The steel industry has been benefiting from more than just the Trump administration’s steel tariffs in the last few months. According to Forbes, the steel industry has been growing more efficient in light of innovative technologies that have been reducing the environmental impact of the industry’s steel production.
Reduced Dust Emissions
Gas cleaning is a dedusting solution that cleans dust from the air exhausted when steel is produced. Steel companies have been using gas cleaning more frequently to meet increasingly strict environmental protection regulations that require them to clean up their production process.
Between 10 and 25 kilograms of dust accumulated in the air per every metric ton of steel produced. In 2017 alone, the world produced 1.69 billion tonnes of steel.
A reliable dedusting solution like gas cleaning prevents the accumulated dust from being exhausted into the atmosphere. It also makes the steel production process more sustainable and lowers operating costs by keeping steel production companies within their emission limits.
Improved Recycling Efforts
Steel is 100% recyclable and can be used repeatedly without losing its quality. The steel industry has been taking advantage of this for years by using scrap steel for a variety of purposes.
By recycling both steel scraps and metalworking fluids regularly, steel companies can see greater cost reductions. For instance, compared to a non-recycling system, steel companies could see an 8% volume reduction when recycling metalworking fluids.
But, even with the steel industry recycling materials like scraps and metalworking fluids, companies still produce high volumes of waste materials. These materials include dust, fines, and mill scale.
Each of these materials need to be effectively disposed of. But steel companies can actually turn these waste materials into profit by using by-product recycling solutions to convert them into usable resources.
Ori Martin, a steel company in Italy, recycles the dust and by-products from its steel production. The company also reduces water waste by using a high-temperature water recycling circuit. The circuit cools steel bars as they come out of the foundry.
The Potential For Reduced Steel Prices
By adopting these types of manufacturing practices, U.S. steel companies don’t have to worry about increasing the prices of their products. When steel producers increase the price of their steel, it increases the manufacturing costs in other industries.
Although problematic for car buyers, these price hikes can also be problematic for those in the trucking industry. Up to 94% of daily hazmat shipments are done by truck.
However, these prices may gradually fall again if U.S. steelmakers continue to use more efficient methods of production. Developments in the fourth industrial revolution may also have a direct impact on steel prices.
A growing number of steelmakers are using automation. By digitizing their plants, companies enable different parts of the steel manufacturing process to increase their performance and output.
“Output is optimized for maximum overall performance,” reports Forbes, “and, as part of this process, each function within the plant is continually analyzed and refined for incremental improvements in efficiency.”