SA Premier’s Award for Whyalla steelworks

Continuous improvement, Our people > 12th November, 2021

Whyalla Steelworks has won the SA Premier’s Awards in Energy and Mining in the Innovation and Transformation (Productivity Improvement) category.

The Whyalla Steelworks’ Continuous Improvement (CI) Program was recognised for having improved efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness, and for demonstrating innovative thinking. Twenty employees attended the awards night – representing the diverse teams from across our operations.

Since the CI program was introduced, about 1,600 employees have contributed to the 100+ initiatives with many more ideas being generated and actioned.

Commenting on the award, Executive Managing Director of Primary Steel, Jason Schell, said the success of the CI program and the award was testament to the active engagement and participation of employees and their out-of-the-box thinking to solve problems – both big and small.

The CI program has unlocked significant value through productivity and efficiency improvements and has contributed to the Whyalla Steelworks’ successful turnaround. Examples of continuous improvement initiatives include:

  • Automating control of the freshwater recirculation system, reducing freshwater usage by about 120kL a year.
  • Reducing reheat furnace natural gas consumption by 10 per cent and reducing the plant’s carbon footprint.
  • Trialling different electrodes used in steelmaking, reducing significant operating costs each year. 
  • Changing crane lubrication from synthetic to mineral oil, reducing costs by 30 per cent and saving significant operating costs each year.
  • Manufacturing refractory consumables in-house, instead of purchasing from overseas suppliers, and achieving significant saving each year.
  • Increasing the lifespan of rolls used for producing structural steel products by 88 per cent from 3,200 to 6,000 tonnes per roll.

Now in its tenth year, the Premier’s Awards in Energy and Mining showcases innovative approaches and technology, and exceptional leadership in South Australia. It also recognises the employment and business opportunities and the positive economic, social, and environmental contribution the industry makes.

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