Workshops and benchmarking systems

worldsteel assists its members to develop the market for steel, managing major projects in a range of industry sectors, and plays an important role in benchmarking best practice, helping its members improve their businesses.

worldsteel benchmarking systems

Representatives from member companies meet regularly to exchange information on technological, manufacturing and operational performance. The objective of workshops and benchmarking systems is to improve the performance of the global steel industry through best practice and technology sharing. The overall outcome sought is to make the industry a safer, healthier and more environmentally responsible place to work.

worldsteel prides itself on protecting the confidentiality of participating steel companies so all benchmarking systems are hosted on secure dedicated servers with ISO 27001 accreditation. Access is provided using security codes for specific member company staff only. Unique site and plant codes are assigned, making any submission anonymous and not linked to a country or region. Access to the online monitoring systems needs to be authorised by worldsteel by requesting usernames and passwords, and members assign a person who acts as the principle person for an organisation overseeing the analysis.

The systems allow each site to compare their results internally within their business and against comparable sites or plants, or a representative reference site and are set up to be able to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the key drivers for each facility or process type.

They also enable the user to compare their results against better performing sites and identify the areas for improvement. Some of these systems also forecast the impact of additional technologies and what they may bring to a plant or site.

CO2 emissions

The CO2 emissions benchmarking system allows participants to report on a site-by-site basis to give an overall emissions intensity for the production of steel at that site, irrespective of the final products being made (regions or countries are not relevant, only business practices have an impact).

The methodology used has now been published as an international standard: ISO 14404:2013 – calculation method of carbon dioxide emission intensity from iron and steel production. There are two versions, one for steel plants with blast furnaces and one for steel plants with electric arc furnaces (EAFs). The project is notably wide in scope as involvement is not exclusive to worldsteel members.

The data is kept secure and confidential: data are only reported to those that contribute to the benchmarking system and only global averages for the entire industry or processes are published. The aim of the project is to obtain a base level of emissions for the industry for the two key process streams.

The data collection methodology and standard is designed to ensure that sites reporting emissions use the same boundaries and parameters. Once data is reported back to the member companies they can develop their own plan to make reductions in emissions and obtain a level closer to best in class. worldsteel can develop a global impact for the industry on the total emissions both for CO2 and GHG. The IEA report for CO2 emissions from fossil fuels is used to determine the global uprising of CO2 and GHG.

Energy

Energy constitutes a significant portion of the cost of steelmaking and can range from 20 to 40%. A broad breakdown of these costs is shown in Figure 3. Thus, improvements in energy efficiency result in reduced production costs and thereby improved competitiveness.

Today’s best available steelmaking processes have optimised energy use; nevertheless, there is significant room for improvement by bringing the whole industry to the level of the best performers. The system provides a mature and robust evaluation system of energy efficiency at site and by process level. Member companies participating in the energy benchmarking system can submit data and compare their performance with the top 25% reference level for each steel production process and determine precisely what component in the process is deviating from the reference.

As such, the system enables steel producers to make a fair comparison of their own energy consumption and intensity with the rest of the industry. Another key benefit of the system is that it allows steel producers to systematically determine the areas where energy efficiency can be improved.

Maintenance and reliability

In a steelmaking operation, over 60% of production costs (time, buffer stocks, quality losses, energy, product damage, safety) are directly and indirectly influenced by the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation and the maintenance activities. worldsteel has a long history of research activities covering maintenance in the global steel industry and has published several reports in the past two decades: 1993 [2], 2008 [3] and 2014 [4].

The maintenance and reliability benchmarking system intends to improve the reliability of the process plants by reducing maintenance time and costs and thereby reaching manufacturing excellence. Using predefined performance  parameters, it focuses on the losses experienced, Operational Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OOEE), maintenance cost index and manpower. Users can compare the links in their production chain in their facilities (continuous casters, hot rolling mills, coating lines, etc.) to identify the potential for reducing their unscheduled losses and benefit from the extra uptime for running at high speed, quality and throughput rate without unnecessary costs.

The model is based on identifying all losses in time that a process is subjected to over an operating period. It calculates the OOEE and indicates additional opportunities for reducing speed loss without compromising on quality. The system undergoes regular review by industry experts, with minor developments added and improvements made to the reporting features on an annual basis.

Process yields

Yield improvement means using fewer resources, which means less energy and processing time, resulting in higher revenue for the same input. Users of worldsteel’s process yield benchmarking system can compare their yield at facility level starting from ironmaking through to steelmaking and on to rolling and finishing.

The system helps identify the potential for yield improvement and measures to improve yield can positively influence other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as process control, quality control and general planning. Yield improvement cannot be pursued in isolation; it needs to be an integral part of a holistic performance optimisation in energy, reliability, environment and safety, etc.

Safety

worldsteel’s policy is to help all our members achieve an accident-free  workplace. The safety and health benchmarking system is one instrument guiding our activities in this area and we collect data on members’ safety and health performance. Annual safety reports provide all members with the possibility to benchmark their own safety performance against the global one to identify areas that need improvement. The most important indicator is the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR). A lost time injury is any workrelated injury resulting in the company, contractor or third party contractor employee not being able to return to work for their next scheduled work period The LTIFR shows the total number of lost time injuries per million hours worked.

In addition, data collection categorises the safety incidents that lead to lost time injuries. Sickness absence rate is the indicator for health in the benchmarking system. Safety and health data are kept secure and confidential and only global averages for the entire industry are published. Summaries of data are reported to worldsteel members on a wider regional base or global basis, not on company or country basis.

Sustainability

This project, which operates in collaboration with the CO2 emissions, energy and safety data collection projects, aims to report on the sustainability performance and progress of the steel industry. To reach this goal, worldsteel established sustainability indicators in 2003, in accordance with its Ironmaking, Energy and the Environment sustainable development policy, which encompasses environmental, economic and social dimensions.

This initiative is not exclusive to worldsteel members so steel producing non-members can use the system in order to maximise participation in sustainability indicator data collection to provide a robust benchmark.
Only global averages for the entire industry are published in the annual steel industry sustainability report. Summaries of data are reported to members on a wider regional base or global basis, not on company or country basis.

Users of the system are able to:

  • Compare their performance with peer companies at the site and facility level. All plants are coded and are anonymously shown in each application.
  • Visualise in the same place the annual and historical performance trends for each indicator.
  • Use the data to support company sustainability communications.

References:
[1] Allwood J M et al., Sustainable Materials: with both eyes open, p99, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-906860-05-9
[2] Fitzgerald F, et al, Maintenance for the 1990s, 1993 IISI (World Steel Association)
[3] Tol K and Purvis A, Maintenance for the new Millennium, World Steel Association, 2008, ISBN: 978-930069-52-4
[4] Behn A et al, Maintenance and Reliability Report, World Steel Association, 2014, ISBN: 978-2-930069-74-6