Continuous improvement is core to what we do at GFG. This month we’re taking a look around the world to see what the local teams have be doing to continuously improve their business.
Grate table redesign leads to great savings for Ostrava
In most workplaces there’s a ‘’go-to” person: the ideas person. That person you know can solve any problem or tackle any challenge with a unique perspective.
For the Medium and Fine Section of the Ostrava Mill, that’s Karel Stanisevsky. He’s been working as an operator at the finishing area for many years now, and through this time he’s earnt himself the reputation as having “many ideas to improve processing and quality of rolled material” and “also to improve safety”.
One of his recent ideas has helped saved the plant at least 120 000 Euros.
To accommodate the rolling of new automotive products, the cooling bed needed to be reconstructed.
As part of this process, the number and size of the grooves at grate tables and grates were fundamentally changed. In the original design, packaging of the products wasn’t possible. The new design has smaller grooves which are deeper – meaning packaging is possible.
In addition, in the original design, the bars came into contact with the cooler surface of the grate, which lead to heat dissipation and uneven cooling in the cross section of the rolled material. This caused tension and twisting of the ends of the bars. The plant then experienced downtime as they worked to remove the curved pieces.
By comparison, in the new design, heat transfer to the grate is minimised and the twisting of bars has been significantly reduced.
All in all, the modification has saved the plant substantial cost and delivered a safer work environment! Congratulations Karel and the Ostrava team!
Monitoring mould tubes saves 33000 Euros
The team from LIBERTY Ostrava understand that in order to genuinely improve, you need to have a good understanding of what point you’re starting at – you need facts, not guesses. At least, that’s the approach they took with mould tube lifespan… and it’s paid off!
In 2019, the team would have told you that the average lifetime of a mould tube was 673 heats. By 2020, however, that changed.
The team were curious about exactly how long a mould tube would last, so they began using an axial laser to inspect the tubes prior to each casting to determine the condition of the tubes and residual thickness. By doing so, they learnt a great deal about the actual lifespan of a mould tube.
Instead of the estimated 673 heats, the mould tube lifespan is actually 1255 heats.
This discovery has saved the business 330000 Euros in one year.
A huge congratulations to the team for thinking differently!
Thinking different about safety solutions
Meanwhile at the Heavy Section Mill treatment plant, another new idea has improved workplace safety for the Ostrava team.
Finished products and semi-finished products are stored in five treatment halls located on both sides of the finishing lines. There are five expedition tracks that pass along these halls and the total storage area of the warehouse is about 15,000 m2, boasting 22,000 tons of material.
Historically, product was stacked within the warehouse according to length, but those piles weren’t secured. Equally, access to the piles was difficult, and 17kg rails were used to interleave the layers of stacked material, requiring considerable physical effort to lift.
The team at Ostrava set about changing this to make the warehouse as safe as possible.
They installed a network of 110 brightly coloured safety barriers to demarcate the storage areas. The barriers, each secured in concrete, stand 2.5m high and work to hold the stockpiles in place. The added benefit is that there is now a clearly defined pathway for team members to walk through the warehouse. Gradually, the heavy rails used to interleave will be replaced by angles 80x80x4, which are 50 % lighter.
Nicely done, and great to see an improvement with clear safety benefits for our people!