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www.furnaces-international.com MARCH 2021



Editor: Nadine Bloxsome nadinebloxsome@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855115

Production Editor: Annie Baker

Sales/Advertisement production: Esme Horn esmehorn@quartzltd.com Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855136

Sales Manager: Nathan Jupp nathanjupp@quartzltd.com +44 (0) 1737 8555027

Manuel Martin Quereda manuelm@quartzltd.com +44 (0) 1737 855023

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Managing Director: Tony Crinnion CEO: Steve Diprose

Published by Quartz Business Media Ltd, Quartz House, 20 Clarendon Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1QX, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1737 855000. Email: furnaces@quartzltd.com www.furnaces-international.com Furnaces International is published quarterly and distributed worldwide digitally

© Quartz Business Media Ltd, 2020

Furnaces International March 2021



Welcome to the March issue of Furnaces International! This issue marks a whole year since ‘working from home’ became more than something you just did on a Friday when you knew you also had someone coming to fix the boiler... 2

Projects and products

Combustion technology 8 Aqratio combustion system by Falorni Tech: Keep constant the air and gas ratio at any heating range

It’s been a strange and tough year for many industries, but with a glimmer of hope on the horizon, Fontes Refractories explains how it has managed to remain a key player during this time on page 26.

Industry 4.0 12 Data is king

A shift in the way we work has also meant that face-to-face

Maintenance 20 Stealing back profits with Aluminium Bricking Machines

networking and industry exhibitions have been put on hold

Refractories 26 Despite sanitary crisis, Fontes Refractories remains a key player of BRO bricks

others - I know I have missed elements of travel and meeting

Solutions 30 Storvik’s Furnace Tending Tools The optimal solution for furnace tending operations

projects and make more of an effort to communicate with

Measurement 32 Measuring success

over recent months. This will have affected some more than

people, but it has also given me time to focus on specific

contacts on a regular basis. One way we have worked to keep our sectors connected is through virtual events, conferences and webinars. We know

Association update 34 A resilient UK foundry industry remains optimistic

it’s not the same as a live event, but it gives people a platform to meet and discuss new projects and plan for the future. For this reason, we are also launching the Future of Furnaces Online Summit, which will take place on 14th - 15th September. This online event will unite the glass, aluminium and steel sectors to discuss overcoming heat treatment challenges and present a collaborative approach to bring the Furnace of the Future to life. Keep following to find out more about how you can be involved!

Nadine Bloxsome, Editor, Furnaces International, nadinebloxsome@quartzltd.com 1 Furnaces International March 2021


INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR BILLET PRODUCERS IN HIGH-END MARKETS Jiangsu Shagang Group (Huaigang) orders modernization from SMS Concast for their six-strand billet caster to enter production of high quality steel Huaigang Special Steel, a subsidiary of Jiangsu Shagang Group based in Zhangjiagang, China, has awarded SMS Concast, a company of SMS group (www.sms-group.com), an order for the modernization of their existing six-strand billet caster. The main motivation for this project is the move towards special bar quality (SBQ) steel grades serving the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. In cooperation with Huaigang, SMS Concast developed an innovative solution, which will allow the production of high-end products on only five strands but with the same annual production capacity. In order to achieve the required SBQ steel qualities, the technology of dynamic mechanical soft reduction (DMSR), which enables the reduction of the strand thickness as early as in the final solidification stage, will be applied. Huaigang is the first customer in China to use this process specifically for billets. In order to be able to install the required seven (D)MSR modules per strand, additional space is needed between the individual strands. To achieve this, the innovative concept foresees a new section size of 210 millimeters square and the creation of additional space by converting the caster

BILLETS CAST ON A SMS CONCAST CONTINUOUS CASTER. SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. It has some 14,000 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 2.9 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.

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from six to five strands, whilst keeping the caster’s current productivity. “The DMSR technology is typically applied with bigger bloom sections. However, sometimes innovation takes place by integrating known technology to new application areas. The solution is suitable for both new casters and upgrades of existing casters. It makes it possible to achieve highest-quality products by being able to even better control and further reduce centerline segregation and porosity. This means great progress and success for producers of billets aiming to move towards special steel bar qualities”, says Pierpaolo Rivetti, Deputy EVP Sales & Marketing SMS Concast. The DMSR system consists mainly of the MSR modules and the COOL realtime solidification model developed by SMS Concast, which dynamically controls the MSR modules. By accurately calculating the liquid core of the billet at a specific position of the solidification and applying the suitable forces, the reduction ratios are optimized and the inner product quality improved. The existing 10.28-meter-radius caster at Huaigang currently operates without MSR modules on six strands. It is designed for billets of 150 to 200 millimeter square. After the modernization, the caster will produce billets of 210-millimeter square section on only five strands, but these will be fitted with DMSR. The additional steel

grades to be cast will include bearing, gear and free-cutting steels, and alloy structural steels. In addition to the DMSR system, the upgrade of the continuous casting machine will include the introduction of further technological and digital solutions from SMS Concast. The CONLFOW Stopper control mechanism for closed casting ensures precise control of the steel flow to the mold. The CONVEX mold tube technology enables homogeneous heat transfer and thus optimal solidification in the primary cooling zone. The state-of-the-art electromagnetic mold stirrer (CONSTIR MEMS) is notable for its robust design and efficient stirring effect for best quality results. A compact oscillation system in combination with the electric CONDRIVE oscillation drive enables highly accurate oscillation control with online adaptable stroke and frequency. CONDRIVE combines all the advantages of a hydraulic oscillation drive with the simplicity of an electromechanical drive. For re-stranding, a rigid dummy bar system will be provided, which enables fully automatic dummy bar insertion and includes a liftable storage unit. The system is designed for high productivity and low maintenance, whilst ensuring precise alignment of the strand. Operation of Huaigang’s modernized billet caster complete with the DMSR system is scheduled to start by the end of 2021.


