Juan C. Caquias – 2021 Steel Intern Scholar
This summer, I interned with Commercial Metals Company (CMC) at their rebar mill in Mesa, Ariz. Most of my time at the internship was spent assisting the meltshop and rolling mill management by organizing important process variables and maintenance data and creating trends and reports to track this data.
Above all, I was most impressed by the culture of safety present at CMC. Safety is undoubtedly the top priority. During my orientation and in every meeting I attended after, safety in the workplace was emphasized above all else. The culture revolves around safety measures and hazard awareness, and even during my short time at my internship, I absorbed a lot of important knowledge and lessons. It was very comforting to know how much CMC cares about its employees and I hope to retain this safety mindset wherever I go.
CMC is also a very data-driven company, and a digital tag exists to record the happenings of just about every machine on the premises. For the most part, my projects centered around familiarizing myself with these tags and using them to calculate and report on important statistics. For example, one of my larger projects was to track the consumption of the electrodes in the electric arc furnace (EAF). The EAF melts scrap metal using current from three large graphite electrodes which sublimate and oxidize away during use. By setting up scripts to keep track of the hydraulic pressure on the clamps holding the electrodes along with the heat cycles occurring at the furnace, I was able to create a database that automatically tracks when an electrode has been changed out.
I had the opportunity to assist with various such projects both in the meltshop and rolling mill and getting so familiar with the machines helped me significantly to understand the metallurgical processes that are so important in steelmaking. At CMC, I learned that while the roots of steelmaking go far back in time, modern science and technology is implemented to maximize efficiency and quality of production. I’m glad that I got to be part of that advancement in the use of technology in the production of rebar.
I am very grateful to both AIST and CMC for this opportunity to learn and grow. Through my internship, I have gained a much better understanding of steelmaking and the steel industry, and I am excited to see how I can continue my career in the field.