Nippon Steel-Kimitsu Works
By surfing on the internet, I could find top 10 biggest steel companies in the world. The biggest one is ArcelorMittal. Nippon Steel is one of those top 10 and it is said that this company also the biggest steel company in Japan. At that time, we had an opportunity to visit this company, in Kimitsu Works, Chiba exactly. We passed through Tokyo Bay Channel at that time.
Kimitsu works was built to serve the Kanto area-Japan’s largest steel consuming region. It ranks at the top in product quality, production, equipments and production volume. It is divided into four production areas; Iron making, Steel Making, Hot-Rolling and Cold Rolling area.
As usual, we were welcome by company in the big hall of main building and introduced on brief information about Nippon Steel-Kimitsu Works. Any directions were explained at that time. We also need to wore some typical industrial uniform to avoid any possibilities of accident.
First, we visited blast furnace in Iron making area. As raw materials, sintered ore and coke are mixed inside blast furnace. In this process, sintered ore and coke are sequentially charged from the top while hot air is blown-in from the bottom about 1200 degree Celsius. The temperature inside is increasing to more than 2000 degree Celsius. So, a chemical reaction separates the iron from the sintered iron.
From the blast furnace, a pig iron is produced. After that, the impurities and carbon are removed in steelmaking process until the carbon content below 1.7%. This process shall soft the steel. Then, this solidified steel can be reshaped into specific shape; billet, bloom and slab.
The second visiting area was Hot-rolled area. In this area, a slab are continuously rolled to produce steel sheets with thickness ranging from 1.2 mm to 25.4mm. After this process, the sheets will follow the next process in Cold-rolled area. Not only sheets, this company also produces other shape of products such as wide-flange beam and sheet pile, plate, UO pipes and tubes, wire rod, electro-galvanized sheets etc.
Moreover, we also visited plastic recycling equipment. In this area, plastic wastes and waste tires are being proceeds to produce a raw material for steel making. In addition, this company has achieved recycling rate approximately 98% of its process. Coke oven gases are byproduct in iron-and steel making process and they are effectively utilized as fuel for reheating steel product and as a source of energy. Further, more than 90% water is circulated for reuse in many processes. Byproducts such as slug, dust and sludge are not only re-used as materials for in-company use but are also reutilized for the society.
This company’s products are very useful for human life. For example, a high strength, lightweight steel wires are needed to support long-span bridges, steel frame buildings, railways, pipeline, shipbuilding, automobiles etc. The more human population number, the more development will be. It means the more steels support are needed. Based on statistic, Nippon steel may achieve those needs. It is said that the production is increasing almost every year. Beside that, the company’s efficiency is also increasing averagely. It said that the number of employees is currently less than half of its number in 1977. This company is successfully implementing the high technology in their working system.
Steels are highly in demand for human being development. The processes of making them are also very risky for human. Implementing computer control system in those processes may reduce any risky and also definitely increase the products number and accuracy.