Steel Plant

Steelmaking plants achieve fast, accurate nitrogen analysis at considerable cost savings

WISCO Quality and Inspection Center (China) is a Central Lab that provides a full range of analytical instruments for ore, fuel, iron and steel analysis for both off and on line applications. WISCO is currently using more than ten instruments from Thermo Fisher Scientific, including Thermo Scientific™ ARL™ 3460 and Thermo Scientific™ ARL™ 4460 optical emission spectrometers (OES) as well as automated ARL 4460 with Thermo Scientific™ SMS-2000™ Automation for OES. These systems provide improved analysis in terms of quality, productivity, and cost savings, and ensure all analyses are completed within 3-5 minutes (including data transfer to ERP). WISCO relies on the excellent precision and long stability (24 hours of continuous operation), the robustness, the simplicity of operation, the easy maintenance, and the lower operational costs of these OES instruments.

ARL metal analyzers have been continually selected by WISCO and have become their first choice for the past 13 years. In 2004, WISCO purchased the first two automated ARL 4460 with SMS-2000 systems for their No.3 Steelmaking Laboratory and now two automated ARL 4460 with SMS-2000 systems have also been selected by two new steelmaking plants, the new No.2 Steelmaking and the new CSP Plant. One was installed in August 2007 and the second was due in May 2008. WISCO planned to upgrade all existing ARL 4460 spectrometers with SMS-2000over a period of a few years in order to comply with increasing analysis needs, enormous increases in production quantity, and high expectations for quality.

After many years’experience, WISCO has been able to achieve accurate measurement of nitrogen at 0.0020% -0.0090%. OES is now the sole instrumentation used for this analysis, eliminating the need for additional Thermal Conductivity analysis.

Cost savings, a high priority for WISCO Steelmaking Laboratory No.1 where  ARL metal analyzers are used for fast and accurate nitrogen analysis. are achieved through:

1. Labor saving: the reduction of one headcount per shift as nitrogen analysis is no longer a separate analysis. With four shifts per day, total labor is reduced by four headcounts. With an employee cost of RMB 40K annually per person, the total annual saving is RMB 160K (US$ 22,330).

2. Equipment saving: reduced investment on nitrogen analysis equipment. Where two combustion analyzer units were previously used at a cost of RMB650K per unit, the total cost saving is RMB 1,300K. Further, with maintenance of these units eliminated, savings of RMB 10K per unit or a total of RMB 20K is realized, in addition to the cost of consumables (crucibles + He gas) of about RMB130K, bringing the annual equipment savings to US$ 18,150.

Thus, with a total saving of about RMB 310K per year (US$ 43,263), Steelmaking Laboratory No.1 has saved RMB 4,400K or US$ 615K (RMB 3,100K on labor & consumables + RMB 1,300K on equipment) since 1998.