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1 IVsem M.Tech Power and Energy System, EEE dept, BEC, Bagalkot 2 Professor, Power and Energy System, EEE dept, BEC, Bagalkot

Abstract- The energy conservation in steel rolling mills can be achieved mainly by focusing on descaler unit which consume particularly large amount of energy. A rolling mill section (RMS) contributes a significant component to the overall electrical load of a modern Steel Plant. Primary processes in RMS that are directly accountable to the production of the end product includes the large electrical motors that drive the rolling mill. Secondary processes that are not directly accountable to the production of end product includes large descaling water pumps that are involved in descaling of steel billets, further these billets are rolled into final products. The majority of this secondary process have large water pumps which runs with constant speed which is not necessary, resulting in energy wastage during no descaling periods. This paper focuses on the efficient way of operating this secondary process to reduce energy consumption by Variable Frequency Drive and actual results are discussed.

Keywords- Rolling mill section, Variable Frequency Drive, Energy Savings, Descaler unit, descaling and no-descaling period.


In a modern steel plant, production, from iron ore to hot rolled products, is achieved in as little as 16 hours. The typical steel plant consists primarily of three units: Iron Making, Steel Making, and Rolling mills, as is schematically shown in Figure 1.


Fig.1. Schematic Layout of a Modern Steel Plant

These rolling mill unit contain energy- intensive processes, and consume large amounts of electrical energy and fuel gas per annum.

In the Rolling Mill unit, the largest consumption of electricity is in the bar mill, typically contributing






electrical energy



The conventional rolling mills in India are producing a major part of structural steel requirement of the country. The energy conservation in these rolling mills can be achieved mainly by focusing on secondary process (descaler unit) which consume a

particularly large amount of energy and for which further energy conservation measures have to be applied.

This paper will introduce possibility of Energy conservation opportunity at the secondary processes, focusing on the descaler unit that service the RMS. Varying monthly production figures at the RMS will have an impact on the monthly energy savings targets to be achieved under the HSL contract. The mechanism of an energy savings and Timing Diagrams of the Mill Process by these plant-specific variables will be discussed briefly.


The descaling and Rolling are primarily responsible for final product in the Bar mill. Billets of various dimensions from the Continuous Caster are milled in the Rolling Mill section. Billet length typically vary from below 2m to about 4m, with cross section between 125mm to 200mm. Figure 2 shows a schematic layout of the RMS.

There are Decaler unit at the entrance of the Rolling Mill for quality control purpose. The descaler ensure that scale that forms on the surface of the billet during reheating in the furnace, whoch is not directly sent to the rolling process. Descaling is done by forcing water at a high pressure (typically 280 – 300Bar) onto the material(billet), forcing the scale away from the steel. Before rolling process each billet have to pass through reheating furnace and descaling unit respectively. This process takes specified time, because billets have to be soaked properly in

Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler Unit

reheating furnace at different zones of heating such as pre-heating zone, heating zone, soaking zone for proper product output.

Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler

Fig. 2 schematic layout of the RMS.

By considering all the process of rolling mill, observation and considering time for each slab or billet output from the reheating furnace timing diagram is drawn. This timing cycle depends on descaling time and no-descaling time. The duration of the gaps between descaling time and no-descaling time will be determined by the production rate of the plant. For a HSL steel plant, the average hourly production rate from reheating furnace will be taken as 15 billets, for power consumption calculation of desclar pumps and cycle consideration. Figure 3 shows a timing diagram of the milling process in the Bar mill at low production rates.

Considering per hour billet output from reheating furnace:

1 hr = 60min.

15 billets output for each hour from furnace.

So 15 cycles per hour.

By observation every 4min one billet will be

descaling. 4min(240s) = 1 cycle

Considering average descaling time will be






will be


Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler

Fig.3. Typical Timing Diagram of the Mill Process

For HSL steel plant, the maximum hourly production rate will be determined by the peak production capacity of the process in its production line. Other factors that will influence the monthly production rate at a bar mill include the grade/quality and size of the material that has to be produced (i.e. market dependent), the number and duration of operational delays (i.e. operations dependent), and the number and duration of unplanned stoppages.