SEVERSTAL COMMISSIONS CHEREPOVETS BLAST FURNACE #3 BF rebuild with Danieli Corus technology featuring “Hoogovens” design cooling and lining system Leading Russian steel producer Severstal has successfully commissioned the blast furnace #3 at its Cherepovets integrated plant. This furnace was idled and dismantled in 2007. The activities related to the

project were revitalized in 2018. At that same time Severstal and Danieli Corus signed a contract for the design, equipment supply and performing services for erection and commissioning supervision for the blast furnace and gas cleaning system. The furnace was built with a 3290 m³ useful volume and was equipped with a

“Hoogovens” design cooling and lining system – selected by Severstal’s based on the excellent experience with this design on blast furnace #4, modernized with Danieli Corus technology in 2005. Severstal has been able to accomplish the commissioning of blast furnace #3 as per original schedule.

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TENOVA LOI THERMPROCESS RECEIVES THE ORDER FOR THE MODERNIZATION AND EXTENSION OF THE EXISTING RECYCLING SHOP BY E-MAX, NL Essen, January 13, 2021 - Tenova LOI Thermprocess, one of the leading suppliers for heat treatment systems as well as for recycling plants of contaminated aluminium scrap, has received a new order from the Belgian E-MAX group. The contract includes engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of a Twin-Chamber Melting Furnace TCF® and a Melting and Casting Furnace MCF for the production upgrade and modernization of the E-MAX Kerkrade plant. The existing plant equipment was supplied and installed by LOI Thermprocess in 1990 and it is still operating with reliable performances. E-MAX PROFILES delivers sustainable, high-quality aluminium profiles to various sectors of the aluminium market. The Dutch branch E-MAX Billets in Kerkrade was established in 1990 and is the central operation plant in the E-MAX group for the production of extrusion billets. One of the main targets of this project in addition to the increased production is the sustainability of the process, with a minimization of environmental impact. The new Twin-Chamber Melting Furnace TCF® will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons of liquid aluminium based on a scrap charge mix with organic contaminations. The furnace is equipped with LOI’s regenerative heat recovery system CCR, an electromagnetic stirrer for metal circulation and an automatic charging machine. A fume treatment plant, transfer launders and other equipment are also included in the scope of supplies. In addition, the order comprises a tiltable Melting and Casting Furnace MCF with an annual production capacity of 25,000 tons of liquid aluminium and related equipment. As a new technology, this MCF can melt scraps with light contaminations of organics. Special processing ensures less metal loss and reduces overall emissions. Compared with former installations, the efficiency of the modern TCF® technology allows for the treatment of 4 Furnaces International March 2021

higher contaminated scraps. At the same time, the consumption of natural gas and the metal loss are reduced by 50%. The plant commissioning is scheduled for beginning of 2022. “With the development of low carbon X-ECO alloys which are produced with up to 85% scrap charge in the new furnaces, we realize minimization of environmental impact and sustainability of the process" explains Carlos Kampen, Project Manager at E-MAX Billets. “We selected Tenova LOI Thermprocess thanks to their innovative technology and the

reliability of the furnaces supplied in 1990. We look forward to starting the operation of the first new furnace in the beginning of 2022.” "We are very pleased about this new order which confirms the trust in this leading Tenova technology and underlines our long term strategic partnership with E-MAX", said Hartwig Thie, Sales Manager Light Metals at Tenova LOI Thermprocess. "The upgraded plant will ensure the highest quality and environmental standards that our customer is aiming for.”



ABOUT LOI THERMPROCESS GMBH Tenova LOI Thermprocess GmbH is one of the leading companies in supplying industrial furnace systems for the heat treatment of metals. Worldwide clients from the steel, aluminum and automotive industries rely on the experience and technical solution competence of the traditional company representing the entire know-how in the field of material properties and secondary metallurgy. Tenova LOI Thermprocess is a trademark of Tenova, a Techint Group company.

ABOUT TENOVA Tenova, a Techint Group company, is a worldwide partner for innovative, reliable and sustainable solutions in metals and mining. Tenova, including its TAKRAF affiliates, leverages a workforce of over 2,500 forward-thinking professionals located in 19 countries across 5 continents, who design technologies and develop services that help companies reduce costs, save energy, limit environmental impact and improve working conditions.


For more information, visit www.tenova.com



SECO/WARWICK TO BUILD A 12-METRE VERTICAL RETORT FURNACE FOR THE KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY The SECO/WARWICK vertical vacuum retort furnace for the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) will be used for high-vacuum annealing of gyrotron components. The equipment will be used as part of the ITER project. This is the first time the SECO/WARWICK Group has cooperated with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Special product requirements The order placed by the Institute was preceded by several months of consultations when the optimum technical parameters of the furnace were agreed upon with the customer. The furnace will have a water jacket with a compact integrated cooling system. When open, it will be 12 meters in height, and the diameter of the usable space of the device will be 1.8 metre. These are not the standard dimensions for a furnace of this type. It was necessary to adapt it to the customer’s needs. KIT also required a specific level of high-vacuum that will be achieved with the use of a cryogenic pump. “The device we are to deliver to the renowned European Institute of Technology is a furnace made-to-order according to the special needs of the customer. At SECO/WARWICK, we are fond of projects that require a fresh and individual approach. Thus, by delivering tailor-made devices, we are able to continuously learn and develop our expertise in the production of metal heat treatment furnaces”, said Maciej Korecki, VP, Vacuum Business Segment at SECO/WARWICK Group. Science opts for SECO/ WARWICK furnaces “The vacuum furnace will enable the researchers of the German Institute to achieve a very clean process under vacuum, and thanks to its dimensions, it will enable them to develop gyrotrons with larger dimensions”, M. Korecki added.

