When BlueScope Steel acquired Pacific Steel’s rolling mills they wanted to fundamentally change the way steel is produced for the New Zealand market, extending the economic life of the steel mill and maintaining local job opportunities.
In order to produce both steel slab (for flat products) and steel billet (for long products), two new units needed to be installed at New Zealand Steel's Glenbrook plant – a ladle metallurgical furnace (LMF) and a billet continuous casting machine (BCCM).
The challenge was how to achieve this within a 15-month timeframe, in the middle of the existing steel plant, and all while the plant continued to operate 24/7.
Our project managers and engineers formed a tightly integrated team with our client and contractors. We worked for six months to design the solution, which involved the use of common utilities and cranes, relocating or tying into existing plant and systems, and upgrading foundations to meet new seismic requirements.
The complexity of this project can't be underestimated. The space, time and budget constraints and the extremely hazardous environment required precision and fresh thinking. We developed a detailed 3D-model through which every design and construction activity and detail could be planned, tested and verified, allowing maximum efficiency. The project was completed within the board's expectation and has been consistently producing well above the business case plan.
The success of Project Atom means almost all the steel products of the appropriate quality can be manufactured locally rather than being imported, delivering continued sustainability and supply of products through Glenbrook for years to come, as well as keeping jobs in the community.