Reliable and competitive

3rd Siemens VAI Media Summit, Moscow/Russia (18.-20.05.2009)

The third Media Summit arranged by Siemens AG for the metals and mining industry was held from May 18 to 20, 2009 in Moscow/Russia. Under the motto “Assuring Reliability and Competitiveness in a Changing Environ-ment”, management and senior employees from different divisions at Siemens VAI Metals Technologies informed around 70 representatives from the trade press about corporate strategy, business developments, market-specific expectations, activities and prospects as well as the latest product developments and trends (Fig. 1).

 

To open the event, Dr Dietrich Möller, President of Siemens Russia and Central Asia, Jens Wegmann (Fig. 2), CEO of Siemens Industry Solutions, and Andreas Lemp, Managing Director of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies in Russia, provided a first overview of the potential that Russia and the other growth markets of China and India hold for the company – especially in the Industry Solutions Segment. Siemens has done business in Russia for more than 155 years. In the meantime, the company is active in all three sectors – Industry, Energy and Healthcare – as a leading supplier of integrated solutions for the modernization of key sectors in the Russian economy. Endeavors to press ahead with the widening of the product and service portfolio as well as building up the company‘s regional presence. Siemens already employs over 3 000 people in Russia and has regional branches in over 30 Russian cities.

 

Although the Russian market has also been hit by the financial and economic crisis, Siemens still sees further potential for expansion, as Dietrich Möller (Fig. 3) emphasized in his opening speech. According to Andreas Lemp (Fig. 4), stabilization can now be observed in the Russian steel industry thanks to government programmes, a reduction in production costs and - as the main competitive advantage - an increase in efficiency in Russia as well as lower investments abroad. Siemens VAI Russia has been an important partner. The company, which along with Industry Solutions Division secures the most important results in the metal industry, is supplying among others equipment and systems for the conversion and modernization of the steelworks in Novolipetzk at NLMK (Novolipetsk Steel). A tour of the steelworks was the concluding highlight of the Media Summit.

 

Serafim V. Kolpakov, President of Russia’s International Metal Association stressed the importance of steady plant modernization in his welcoming speech. He also impressively described the success story of the Russian steel industry with regard to its role for the country’s economic development. Particularly in steel production, Kolpakov currently sees a great need for action in order to continue reducing energy costs through appropriate modernization measures.

 

The subsequent lectures covered the following topics:

• Assuring reliability and competitiveness in a changing environment (Dr Richard Pfeiffer, former CEO and Werner Auer, present CEO)

• Electrical engineering and automation systems increase efficiency in the metal industry in a fast-changing environment (Günther Winter, Innovation and Product Portfolio Manager for Electrics & Automation)

• Energy-consumption competitiveness under fire (Josef Lanschützer, Segment Manager for Integrated Plants)

• Mechatronics as a pacemaker to rejuvenate steelworks (Andreas Flick, Senior Vice-President for Continuous Casting)

• Mining Technologies: maintaining  efficiency by creating efficiency (Bernd Zehentbauer, Business Administration Manager for Mining Technologies)

 

The core competences with which Siemens is responding to the global challenge to uphold reliability and competitiveness in a changing environment was the focus of the presentation given by Dr. Richard Pfeiffer (Fig. 5) and Werner Auer (Fig. 6). Dr. Pfeiffer emphasized that the decline in demand for new plants as a result of the worldwide economic crisis also means that plant suppliers have to adapt accordingly. The drastic fall in steel prices due to demand put a damper on worldwide investment opportunities for steel producers. Furthermore necessary modernization projects must pay off quickly. “Siemens VAI wants to use the chance to strengthen steel producers‘ productivity and flexibility with its leading expertise in mechatronics and worldwide presence,” says Pfeiffer. On account of the increasing percentage of customers in growth markets such as China, India and Russia, Siemens VAI plans to expand local engineering and project management competences in these countries as well as increase production in further growth regions. In addition specific solutions for these local markets and services need to be developed further. “As a result of the economic crisis, many steel companies are rethinking their projects new buildings and concentrating instead on increasing productivity and improving the efficiency of their plants,” emphasized Werner Auer. Dr. Pfeiffer summed up that in the future energy and resource efficiency, stricter environmental and safety regulations and, above all, the flexibility and quality of production would be the deciding factors for company competitiveness.

 

After that, Günther Winter (Fig. 7) explained very emphatically the extend to which electric engineering and automation can drive change in iron and steel production. Siemens has developed, for instance, the LiquiRob robot system for use in electric arc furnaces, converters and continuous casting plants. Procedures such as sampling, temperature measurement and powder feeding must no longer be performed directly by plant operators, but are completed automatically by robots. This mechatronic system improves worker safety and, thanks to reproducible process flows, product quality. Not least, with this technology, Siemens is also making a contribution to ongoing development.

