Charlotte, North Carolina-based Midrex Technologies Inc. and AMI Automation of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, have formed a strategic agreement to provide steelmakers with process optimization for direct-reduced iron- (DRI-) based integrated electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mills. The partners say they can remotely streamline the steelmaking process from the reduction of the iron ore through the production of liquid steel in the EAF for combined DRI/steelmaking plants.
Midrex says its introduction of Remote Professional Services (RPS) as part of MidrexConnect enables Midrex engineers in Charlotte to evaluate all areas of the company’s plants anywhere in the world in real-time to optimize product quality and process performance, enhance equipment protection and increase plant availability.
Through the agreement, AMI will provide its suite of SmartFurnace products and services to optimize the EAF. The new OPTaaSTM (optimization-as-a-service) approach provides the equipment, the technical know-how, the continuous remote monitoring and support. The AMITech Center (ATC Remote Monitoring Center) is a cornerstone of this initiative and provides the latest technologies that allow AMI´s specialists to continuously monitor and optimize EAF operation using analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.
Fernando Martinez, vice president and co-founder of AMI Automation, says, “AMI has a long history of helping our customers use our technology to operate the most efficient EAFs in the world. Working with Midrex will allow, for the first time, the entire steelmaking process to be coordinated.”
“The power of digitalization is allowing us to better focus our process expertise on optimizing the performance of Midrex Plants,” KC Woody, chief operating officer of Midrex Technologies, says. “By teaming up with AMI, we can offer our customers practical and sustainable solutions from the DRI plant through the EAF melt shop.”
Earlier this month, Midrex said more than 108 million tons of DRI were produced in 2019, representing a 7.3 percent rise in output from 2018.
According to one recent industry analysis, high-grade ferrous scrap supplies could be severely strained in 2021 and beyond, creating a growing market for DRI and other alternative iron products.