Settling The Dust

How EcoStruxure Plant is enhancing steel quality and working conditions at the largest steelworks in Western Europe.

Bringing innovation to steel manufacturing

ArcelorMittal is the world leader in steel manufacturing, and its Dunkirk plant is the largest steel factory in Western Europe. Every year, the Dunkirk steelworks delivers 7 million tons of steel for diverse industries, from automotive manufacturing to construction. With people’s safety depending on reliable steel, consistent product quality is paramount at any steel plant. Ensuring the continuity of the manufacturing process is another key issue as any interruption or equipment failure can be a costly event. Tackling equipment failures or performing routine maintenance usually means shutting down an entire section of a plant. Resuming normal production and bringing furnaces back to smelting temperatures can take up to two days. That’s why most steelworks run 24/7, 365 days a year. Yet performing regular maintenance in such a harsh environment is necessary to ensure safe working conditions and manufacturing continuity. ArcelorMittal needed to address this challenge and gain better control over its dust emissions to achieve greater operational flexibility for a recent equipment modernization project.

Keeping dust at bay for better quality, reliability and safety

A partner of ArcelorMittal for over 20 years, Schneider Electric had the expertise and solutions to improve the dusting process for better steel quality, process reliability and working conditions. The Modicon M580 offers CCoF feature (Change Configuration on the Fly). Maintenance and engineering teams can modify the automation control system without stopping the process. Thanks to the M580 there is no longer a need to lose production and revenue when routine control systems maintenance work is required. By implementing an IoT-enabled EcoStruxure™ Plant architecture, the Dunkirk steelworks has gained advanced connectivity that allows for precise dust level monitoring and a better control of the entire process. Crucial to the overall improvement is the second phase dusting process, which is responsible for reducing the amount of dust in the atmosphere on-site, as well as emissions to the Dunkirk region. This process is now supervised by the Modicon M580 ePAC, a smart, future-ready controller, part of the edge control layer of EcoStruxure Plant. The Modicon M580 has become “the brain” of the second phase dusting process, accountable for collecting and processing data from sensors. Thanks to real-time updates on dust levels, the maintenance crew gets an overview of the entire site’s condition and can easily decide when and where they should intervene.

The future-ready evolution of steelworks

By implementing an EcoStruxure Plant architecture, including the Ethernet-connected Modicon M580 controller, ArcelorMittal’s Dunkirk plant has achieved greater flexibility in its operations. Its staff can now perform maintenance and make changes to the process without having to slow down or halt production. Dust levels are supervised in real time, so steel quality is constant and the working conditions on-site have improved. Thanks to Schneider Electric’s IoT-enabled solutions, the Dunkirk steelworks has secured the continuity of manufacturing and increased its overall productivity to deliver strong, reliable steel 24/7, both today and tomorrow.