Mechanics Division looks for ways to save costs
There is probably no workplace in the Company now that is not looking for ways to streamline their activities. The Mechanics Division is no exception, and it is succeeding in looking for and finding solutions producing significant savings. These include two projects from the recent period which have application potential in the sister plants of the Corporation as well. These projects are the In-house production of forged rollers for CC#1 and CC#2, and ZETT MESS.
In-house production of forged rollERs for CONTINUOUS CASTING
The implementation of this project will help the steelmakers who now have to cope with cracking rollers used in the steel slab continuous casters, and the blacksmiths will return to activities which they used to carry out in our workshops in the past. “In the past, we forged rollers in our forging workshop. Over time, this activity ceased, the number of experts in this field has diminished, and the Company has been buying finished forgings for about ten years,” says Mechanics Division Director Juraj Prokein. “Recently, however, the steelmakers have had significant problems with cracking rollers supplied by an external supplier, who purchased them in China. The rollers cracked longitudinally like sausages in hot water. This indicated that the forgings were not properly heat-treated and did not have the required hardness and notch toughness. This was also confirmed by our tests. Claim proceedings have been commenced, but we know that this can be a very protracted process, particularly if the supplier declares that everything was fine on their part. But we have 450 forgings in the stores which are not good, and the steelmakers need rollers. Should we buy new ones? The waiting time may be half a year, and this necessitates additional costs,” says the director, adding that somewhere at that very moment the idea emerged that we could make the forgings ourselves, because we still have a few people who do know how to do this, we have the necessary equipment and, taking into account the current prices, there is no reason for hesitation. “We decided to buy some ingots, from which we will make our own forgings. The rollers will be made in the machining workshop and will be installed in the continuous caster sections by workers from Local Workshop No. 2. By making our own forgings, we can guarantee the quality and the delivery times,” states J. Prokein. “We need to replenish the number of blacksmiths to be able to work on three shifts, because it is important that the gas furnaces for preheating the ingots should run continuously, as frequent shutdowns and restarts are not good for them. For each shift we need three experts. We still need six.” They want to launch the production soon, even with the three employees that they have currently. The steelmakers eagerly await our forged rollers and the expected benefits, because they will significantly reduce their costs. “While the average price of a purchased forging is around 1,980 euros, and certain suppliers ask even 2,500 euros, in our plant we can produce them for 1,650 euros each,” points out the Mechanics Division Director. “With 1,500 rollers which the steelmakers consume annually, this means savings amounting to 345,000 euros,” he adds. And that’s worth noting.
THE Zett Mess PROJECT reVIVes a measuring MACHINE
The name Zett Mess means a 3D measuring machine which is able to check the conformity of a product with drawing documentation. The Mechanics Division has one such device in the central mechanical workshops. However, they have not used it for years, because... “It’s true that we have the measuring machine in our workshop, but it has been broken for about fifteen years and so far we have failed to find a contractor to repair it,” says J. Prokein and explains that it is a device which looks like a long-legged snooker table. It is 3 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 2 meters high, which means that any product that needs to be measured can be put on it. The measuring is done by an arm with a measuring probe. “We told ourselves it would be great if we had such an opportunity. In fact, if we want to measure assemblies or spare parts, we have to do this on the horizontal machine, and thus we lose the machining hours. So we decided to have a closer look at the Zett Mess machine again to find out whether it can be revived. We were given great support from our General Manager, Peter Gazsi. We have tried to arrange its repair several times in the past, but each supplier preferred to sell us a new machine instead. A new machine would cost three to four hundred thousand euros though,” he explains. “We were pleased to hear from the invited expert that the machine could be revived. The repair will necessitate the replacement of the probe, the measuring ruler and the software. The supplier calculated the cost as amounting to 21,000 euros. We calculated that we make measurements worth more than 82,000 euros annually, which we lose in the operation on the horizontal machine. If we invest in this machine, this very year we will save 60,000 euros and later 82,000 euros annually,” said J. Prokein. These savings will be thanks to the fact that the operation of the horizontal machine will not be interrupted. Of course, it would be good to have a larger, for example, four-meter machine, on which we could measure larger products, but thanks to the repair of the current machine, which will be completed as early as this month, we will be able to measure about eighty percent of the manufactured spare parts and assemblies.