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- Understanding Yield Loss in Iron and Steelmaking
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## Understanding Yield Loss in Iron and Steelmaking

Introduction

Productivity is an important issue for any steel mill manager, as poor crop quenching can negatively impact both steel mill output and production costs. In this article, the author discusses the topic of crop losses and explains their importance.

What is yield loss?

Loss of yield occurs in any part of the iron and steel making process when, at a certain stage, the mass of the manufactured steel product is less than the weight of the steel used. For example, if a cold rolling mill has an input – often called a charge weight – of 100 tons of hot-rolled coil and an output of 95 tons of cold-rolled steel, the productivity is 95%. Another way to express the yield factor is tons per ton—in this case, 100 divided by 95, or 1.053. Typical yield loss values are:

- in the production of hot-rolled steel coils (from plate to hot-rolled coil) 3.5%
- in the production of reinforcing bars (from blank to bar), 5%
- in the manufacture of seamless pipes (green pipe blank), 8.5%.

Why do yield losses occur?

Crop loss occurs for various reasons.

- For example, a break may occur during the rolling process, where the steel bar deviates from its normal rolling trajectory, landing (often at speed) in an area adjacent to the rolling mills. This length of steel bar would not be rolled further; rather, it is recycled as scrap, reducing the yield achieved on that particular rolling change
- Scale often forms on a hot plate when it cools down. This scale is later removed from the surface when the plate is prepared for the next process step
- In the production of steel coils, the end product is often cut at the edge, which causes a small loss of yield
- When a billet or plate is cast, the end is often cut. Irregularities that arise during the casting process are often sanded away.

All of the above examples reduce the final weight of the manufactured steel product compared to the weight of the original charge of steel.

Why is yield loss important?

Crop losses are important for several reasons.

- First, it is important to understand yield to be able to predict mill output. For example, a minimill producing one million tons of crude steel may only be able to produce 850,000 tons of finished steel if the cumulative yield of steel casting, hot rolling, and cold rolling is 15%.
- Secondly, the returns are also particularly important from the point of view of costs. This is because although scrap metal can generally be recycled, all the labor and energy costs involved in processing the scrap steel are lost; and added value (in terms of final sales price) is not achieved. For some processes, the cost of reduced yield may actually exceed some other element of the conversion cost (such as the cost of consumables, electricity, or other utilities). Therefore, yield management is an important aspect of overall cost control in a steel plant.

Understanding your yield

A common way to understand the yield of a particular steel mill is to compare its recent yield with that of similar mills. Such factories are usually owned by competitors and can often be located in different countries. However, technical visits to plants are quite common in the steel industry; and they are done specifically to make the learning useful to industry.

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