Steel scrap is valuable

State-of-the-art methods facilitate collection

Scrap is the most important raw material for the Swiss Steel Group’s steelworks. Steel production from precisely pre-sorted scrap requires much less energy and generates significantly less CO2 than steel production from iron ore and alloying metals. The better the quality of the scrap, the better and more ecological the steel produced from it. This is an important prerequisite for the production of “green steel”.

Every year, the Swiss Steel Group processes over 2,200,000 tonnes of scrap in its plants in Europe. It is one of the largest recycling companies in Europe and the largest steel company in Europe on the so-called electric arc furnace route.

“To be able to produce high quality, you also need new scrap from metal processing of which the composition is precisely known,” Swiss Steel Group states. This allows the composition of the new steel that is melted from it to be controlled to the gram. “This allows us to recreate the preconditions for new quality products made of high-grade steel”.

Transporting scrap all over Europe is environmentally damaging and not very efficient. Therefore, because of the short transport distances, steelworks with a strong local presence, such as those of the Swiss Steel Group, play a decisive role in establishing regional circular economies. In Germany, France and Switzerland, most of the scrap for the Swiss Steel Group’s steelworks comes from within a radius of 90 to 100 kilometres.

Digital twin of scrap

Nowadays, scrap dealers are no longer just middlemen but important, fully integrated system partners of the steel industry. For example, the Swiss Swiss Steel Group plant works with scrap suppliers and several universities on a system that creates a digital twin of incoming scrap. The Swiss government funds the project. It is a “Big Data” project that will allow the steel plant to know in advance what kind of scrap is being delivered rather than when the SSG employee climbs onto the truck. “This makes delivery, production and ultimately, above all, the steel quality more efficient and effective”, the company explains.

The company says that the digital twin of Swiss Steel Group’s scrap is groundbreaking, and not just for the steel industry. The system can be applied to many other materials. This is the only way to move ahead with the production of “Green Steel” smartly, and as such, the circular economy. “The huge scrap hall in Emmenbrücke does not mean the end of civilisation. On the contrary, it is the beginning of a new, better world”. wire / Hall 12 / A28

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