Defining Production Capacity for an Iron and Steel Plant

Production of iron and steel is generally recognised as being a fairly high fixed cost activity. Maximization of asset use, with operation of plant at high levels of capacity utilisation is therefore important. This raises the question however, of how steelmaking capacity should be defined.

Defining plant capacity

Nominal plant capacity is often defined by suppliers of plant and equipment against a particular set of operating conditions. Usually, nominal capacity is calculated based on a 21 shift operation (meaning three shifts per day, 7 days per week) with provision for normal maintenance periods and assuming ‘typical’ product mix. Quite often however, reality may be somewhat different from these conditions.

Some variables

Some typical variables that can impact maximum steel plant production potential (i.e. capacity) include:

  • Product size: With small diameter bar, for example, maximum output will generally be lower than if average diameter bar is made [e.g. 12mm versus 16mm average diameter]. The same situation arises if thin gauge coil is produced [e.g. 1mm rather than 2.5mm average coil thickness]. This is best explained in terms of less steel moving through the mill at any one moment in time. Product mix therefore can have a large impact on capacity, impacting this by plus or minus 25% or even more
  • Grade mix: Complex grades (e.g. those requiring special thermal and mechanical treatment in a stop-start rolling schedule) may take longer to pass through a mill than commodity grades. Similarly, alloy grades may need more working than do carbon steels, reducing mill throughput
  • Order sizes: In a mill making different product shapes (such as square, round and angle-shaped long bar products) small average order sizes can result in greater set-up time – with an adverse impact on mill capacity – if rolling mill schedules are not optimized by maximization of batch sizes
  • Coating weight: For some lines, weight is added to the steel during the production process. That happens for example with zinc coating, which can add up to 250 g per square metre to each side of a steel sheet. Depending on the coating weight (which can be as low as 25 g / square metre) the weight of final material sold can vary quite significantly. In fact, we have seen several coating lines where capacity utilisation exceeded 100% for just this reason
  • Unplanned stoppages: Clearly, if a mill stops running for some unexpected reason (e.g. because of a ‘cobble’ or a ‘breakout’), maximum production potential will be impacted for a period. With modern approaches to mill maintenance, especially when a ‘proactive’ preventive maintenance approach is applied, this issue tends to be less common than in facilities where ‘reactive’ maintenance practices are used. It should be remembered however that in some parts of the world, steel rolling mills can be 50 years old or older still. In such cases, frequent breakdowns can have a very significant impact on capacity
  • Capacity creep: This terms refers in the steel sector to the tendency of a given facility to produce greater output year by year, as minor bottlenecks are relieved, small productivity-related investments are made (possibly impacting planned downtime), operator understanding increases, etc. The trend may increase plant capacity by no more than 1% per year; but over a 10 or 20 year period the overall impact on production potential can clearly be significant.

A common sense approach?

From the foregoing, it is clear that capacity is not always what it seems. If in doubt, our recommendation is firstly to check the nameplate capacity provided by the equipment supplier, to double-check maximum output across a recent period and if possible to discuss the findings with local management. That approach should give a consensus answer at least, and one that is underpinned by actual performance.

Source by Andrzej Kotas

The Best LED Plant Lights for Indoor Gardens

LED plant lights are now used in a variety of was in different sectors. As they are available in different designs, shapes, and wattage, you can easily select one that is according to your specific needs and requirements. It depends on how you want to put these lights to use.

Take the example of those people who need grow lights for commercial and large applications. In this case, it is important that you make a choice after paying special attention to the overall power of these lights as well as their construction quality. For large applications, it is a good idea to opt for 600-watt lights. Make sure they are made using IP50 glass and metal. Here, it is also essential to know if there is a filament used in these lights or they are solid state lighting products. As these are high powered lights, it is advisable to use a surge protector along with light timer or controller.

On the other hand, if you maintain a large indoor garden, you can find different types of LED plant lights to choose from. A 300-watt light is usually considered to be a good choice in this case. The thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are installing these lights in your indoor garden mainly for photosynthesis, you need to be sure of where to install it. What it means is that you should be careful about the height of these lights. You can have them installed at a height of 12 inches to 6 foot. Moreover, it is recommended to move the light a bit closer to the specific plant that you are growing. This helps achieving right intensity and optimum coverage for your plant.

