Morse is a four-year EU project that focuses on effective material and energy use in the steel industry. Three years into its running, the project covers European countries on a wide scale. In Finland, the project is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and active participants include steel industry representatives, research institutions and technology companies.The main focus of the Morse project lies on optimizing raw material use and energy efficiency in the steel industry. Pinja has developed its own distinct tool, iPES Steel Integrate, within the project and the first installation projects have been completed in 2020. The foundation for the tool comes from similar operation logic as is applied in the iPES by Pinja production planning system that serves a variety of industrial branches. The development work on iPES Steel Integrate has focused on tailoring the solution to the specific needs of the steel industry.

The Morse project team at Pinja has mainly consisted of three specialists: Kimmo Kanninen as the project leader, Jouni Ahokas as a database and UI expert and Ville Toivonen as a project manager and algorithm developer. Along the way, other staff members’ expertise has also been utilised whenever needed.

The key ambition in the development work has been on aspects that help achieve the greatest possible impact on both material and energy efficiency, along with cost benefits. Therefore, two main development targets were set: enhancing charge calculation and optimizing raw material use.

“Charge calculation plays a major role in the process, as by optimizing calculation, we can ensure that exactly the right amount of steel is produced using as little raw material as possible. This aspect also has special emphasis in steel production since its raw material prices fluctuate on a constant basis. Another key goal in the project was to reduce the need for furnace heating by optimizing raw material use and to thus save a significant amount of energy,” says Project Manager Ville Toivonen.

Towards commercialization

The four-year EU project is gradually coming to an end. The first deployment projects of the all-new iPES Steel Integrate solution have kept to their schedules throughout the process. First and foremost, the system will be used to enhance and streamline material flow modelling and energy use at the plants.

Next up is the validation phase which involves real-life testing and finetuning based on an iterative process model. Validation is scheduled to be completed during spring 2021.

The material and energy efficiency of the steel industry has been developed in good team spirit between the several involved parties in the Morse project, with a focus on a shared goal. After the project, Pinja will move on to the commercialization of the tool it has developed. iPES Steel Integrate is hoped to benefit a number of plants and end customers in coming years.

The co-development project has proven very rewarding for both the Pinja team as a whole and Ville Toivonen personally.

– The Morse project has allowed me to dive into something new. My previous background is mostly in mechanical engineering industry, so overall, it has been an interesting challenge to explore the chemistry and operations of the steel industry in more detail. I must say that the scale of the production has somewhat surprised me. Even small improvements can bring massive results, Toivonen says.

More information about iPES Steel Integrate:
Kimmo Kanninen

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