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FAST STARTUP AT DEACERO RAMOS ARIZPE, MEXICO

FAST STARTUP AT DEACERO RAMOS ARIZPE, MEXICO
Issue Time:2018-10-10

Completing the general renovation of Blast Furnace A has brought the voestalpine Steel Division a further step towards increasing energy and resource efficiency at its steel production site in Linz. After a 111-day period for repairs, the furnace, in which two-thirds of the entire annual pig iron volume of five million tons is produced, today successfully restarted operations. At a total cost of around EUR 180 million, the so-called relining project involved completely replacing the extremely wear-resistant interior lining of the blast furnace, as well as modernizing all other facilities used in operating the blast furnace. At around the same time, interim repairs were carried out on one of the two blast furnaces in Leoben-Donawitz.

“The comprehensive upgrades to Blast Furnace A are important in safeguarding the future of the site in Linz, and that of its about 11,000 employees, for the coming decade. At the same time, the high technical standard of this blast furnace is also the basis for supplying our processing sites with high-quality steel grades.”

Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG

The relining of the large blast furnace, originally built in 1977 and most recently extensively upgraded in 2004, was undertaken during the period from June to September 2018 and, in addition to replacing the refractory bricks, included the modernization of all peripheral plant and equipment such as the Cowper stove, gas supply, and dedusting systems. The focus also lay in installing new digital measuring and control instruments. By involving the customers at an early stage and consistently building up a stock of the relevant pre-material supplies, it was possible to deliver as usual during the repair phase.

Digitalization for greater resource efficiency

While modernizing Blast Furnace A we upgraded all the process steps to the state-of-the-art in order to achieve even better results in terms of resource conservation and material consumption. We are doing this by using completely new digital capabilities as well.

Herbert Eibensteiner, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Steel Division

The applied technologies include 3D radar to determine the optimum distribution of raw materials and automated temperature measurements within the blast furnace. Around 160 employees in the core voestalpine team worked to prepare and realize this major project, while at the same time a total of 1,000 people were employed at the site for over a year. Special simulation software which mapped all the plant and equipment as well as process scenarios was used to plan the relining. In future this tool will also be used during ongoing operations at the blast furnace.

Interim repairs to the blast furnace in Leoben-Donawitz

Parallel to the major project in Linz, one of the two blast furnaces belonging to the Metal Engineering Division in Leoben-Donawitz also underwent interim repairs. After 64 workdays, the furnace, which is responsible for around half of the 1.5 million tons of annual pig iron production at the Styrian site, returned to normal operations this week. The costs for the repairs, which are routinely undertaken on each of the two furnaces at the site once every four years, amounted this time to the comparatively low sum of EUR 14 million.

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