Today, the steel industry in the United States reflects the impacts of ongoing technological change. The increased use of automation technology has affected the way steel plants function. Someone who worked in a steel mill during the 1970s or 1980s might have difficulty recognizing the same plant in 2019.
There are a number of ways in which innovation now makes for safer, more efficient steel production. By embracing advances in automation, industry leaders have seen some significant benefits. Automation allows for safe and efficient operations.
The Importance of CNC Technology
One important development in steel production involves the use of computerized processes. Instead of performing tasks one-at-a-time, manufacturers today rely on computer-based automation. Steel producers also benefit from this development.
By using automation, factories ensure the creation of uniform, identical products within each production run. Yet, steel companies also possess an ability to modify a program to create unique, individually tailored items fitting unique customer requirements.
This change has allowed steel companies to make a wider variety of raw steel products to meet the demands of the marketplace. For example, Satoru Iijima recently noted that more than three quarters of the steel used today was made within the last 20 years.
The ability to customize steel production has created exciting new opportunities for many businesses. It also allows designers to work with a wider variety of steels.
In practical terms, this leads to more efficient steel production. At one time, a customer seeking to get especially strong steel might have invested time and money on cold working. Today, many steel companies enable customers to order stronger grades of steel directly from their plants.
Steel mills can add specific measured ingredients to temperature controlled mixtures of molten metal. Automation contributes significantly to this ability.
While some customers may still choose to cold work steel, they now often order steel made with specific percentages of alloys designed to enhance certain properties in end-use products. The ability to custom design steel alloys with such precision is definitely a selling point.
The creation of SODA technology shows this trend. It represents simply one new technology among a host of significant recent innovations.
Safer Production Facilities
Automation ultimately contributes to more comfortable workplaces and more reliable steel products. In the past, some mills posed hot, dangerous environments. Equipment malfunctions at a plant might cause serious employee injuries or deaths, or result in poor quality steel.
Today’s highly automated production environments enhance safety. Manufacturers control material composition and temperatures with precision. Workers (and customers) also benefit from this change.