Chairman’s Global Excellence Awards – the stories behind the finalists.
LIBERTY Ostrava Blast Furnace process improvement.
Petr Wojnar has worked in the Ostrava steelworks for 4 years, currently as head of blast furnace no. 3. He is responsible for production and quality of hot metal, coordination of shifts in BF 3 and coordination of activities in conjunction with other departments of LIBERTY Ostrava (maintenance, investment, environment etc).
Jakub Řezák, a foreman has worked at LIBERTY Ostrava for fourteen years. He is responsible for the operation of the blast furnace, the blast furnace crew, health and safety and the liquid products.
Petr Halama, has worked at LIBERTY Ostrava for twenty years, was a blast furnace technologist for ten years and for the last three years he has been working in the process team of continuous improvement in blast furnaces.
Martin Engliš has been working at the Ostrava steelworks for nine years.
He is currently working in the position of a maintenance scheduler, which means that he oversees planning and coordinating the work at blast furnace No. 3
Stanislav Wiechec has been working at the steelworks for almost 32 years.
Stanislav works in blast furnace plant 3 and is head of the blast furnace maintenance group.
His main task is planning, preparation, organisation, and coordination of repairs of production equipment.
The challenge was to find a way to reduce the time and effort it took to replace the tuyeres (See footnote) and jumbocoolers in the blast furnace, whilst improving work safety
Insert picture of the tuyeres
In the blast furnace, to disassemble and replace the tuyeres equipment involved the use of metal hooks, a hand truck and demags. This process required great physical strength, and the work was carried out in extremely demanding operating conditions, including high temperature and noise, with the potential for CO to be present. The exchange time for the replacement of the tuyeres equipment was very long.
The tuyeres equipment is now removed and replaced using a new hydraulic manipulator, which greatly reduces both the time and risks involved in the process.
This project has brought the benefit of increasing hot metal and steel output
by reducing the time to replace tuyeres and jumbocoolers by about 20 hours a year.
This has brought about an increase in the output of hot metal by 2,600 tonnes and thus an increase in steel output by 3,600 tonnes a year.
In the end, the return on this investment project is about nine months.
Thanks to this manipulator, we have reduced the risk of an accident at work and reduced the physical strain of this activity.
Although it was initially very difficult to gain support from the investment team, in the end, they did get the investment and they are glad for the whole team that the project was actually brought to a successful ending.
Tuyeres — an old French term for “nozzles” – are used in blast furnaces, which smelt iron, and cupolas, which melt iron, to direct the air blast into the furnace.