Developing sustainable environment are often looked as cost centers from a business point of view hence these are not explored to a large extent. However, innovative solutions have stood the test of time and brought about a good amount of savings of raw material, labor, time & other resources for the organization.
We at Steel 360, made an attempt to know such efforts in Steel sector of India, which came out with innovations that helped in cutting down the use of resources, devised efficient alternative methods of manufacturing and propagated the importance of sustainable environment in the country.
Govind Mishra, Ex. National Project Coordinator, Project Management Cell – Steel Project, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in conversation with Steel 360 describes about the application, hurdles & solutions of one such project that was successfully completed in 2013. UNDP is the prime organization in the world, which operates for a cause and one of it is to ‘Ensure Environmental Sustainability’.
Mr. Mishra and his team focused on small Steel Re-rollers in India, who manufacture about 70% of Steel Long produce of the country. As their energy consumption is very high, they learned by using new technologies, innovative methods & training, they can bring down the energy consumption to an optimum level. Hence, the project by UNDP in association with Ministry of Steel was documented during 2002-2003. Global Environment Facility (GEF), headquarters at Washington DC, USA, is a body that received funds from donor countries and because it had no branches in India, it executed funding via UNDP. Hence 50% of the 5 year project cost was financed by GEF/UNDP and the rest by Ministry of Steel totaling to about USD 14 million.
Mr. Mishra recalls that although the project was commissioned during September, 2004 it did not receive much response from Steelmakers for initial 2-3 years. The fund was allotted only to provide technical assistance but later in 2007, when the MoS approved the capital subsidy scheme for the model units who implemented the project and assisted in the minimum desirable saving in fuel consumption & reduction in CO2 emission. This initiative helped the project to eventually pick up. It achieved large acceptance in 2008 and ended with great success in 2013.
Their team had made studies on steel manufacturing process from many countries and they came out with about 10 to 11 technological upgrades which can aid Indian steel re-rollers on improving efficiency. There are about 2,000 rolling mills in India and his team selected 40 mills from different regions to meet their target. They brought never before applied organization cultures such as lean management, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and other implementation which added to 360o improvement. Use of coal as fuel was reduced to about 50-60%, Furnace oil to 25-30% and some noticeable reduction on use of gas. With this attempt they were able to reduce carbon emission to about 40 MnT in next 10 years provided at least 40% of the rerolling units adopt energy efficient practices as implemented by UNDP schemes.
Mr. Mishra credits their team to a breakthrough technology called Direct rolling at Bajrang Ispat, Raipur unit wherein after a lot of process optimization, they were able to utilize the maximum benefit of the technology with the support of UNDP team. The technology eliminated use of Reheating Furnace which was used to reheat cold Billets before rolling. Such optimization brought about a saving of about INR 2,000/MT.