Product variety, flexibility and energy use in hot rolling mills
Hot rolling consumes one third of the energy in a steel plant. Increasing product variety slows down production flow, causing heat losses and increased reheating energy consumption. A system dynamics model was developed to evaluate how flexibility influences energy use. Results indicate that world best practice requires high flexibility and low to intermediate product variety. Up to 28% less reheating was needed for low product variety, but no improvement was obtained for high product variety; a flexible steelmaking process for efficient production of small batches of steel would be required. The strategic nature of process flexibility investments is discussed.
KeywordsSetup Time Product Variety System Dynamic Model Customer Order Process Flexibility
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