Students & Faculty

Ethan F. Lutgen – 2022 Steel Intern Scholar

Over the summer of 2022, I was able to work as a metallurgical intern for Cleveland Cliffs–Indiana Harbor. At this facility, I had the opportunity to work at the 80” hot strip mill in the quality department. For my internship project, I was tasked to analyze the chemistry check process for hot rolled steel coils and to reduce the time required to process requested samples.
For all steel manufacturers, it is of upmost importance that no steel coils are mixed up throughout processing. At Cliffs, there is numerous quality assurance systems in place to guarantee correct composition for the customer, one of which is the chemistry check process. These chemistry checks are carried out to determine the exact characteristics and makeup of a coil using advanced techniques such as a LECO combustion analysis. After this check, coils can be properly labeled and delivered to the customer. Throughout my internship I have had the opportunity to work with multiple departments, employees and engineers to be able to decrease the average processing time for a chemistry check sample by over 25%. Some of the strategies used to improve efficiency was to focus on analyzing the current process, meeting with numerous employees to discuss potential improvements, and focusing on improving the communication between the eight-step process spanning three departments.
With the systems that have been put in place, I hope to have made a positive lasting impact. Overall, working at the Cleveland Cliffs–Indiana Harbor facility has been a wonderful experience and has deeply enhanced my understanding of the steel industry. I am very grateful for all the welcoming and positive members of the Indiana Harbor family, especially my fellow quality engineers, section manager and intern mentor. I have also been able to connect with many other interns and expand my network of friends throughout the Midwest. I know this experience will propel me forward in my career in materials science engineering.