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October 20, 2021

MMK reduces production hazards at by-product coke plant

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works continues efforts to boost production safety and reduce emissions at its facilities.

The Company is using high-tech innovations to achieve this in particular, machine vision. This technology provides basis for the automatic gas detection system implemented at coke batteries No. 7-8. The system, which includes several video cameras installed both on the battery itself and in its immediate vicinity, as well as a sophisticated software unit, makes it possible to detect leakage of toxic coke gas containing benzapyrene. If the door is gassed, the operator is automatically alerted on their monitor, allowing timely action to be taken. The project therefore reduces both the workload for staff and the risk of gas emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, machine learning technology is also used here: the system not only recognizes leaks, but also stores all the information in its database, analyses it and uses it to create a repair schedule.

This is not the only digital innovation at coke batteries No. 7-8. An automated system to prevent personnel from being in hazardous areas has also been implemented here. This project is based on Industrial Internet of Things and machine vision technologies: coke machines are equipped with special sensors to track when an employee enters the hazardous area, and employees are provided with personal RFID tags which vibrate in the area. This is followed first by the coke machine activating light and sound alarms, to then finally shut down.

Also, since the beginning of 2021, the Company has been replacing the doors of coke ovens in order to reduce coke gas leakage into the atmosphere. More than one hundred gas tight doors manufactured by Bluesky have already been installed at coke batteries No.7-8: gas leakage is virtually reduced to zero. In addition, a pneumatic sealing system was installed on 260 covers of gas outlets, which completely eliminated emissions and made the work of the hatch attendants easier.

In addition, to reduce exposure to hazardous and harmful factors, the employees of coke production: doormen, hatch attendants, gas collection operators are issued aluminized hazmat suits and closed-type safety glasses, to protect respiratory organs, as well as half-masks with replaceable filters. All coking machines are equipped with automatic barriers which prevent personnel from entering the zone of machinery operation. As part of the environmental programme, a new door extracting machine was purchased and put into operation, the main difference from the existing ones being a pre-installed aspiration system. It will allow capturing and filtering dust and gas emissions, which are generated when coke is discharged from the furnaces.

MMK employs modern technologies at its facilities to solve several problems simultaneously. These innovations reduce the impact of harmful factors and improve working conditions of the Company's employees, ensure an increased level of safety at workplaces, and also contribute to improving the environmental situation in production and in the city of Magnitogorsk as a whole.

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