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ArcelorMittal, Purdue Northwest, and Argonne National Lab team up on manufacturing project
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ArcelorMittal, Purdue Northwest, and Argonne National Lab team up on manufacturing project

ArcelorMittal, Purdue University Northwest and the Argonne National Laboratory are teaming up on a research project to determine how to most efficiently use reheat furnaces.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing, or HPC4Mfg, program is funding the collaborative study “Application of High-Performance Computing to Optimize Reheat Furnace Efficiency in Steel Manufacturing."

Researchers at Purdue Northwest's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation will use Argonne National Laboratory's high-performance computers to simulate a steel mill's reheat furnace under a variety of conditions to figure out how to optimize the operation.

They will marshal data and computational modeling to ascertain how to minimize fuel use while bringing steel slabs to target temperatures, optimizing production schedules, and maintaining the desired metallurgical properties, looking at different factors that affect performance and output quality.

“The HPC4Mfg Program aims to help U.S. manufacturers become more productive and competitive, through advancement of energy-efficient and cleaner production technologies,” Argonne Technical Representative May Wu said. “With this research project, we hope to develop synergies by using expertise from all three organizations to advance science and engineering, while contributing to the growth of the steel manufacturing industry.”

David White, director of process research at ArcelorMittal Global R&D in East Chicago, said the research potentially could greatly benefit the steel industry.

“We are excited to be able to combine the tremendous computing resources of Argonne National Laboratory with the process modeling expertise of Purdue Northwest on this project," he said. "Reheat furnaces are common to all steelmakers, and their efficient operation directly transfers to lower energy costs and higher product quality for our industry.”

Chenn Zhou, the director of CIVS and the Steel Manufacturing Simulation & Visualization Consortium, will lead the research that will be done by Purdue Northwest students, with technical assistance from Argonne and data provided by ArcelorMittal and other SMSVC members.

“Reheat furnaces have an essential role in steel production, but their operation is both energy-intensive and complex," Zhou said. "This collaborative research will use advanced simulation and computing technologies to investigate ways that steel manufacturers can improve slab quality, increase productivity, and reduce energy consumption. We look forward to working together to generate great outcomes and impacts.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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