Italian Feralpi Group Continued Investments in 2020
Lonato del Garda Brescia based Italy’s Feralpi Group’s investments in 2020 rose to EUR 55.6 million, confirming that, despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, the Company continues to implement its industrial plan, one of the pillars to sustain increased productivity both in the construction steel business unit and in the special steels business unit and to achieve increasingly ambitious environmental KPIs, in order to combine competitiveness with a reduction in the direct and indirect impact of production activities. In effect, energy efficiency projects continued to optimise the consumption of both electricity and natural gas. In order to optimise energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time, in line with the European Green New Deal, the Company is committed to developing research projects to support production processes, aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing impacts and emissions, in a 4.0 perspective, with the help of artificial intelligence and in partnership with international research centres and universities.
During the year, the experimental phase of using engineering plastics, obtained from plastics recovered from urban recycling that cannot be reused and has to be disposed of in landfills, in EAFs instead of coal and its derivatives was also completed at the Lonato del Garda plant. This will help counteract climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. As from 2021, with transition to the industrial phase, the consumption of coal will be cut by about 4,000 tonnes, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by around 2,000 tonnes per year and contributing to the decarbonisation of the production process.
Mineral based lubricants are gradually being replaced by fully biodegradable vegetable-oil based products. In a circular approach, the use of products made using company residues, or sub-bases and asphalts made from black slag resulting from the iron and steel process, has also continued.
The Quality Integration project was born as a part of investments aimed at strengthening and integrating the internal supply chain in high value-added steels between Acciaierie di Calvisano steel mill and Caleotto rolling mill. Actions have been taken to improve plants efficiency, in addition to operational practices and the implementation of Industry 4.0 simulation and control systems. These include testing for the development of new steel qualities, plant development for the rolling mills with the introduction of thermo-mechanical treatment (Caleotto), the implementation of Industry 4.0 logic software systems for monitoring and controlling the entire production chain. Besides, the development of measurement systems along the entire production chain to minimize defects and the implementation of continuous product tracking systems.
During 2020, the Presider plant, a member of the Group that leads the way in the processing of steel for large-scale construction projects around the world, underwent a major intervention to completely redesign the layout, from internal logistics to new 4.0 plants.
In the latter months of the year, in view of reinforcing its leadership role in the building steels business, the Feralpi Group invested in launching the conversion of the business at the Nave plant (Brescia), which has passed to Presider, which will thus be able to take full advantage of all the opportunities arising from the revamping of infrastructure works, thanks to its objectives and the resources made available by the European Recovery Fund