VTT to lead a EUR 5.7 million project
European organisations will jointly renew the steel industry. The Morse project, which began in the autumn, will improve the products, business operations and competitiveness, as well as the energy and raw material efficiency, of the European steel industry. The focus is on developing software tools that will be used to reform, accelerate and manage heavy production processes.
The main sponsor of the four-year project is the European Union which, together with the project companies, is providing EUR 5.7 million.
In large-scale steel production, even minor changes in production, raw materials and energy use bring major efficiency gains.
Via the Morse (Model-based optimisation for efficient use of resources and energy) project, European companies are jointly developing more advanced tools to improve steel quality and the management of complex processes. New ways of managing the entire production chain, lowering the consumption of energy and raw materials in particular, and reducing yield losses are being sought for the industry. Carbon dioxide emissions will also be reduced.
A special development target is software tools, which are being tested in close cooperation with various steel mills in Europe.
Four organisations from Finland are participating in the project: VTT Oy, SSAB Europe Oy, Outokumpu Stainless Oy and SW-Development Oy.
"The key objective of Morse is to strengthenthe production and competitiveness of the European steel industry. We will optimise production by using model-based and intelligent software solutions. At the same time, software companies will be able to specialise and offer new top products for the process industry. Via the project, VTT is developing tools and methods for the use of theoretical models in production," says the project coordinator of Morse, Heli Helaakoski of VTT.
"SW-Development is building a material and energy flow optimisation tool for the international markets, which will be used to assess the impact of different raw materials and processes on manufacturing costs and efficiency," says Sivert Westergård, Chairman of the Board. New information will be gained on the economic efficiency and steel quality of a mill, by examining the impacts of different raw material and recycling options.
"SSAB will improve quality control and the production of specialty products, and reducing energy consumption by two percent, which means 110,000 fewer annual tons of CO2 emissions," says Jarmo Lilja, the Process Development Manager of the Raahe mill.
According to Mikko Ylitalo, Vice President of R&D at Outokumpu, new models and management tools will provide a major overall improvement in the form of more efficient capacity utilisation. Energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will also be reduced. Outokumpu is using adaptive tools and models to reduce steel quality defects, while improving the product's one-time degree of manufacture.
VTT is leading the project. In addition to Finnish partners, the project includes the VDEh Institute for Applied Research (BFI) and GRIPS Industrial IT Solutions GmbH from Germany, Cybernetica AS from Norway, the MFL steel foundry from Austria and the software company Idener from Spain.