Automation for the Steel Industry

Adding value at every stage of steel production

Modern steel mills are quite complex and the lifting applications of those mills are rapidly moving toward semi- or full automation. With 80 years at the forefront of crane development in the metals industry, Konecranes can provide you with the experience and expertise that will help you to adapt quickly as the industry changes in the twenty-first century.

Our cranes are designed to provide you with full control, performance, and flexibility, whether you choose manual, semi-automated or fully automated functioning. Twenty years of Konecranes AC-powered steel mill cranes with variable frequency drives (VFDs) have laid the groundwork for our latest generation of automated cranes, in which repetitive crane movements can be easily pre-programmed.

We manufacture two types of automated cranes. In the semi-automated model, the operator maintains manual control with various features assisting. On a fully automated crane, the operator defines the settings, and the crane functions without further human input. This is particularly useful in the demanding and hazardous environment of metals production.

Which applications bring the most benefit?

Steel mill lifting applications are rapidly becoming more automated. The benefits are undeniable: operations can be timed to the second with less work, crane wear and fewer errors. Automation is best for repetitive processes in which the potential for human error to slow things down can be eliminated

Full automation for scrap, casting and slab handling

Fully automated cranes are already common in continuous processes such as casting and slab handling. Automation can reduce costs by optimising available space with shorter travel paths. Automatic movements and cycles minimize the potential for human error.

Moving back and forth between scrap bins and the furnace, scrap handling cranes are strong candidates for full automation.

Full automation for coil handling and processing

Dip tank and coil storage operations are particularly suited for full automation. If a manual operator adds even one extra second, that time can add up to 10 full processes in a 24-hour shift. Conversely, a wait period that is too short can cross-contaminate tanks, resulting in expensive changeover and product waste.

While setting up automation requires testing for each individual facility and its processes, the long-term return on investment is enormous, with significant savings on maintenance and labor costs.


  • Highest lifecycle value for equipment
  • Reduces risk of crane failure
  • Improves safety of equipment, loads and personnel
  • Larger volume of throughput
  • More reliable and predictable processes
  • Reduces operating costs
  • Reduces operator fatigue
  • Safer, faster load handling

Protecting people and products

Whenever you move a load, there is a small chance that it will not go where it should, with possible safety or production consequences. Our semi-automation, full automation and Smart Features help your lifting equipment work faster, last longer, and keep people away from hazardous areas in a modern steel mill.

Konecranes has a long history of developing landmark innovations for the steel industry. Our automated crane technology is the latest development in that tradition.

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