The example from the Institute (KIT) proves that the market needs nonstandard heat treatment equipment with large dimensions that can be used not only for industrial purposes, but for scientific ones as well. The SECO/WARWICK Group has vast experience in cooperation both with the representatives of industry and science. Only last year, SECO/WARWICK equipment has been chosen by the Shanghai University and a British research institute, while industrial companies from 70 countries already enjoy over 4000 different devices from the Group’s portfolio. “We were looking for a partner that would be willing to face the challenge of designing and building a furnace that would completely satisfy our specific needs. The SECO/WARWICK Group instantly responded to our process needs and adapted the furnace to our requirements. We hope that our cooperation will proceed successfully without any problems,” said Tomasz Rzesnicki, experimental group leader at the Institute for Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology (IHM), KIT. Currently, we anneal components in a conventional furnace under nitrogen atmosphere. Transition to vacuum

technology means a huge quality leap in terms of the heat treatment process,” summarized T. Rzesnicki. Gyrotron, space and SECO/WARWICK The SECO/WARWICK Group has been cooperating with nuclear and space industries for decades. For one of the US companies operating in this sector, the Group delivered a large vacuum furnace for the processing of the ITER “heart” — the central electromagnet comprising six coils. Each of the coils was heat treated using a SECO/ WARWICK furnace. Due its scale, the ITER international research project can be compared to the construction of the International Space Station. The erection of the huge thermonuclear research reactor to maintain a fusion reaction for much longer than the previous reactors, started mid last year. KIT is also involved in the ITER project. The Institute is in charge of tests and measurements on prototype gyrotrons. Gyrotrons are the devices used for heating plasma in the nuclear fusion process. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology develops gyrotrons in cooperation with the European industry. It is also testing gyrotrons for national and international projects (ITER).

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DUAL-CHAMBER ELECTRIC BOX FURNACE AND QUENCH TANK FOR AMMUNITIONS MANUFACTURING FACILITY L&L Special Furnace Co., Inc., has shipped a dual-chamber heat treating and temper furnace along with an oil quench tank to a leading Eastern European ammunition manufacturer. The equipment will play a supportive role in keeping key production equipment on-line along with thermal processing of munitions projectiles. The project was brought to L&L by Kevin Brennan of Summit Associates, a long-standing Sales Representative for L&L. The L&L model QDS124 has two chambers: the top chamber rated to 2,350°F is used for heat treating various steels and other non-ferrous materials. The bottom chamber, which is rated for 1,250°F, includes a recirculation fan and baffle for tempering, stress relief, or preheating. The effective work zone of the top chamber is 10”

high by 11” wide by 22” deep, with the tempering chamber work zone being 10” high by 10” wide by 20” deep. The furnace is controlled by Eurotherm controls with overtemperature protection. The top and bottom chambers are sealed for use with inert atmosphere and include a manual flowmeter/regulator system for both chambers. Solid-state relays drive the heating circuits and are housed in a sidemounted NEMA1 panel. The furnace was painted with custom colors to match the customer's existing equipment. Shipped with the furnace was an accompanying QTO1224 oil quench tank. The quench tank has a working size of 12” high by 12” across by 24” deep and holds 65 gallons of oil. Included is a hinged safety lid, immersion-style heater with thermostat, and an agitator with explosion-proof motor for use with oil. Provisions are provided for additional oil to the air cooler if

needed. The quench tank and furnace are NFPA86-compliant for safety. All L&L furnaces can be configured with various options and be specifically tailored to meet your thermal needs. L&L also offers furnaces equipped with pyrometry packages to meet ASM2750F and soon-to-be-certified MedAccred guidelines. Options include a variety of control and recorder configurations. A three-day, allinclusive startup service is included with each system within the continental US and Canada. International startup and training service is available by factory quote. If precise temperature control and uniformity is a key to your process, then L&L's QDS/QT series is a great choice. Please be sure to visit our new website at www.llfurnace.com.


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Furnaces International March 2021

Combustion Technology

Aqratio combustion system by Falo Keep constant the air and gas ratio 8 Furnaces International March 2021


Combustion Technology

orni Tech: at any heating range 9 www.furnaces-international.com

Furnaces International March 2021

Combustion Technology

AQRatio (Accurate Air/Gas Ratio Control System) is a modular integration of air and gas flow control technologies aimed to modulate the temperature of the forehearth zones providing Constant Air/Gas ratio at any admittable flow of the line, easy adjustment of Air/gas ratio, linear air flow adjustment, suitable working conditions of air and gas flow control devices. The AQRatio technology is developed on the Differential Pressure Governor principle. A membrane device receives continuously the differential pressure signal taken before and after an orifice, in both air and gas lines: the purpose of the membrane device is to keep a constant preset balancing of the air and gas differential pressure values at variable flow of combustion air. Together with the membrane device, has been integrated a linear flow control valve to accurately and repeatedly modulate the flow of air at any servomotor angle. The valve controls AIR/GAS ratios up to 25:1 and is suitable for regulating flow rates for modulating or, also, stagecontrolled combustion processes. There are several and tangible advantages from Falorni Tech AQRatio combustion system technology have been tested after the installation in combination with the FLEX-COND glass conditioning technology but even alone.

