RG Steel “L” Furnace Continues to Have Issues
The “Beast of the East” as the RG Steel “L” blast furnace is sometimes called, is living up to its nickname. The furnace, which originally was re-lit in early May and then began producing hot metal for the first time under the RG Steel banner on May 11th. On the 19th of May the furnace experienced a failure of the burden within the furnace which damaged a number of the pipes called tuyeres which had to be replaced.
RG Steel has not disclosed any information about the May 19th accident but between our sources and those of Mark Reutter of the Baltimore Brew we have determined that on the morning of the 19th of May a section of the interior wall of the furnace had broken away and collapsed into the hearth. This caused the “burden” to slip and thousands of tons of hot metal fell to the base of the furnace damaging the surrounding pipes and the nozzles (called tuyeres) which direct air into the base of the blast furnace.
The Baltimore Brew, which has a new article out this morning, reported two outside contractors were injured in the May 19th slippage when the workers tried to open one of the damaged pipes and were sprayed with 2,000 degree hot metal.
The Brew is reporting the furnace “slipped” again this past Friday damaging more tuyeres and setting the re-start back once again.
The Brew article is calling for the furnace to restart later this week, making small batches of hot metal and then ramping up the furnace slowly.
In the year prior to the shutdown of the “L” furnace by Severstal, the furnace had been unstable according to internal records reviewed by the Baltimore Brew. The furnace had literally hundreds of “slips” of the burden burning out tuyeres and other equipment. Severstal eventually decided to take the furnace out of operation and to use first slabs and later hot bands coming from their sister plant in Warren, Ohio.
The problems with the “Beast of the East” has had some positive consequences taking some of the steel originally projected to be in the market in June which now appear to be pushed into the later part of July and August. In the meantime, the ramp up of ThyssenKrupp continues as does the ramp up of the 2nd EAF and caster at Severstal Columbus.