The average hourly production rate will affect the energy savings potential on the rolling processes of the bar mill, as will be shown in a later section.

The power consumed by the descaler pumps can be decreased by:

The use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) to start and stop pumps during operational delays such as descaling time and no-descaling time respectively (currently they are not stopped due to damage on the motors with every start-up - damage occur due to high starting currents which will not take place when started with a variable frequency drive).

The use of VFDs to reduce the speed of pumps during the gap times between two cycles of descaling periods (currently the pumps run fixed speed and water is bypassed at the pumps).

Only when descaling is on, two pumps need to operate to deliver the high flow at ~280 Bar pressure. Now AC motor is running continuously independent of time periods with maximum speed.


Descaler Pumps in RMS

High pressure water jets are used to remove scale from the steel billets before they enter the rolling mill. The descaler pump runs at constant speed, and the high pressure water is bypassed to the water pit when no bar or billet is present. Figure 4 shows the block diagram of Descaling unit. Running the pump at constant speed wastes energy and heavy maintenance is required on the AC motor, bypass valves, and the pump.


A solution is to use a variable frequency drive on the pump to reduce the flow when the bar has left the

descaler unit area, thus reducing the load on the motor and there by energy consumption.

The control system allows the bypass valve to be activated at lower pump speed and pressure. During mill delays the pump speed can be reduced, and during a roll change the pump can be stopped. Because pump power is proportional to speed cubed, when pump speed is reduced to 70%, the power drops to 35%, generating large energy savings. Control

Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler Unit

system tests in a steel mill showed annual electrical savings of 311817.6 KWh/year.

By retrofitting ACS 800 variable frequency drives to the existing 110 kW fixed speed feed AC pump motors which supply water to the descaler which can supply peak pressure when needed, without using the return valve. Thus, the amount of high-pressure water is supplied on demand.

Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler

Fig.4. Block diagram of De-scaling unit

When the descaling is not happening, AC motor always runs at a low speed of 600rpm as set by the VFD to ensure that water is continuously pumped throughout the system and to keep the system charged to the minimum required level. When the descaling pumps start, VFD is used to accelerate the AC motor in order to supply the required water to the descaling pumps.

HSL selected the ACS 800 as part of a program to upgrade its process quality and reduce energy and water costs. Several distinguishing features attracted HSL to the ACS 800. The technology used by the ACS 800 means that it is suitable for direct fitting to existing medium voltage AC motors.

Direct retrofit without matching the drive to the motor is possible because the ACS 800 features a patented sine filter. This, by producing a pure sine wave, avoids high voltage spikes and common mode voltage, which can damage the motor insulation and bearings.

Other advantages of the descaler control system using VFD are:

When the pump speed is reduced to 70%, the water

pressure is reduced to 49%. At the lower pressure the pump and valve life is dramatically increased.

Variable speed drives avoid motor overloads during on-line starting, and avoid the resulting large voltage fluctuations which can affect other equipment in the plant.


The previous section illustrated by means of actual case studies that energy saving opportunities are present at secondary processes of a Rolling Mill Section.The energy savings that can be realised from above case that was discussed is directly a result of the method of operation of the primary process (milling/rolling).

It was explained by means of Figure 3 that the “on- off” batch-like nature of the milling operation will influence the utilization of utility water for descaling and cooling purposes at the mill. It is this batch-like nature of the mills that present an opportunity to stop or speed down water pumps instead of bypassing water back to the sumps.

To determine the economic feasibility of a project of this nature to retrofit motors with VFDs and integrating the control of these systems into the Steel Plants’ existing control system, the potential energy savings have to be quantified, as well as the project costs. These figures together will then be used to determine the economic feasibility, using a financial tool like the simple payback method.