They are as follows: � Steadiness of the Air/Gas ratio regulation during operation and during the time.

� Regulation not influenced by the downstream mix line characteristics and/or by eventual decay of the pressure losses in the same due to ageing, clogging or fouling,

� Quick response of the temperature regulation loop to the temperature variations of the zone thanks to a fast tuning of the gas flow (slave) to the air flow adjustment (master)

� Linear response of the air flow modulation to the servomotor angle in all working range

� A number of adjusting parameters that allow engineers and the furnace personnel to fix the air and gas working conditions fitting with the field line requirements and to keep these figures constant for the whole firing range. No need of further adjustments once the system is commissioned up to the time of forehearth maintenance.

� Wide range of temperature setting in the same zone by keeping combustion values constant

� Capability to maintain the optimal combustion atmosphere in case of glass types sensible to oxidation (all reduced glass such as amber or dead leaf, etc.)

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tc273_TECO_A4_Advert_2020_Style_v11.qxp_Layout 1 14/05/2020 15:21 Page 2


A TECO fact... Did you know that a TECO-designed flat bottom furnace has more pull/m2 than a deep refiner design for equivalent quality?



Industry 4.0

Data is king Dr Martin Lawrence*, Combustion Development Specialist at Air Products, discusses how Industry 4.0 technology can be used to support aluminium furnaces to boost efficiency and improve yield

*Combustion Development Specialist, Air Products

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Industry 4.0

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Industry 4.0

A global pandemic and global warming combined have put productivity and sustainability front and centre of business priorities. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is changing the face of industrial process efficiency and providing exciting opportunities for improvements that can directly impact carbon footprint and the bottom line. Aluminium is an important asset to many industries, not least due to the way its sustainable and lightweight properties can reduce environmental impact. As the metal is 100 per cent recyclable, it can therefore contribute to the circular economy and, for example, use around five per cent of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium. However, manufacturers must also consider the carbon footprint of the aluminium itself, and this is being increasingly scrutinised to ensure it is as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. For secondary aluminium production, this includes enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of remelting furnaces with oxygen enhanced combustion technology – which can be further improved thanks to Industry 4.0 technology. At Air Products we work closely with the secondary aluminium industry to improve this increasingly popular remelting process and have developed a range of oxygen enhanced combustion technologies aimed at improving efficiency and reducing environmental impact. Using Industry 4.0 technologies, we work in partnership with our customers to identify and overcome challenges, ensure continuous improvement and deliver sustainable solutions. As part of this, we’re now seeing the beginning of the end of being heavily reliant on an operator’s skills and experience to predict when the aluminium has reached tapping temperature. This, combined with the significant variability that is inherent in the remelting process, can often lead to suboptimal performance and inconsistent results, contributing to longer cycle times, reduced energy efficiency and increased aluminium losses. To address this issue, accurately predicting when the aluminium has reached tapping temperature can prevent the metal overheating, which can save time and energy, as well as improving yield. Melting performance can also be improved by reducing the number of times that the furnace door is opened in order to check melting progress, resulting in lower energy losses and less idle time.

There is a solution to tackle this inefficiency. The introduction of smart technology – such as equipment sensors and associated analytics – makes a significant amount of data available, which can be used to boost efficiency and productivity. This in turn can lead to improved yield and reduced carbon emissions. But how?

Embracing the fourth industrial revolution The focus of the aluminium industry is to use Industry 4.0 technology to help achieve efficiency targets, while improving the triple bottom line: safety, productivity and environmental performance. For example, smart technology can be used to log key performance and operational parameters over time, creating a ‘digital twin’ virtual representation (or model) of the equipment or melting process to improve efficiency and reduce maintenance time. A digital twin model uses the data to determine the efficiency of the melting process and calculate when the metal inside the furnace has reached its optimal yield conditions. Real-time closed or open-loop feedback is provided, to either automatically shut-down the burner or to alert the operators that the metal has reached the required temperature for pouring. As new data continues to feed into the model, machine learning technology improves its predictions over time. Accurate end-of-melt prediction, combined with timely burner shutdown control, can provide significant benefits, including improved yield, increased productivity, energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions.

Working in tandem with Tandom A digital twin of the melting process is a development that has been explored by Air Products and Tandom Metallurgical Group to monitor the impact of using Industry 4.0 in achieving greater efficiencies and savings. The Cheshirebased company, which produces aluminium alloys, master alloys and recycles aluminium products, scrap and dross, took part in a 10-month study with Air Products to test the technology. A digital twin model was developed and implemented on a tilt rotary furnace (TRF) used to remelt aluminium dross materials. The data collected was analysed to determine aluminium oxidation losses over a large number of cycles, and regression analysis showed

