TitleDevelopment and Application of Models for Steelmaking and Casting Environmental Performance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsHaapala, KR, Catalina, AV, Johnson, ML, Sutherland, JW
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering
Date PublishedSep

Growing interest in sustainability is driving manufacturers to improve the environmental performance of their products and processes. The production of steel and steel products consumes materials and energy resources, and creates wastes and emissions. Industry leaders and policy makers have identified iron/steel and metal casting as areas of concern from an environmental perspective. By evaluating steel product manufacturing processes commonly employed in the heavy equipment industry, environmental impacts can be mitigated during product and process design. A process modeling approach that is focused on improving the environmental performance of steel product manufacturing is developed and demonstrated. The process models focus on part production employing electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking and sand casting with chemical binders, and relate process energy and material inputs and outputs to product and process design characteristics. The models are based on scientific principles, as well as empirical data reported in the literature. Models of the two processes are applied to assess the production of a representative ground engaging tool (GET) component. It is found that EAF electricity use can be reduced by more than 30% and process-related CO2 emissions by nearly 20% over initial settings. Replacing the polyurethane nobake sand mold binder with a low nitrogen furan binder is predicted to reduce casting emissions by more than 50%, and sulfur dioxide emissions by over 90%. Thus, the models are capable of estimating changes in environmental performance due to modifications in material type, part geometry, and process parameters. This process modeling approach demonstrates improvements in environmental performance for the production of a GET component, and can be extended to assess and compare other steel alloys and components.