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Read our exclusive interview with Tata Steel's Tom Luttikhuizen

Ahead of the much-anticipated Eurocoke Summit 2018 we spoke to Tom Luttikhuizen, Team Manager - Coke Oven Batteries at Tata Steel, to discuss recent improvements at Tata Steel plants, how steel makers can make steel more cost effective, Industry 4.0 and much more.

Q. You are going to be delivering some case studies from recent improvements at Tata Steel plants - can you give us a sneak peek of what you will be sharing?

I will be sharing several types of improvement projects carried out at Tata Steel IJmuiden. Examples given: Lean, practical problem solving, Six Sigma driven projects. These projects are executed in the mechanical, refractory, civil or logistics disciplies.

Q. What changes are you seeing in the way the steel makers are running their plants and what they need from the rest of the supply chain to make steel more cost-effective?

  • To be as cost effective as possible (or reasonable) is the all-time challenge the steel makers are facing.
  • Increasing energy costs will drive coke oven plants to optimise their energy consumption.
  • Excelling in operational excellence enables labour costs diminution.
  • Inventions and process optimisation increases yield.

Q. What do you see as the most significant shifts in coal, coke and steel in the next 12-24 months?

Industry 4.0 initiatives will be the hot-topic. The first Industry 4.0 papers are already several years behind us and these were somewhat fuzzy. Over the last two years, we observe a change; the (somewhat) fuzzy idea of IoT/I4.0 is getting more and more specific. The most significant shift in coal, coke and steel industry for the next year is that people and business are executing real projects with real benefits. Industry 4.0 will start to really pay off.

Q. What do you feel are the biggest stumbling blocks for the industry at the moment?

The biggest stumbling blocks are in my opinion the licence to operate and the CO2 discussion. Climate change, through the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, presents a major challenge to the steel industry. But also a tremendous opportunity to improve our cost competitiveness, by improving energy efficiency and promoting the green credentials of our products (in comparison to other materials).

Q. Why do you feel it is important for people to attend Eurocoke Summit 2018?

Eurocoke is all about sharing information, networking and of course the chance to turn problems into opportunities.

Tom will be presenting as part of the Increasing Profitability through Plant Operations and Maintenance session at the Eurocoke Summit this April. Other speakers in the session include Gerdau, POSCO and the Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal

ThyssenKrupp, ArcelorMittal, CI Carbocoque, BlueScope Steel, RAG Verkauf, Steel Mont and more will also be in attendance, so book your ticket now to avoid missing out!