Usually, these two types of lights are enough to help you accomplish your different goals, but if you have relatively smaller indoor garden, there is no need to invest more money on buying high-power lights. For small and midsized indoor gardens, you can achieve great results just by buying and installing 120-watt LED grow light. These lights are quite useful, but do keep in mind that they are meant for indoor gardens and should not be exposed to wet locations.

These are different types of lights available for you to let your plants grow in the right way. However, you should bear in mind that along with using these lights, you need to pay attention to the humidity levels and temperatures, which you can also adjust by using lights for fewer hours.

The crux of the matter is that you need to be extremely careful when buying LED plant lights. By changing the intensity of the light, you can achieve different objectives. This is the reason why you need to pay attention to this important aspect and choose the best one available today. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check estimated LED lifetime, as this will help you get the best value for your money.

Source by Robert Fogarty

Hearty Plant-Based Campfire Recipes For Healthy Eaters

Who says you can’t have nutritious food while you’re on an outdoor trip? While the “junk food” seems to be more convenient and easier to prepare, what you can do is prep your ingredients at home beforehand to save time at the campsite. It’s also important to choose recipes that have less ingredients and a quicker cook time.

With these recipes, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy, filling meal without hassle! Try these plant-based campfire recipes!

Peanut and Sweet Potato Stew

What you need:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Tuscan kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 3/4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons New Mexico chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil then cook the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, diced tomatoes (juices included) and peanut butter. Season with chili powder and salt.

Stir to mix ingredients well. Simmer, uncovered until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. When potatoes are ready, stir in the chick peas and the kale. Heat until kale is wilted and chickpeas have warmed through.

Cheesy Garlic Broccoli and Potato Foil

What you need:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 pcs heavy duty aluminum foil, about 12 inches long

Whisk together the minced garlic, olive oil, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Season with Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. Divide the broccoli and baby potatoes into 4 portions and place each portion in the center of each square foil.

Spoon garlic mixture over vegetables in each foil then fold the sides to create a packet. Place the sealed foil packets on a grill grate and cook over hot campfire coals, about 15-25 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Remove from heat and open foil packets carefully, sprinkle with parmesan and top with parsley before serving.

Try these hearty plant-based campfire recipes on your next trip to the great outdoors!

Source by Daniel J. Smith

Indoor Plant Growing Light – Which Is the Best?

Indoor gardening enthusiasts have quite a few choices available to them when it comes to choosing the best indoor plant growing light. Many experienced individuals have decided on which indoor plant growing light they prefer through trial and error. A person can avoid costly mistakes if they simply take the time to understand the pros and cons of the different indoor plant growing lights available and have a clear idea on what type of plants they intend to grow in how large of the garden they plan to have. Budget is also an important thing to keep in mind when deciding on the High Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, Compact Fluorescent, or LED lights.

Which indoor plant growing light is the best? The fact is that there is no single type of light that is the right choice for every application. Some lights are quite inexpensive while others can set a person back quite a bit. There are lights that have extremely long life spans and there are those that are average at best. How much room a person has to dedicate to a garden and the temperature, as well as the needs of the actual plants, are all important things to keep in mind when deciding which HPS, Halide, CFL, or Light Emmiting Diode light is the best.

Some of the most popular indoor plant growing light types available are LEDs, fluorescent lights, HPS, HID, and standard incandescent bulbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of closet garden light. For example, LEDs are extremely energy-efficient and put up very little heat but they can be quite expensive to purchase. HPS bulbs, on the other hand are much more affordable but can get quite hot and use a fair amount of electricity. A middle-of-the-road choice may be a fluorescent grow light.

The amount of space a person has available for their garden will also be an important thing to keep in mind when deciding on an indoor plant growing light. If the plans are going to be grown in a compact space then it may be best to avoid some of the hotter lights available. A closet garden light that is known to put out a great deal of heat may require a person to add an additional ventilation system in order to keep temperatures down. Although incandescent lights are extremely affordable, they also have to be replaced regularly which can make them more expensive in the long run.

