Maintenance of Steel Plants

The methods, strategies, and practices followed to keep an industrial plant or factory running efficiently is called Plant maintenance. This includes regular checks of equipment to ensure proper functioning, to cleaning garbage bins and toilets. Plant maintenance ultimate motto is to create a productive working environment that ensures workers safety too. The ways to maintain plants or facilities are often different types.

Steel mills have different machinery, setting and layout, which demand a total different maintenance ways and procedure compared to other industries.  Therefore, each place of manufacturing generally has its own maintenance plan, tailored to its particularities. One of the ways usually followed by plants is employing their own maintenance staff, includes on-site engineers, and others, whose job is to make sure that machines continue to operate effectively.

Reliability centered maintenance is recognized to be an efficient maintenance strategy often adapted in factories. Because, this approach not only seeks to maintain minimal levels of plant efficiency, but also looks for ways to improve production, increase operating procedures, etc. The increase in operating procedures leads to maximizing a machine's uptime resulting increase in the amount of time the equipment is actually producing. The accomplishments would be like, adding more workers to a machine or making engineering changes to make maximum utilization of the equipment and plant.

Preventative maintenance is another important aspect to ensure plants efficient operations. One common preventative measure is the periodic checking of machinery to see if it is operating correctly. This prevents machinery from breaking down and helps to foresee a possible problem that would result in loss to the business.

Current scenario of plant maintenance
Outsourcing is there in every industry and at every aspect of the operations. Plant maintenance is recognized as another important and untapped service sector in the recent decades. The result is the pop up of many new private plant maintenance companies and diversification of the existing services by reaching other players in the industry with their internal style of plant maintenance. These firms are generally contracted by a factory to check equipment and make repairs. They can also perform tasks, such as corrosion prevention, acid proofing, or repairing concrete floors.

Siemens VAI for metal industries is providing comprehensive service expertise throughout the entire lifecycle of metal plants. It has a huge variety of service solutions those supports each and every operational phase in steel plants and rolling mills. The solutions include service contracts, spare and wear parts service, consulting and engineering, and taking over the handling of maintenance activities and migration/upgrade measures. The Siemens Metals Service & Support Center gives a central expert help desk to handle all questions and problems regarding plant operation. All these services and efforts reduce downtime and cost of plants, increase availability and productivity, ensure personnel safety and enable environmentally friendly solutions. In detail, Siemens support in electrical and metallurgical areas of plant are again categorized into few aspects like.

  • » Maintenance services
  • » Operational support
  • » Plant upgrades
  • » Plant migration and optimization

A to Z assistance
A plant maintenance plan can include scheduling times for equipment checkups, trouble-shooting, and general clean-up. Since it is a default requirement for plants from equipment to assembly lines, a stoppage of the line can be financially damaging.

Predominant Engineers & Contractors Pvt Ltd (PECL) is established to serve Sponge Iron, Steel & Power Plants. The company provides a wide range of assistance like project finance services, project implementation services, operation & maintenance services, turnkey services, plant modernization / expansion projects and other consulting services. While the PECL Plant Operation & Maintenance Services includes:

  • » Management of Operation & Maintenance of entire Integrated Steel Complex and Power Plants.
  • » Development and establishment of experienced skilled and unskilled personnel.
  • » To provide advisory services for spare part management system
  • » To provide plant Improvement advisory services.
  • » Running / routine / preventive / minor breakdown maintenance.
  • » Long term major maintenance work.
  • » Annual maintenance & overhauling & management of AMC with OEM.
  • » Accidental repairing of any equipment.
  • » Supervision of house keeping.     

Tata Steel's approach to maintenance of its plant is innovative as it is closely guided by the market, delivery and other requirements. This approach entails the highest level of output like, plant availability, equipment reliability, and the rate of process and quality with the lowest input vise, cost of labour, material and maintenance time over the entire life cycle of the machines. Hence, Tata Steel has developed sophisticated predictive maintenance technology for continuous production running. This facility is unique to the company, because the procedure goes beyond the usual practice of monitoring the equipment condition using only one parameter. Mr. C Mishra, Chief, Mechanical Technology Group shared on the Tata Steel website, that the maintenance procedures monitors temperature, thermal profile, vibration, condition of lubricants or particle size count and then synthesize all the information for an accurate diagnosis. The department feeds the data online to get not only a list of possible problems but also the probability of their occurrence. Hence, the whole procedure of maintenance planning very cost effective.

Software role in making plant maintenance intelligent
Today, software is there everywhere. So, the artificial intelligence is making plant maintenance more intelligent and efficient. Few players providing software products to the plant maintenance industry are
ProSmart monitoring system from ITT is installed at Worthington Steel. The ProSmart system continuously collects, sorts and analyzes data at the machine level without human intervention. This predictive condition monitoring system enables user to identify and solve problems before they impact production.
Innovative Maintenance System's Fleet Maintenance Pro manages plants fleet inventory, preventive maintenance, repairs, fuel, work orders, parts, and much more. This is a flexible, affordable Windows program that puts client in full control of your fleet of machinery and equipment, while making it a cost effective way of managing your fleet maintenance.   
Incotec IT Solutions is way ahead of other vendors in the industry, with their after sale monitoring software. This follows the plant equipment and as well the clients schedule, having connected to its customer care. This kind of follow-up ensures and

  • Help the customer by supplying services that he needs
  • Guarantee the quality of offers by a precise management of skills
  • Respect the contractual commitments with clients
  • Reduce intervention time and associated costs
  • Make necessary parts available at the location of intervention
  • Accompany the customer: follow his file, schedule the preventive maintenance…
  • Watch out for security and confidentiality of the information

Plant Maintenance involves managing and controlling the planned schedule and also the unplanned issues. A lot of rigidness is required in the maintenance software and other products in the maintenance process. Still, human intervention is decreased in number, but not totally ruled out.

Janitors are an important part of plant maintenance. These maintenance technicians do not work directly with machines, but instead make sure that the plant facilities are clean and safe. This can include anything from removing garbage to cleaning bathrooms and eating areas. Many times, janitors will be responsible for the maintenance of the factory floor — and keeping it clean of any spills that could be dangerous to equipment operators.