an exponential relationship between yield loss and metal tapping temperature. Baseline data was compared with data from cycles that were completed using the digital twin, which found that an accurate model of end-of-melt prediction, combined with timely burner shutdown control, provided significant benefits in production and yield, as well as energy savings. The importance of tapping temperature on aluminium loss was also revealed during the study. For example, tapping liquid aluminium at 900°C (1,652°F) as opposed to 750°C (1,382°F) for a charge material with 80 per cent aluminium content, will lead to an additional yield loss of about 3 per cent. The patented Air Products Process Intelligence (APPI) Process Advisor system was used to better predict when the material inside the furnace is ready to be tapped, thereby reducing tapping temperature and improving aluminium yield. More than 1,400 cycles were analysed and compared with base data from over 1,000 cycles, and the overall average tapping temperature was successfully reduced by 44°C – where some materials improved more than others. The average reduction in temperature corresponds to a yield improvement of 0.5 per cent. As a knock-on effect to reducing the metal tapping temperature, there was a dramatic reduction in energy consumption, with an average reduction of 15 per cent. The analysis was carried out as a weighted average for like-for-like materials that were used during both the base data collection period and during the 10-month study; these materials comprise 77 per cent of the materials used during the 10-month study and are therefore an accurate representation of the data. Energy usage goes hand-in-hand with carbon dioxide emissions and 15 per cent energy savings is equal to a 15 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. Furthermore, an average time saving of 5.7 per cent was also achieved, due to the implementation of the digital twin, where it was found that some materials performed better than others. Certain materials also showed a reduction in melting time of more than 10 per cent, where the digital twin model dramatically reduced the variability in the results.

Conclusion It’s incumbent on all of us across the supply chain to deliver improvements

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Industry 4.0

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Industry 4.0

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Industry 4.0

to efficiency, embrace technological advances, streamline our work and ultimately reduce the environmental impact of our activities. The digital twin continues to improve as more data is collected and demonstrates that Industry 4.0 technology can be implemented to optimise performance on aluminium remelting furnaces. It’s an area we’re continuing to explore, looking to further reduce tapping temperatures, leading to greater yield benefits, as well as continuing to reduce energy usage. In addition, improved consistency can also lead to better cycle performance, resulting in shorter cycle times for improving productivity. The benefits of introducing Industry 4.0 technology into industrial processes are clear. By embracing the use of data, the industry can be empowered to make more informed decisions to improve processes and drive efficiencies. The net result: more sustainable performance, heightened productivity, better quality products, reduced energy usage, lower emissions, and less landfill. That’s the sort of future we all need to invest in.

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The future is now when it comes to furnace technology

Manufacturing industries are already seeing the results of the ‘Furnace of the Future’ in reducing CO2 emissions and producing cleaner, more sustainable materials. But how can energy-intensive manufacturers work towards making this future a reality? Are we already seeing the benefits of adopting smarter and more sustainable technologies within furnaces? Could we be doing more? This online event will unite the glass, aluminium and steel sectors to discuss overcoming heat treatment challenges and present a collaborative approach to bring the Furnace of the Future to life.

Topics will focus on: r Industry 4.0 (the Furnace of the Future) r Furnace Maintenance r Heat Treatment r Energy Efficiency r Testing & Measurement r Retrofitting r Emerging Technologies r Operations & Productivity Alongside the two-day virtual conference, participants will also be invited to join live discussions and will have the opportunity to network with new industry contacts, arrange video meetings and exchange resources and information. FROM THE PRODUCERS OF

REGISTER NOW www.furnaces-international.com


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, Tomorrow s Technology Today

Are you interested in CO2 reduction? Come to FIC for superboosting and large all-electric furnaces – we have the answers to reduce carbon footprint

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A Division of Glass Service


Stealing back profits with Aluminium Heather Harding*

Cutline: Lightweight, highstrength aluminium is as strong as steel and only 40% of the weight, providing a power-to-weight ratio that increases safety, productivity and ROI.

*Bricking Solutions Managing Director

20 Furnaces International March 2021



m Bricking Machines To minimise profit-stealing downtime, plant managers need reliable, efficient maintenance methods that get production back up and running quickly. This requires the right equipment – made from the best materials. Bricking machines, suspended platforms and kiln access ramps safely speed up the refractory installation process, saving thousands of dollars in lost revenue. These useful tools are available from equipment manufacturers but can also be engineered in-house. Small differences in construction and materials can add up, though, so it’s important to thoroughly consider all options. For many cement and lime producers, using their in-house engineers to construct kiln maintenance equipment made from steel is the go-to material because it is readily available. However, there are more efficient materials. Lightweight, high-strength aluminium, for example, isn’t typically used by inhouse engineers, but offers productivity and safety benefits that make it an ideal choice for kiln maintenance equipment construction. This material is as strong as steel and only 40% of the weight, providing a power-to-weight ratio that increases safety, productivity and ROI. Partnering with an equipment manufacturer that uses high-strength aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminium can be the best choice for a facility’s bottom line and efficiency. Here’s how.

Get Going Fast With every minute of downtime leading to a loss in revenue, the performance of a bricking machine or kiln access ramp during refractory installation is a manager’s top concern. Setup and teardown times are equally important when it comes to overall productivity. Getting crews in and out faster requires a machine that is just as easy to put together as it is to remove once the job is done. Much of this comes down to construction materials: heavier materials – like steel – simply take more time and energy to erect.

For example, a steel kiln access ramp can take a full crew 6 to 12 hours to assemble, increasing downtime both before and after maintenance and negatively impacting cost efficiency. The weight of the steel components also requires the use of heavy-duty equipment and complex hoists and rigging methods, increasing cost and risk of injury. A similar ramp manufactured with lightweight, heavy-duty aluminium can be assembled in as little as 1.5 hours – depending on burn floor configuration – with a small crew and only light equipment, such as a forklift. Maintenance equipment that employs a modular design can further increase installation efficiency. These lightweight components can be transported into the kiln by just one or two people and can be quickly erected using pin connections, rather than nuts and bolts. By eliminating the need for extra equipment and manpower in the assembly process, aluminium ramps, bricking machines and platforms increase productivity and safety while reducing overall costs with every setup and teardown.

