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(3 projects; suitable for master thesis or internship)



IJmuiden, Tata Steel Nederland

Company description

Tata Steel is the second largest steel producer in Europe with a diversified presence across the continent.  It has a crude steel production capacity of over 18 MTPA in Europe - more than two thirds of the Group's total capacity. The manufacturing facilities at Tata Steel Europe comprise manufacturing hubs (Strip Products Mainland Europe, Strip Products UK, Long Products Europe and Downstream Operations) and Integrated Businesses (Plating, Cogent Power, Specialty and Bar).

IJmuiden is currently the Group’s largest single steel plant with a crude steel production capacity of 7 MTPA. It is part of the European operations of Tata Steel and known for producing high quality steel for various applications. It is mainly used in the automotive, construction and packaging industries. The material is also used in batteries, tubes, industrial vehicles and white goods such as refrigerators and stoves.

Introduction into the subject and practical objectives

Tata Steel IJmuiden is constantly trying to improve its asset performance. The basic oxygen steel plant (BOS-Plant), in Dutch: Oxystaalfabriek, is a very important asset in the steel production. Within the BOS-plant, transport of liquid product is of critical importance.

Within the department responsible for the transportation of liquid product, three interesting challenges to be solved in a graduation project or an internship are defined:


Technical project 1: Charging cranes: the charging cranes are of critical importance for internal transport. These cranes dump recycled steel scrap and hot (melted) iron into the basic oxygen furnaces and are able to transport loads up to 480 ton.
Currently, a considerable improvement potential for the availability, reliability and the predictability of the required maintenance of the charging cranes is recognized. A fundamental way to improve asset performance is by evaluating and improving the currently used maintenance concepts. The current maintenance plans are mainly experience based, future scenario’s might include (condition or load) monitoring practices. The goal of the project is (i) to determine how the maintenance concept should be improved with more advanced maintenance techniques and (ii) to determine the activities that are required for this.


Organizational project 1: Improving the maintenance department: The department is eager to improve the reliability, availability and performance of their assets. This project focusses on identifying the improvement potential of the department and conducting a technical analysis and risk analysis. The most important part of this question is ‘how can the organizational part of maintenance concept improvement loop be shaped within the department’. Currently, the maintenance concepts are made using FMECA studies, which are conducted in a software program. Many activities such as maintenance planning and corrective repairs have to be organized within the department. Typical questions are: how can the effectiveness of the department be improved, what are pitfalls for the department, how can priorities be given to critical work and how can the organizational part of maintenance concept improvement be structured.


Technical project 2: Maintenance of the liquid Steel transportation ladles and the tundishes (in Dutch: verdeelbakken). The departments maintains a vast amount of these ladles and tundishes, therefore, it is important to determine the required preventive maintenance by developing a maintenance concepts and to secure the implementation of these concepts. The goal of the project is to incorporate the use of state of the art technologies on inspection and monitoring in the maintenance concept development

Research objective
A lot of research is conducted in developing specific models and algorithms for the improvement of maintenance concepts. Many academic researchers have discussed or commented on the technical features of advanced maintenance technologies and therefore, many techniques are described in the literature. However, research shows that a lot of companies that apply these advanced maintenance techniques experience a gap between potential and realized benefits. The goal of this research is therefore, to develop and apply specific methods to overcome these difficulties.

The exact formulation of the research questions is open for discussion in consultation with the company and the university supervisors. Based on the student’s interest, the focus can shift between a more organizational or more technical focus.


University of Twente: Wieger Tiddens MSc & Dr. Jan Braaksma

Tata Steel: Ir. Henk Hendriks

Student profile

For these assignments we are looking for students who are proactive, have good communication skills, are analytical and have affinity with Maintenance Engineering

Profile: WO bachelor Maintenance engineering, System Engineering or Industrial Engineering. MEO specialization is a plus.

More information

W. Tiddens – w.w.tiddens@utwente.nl // Website TataSteel: www.tatasteel.nl