Duferco Clabecq: Green makes it lighter
Modern designs of heavy machinery and constructions require strong steel plates for increased load carrying capacity and to better withstand wear exposure over a long period of time.
Steel plates of less strength and hardness were traditionally produced by energy-intensive manufacturing procedures at larger volumes to reach the same performance as for high strength quench and temper (Q&T) steels.
The combination of upgrading from low strength to extra and ultra high strength steels, and the more frequent use of modern steel processing, provides economic and environmental benefits to the industry. It reduces energy consumption and climate impact from CO2 emissions.
Duferco Clabecq is a specialist in the production of thin-gauge heavy plates. A unique process combination makes it possible to produce thin plates with superior flatness, consistency, workability and surface finish.
The company’s aim is to further develop products and process concepts with a reduced environmental impact. By producing steel grades that enhance design innovation and more environmentally friendly applications, expertise in best use of natural resources is gained.
In many industrial applications, like a front loader bucket, dumper body, or a mobile crane, the use of low strength steels as well as rigid design may add extra weight. This limits maximum payloads, increases fuel consumption and makes maintenance more frequent and expensive.
Instead, the use of high strength steel in thin gauges allows a weight reduction. A lighter dumper can in fact carry a heavier load and, naturally, a stronger crane will be able to lift a heavier weight. Since the energy consumption per transported or lifted weight unit will thus be reduced, upgrading to more high performing steel brings a positive effect on the CO2 emissions during the life cycle of the application.
By the end of 2010, a new finishing line, designed in a greener perspective, will be commissioned.
To further reduce the environmental impact of its steel plate production, Duferco Clabecq has also modified its slab re-heating process. Steel slabs must be heated to 1,000°C for an effective rolling process – an energy-consuming and emissions-producing process. The company commissioned, in the first quarter of 2010, two new reheating furnaces that are fed by natural gas and use state of the art technology.
A flameless combustion process reduces NOx emissions to the lowest possible level while an ON/OFF controlled burner reduces gas consumption and consequently CO2 emissions per tonne of plate rolled. It is expected the reduction will be in the order of 15%.
The energy-saving and emissions-reducing enhancements are successful upstream, at production level, and downstream, at user level.
By taking a whole-process view – from the manufacturing process and the characteristics of the Q&T steels to the end products – Duferco Clabecq has optimised its impact on the environment.
Last updated: June 2010