 

Energy is a major cost factor in iron and steel production. On account of the steadily increasing pressure to reduce expenses, the development of new energy-saving solutions is becoming increasingly important, as Josef Lanschützer (Fig. 8) explained in his talk. To support steel producers in the current situation, Siemens VAI offers solutions to reduce energy consumption in the entire process route in iron- and steelworks, which extends from iron and steel production through to casting, rolling and treatment technologies. According to Lanschützer ongoing improvement and modernization of existing plants is one possibility that offers short-term returns. The implementation of new process technologies to replace the currently used technologies requires higher investments, but offers considerable medium- and long-term cost benefits.

 

Andreas Flick (Fig. 9) spoke about how mechatronic packages can help steel producers keep pace with market trends. He used various examples to demonstrate the suitability of mechatronic packages for upgrading plants so that steel producers can quickly adapt their portfolios to take advantage of current market trends. The mechatronic packages from Siemens VAI can be used individually, for example in a modernization project to increase plant capacity, or in combination for a completely new plant. A typical mechatronics package, whether installed in a new or an existing plant, consists of mechanics, fluid systems, power supply and electrical equipment, field automation and online process models. All these components operate optimally together and have the lowest possible impact on the environment.

 

Operating costs and sustainability were the focus of Bernd Zehentbauer‘s presentation. Zehentbauer cited current examples of how integrated solution packages from Siemens can be used to achieve greater efficiency in surface mining. Drive systems and energy supply in surface mining operation as well as the extraction and transport of ores are areas in which costs can be reduced. As an example, Zehentbauer mentioned a new A.C. drive system for heavy trucks used in surface mining that can transport loads of 260 t and more. This diesel-electric drive system reduces environmental pollution, saves fuel and lowers operating costs. The low-noise drive system is already used in the Komatsu 860E-1K truck (Fig. 10). Further Zehentbauer reported on a 13.5-km-long belt system for conveying coal at the Reichwalde surface mine in Saxony/Germany, which Siemens is currently setting up as part of its activities as general contractor. The belt conveyor system has a capacity of around 6 000 t/h. It consists of four stationary belt conveyors and two mobile belts with drive stations fitted with crawler trucks. Siemens is responsible for the engineering of the integrated plant as well as the supply and installation of the electric engineering, automation and mechanics.

 

During the afternoon, the participants at the event finally had the opportunity - in five sessions corresponding to the lectures - to put questions to the speakers and discuss their observations in small groups. The discussion rounds were held in parallel and limited in time so that all participants were able take part in the various sessions.

 

For the final event, participants traveled to Novolipetsk Steel, around 500 km south of Moscow (Fig. 11). Siemens VAI Metals Technologies was commissioned by Russian steel producer OJSC Novolipetsk Steel to supply the dedusting and auxiliary equipment for a new LD converter in steelworks No. 2. The order volume is in the double-digit million euro range. The new converter with a capacity of 325 tons is scheduled to go into operation in 2011. The installation of the dedusting equipment is part of an extensive campaign at Novolipetsk Steel aimed at substantially reducing emissions from the two existing LD converter operations for a commensurate improvement in the air quality in Lipetsk.

 

Novolipetsk Steel is also currently installing a third converter with 325 ton capacity in the LD steelworks No. 2 in order to increase the plant‘s annual steel production capacity from 5.5 to 7.6 million tons. As part of this project, the company awarded the order for the design and supply of the main plants for the dust collection and alloying systems also to Siemens VAI. Moreover the contract comprises various components, equipment and automation packages for the new LD converter. The dust-collection equipment is intended for both primary and secondary dust collection. For primary dust collection, a Baumco wet-type scrubber will be installed. The scope of supply for the secondary dust collection system comprises an excess-heat absorber, raw-gas collection ducts, spark arrestor, pulse-jet-type filter-bag house and radial ID (induced draft) fans. Emissions are exhausted from the immediate vicinity of the converter itself, particularly during charging and tapping, and also from the canopy hood. The material-handling and transport equipment will be supplied and installed along with the related dedusting system. The dust content in the gas exiting the primary- and secondary-dedusting systems will be re-duced to the contractually specified values in accordance with local environmental regulations.

 

The plant tour im-pressively showed how modernization measures can be im-plemented to reduce energy costs and increase productivity, thereby assuring competitiveness and, be-yond this, setting new standards with en-vironmentally friendly solutions.

 

The superbly organized event, which also included a framework program, was certainly a boon for all participants.

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