Source by Mark Andrew Plummer

Perks of Wrought Iron Plant Stands

People always purchase items that have a significant value and purpose on their life. Like for example, buying wrought iron plants for your veranda actually serves three purposes. It is purchased in order to organize properly all your flowers, have a safe haven for them and lastly serves as an added decorations in your veranda thus making it look more appealing.

There are times that we love to spend the whole day fixing our garden and re arranging all our plants in order to a make another impression but plant irons can be purchase for you to have the difference that you want as well as making an impression that your patio is well taken cared and are filled with blooming flowers that are perfectly arrange.

Plants stands serve as haven for your plants for they are keep safe above the ground. Sometimes, the plants that we placed in our yard are often destroyed because some of our visitors will actually accidentally hit it or kick it by their foot especially when their drunk and worst receive other liquids aside from water. There are people who throw there beverages over our plants and that is not a good habit. Having it placed above than the ground can help us avoid these things.

Ornamental metals such as the wrought iron plant stands are created with distinctive design that can create trendy appearance to your garden. There are some that are crafted with different accents on it. A simple and perfect decoration for your garden that can be very light that allows you to move it anytime you wish to.

Wrought iron plant stands are easy to clean and made from high quality steel that can lasts a lifetime if taken cared properly. It is resistant to all weather types and radiation from the sun. It is sinter coated with aluminum and nylon that makes it free from scratches, peeling, fading and chipping since it is coated thicker by seven times compare to normal painting.

Get yourself the plant stand that can be durable enough to hold your plants with warranties from manufacturers. Individuals may have a lot of choices to choose from because it can be available in different sizes, shapes and designs or accents. Remember to get things that can be useful and beautiful at the same time.

Source by Sue Chambers

Why LED Plant Light Is Economical to Use?

LED plant light is the new and advanced answer for all those who love to grow plants and flowers indoors. It is the future resolution to grow various different fruits, vegetables and even flowers and herbs artificially, without having to get them under sunlight time and again because these lights are the substitute for natural light.

LED plant light can be placed in areas which were once off limit to plants because the new small lights are available in the form of sticks which can be placed in the plants, rather than in a separate panel hanged above or placed on the side of the plant. These stick lights can be made to stand right along the stems of the plant to provide heat and energy to that particular plant. These sticks are highly favorable for indoor planting because they provide light to one plant at a time. This means that the number of lights increase with the number of plants, since every plant would be demanding its own stick of light. These sticks are have detectors in them to automatically switch on when it becomes dark in the surrounding areas, so plant owners don’t really have to keep an eye on the crop all the time to make sure the lights are turned on and off at the right time.

The very vital advantage of LED plant light is that unlike fluorescent lights, it is directional and helps to give out energy in one direction only and not in every other way. In this manner, the plant receives the maximum heat to grow in the best conditions because when energy spreads in every direction, the plants receives only a limited amount of wavelengths to carry out photosynthesis. In this way, energy is not wasted and lesser amount of electricity is used by the lights, reducing your bills by a large scale of 40% to 70%.

LED plant light is manufactured with built-in fans and heat removal systems to reduce the heat from damaging the plant as well as the product itself. It only gives limited energy as per according to the capacity of the plant, and it also limits the temperature of the room, where it is placed, to increase. It can easily be handled without any fear of burning yourself or setting fire to the surrounding items because again, the energy is only given to the plant and that also in limited amount.

These lights prove to be very economical and beneficial to every user because they do not require any other necessary accessories to work appropriately, like reflectors, fans and cooling systems. It also lasts for more than 50,000 hours of working, which is a lot more because other plant lights work for only 5,000 hours and then need changing.

Apart from the mentioned uses of LED plant light, there is one more benefit, which ought to be mentioned with all the other advantages. These lights have also been proved to increase the growth of the plants with its highly useful features and characteristics.

Source by Robert Fogarty

Need a Concrete Batching Plant?

No matter if you are in construction or design and are looking for a sound solution to all your batching and mixing needs, there are batching plants that have you covered no matter how small or large your requirements are. There are various different options that include production cycles of around two minutes that can deliver around 250 liters per cycle or vertical concrete production which is ideal for pre mixed concrete that can be transported in a mixer that is well suited to the precast industry. There are also pre cabled and pre assembled concrete that is transportable in a mobile container and plants that have turbo mixers that include a hydraulic scraping arm that aggregates and discharges and includes control displays.

