Maintenance specialist leads a major decarbonization project install at Tenaris mill in Argentina

Oriana Palencia, maintenance senior specialist in Tenaris Argentina. Tenaris

For Oriana Palencia, life at Tenaris has been a journey of professional growth and personal fulfillment. Hailing from Venezuela, the mechanical engineer with a degree from the University of Zulia found her way to Tenaris in Argentina in 2017, and since then, she has been making big strides in the world of steel manufacturing.

Palencia recalls her fateful decision to emigrate to Argentina due to the complex situation in Venezuela. Soon after, she attended a job fair hosted by the University of Buenos Aires, where she stumbled upon a Techint Group booth, which led to her career start at Tenaris as part of its Global Trainee program.

Palencia has since navigated an impressive path within the company. She began in the maintenance department, delving into the heart of the mill, at the steel shop, and growing from Global Trainee to analyst, then senior analyst, specialist, senior specialist, and project leader. “I’ve gained a lot of experience in the area of maintenance engineering, including failure analysis, monitoring the causes and consequences of different problems, working closely with suppliers and working on improvement,” she says.

During one of her international experiences in Italy. Tenaris

But the highlight of her career, she says, is her involvement in the Tenova Consteel® furnace project. Palencia was tasked with leading such a critical undertaking for the plant, and from a maintenance standpoint, something she admits she had never imagined. The Tenova Consteel® furnace represents cutting-edge technology, offering a more efficient and environmentally friendly solution to traditional electric arc furnaces. "The Consteel EAF minimizes energy loss, optimizes output, and reduces environmental impact by employing continuous scrap feed from conveyor belts," Palencia explains. "This revolutionary technology not only improves efficiency but also demands a fresh approach to maintenance."

The challenges, as Palencia sees them, lie in the integration of high-tech auxiliary equipment, and the transition from manual operations to automation. One of the exciting innovations is the incorporation of a robot that conducts temperature sampling and utilizes cameras within the furnace itself. This drive towards automation and digitalization emphasizes the need for highly skilled maintenance technicians.

Palencia looks forward to fully engaging in the startup of the furnace; consolidating the maintenance team, ensuring they are well-versed in operating and maintaining the new equipment, and revamping maintenance strategies.

Enjoying ski, one of her passions when she goes on holidays. Tenaris

Her aspirations go beyond, as she envisions taking on a project management role, perhaps even in a different country. Her experience with the Tenova Consteel® furnace project has equipped her with invaluable knowledge and skills that can open doors to more growth and development within the company.

Reflecting on her journey at Tenaris, what Palencia values most is the opportunity to lead the complex installation of an advanced technology that makes steel production more energy and environmentally efficient. "I love being part of the innovation process! The Tenova Consteel® furnace project is without a doubt one of the most important experiences in my career."

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