen-enriched air to be blown into the combustion raceway of a blast furnace during the steelmaking process.
Failure analysis indicated two approaches to improving tuyere life: a redesign of the tuyere and a modified operating environment. Since undertaking the project, the company says, tuyere life at Severstal Dearborn has improved by 96 percent, which resulted in the steelmaker saving several million dollars.
“The Reliability Achievement Award illustrates the necessity, and the rewards, of a commitment to continuous improvement,” Brian Bliss, AIST general manager of technology services, says. “The members of the AIST Maintenance & Reliability Technology Committee recognized the dedication of the Severstal team in developing a practical solution that resulted in immediate and impressive results.”
The AIST is a non-profit organization serving the steel industry with more than 15,000 individual members from 70 countries.