Steelmaking technology vendors are competing vigorously to help steel producers pare down their operating costs and capital expenditure amounts, judging by presentations at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia.
The long-booming economies of Asia are now yielding more ferrous scrap, and Gerald Wimmer of Austria-based Primetals Technologies says his company has developed technologies to help steelmakers in the region tap into the newly abundant supplies of scrap.
Wimmer said China’s annual collection of ferrous scrap is likely to “more than double in the next 50 years” from its current level of 180 million metric tons per year. He said China’s central planners “know this” and have targeted a scrap usage goal of 20 percent by 2020, compared with a projected 11 percent in 2017.
Added Wimmer, “This will have an impact on the whole world and will affect the price.” He said that in September 2017, the now abundant amounts of scrap in China have led to ferrous scrap prices there that are some 600 Chinese yuan ($91) per ton “cheaper than hot metal.”
Steelmakers in China have responded positively to Primetals’ Jet Process, said Wimmer, which he called “a solution for basic oxygen furnace (BOF) operators” that can get them above the current 20 percent scrap charging ceiling and instead “allows up to 50 percent” scrap as charge. Wimmer said the technology has been tested at scale at a POSCO steel mill in South Korea.
Primetals also has a technology called Finex, said Wimmer, that allows steelmakers to use smaller iron ore fines in a more cost-effective manner compared to previously existing technologies.
Sridhar Rao, who works from Mumbai for Italy-based Danieli, described the evolution of Danieli’s electric arc furnace (EAF) micromill technology, which he says allows steelmakers to produce steel from scrap at facilities with a small footprint.
“Micromills make minimills smaller and more profitable,” stated Rao. He said the micromills use Danieli’s FastArc and FastCast technologies to continually charge scrap and engage in “endless casting and rolling” to create a process that goes from scrap to finished billets to a rolling mill to spooling lines, all in a relatively small facility.
Rao said customers in Greece, the United States and Egypt have worked with Danieli to build micromills with increasing capacities. He said the Egyptian mill is achieving 80 tons per hour of output, and that he foresees new Danieli micromills being built in the Middle East and Vietnam as possibly reaching the 100 tons per hour mark.
Simone Severo of Germany-based SMS Group GmbH gave an overview of that company’s ConDor technology, designed to improve safety and profitability at EAF mills. The ConDor automates processes at the slag door that can be “dangerous areas” at mills, said Severo.
The ConDor can protect workers from “splashes and reactions” during the scrap charging process and during other mill procedures traditionally carried out by workers driving forklift trucks. The ConDor can push scrap automatically through the slag doors with a ram driven by a hydraulic cylinder.
In addition to its safety features, Severo said the ConDor can minimize scrap loss and ties into the carbon injection process, meaning it can save up to 3 percent on electricity costs and lengthen the life of a mill’s electrodes.
SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia was Sept. 11-12 at the Avani Riverside Hotel in Bangkok.