More Durability = More Productivity In addition to faster setup, plants will see increased durability from high-strength aluminium kiln maintenance equipment. With equal strength and significantly less weight, equipment manufactured with aircraft grade aluminium offers some of the highest load capacities on the market. Some custom-made bricking machines can hold as much as 6,000 kg (13,200 pounds) with an optional capacity upgrade, allowing them to easily handle three full pallets of brick. This is up to twice the capacity of the alternative steel machines – maximising productivity without risking safety. Industry-leading specialty manufacturers who incorporate highstrength aluminium into their kiln maintenance support equipment designs do so because of its increased load capacity over other metals. These

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Furnaces International March 2021


companies use certified engineers and aluminium welders to ensure their products address the unique needs of each kiln site. The products are manufactured to international safety standards and are subjected to rigorous safety tests to ensure the materials and designs won’t falter even when working at capacity.

The result? Custom engineered bricking machines with a 3-to-1 safety factor. Crews with that kind of assurance can work with confidence knowing their bricking machine, kiln access ramp or work platform can comfortably handle heavy loads.

Greater Profits When it comes to increasing efficiency during refractory installation — and in other areas of kiln maintenance — strong, lightweight aluminium equipment is an easy decision for plants looking to minimise downtime and get processing back on track.

Cutline: With equal strength and significantly less weight, equipment manufactured with aircraft grade aluminium offers some of the highest load capacities on the market.

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Bringing together aluminium manufacturers and environmental solutions providers, the Summit will present the main issues, investments, technologies, and best practice examples from across the supply chain. We want sustainability to be more than just a buzzword, so we are inviting a range of experts to give their opinions and advice on how best to achieve this huge decarbonisation task. JOIN THE SUMMIT TO HEAR MORE ON TOPICS INCLUDING: The reliability of renewable energies Eco-friendly manufacturing The LME’s Sustainability Strategy

Early Bird rate: £49 (expires 2nd April)

The work of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative Sustainability targets – achievable or out of reach? Outlining guidelines for decarbonisation

Alongside the two-day conference and virtual exhibition, participants will also be invited to join live discussions and will have the opportunity to network with new contacts, arrange video meetings and exchange resources and information. In association with:

Organised by:



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For sponsorship opportunities:

For speaking opportunities:

Nathan Jupp International Sales Manager +44 (0)1737 855027 nathanjupp@quartzltd.com

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16/02/2021 10:47


24 Furnaces International March 2021



Despite sanitary crisis, FONTES REFRACTORIES remains a key player of BRO bricks

Located in Revel, a small town in the South-West of France, Fontes Refractories is the only french companies to produce Ordinary Refractory Bricks with High Quartz content : BRO HQB. The company’s origins stretch back to 1810. The company was a family-owned company, specialized in the production of heavy clay products for construction. Quarries in the surroundings villages successively supplied raw materials to the production plant. This business lasted right through to the late 1950s. In 1960’s, during researches to find a new quarry, significant raw silicoalumina deposits have been discovered in Vaudreuille, nearby Saint-Ferreol lake. Then, the company started to specialise in the manufacture of refractory products intended for various industries and the housing sector. Thanks to specific natural raw materials extracted from its own quarry, Fontes’ BRO HQB bricks have very interesting physicochemical properties, such as an intrinsic resistance to corrosion by cryolite and liquid aluminium. Thanks to these specific caracteristics, Fontes’ BRO HQB bricks are high-end products for electrolysis cells linings in primary

aluminium sector. In only few years, Fontes Refractories products showed their really good qualities in electrolysis cells linings from Aluminium Pechiney (AP) technology. Fontes Refractories’ BRO HQB Bricks have been receiving AP accreditation for 25 years, and renowned by multiple aluminium producers worldwide. That’s why FONTES REFRACTORIES products were used in numerous smelter constructions projects around the world, such as Aluminium Dunkerque in 1983, Aluminio Argentino in 1998, Aluminium Bahrein in 2003, or more recently, Ma’aden in 2011-2012. Since the construction of these smelters, Fontes Refractories has supplied BRO HQB bricks for maintenance of the facilities. In seeking to provide the best possible products to meet the most stringent specifications, FONTES REFRACTORIES has developed an embedded computerised quality control system from quarried raw materials through to the finished product. The quality control system at each stage in the manufacturing process provide a guarantee of the level of quality required by its customers. All manufacturing and quality datas are

computerised directly on the production line in order to provide customers with full traceability of their products. Thanks to all this manufacturing and quality controls, and with a production capacity of 18,000 tons per year, Fontes Refractories is able to supply electrolysis lining bricks for new plants, as well as regular and ad hoc maintenance of refractory lining in existing facilities. Thanks to its strong organisation foused on customer’s satisfaction, and also because FONTES REFRACTORIES relies only on its own raw materials, the company has crossed the sanitary crisis relatively well. Despite the lock-down in France during March and April and again in November, the plant runned all year long. All sanitary measures were put in place in the plant, and all our employees reamined in good health and in a safe work environment. FONTES REFRACTORIES has also been able to work thanks to its long-term relationships with all its customers. Almost all of them maintained their orders, and all deliveries were made, despite a really difficult period for international transport too. Obviously, since the 60’s ; FONTES