This de-scaling solution has been characterised by a combination of variable speed and fixed speed pumps with high flow rates and the application of an optimised nozzle pattern. The benefits of this de- scaling package are reduced investment costs and lower maintenance costs as well as substantial energy savings due to flexible operation according to the process requirements"

The current electrical load profiles per motor under investigation should be obtained from historical data or measured during a measurement audit. The ac motor power can be calculated by using a data collected from hourly average billet output from the reheating furnace and by considering current, voltage readings during descaling and no-descaling period.

A comprehensive energy savings data is then used to calculate the potential energy savings for a given set of parameters. The parameters will include the various average time durations of the operational processes and delays, average production rate, and current process variables motor speed, frequency and motor efficiency. From these analyses the expected average kW reduction over calendar time can be quantified after the energy saving measures are implemented. The kWh energy savings and energy cost savings per annum can then be determined.


Table 1 shows the potential average kWh saving over calendar time under average conditions (e.g. average

Energy Conservation Opportunity in a Steel Rolling Mill (HSL) by using Variable Frequency Drive in Descaler Unit

Production rate) for the steel plant under investigation. Note that these savings are only for the descaler unit that serve the RMS The production rate of the steel plant is, apart from other factors, influenced by operational delay duration. High monthly delay durations will result in low production rates, and vice versa. At low monthly production rates, the expected average kW saving is higher than at high monthly production rates

Drive cost = 650000 Rs Power cost for one unit = 6.50 Rs/ unit. Unit saving × power unit rate = 311817.6 × 6.50 = 2026814.4 Rs

Pay back period of drive =

descaling system that service the mills. It is found that billet desclar systems an average saving of 311817.6 kWh over calendar time is possible by using VFD, which can convert to Rs 202681.4 energy cost savings per annum. The device used (VFD) in this having very low switching losses, and having very fast operating speed. Higher operating speed gives higher performance that is high starting torque and good performance at lower speeds. By this drive we can save the power up to the maximum limit by controlling the speed of the motor by VFD.

The project – for Hospet Steels Limited- is currently implemented, therefore actual results are discussed in this paper.


= Pay back period is = 3 months.


= 0.32

[1] Haifeng Ge, Liqin Ni, Sohrab Asgarpoor, “DSM energy efficiency improvement opportunities in a hot Strip mill by using variable speed drives”, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Digital Commons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Published in PMAPS '08. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Probabilistic Methods Applied to Power conservation, 2008, pp.1–8, Copyright 2008 IEEE.

L. Balbis, J. Balderud and M. J. Grimble, “Control of a Steel SlabReheating Furnace Using Nonlinear MPC”, submitted for reviewto IEEE Trans. on Control Systems Technology.

Madivalappa.B , M. S. Aspalli. , “Speed Control of Three Phase Induction Motor by Variable Frequency Drive”, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, PDACE, Gulbarga, Karnataka, India , Published in PMAPS '08. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Probabilistic Methods Applied to Power Systems, 2011, pp.1–8, Copyright 2008 IEEE.

Specification of Variable Frequency Drive Systems to Meet the New IEEE 519 Standard.

Equipment Maintenance book of HSL.

Ralph PUGH; Hasan RAMANLI; Tayfun ALTUNTOP., “Energy Saving Drives for Hot Strip Mills”, Hydraliuic descaling Conference, 2010. Conference Record of the Thirty-first IEEE, vol., no., pp. 1627-1630, 3-7 Jan. 2010.

Handy manual


“Iron and

Steel Industry” output


seminar on energy conservation in iron and steel industry. Sponsored by UNIDO and MITI japan. Organized by The





Table 1. Practical Power consumption calculation of AC motor


kWh for

kWh for


Yearly Power



One year


Actual Power



before for


2×110KW motor


  • 63187.2 758246.4





consumption after

AC Drive

  • 37202.4 [4]



  • 25984.8 [5]





This chapter includes practical power consumption results of Descaler unit in RMS and payback period of VFD.


A Billet Rolling Mill in a modern Steel Plant presents energy saving opportunities, especially in the