There are batching plants well suited for high quality and production that can be equipped with two simultaneous vehicle loading mixer points and mobile plants that have superb on-site capabilities that can also be fitted with an optional weight load system and is able to mix quality concrete that can be pumped. Concrete batching plant also offers batch plant mobile concrete dispensers, SAMI and mobile dry batchers. Everything is pre mixed at these plants, based on the client’s need which means no raw materials and no wastage at the construction site. Concrete batching is properly mixed as opposed to hand mixed concrete that is more often than not inconsistent.

Construction work can be done much quicker as there is no disruption in the schedule when using ready mixed concrete. When the ready mixed concrete is delivered, a well equipped technical crew handles the pouring and patching at the site, which means you do not have to manage any labor on site. When using traditional concrete, this involves the use of labor for mixing as well as management that takes up more effort, time and money. Also available for construction are mobile dry batcher’s that comes with a digital readout panel, single bin and conveyor unit that is mounted on a solid frame with an electric drive. This option is manually loaded with a front end loader that can be attached to a bin feeder system or cement silo.

There are also mobile and stationary presses available as well as conveyors and mixers. Eliminate time consuming and labor intensive processes, the dosing line feeds and fills moulds automatically with the exact amount of mix, that ensures accurate mould charging and the cycle takes around ten seconds to complete. A user friendly mobile mixer that is popular is the BG400 that provides easy loading and removal using a control wheel and allows a 360 degree rotation, and there is a model suitable for tractors.

Source by Phillip Noyce

Plant Your Spring Garden in Chicago

How to Plan Your Spring Garden in Chicago

First of all, before you go nuts at your local nursery picking out bulbs and plants to plant in your garden; it is a good idea to draft up a garden plan, especially if you are planting your Chicago garden for the first time. Start with a design, even if is just a simple sketch with a pencil and paper. What kind of spring garden do you want? Some people prefer edibles such as fruits and vegetables over ornamental plants such as tulips or roses. Maybe you like to have a mix of each. Be sure to use your space wisely and consider the full-grown plant. If you are planning a container garden, make sure that you have the right kind of pots with good drainage.

When to Plant Your Garden in Chicago

For a spring garden, the best time to plant is after May 15. Don’t make the mistake of getting spring fever and planting on a warm weekend in March. Just because they are selling the bulbs and plants in stores in April, does not mean that they will do well outside yet. For outdoor plants it is best to wait until the official freeze days are over, which is May 15. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start sooner with a grow light in your own apartment. Get the seedlings going strong inside your home and you will have a head start for planting outside when the middle of May rolls around.

Plants That Do Well in Chicago

The Chicago Botanical Garden is a great resource when considering what to plant in your Chicago Garden. For a database of searchable plants, check out to search its recommended list of plants for Illinois. Officially, Chicago is in the USDA planting zone 5a, but due to the lake effect there are areas that could be considered Zone 6b. Here are some of the more popular plants for Chicago by category:

Plants and Flowers:









Leaf lettuce













Planning and planting a spring garden in Chicago is the perfect way to get over the cold-weather blues. Remember to plan carefully, and don’t rush the season. Start indoors if you have to, then plant the seedlings outside when the harsh winter freezes are over.

Source by A. J. Lentini

Watering the Plant of Intimate Relationships

Today I want to talk about connection. It’s something we all want more of and something that in today’s culture, many of us are lacking. We lack real connection with friends, family members and even the people who are closest to us: our partners.

Our society doesn’t set us up for making connection a priority. Sure there are phones, text messaging and social media, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about heart to heart connection that can only happen when the phones are put down and we can slow down enough to really take one another in.

If you have children, it only gets more challenging to create the space to connect. But what happens when we don’t make connection a priority?

Our relationships are like plants that need proper nurturing to grow and without tending they whither and eventually die.

Recently I’ve been struggling with connection. My husband and I are the parents to an amazing (and rambunctious) two year old boy. I have a coaching business and also teach at a university. My husband has his own demanding job. Sometimes it can feel as if we are simply tag-team parenting and passing like ships in the night.

What we’ve realized is that we need to make more time to slow down and connect– even if it means that the blog post doesn’t get written or the house doesn’t get cleaned. It’s important to let go of perfection and make time to water the relationship.

