In the newly built 10-million-ton smart steel plant of Hegang Group Tangshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd., the smart hot rolling production line can roll a coil of steel in 90 seconds.
For molten steel to change into a familiar form, physical changes are required. First, the molten steel continuously passes through the crystallizer and condenses into a hard shell. The width is adjustable, the thickness is constant, and the most difficult thing is the length.
The billet does not stop for a moment after it is pushed out. The cutting robot above the continuous casting line closely follows the production rhythm and cuts the billet into the same length according to the order, exactly. From a steel billet to a steel plate, repeated rolling is required, and then the steel billet changes from 230 mm to a thin piece of 1.8 mm.
At this time, the temperature of the steel plate is very high, but it is very fragile. Whether the steel plate is cooled evenly is related to many performance indicators such as the toughness and flatness of the steel plate.
After the steel plate arrives, the 19 water beams accurately adjust the direction and flow rate of each water outlet according to the product information. Steel plates of different sizes can find the best way to cool down here, making them high-quality products. Although the process is complicated, it only takes 90 seconds to roll a coil of steel. The AGV car connects the steel coil, the robotic arm sprays a unique identification number, and the steel coil can be put into storage. This production line can produce 1,200 tons of steel coils in as little as one hour.
The workflow here is very smooth, but the distance between processes is actually measured in kilometres. The factory covers an area of 5.73 square kilometres, equivalent to the size of 800 standard football fields. How are materials transferred between processes to complete fast-paced production? Closed pipe galleries and pipelines connect the entire steel jungle and form the logistics artery of the entire park.
What has just been presented is only a part of the steel smelting process. If you include iron smelting, the entire steel smelting goes through more than a hundred processes. All the data is clearly visible on a large screen with an area of more than 200 square meters. The process flow is Feedback and monitoring of environmental data are all under control. It is precisely because of the smart brain that the upgrade of the 10-million-ton smart factory also brings more possibilities to industrial production.
Major upgrades of the steel plate production line and intelligent manufacturing helped achieve “near-zero” emissions
After the steel plates on the 300-meter-long production line undergo multiple processes such as pickling, rolling, annealing, and coating, they become steel coils weighing 25 tons. The 5G unmanned overhead crane can accurately identify and transport them. The entire production process is unmanned and runs smoothly. After transformation through intelligent manufacturing, particulate matter emissions from steel production enterprises have been reduced by 25%, and the overall reduction in emissions of various substances has reached 38%.
This is a combination of 5G technology, edge computing and other artificial intelligence technologies. This technology is also used in the production process, including the processing and use of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. In fact, every steel company is exploring recycling and realizing Near-zero emissions.