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Key for the steel industry’s sustainable development
In the current context of growing energy prices, the application of scientific technological progress to reduce production costs, especially energy costs is considered a key to help enterprises in the steel industry achieve sustainable development.
The applications of energy efficient solutions help enterprises in the steel industry achieve sustainable development.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is currently gathering opinions for a draft on electricity price rises, under which electricity prices for the steel industry would rise by 2-16 percent. Nguyen TienNghi, the vice chairman of Vietnam Steel Association said many steel laminating plants have shifted to use coal instead of oil to reduce energy costs. In addition, many plants have invested in modern electricity furnaces in order to lower electricity wastage. If former electricity furnaces run at a capacity of 20 tonnes per batch, the current new furnaces with a capacity of 120 tonnes per batch help reduce electricity wastage from 600 kwh down to 300 kwh per tonne of products, bringing higher economical efficiency.
Vietnam Steel Corporation (VNSTEEL) is the leading unit in promoting scientific technological application to reduce electricity wastage. VNSTEEL has innovated the available equipment, applied advanced technological solutions and rearranged production in a bid to reduce energy wastage and improve efficiency in steel production. For example, it increased capacity of the furnace’s transformer to shorten steel annealing times, invested in equipment to process steel scrap, discarded all electricity furnaces with capacity of l0 tonnes of steel or lower per batch and regularly maintained equipment and machinery. These solutions have helped reduce fuel consumption by nearly 20 percent.
With the same purpose, Southern Steel Corporation used exhaust fumes to dry steel scrap, helping to reduce 30 kwh per one tonne of refined steel products and cut down the refining time. In addition, the company shifted using fuel oil (FO) to compressed natural gas (CNG) in annealing steel billets, contributing to lower fuel prices (by VND112,547 per one tonne of laminated steel) and protecting the environment.
As for Thu Duc Steel Joint Stock Company, it managed to reduce 0.3 percent of metal wastage thanks to the successful application of a hot billet charging system in laminating steel compared with a cool billet charging system, saving annealing materials by about six cubic meter of CNG per tonne of products (equivalent to six kilograms of FO per tonne).
Meanwhile, LuuXa Steel Refining Plant (under Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC) has built a simultaneous operation process among production phases of its production line to improve the output and quality of steel billets. It brought high quality materials and support equipment into steel production, resulting in cutting refining time of the 30 tonne electricity furnace, reducing electricity wastage and lengthening the life-span of the furnaces. The plant also invested in a casting machine to produce square billets, and a new furnace to treat liquid steel at a capacity of 15 tonnes, helping to reduce over 25 percent of electricity consumption.
The success of these enterprises showed that the applications of solutions to reduce energy consumption was not only a key to help enterprises in the steel industry stand firm in this difficult times, but has also contributed to overcoming energy shortages and environmental pollution.