Watering your relationship doesn’t have to look like going out to a fancy dinner and a Broadway show (although it can). It can also be about taking ten minutes at the end of a busy day to sit down next to each other, check-in and have a few minutes of heart connection. It’s can be about taking the extra ten seconds to hug and kiss your partner good-bye, rather than rushing out the door and yelling, “Love ya bye!”

When we make space for connection with our partners, everything gets easier. The connection lightens our load and helps us to remember that we’re not doing it all alone. It helps us to reconnect with what made us fall in love with this person in the beginning. And it brings more of a lightness to the routine of every day life. It helps us connect to gratitude and when we are grateful for what we have, we see the world in an entirely different way.

What’s one action you can take this week to slow down and connect with a partner or friend? Notice how it shifts your perception and makes you feel more full inside.

Source by Sarah Koestner

Aronia Planting Guide Part II – Fertilizer, Nutrients, Mulch and Compost

Fertilizer and Nutrients

Applying the right fertilizers at the right time can increase growth and yields. Professional advice should be used to determine the type and amount of fertilizing to use.

Fertilized and watered black aronia plant seedlings are easy to grow. A slow release fertilizer such as 0.3 lb/plant (or 3/4 cup /plant) of 1.7N-4.1P-12K or 14N-12P-14K 5-6 month slow release fertilizer is required to ensure the long-term survival and substantial growth of the plants. Apply fertilizer at leaf break in the spring. A second application can be made later during the summer.

To promote growth of the roots out into native soil, scatter the fertilizer in a wide, circular-shaped band around the plant on each side of the edge of the drip line and water it and mulch well. At some farms 14-12-14 5-6 month fertilizer is used for growing plants in the field. This is a granular slow release fertilizer. Be careful when fertilizing the plants as over fertilizing can kill the plants.

If using a water-soluble fertilizer: Mix according to the directions on container and when applying wet the leaves and drench the soil.

Some use a fish emulsion fertilizer (5-1-1) which they spray on the leaves monthly. Another alternative is to use aerated compose tea made using worm castings. This aerated compose tea is full of beneficial microorganisms that help the soil make minerals more available to the plant. The compost tea helps make the plants pest resistant and productive. In clay soils, aerated compost tea helps improve drainage and aeration as well as nutrition. Your plants will also benefit from spraying the leaves. Spraying your plants leaves with compost tea benefits your plant quickly and to a great extent.

A good sign of the sufficient amounts of nutrients is the dark green color of the large leaves, their density on the shoots and a significant growth of the shrub.

Mulch – Use it for the following reasons.

  • It helps retain water
  • It provides food for plants
  • It moderates soil temperatures and protects roots from high and low temperature stresses
  • It protects against premature flowering (frost insurance)
  • It suppresses weeds
  • It builds soil
  • It helps prevent erosion caused by rain and wind.

Newspapers make a great weed barrier to be mulched over while the plant is young.

Mulch reduces evaporation and provides less stress on plants in the heat of the summer. When mulching keep the mulch about 4 inches away from plant stems so rodents will not chew on the plants stems.

Weeds are one of the major problems with which a grower must contend. Mature aronia is somewhat tolerant of weeds and is not choked out as easily by weeds as some other plants after it is established. This is because it has a good tap-root and a suckering tendency producing more shoots to help it form a hedgerow. The tap-root once the plant is established in 3 or 4 years helps make it more tolerant of dry conditions in the summer and be able to compete with weeds for water and nourishment. It also has a suckering nature producing new shoots and widening its growth foot print. The plants tend to from a hedgerow over time.

Mulch / Compost

Give crops an extra boost by applying material between the rows of growing crops the plants using leaves or other mulch along the aronia shrub every fall. Mulched plants grow faster than plants that are not mulched.

A modified chopper box with a side discharge makes a convent way to do this task..

You may be able to get leaf mulch from your local town’s fall leaf collection

Mulch material options

  • Fall Leaves
  • pine needles and straw
  • grass cuttings
  • compost
  • corn fodder
  • shredded bark
  • wood chips (Wood mulches can starve plants because of their need for nitrogen while decomposing.)

Source by Harold Stewart