25 www.furnaces-international.com

Furnaces International March 2021


26 Furnaces International March 2021



REFRACTORIES has been able to gain the confidence of its customers, and is today a key partner for them. This strong partnership is based on company’s strong value proposition : quality and availability of the products, large range of available sizes, respect of delivery times, and also a high level of service like reactivity in case of short delay, and a fully dedicated commercial staff. Currently, the company is working on many development projects, the main one being the upgrade of our production tools with new robots. Our second main focus in the reinforcement of health and safety in our factory, mostly to protect our workers from silica dust. We are also working on new formulations and larger bricks sizes to meet new challenges smelters are asking for : longer lifetime of pots, higher voltage, faster maintenance and lining construction… With all this projects, Fontes Refractories will remain a long-term partner for smelters all around the world for many years. FONTES REFRACTORIES is not alone to conduct all these projects. The company belongs to SGI group, located in Mons (Belgium). Since 30 years, SGI has been developping a refractory branch,

regrouping 4 companies : FONTES REFRACTORIES, BELREF, FUSIREF and POUSSEUR. All these companies are

well-known in the aluminium sector, supplying high-grade products and level of service to smelters around the world.

27 www.furnaces-international.com

Furnaces International March 2021



Vol.42 No.3

March 2019— TIONAL.COM



Glass International



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24/06/2019 09:53

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Storvik´s Furnace Tending Tools – The optimal solution for furnace ten By Helgi Magnusson* Storvik’s Furnace tending tools have been on the marked for about 8 years and have proven extended lifetime, better efficiency and more consistency than conventional mild steel tools in routine furnace tending operations. These tools are currently in regular use in more than 30 casthouses around the world, assisting aluminium producers in achieving consistent furnace operations, having their furnaces ready on time and on spec. Customers of Storvik are typically top tier upstream and downstream aluminium producers with the highest standards and most challenging criteria’s which among others is delivering specific alloys with narrow material specifications, there the Storvik tools can play a big part, as no metal contamination is measurable from them during use. The furnace tending tools are made from Storvik´s proprietary alloys, developed especially to maximize durability and erosion resistance towards aluminium and alloying material, which is usually highly corrosive to most steel types.

Example showing skimming process with FTV (Furnace Tending Vehicle)

Storvik Furnace Tending Tool can last up to 8 times longer than a regular mild steel tool in addition to give a consistent process effect throughout its lifetime, this is because the Storvik tools maintain their shape and size thru their life, while most common mild steel tool deteriorate, bend and warp pretty rapidly.

Improvement is key to Storvik and constantly strives to find ways to improve all processes for all customers, as well as improving all products supplied, the Furnace Tending Tool lineup is a good example of this, adding value by improving the processes and at the same time giving great savings on the furnace

Storvik’s Furnace tending tool

* Managing Director Storvik Iceland

30 Furnaces International March 2021



nding operations

tending tools and tool maintenance. Current Furnace Tool lineup consists of 14 different tools, so it is highly likely that customers can find tools from that selection, which will be applicable for their furnace size, furnace type, vehicle type used for this purpose, etc. The furnace tools are designed to be both durable and efficient in this demanding environment, to achieve this, Storvik uses advanced computer simulations for thermal and stress analysis of the tools and flow simulations to optimise efficiency in operation Storvik´s Furnace Tending tools are made from non-weldable materials, so for fastening, Storvik has designed robust and simple cast iron bolting system which secures the tool to a mild steel boom or tool holder, this design makes tools exchange quick and easy. Storvik offers engineering support on adapting the tools onto customers’ vehicles and also offers best practice training for operators, best practices on the use of Storvik’s Furnace Tending Tools, is highly recommended to obtain the optimal lifetime from each tool and at the same time enhance the furnace tending process. Storvik has the highest standards for its products and deliverables, where the Storvik’s Furnace Tending Tools are no exception, we put our honour in always delivering on agreed time and budget with the desired capacity, redundancy, and quality.

Example showing thermal and stress analysis

Storvik’s Furnace tending tools

Example showing flow simulations

Example showing alloying cages (available in two sizes)

31 www.furnaces-international.com

Furnaces International March 2021


Measuring success AMETEK Land, the world’s leading manufacturer of monitors and analysers for industrial infrared non-contact temperature measurement, has launched an innovative, new mid-wavelength borescope, the MWIR-B-640, for furnace applications. The MWIR-B-640 enables highly accurate and fully radiometric temperature measurement image data to be taken, stored, and trended over the lifetime of the furnace, providing a continuous and clear view, even through heavy smoke and hot atmospheres. It is suitable for use in hydrocarbon processing reformers; heat treatment; reheat, cement kiln, and annealing furnaces; biomass, waste and coal boilers; as well as incinerators. This innovative new borescope features advanced spectral filtering and a high thermal and spatial resolution to deliver clear live images of the furnace, boiler, and stock, with more than 300,000 accurate point temperatures measuring in the range of 300-1200 °C (572-

2192 °F) and 500-1800 °C (932-3272 °F). The high-resolution image of the MWIR-B-640, combined with a 90° wideangle field of view, allows multiple areas to be imaged and measured simultaneously. With the wide-angle view into the furnace, image data can be viewed in real-time from the safety of the control room. With only a small opening in the wall, the MWIR-B-640 can accurately profile the temperature of the entire furnace without affecting the furnace atmosphere, the stock temperature, or energy consumption. “The MWIR-B-640 is an invaluable tool that will prolong furnace and boiler lifetime, optimise production throughput, reduce energy consumption and improve stock temperatures,” said David Primhak, Director of Development and Product Management for AMETEK Land. “It has a range of innovative features that ensure it is user-friendly, extremely accurate, and offers a high level of asset protection.”

