Al Ezz Dekheila Steel Company Alexandria S.A.E. (EZDK), founded more than 37 years ago, is one of the largest manufacturers of metal and flat steel products in the Middle East and North Africa.
From its facility in Alexandria, EDZK produces an impressive 2 million tons of long and 1 million tons of flat steel products, including reinforcing bars, steel rolling mills, rolling wire and rolling steel plates. EZDK is majority-owned by Al Ezz Steel Rebars, which supplies steel products to customers in the United States, Canada, Europe and China.
ABB beat tough competition to secure the project to upgrade the rod mill automation system for EZDK’s Alexandria steel mill in late 2017.
“The team worked hard to overcome the hurdles posed by this complex modernization project, to deliver top-quality engineering and automation technologies to EZDK, a key customer for ABB in Egypt,” said Nilabja Ash, Global Product Manager for long product rolling mills at ABB. “Our engineers took on various challenges in completing this complex modernization project in record time, including replacing IOs, upgrading drives, and installing a new automation platform. These efforts have resulted in a high-quality solution that has already realized productivity benefits and cost efficiencies for a highly-valued customer.”
In appreciation of their efforts, EDZK management presented each individual ABB commissioning engineer with an award for their excellent work. “We were very impressed by the technical expertise and execution skills that the ABB Metals team displayed throughout this project, and we look forward to the efficiency improvements that this investment is expected to bring,” said Abd El-Moneim Sewaif, Director for EZDK long steel division.
Driving efficiency with ABB digital and automation technologies
As part of the project, ABB provided basic and detailed engineering, design and fabrication. Factory acceptance tests (FAT) were conducted in Bangalore, India in batches together with 16 members of EZDK’s personnel. This allowed the team to prepare for shutdown of the facility as well as ramp-up after commissioning in line with customer requirements.
ABB’s legacy systems at the steel mill were revamped with the latest automation technologies. “We installed level-1 automation systems based on market-leading ABB AbilityTM System 800xA as well as other networking systems,” said Amit Kumar Chakraborty, Project Manager, ABB. The team also replaced existing DCS500 drives with new DCS800 drives, existing controls for 19 DC stands drives with the latest DSC800-R01/R02 rebuild kits and DSC800-R00 upgrade kit, and existing ACV700 drives were replaced with the latest ACS880 drives for Stelmore Conveyor application, along with interfacing with existing LCI Tyrac drives.
The team not only completed the commissioning in quick time, but also achieved the rated speed and productivity for all the sizes rolled within 2 weeks from the start of hot trials.
“This upgrade will help reduce downtime and improve productivity at EZDK’s wire rod mill, and the new ABB data logging system will also improve process diagnostics,” added Amit Kumar.
The project scope also included a new mobile application for level-2 collaborative production management system — ABB Ability™ Manufacturing Operations Management for metals — including complete tracking from furnace charging area to C hook conveyor. Commissioning of the level-2 system started in January 2020 and has now achieved stability, despite having been carried out remotely.
“Providing 24/7/365 access to the production management system dashboards from any mobile device, makes it even easier for customers to visualize their processes and utilize the information provided to further optimize operations,” said Nilabja Ash.
Team work and customer focus ensures on-time delivery
Despite this being a complex upgrade that involved replacing IOs, upgrading drives, and installing a new automation platform, ABB’s Metals team was able to meet customer expectations and schedules, delivering high-quality systems in record time.
“To familiarize EDZK mill operators and maintenance staff with ABB’s new systems, we provided customized training in advance of the actual upgrade. We also conducted extensive testing to avoid surprises during shutdown,” remarked Amit Kumar.
ABB’s Metals engineers and EDZK personnel worked as a team to complete the project in well under three weeks, and normal production could resume in late November 2019. Thanks to the EZDK team’s meticulous planning and execution of erection activities during shutdown, the project was able to proceed according to the agreed schedule.
“ Winning this customer award is an honor and a testament to the dedication and skill of our team.” said Nilabja.