My long career in photography has afforded me the opportunity to have a wide variety of experiences. Sometimes it’s covering a news event, other times it’s a wedding, and on occasion I get to experience the power of industry. Industrial photography offers a glimpse into an array of businesses where men and women actually make things out of raw materials. A mill with its furnaces, heavy machinery, and enormous scale is a dramatic space.
The work in a steel mill is often hot, dirty, and dangerous. Increasingly technology is making it possible for vast quantities of steel to be manufactured with only a handful of skilled workers. As a result, massive mills with thousands of steelworkers in a shift are a thing of the past.
A mill worker pokes at a ladle filled with molten metal.
Under a Microscope
As breathtaking as the power at work in the steelmaking process is there is a precision to it that is also amazing. Consequently, processes are developed to ensure the consistent output of products. Therefore, there’s a need for constant monitoring from a control room and testing in a lab.
The molecular structure of polished samples of cross sections of metal rods are observed under a microscope in a lab at the mill.
Heavy duty equipment on a massive scale is designed to produce a large quantity of materials very quickly. As was said above, consistency is paramount to the process. As a result, a large component of profitability is to produce the product as efficiently as possible. To be competitive in a global marketplace a steel manufacturer must eliminate wasted energy, materials, and time.
An electric furnace glows orange as it melts a ladle full of metal at the mill (above). These photos were shot on assignment for a metals industry publication.
Filed under Industrial Photography and Commercial Photographer in Pittsburgh