Co-op Spotlight - Steve McDowell

Steve McDowell is a former Co-op student who completed his final Co-op work term at the EVRAZ Steel Mill in Regina, SK. Previous work terms were spent at Case New Holland in Saskatoon, SK, Worley Parsons in Calgary, AB, and SaskPower in Regina, SK.



EVRAZ is an international company which produces low carbon steel. Its Regina facilities include: a melt shop, where scrap metal such as old cars, household appliances, shavings from metal working shops, and other recycled metals are melted down to liquid state, refined, and cast into slabs; a rolling mill, where the slabs are reheated and rolled to the desired thickness, and edged to the proper width for coiling; and a pipe mill, where the steel coils are used to make varying sizes and types of pipe.

EVRAZ is one of Regina’s largest manufacturing facilities and gives back to the community by sponsoring a large event complex (EVRAZ Place) which supports and attracts numerous concerts, tradeshows, sporting, and recreational events. EVRAZ also maintains a swimming pool and park that is free to the public, and sponsors many local events such as Roughrider football games.

To learn more about EVRAZ and its role in the community visit:


Steve’s project at EVRAZ

At EVRAZ Regina, the melt shop is the first processing stage for incoming scrap metal. Within the melt shop are two electric arc furnaces (EAF’s) which melt the scrap down to its liquid state. A ladle metallurgy furnace (LMF) further refines and alloys the molten steel. Lastly, a continuous caster cools and shapes the steel into slabs, weighing up to 30 tonnes.

These processes require tight coordination between each other and delays at any one process can cause delays at another. Therefore, to improve overall efficiency it is essential to minimize non-value added time at each process, thereby increasing total tonnage and decreasing cost/tonne.

One time reduction measure for EAF operations is the development and implementation of a prediction model which informs operators when the optimal time to charge (load) the furnace occurs. This eliminates delays caused by prematurely charging the furnace which then requires the charge to be packed or removed, as well as the decrease in efficiency associated with charging the furnace late which wastes electricity and increases wear on furnace refractory lining and electrodes. Steve was involved with this project from its initialization, collecting and verifying data, assisting with model development, problem solving new methods, and testing the model for online production use.