If asked when you think of Korea, what companies come to mind, many foreigners would likely answer Samsung or Hyundai. It is irrefutable that these companies have played a remarkable role, representing Korea on the global stage but there are many other Korean companies with unique technology and competitiveness being ready for the global stage. A Closer Look to S. Korea’s Companies series introduce companies that might represent Korea in the near future. [Editor’s note]
Like measuring body temperature to check a person’s health, it’s the same with high-temperature equipment machinery. The temperature data of the equipment plays a crucial role in determining its proper functioning. Accurate measurement of this is vital for preventing accidents. At Excello, we use state-of-the-art sensors to measure the temperature of machines in real-time and database this information to prevent potential accidents
Park Seung-Jae, CEO of Excello
The head of Excello, Park, has identified ‘safety’ as a critical issue facing the South Korean steel industry. The industry, which is a significant contributor to Korea’s economy, poses constant hazards to workers, particularly in environments with temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Celsius. Park highlighted the high risk of major accidents, such as explosions, resulting from the use of high-temperature equipment in steel production that can release molten steel or intense heat.
In S. Korea, the implementation of the Serious Accident Punishment Act has created an emergency in the steel industry. This law holds top executives accountable in cases of major accidents, such as loss of life, occurring in workplaces.
Park Seung-Jae, the CEO of Excello. /Lee Jung-soo
Additionally, the inherent risks of steel plants, such as high-temperature equipment and molten metal, make them a constant source of concern. Excello is a company that can help solve these problems by using advanced sensor technology to detect abnormalities in high-temperature machinery and prevent potential accidents.
Park emphasizes that it is crucial to measure the temperature of equipment accurately to prevent accidents. He stressed that Excello uses smart technology to measure the internal temperature of the equipment precisely, which is a significant advancement from traditional methods. Unlike thermal imaging cameras that only measure surface temperatures, Excello’s smart technology provides accurate measurements.
According to Park, conventional thermal imaging cameras, which measure the temperature of equipment surfaces, are greatly affected by external environmental conditions, leading to large variations in data. This lack of data reliability was a critical issue that Excello aimed to address.
To overcome these drawbacks, Excello developed two types of sensors. The first is an erosion sensor installed between refractories to detect the depth of molten steel penetration through electrical signal changes.
The second, a high-temperature surface sensor, is placed between the refractory and the equipment’s steel casing to collect temperature data across the entire surface. Simply put, this means installing high-temperature surface sensors inside the equipment to directly measure internal temperature changes in real-time.
Park, born in 1976, initially enrolled at University College London but dropped out amidst the global IT boom to start a System Integration (SI) business. His foray into the steel industry began while working in his father’s refractory manufacturing company.
Realizing the absence of management solutions for high-temperature equipment in refractories, Park leveraged his over ten years of development experience and background in IT and the steel industry to drive innovation. Excello officially launched its operations in 2017. Currently, Excello has secured 4 billion won($2.9 million) in Series A funding and is in the process of Series B funding.
Excello is a technology company that has been recognized and certified by various domestic and international organizations. The company has filed or obtained patents in several countries including Korea, China, Europe, India, Japan, and the United States. Currently, Excello has filed 11 patents in Korea, 4 in China, 4 in Europe, 4 in India, 4 in Japan, and 4 in the USA, strategically targeting key nations. ChosunBiz had an exclusive interview with Park.
During the demonstration, Excello's CEO, Park, showcased the functionality of the sensors developed by the company. /Lee Jung-soo
Could you please provide a brief introduction to Excello?
“Excello is a company that specializes in transforming analog industrial sites into digital ones. We focus on “DX-ing” any equipment that requires heat. Our solutions are primarily designed for extreme environment equipment that is protected from high temperatures above 1100 degrees Celsius by refractories. If these refractories erode, molten steel can leak out, which can lead to significant casualties. Excello’s solutions help prevent such risks.”
How exactly does Excello prevent accidents?
“We utilize erosion sensors to gather information on the erosion of refractories. We further analyze temperature data of the eroded sections and convert it into big data. This data allows us to create unique patterns for each equipment and predict safety accidents. By analyzing the overall temperature data and patterns, we can identify signs of an impending accident and take preventive actions.”
Park, Excello's CEO, explains why thermal cameras are inadequate for checking high-temperature machines' conditions. /Lee Jung-soo
Is Excello’s approach a first of its kind?
“Yes, we haven’t come across similar cases abroad.”
How has the temperature of machines been measured before?
“It used to be that the only way to measure the surface temperature of machines was by using thermal imaging cameras. If the temperature was higher than normal, the equipment would be stopped and serviced. However, this method can be inaccurate. For instance, if a machine has a problem but is cooled by water, its surface temperature may appear normal, and the thermal imaging camera would fail to detect the issue. This can lead to inaccurate data measurement and, as a result, pose a risk of major accidents. To put it simply, measuring temperature with a thermal imaging camera has the drawback that the measured values can vary greatly depending on the situation..”
Can you provide me with a list of companies that Excello collaborates with?
“We are collaborating with several companies within the country including POSCO, Hyundai Steel, SeAH Besteel, and SeAH Changwon Integrated Special Steel Corporation. On an international level, we have partnerships with SAB Europe and Bhilai Steel in India. Furthermore, we have entered into agreements with Sumitomo Corporation in Japan, and we recently concluded a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Vesuvius, a leading global refractory manufacturer.”
Park, Excello's CEO, demonstrated how the company monitors its machines using an app./Lee Jung-soo
Can you provide examples of how Excello technology has been utilized to prevent accidents?
“An example of the usefulness of Excello’s solution can be seen in the case of Seah Changwon Special Steel. In their factory, they use a carbon removal equipment called Smart AOD during the production of stainless steel. This equipment helps to remove carbon during the melting process. After installing Excello’s solution and monitoring the data, an anomaly in temperature was detected, which led to a halt in operations. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the refractory material was detaching more severely than usual. If this problem had not been discovered, it could have resulted in a major accident, making it a critical moment”
What is the goal of Excello this year?
“Our aim for this year is to expand our business both domestically and internationally. As the first step towards achieving this, we are currently in the process of establishing a corporation in Japan. Specifically, we are targeting countries such as the United States, China, and Japan where there are numerous potential companies in industries such as steel and iron manufacturing, chemical production, and cement. Our primary focus is on proceeding with patent registrations in these target countries.
What is the vision of Excello?
“Our aim is to enhance safety in industries that operate in extreme environments. Excello envisions creating a virtuous cycle that benefits companies, workers, and consumers. Our technology not only ensures the safety of workers but also improves the profitability of companies. In light of the current global issue of carbon emissions, Excello’s solutions enable continuous monitoring of equipment states and efficiency, providing a practical way to immediately reduce carbon emissions. If workers are safe and companies are profitable, these benefits directly deliver to consumers, aligning with ESG principles.”
27th January 2024
Source : [A Closer Look to S. Korea’s Companies] ① Excello prevents steel industry accidents using cutting-edge technology