RG Steel Running their Sinter Plant (What Does this Mean?)
Recently, RG Steel Sparrows Point began running their sinter plant. The plant was closed a number of years ago shortly after the mill was purchased by Severstal. We asked one of our Steel 101 instructors – John Eckstein – to provide information about a sinter plant and how it is utilized by a fully integrated steel mill. Here is his response:
Raw materials that are used in the manufacture of steel consist of iron ore pellets, coke and limestone. Each of these raw materials are mined and processed into a desirable size prior to being charged into a Blast Furnace. If these materials become damaged during various handling operations such as loading, unloading, stacking and reclaiming, these materials can turn into fines. These fines will become too small to be charged directly into the blast furnace. If these fines are charged into the furnace, they will inhibit the high velocity air flow in the furnace.
To utilize these fines, integrated steel plants use a process called sintering. Sintering is a process where ore fines, coal and coke fines, ore concentrates and any other iron bearing materials are fed onto a continuous metal conveyor burned at elevated temperatures of about 2,400F to 2,600F to turn these fines into a granular particles. These granular particles are called SINTER and can be charged into the blast furnace with other burden materials.
The ability to process these raw materials fines result in the following benefits:
1) A cost savings - The reclamation of high cost iron fines.
2) Operating efficiencies - Hot sinter can be directly charged into the blast furnace to minimize moisture content in other burden materials.
3) Reduced energy cost - Hot sinter will result in reduced energy consumption in the furnace.
From an integrated steel plant operation, it is critical for a blast furnace to operate at low cost, consistent pig iron chemical analysis and a stable operating rate. The ability to make and use sinter in an integrated facility meets these objectives.
SMU Note: Our next Steel 101: An Introduction to the Making & Rolling of Steel workshop will be held in Dearborn, Michigan just outside of Detroit on October 25-26, 2011. For more information about the program, agenda, the optional mill tour of Severstal Dearborn and cost for the program go to www.steelmarketupdate.com and click on our events section in the tool bar. Or, you can click on any of the links we have provided above.