SSAB Tunnplåt in Luleå, Sweden, is under constant pressure to maintain production volume and quality. But meeting these expectations requires a control system with sufficient capacity for growth. The coking plant chose to replace its existing ASEA Master system with ABB’s Advant Controller 450
The cooking plant that never cools down
A major steel producer, SSAB is a leader in its niche specialty, high-strength steel. With production in Sweden and the USA, as well as finishing operations in China, the company has 9000 employees in 45 countries.
Like any growing enterprise, the SSAB Tunnplåt coking plant in Luleå, Sweden, faces constant challenges. To support the company’s production of just over two billion tons of steel per year, the coking plant is responsible for converting imported coal to blast furnace coke. This process takes place in 54 ovens operating year round at temperatures between 1,200 and 1,300 degrees C. At the same time, the coking process generates enough gas to heat all the coke ovens as well as large sections of the city of Luleå.
This enormous reliance on the coking process for industrial gas and public heating means that the process must never stop for more than a few hours. Also, the ovens must never cool down because doing so reduces their life span significantly.
Complicating matters is Luleå’s location, close to the Arctic Circle, where the Baltic Sea freezes during the winter, making it difficult for ships to enter Luleå’s harbor and deliver raw material. To ensure continuous production, tons of coke have to be warehoused and managed when sea transportation is cut off. In turn, this places a significant logistics pressure on the plant’s process control system.