The MWIR-B-640 uses proven thermal imaging technology to accurately and continuously profile the temperature of the furnace and the stock, resulting in improved data accuracy through automation and reduced risk to personnel by minimizing the need for an operator to be in the hazardous furnace/boiler area. To protect the thermal imager from damage by overheating in the event of loss of water flow, air pressure, electricity supply, or a high borescope tip temperature alarm, the MWIR-B-640 is also available with AMETEK Land’s innovative auto retraction system. Features of the MWIR-B-640 include a high-performance water-cooling system, with low water flow requirements, even in the highest temperature furnaces. The borescope has a thermocouple at its tip, which sounds an alarm when removing the instrument, thus preventing damage if maximum temperatures are exceeded. It also features an integrated air purge to maintain a dust-free optical system while

32 Furnaces International March 2021



using minimal instrument air In addition, the MWIR-B-640 has a range of mounting options to ensure simple installation and is available with

a range of probe lengths to suit every application. It is available with advanced IMAGEPro thermal imaging and data processing

software, which supports long-term data trending to enable the early detection of leaks and temperature variations and achieve process optimisation.

CONNECTING THE INTERNATIONAL STEEL INDUSTRY Published eight times a year, Steel Times International examines every aspect of iron and steel manufacturing processes, as well as bringing you the very latest market and company developments

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14/07/2020 12:55

Furnaces International March 2021


Association Update

A resilient UK foundry industry remains optimistic UK foundries report that there is hope for a return to pre-Covid capacity utilisation levels, despite the impact of the 2020 lockdown measures and the resulting decline in production activity. This is the finding of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF) Business Impact Survey – 2020 Summary Report. Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic including a fall in demand, the need to pause business operations for a short period and make additional investments to make workplaces Covidsecure, and prolonged supply chain disruptions, the mood remains positive amongst CMF members, with most reporting optimism for 2021. With 2019 resulting in a significantly better year than recent years for the UK foundry sector, a decline in order books was anticipated during the early part of 2020, with concerns surrounding the outcome of ongoing Brexit trade deal negotiations. By March, the industry was also faced with responding to the global coronavirus pandemic and has subsequently responded with agility and resilience. The rapid change in volumes for the automotive and aerospace sectors saw order books plummet, specifically in the diecasting and investment casting sectors. Two lockdowns and the practicalities of operating facilities under imposed government social distance restrictions – reduced workforce, additional health & safety measures in working and common areas, supply chain disruptions etc. – have taken their toll. The impact on business has been significant. Throughout the summer order books remained short, but by the autumn business levels were picking up, with the foundry sector well placed to respond. However, a resurgence in infection rates resulted in a second lockdown and a slowdown in demand as the year closed. To counter the negative effects of the pandemic, CMF members have drawn on the assistance made available by various government schemes, such as CBIL loans for additional finance, deferred VAT payments and the coronavirus job

retention scheme (CJRS), however this has not been without its own challenges. CMF members report that by far the most significant support has been the CJRS, with a large number of members making use of the opportunity to furlough employees at different periods throughout the year for varying lengths of time. By the middle of 2020, the average percentage of employees on furlough was 30 per cent. This lifeline enabled Members to retain staff and meet customer demand, playing to the sector’s strength in terms of skills and responsiveness. The scheme has allowed companies to maintain production levels when required, most notably in the latter half of the year particularly quarter 4 when orders increased. There were however some redundancies, but the levels were low compared to other sectors. As expected, business disruption has taken many forms and is not merely confined to a downturn in customer demand. At the start of the crisis, many members significantly reduced or paused production to reorganise workplaces and implement social distancing measures, to enable operations to resume in a safe and efficient manner. In addition, procedures had to be adapted to accommodate operating with a reduced workforce to meet government guidelines and to support the shielding of vulnerable employees. By the middle of the year, the industry had adapted to the new working procedures, but supply chain disruptions continued thanks in part to the lack of production capacity throughout the supply chain and logistical challenges. This was compounded by significant increases in costs for waste disposal, energy supplies (specifically in quarters 3 and 4) and insurance. From mid-quarter

2 through to the middle of quarter 3, some members reported problems with sourcing the required PPE/RPE because of an increase in demand from the NHS and social care sectors, thus reducing availability and driving up the cost. However, this temporary problem was mostly resolved by the end of quarter 3. In some instances, customers also sought notable price reductions with the foundry industry thus squeezed at both ends. Despite all of this and as the economy mounted a tentative recovery during quarters 3 and 4, CMF members reported improvements in order books. There are of course exceptions and those businesses considered to be in an ‘essential’ supply chain – 40 per cent of foundries and 15 per cent of foundry suppliers – had a busy year, often with increased demand and the specific challenges that poses. Towards the end of the year and the end of the Brexit transition period, a large proportion (73 per cent) of members said they were prepared for a new way of working as the UK exited the European Union. There was concern over the late timing of the publishing of final detailed guidance, but there is also “hope” that there would be increased opportunities for local content in supply chains. Notably, despite a very testing year, no member has reported the need to close or scale-down operations in the longer term. Members also reported that on average they would return to 2019 capacity levels within ten to twelve months.

Contact: Dr Pam Murrell FICME, Tel: +44 (0) 121 809 3500, email: pammurrell@cmfed.co.uk

34 Furnaces International March 2021


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