Energy and cost savings in all production processes

Without iron and steel our civilisation would not exist. Iron production can be traced back around 3000 years. Modern steel production started with the Bessemer process in the mid 19th century. The process starts with the smelting of the iron ore to produce iron and at each stage up to the shaping of the final products, a high temperature furnace operation is necessary.
Benefits of insulation in ferrous metals manufacture
Promat´s insulation solutions are used widely for energy and cost savings in all production processes for steel and other metals. Converting solid materials into a molten form uses a considerable amount of energy in the process. Steels melt at temperatures in excess of 1500 °C. Saving that energy wherever possible by minimising heat loss to the surrounding environment increases the cost effectiveness of the process but also improves environmental comfort levels at the same time. Add the benefits of more precise process control and the best possible insulation system becomes a cost saving imperative.

In iron and steel making, Promat´s insulation solutions are used not only in all types of melting furnaces but also throughout the manufacturing process including converters, ladles, torpedo ladles, and also in forging furnaces.

Promat in steelmaking
Roughly 70% of world steel output is made using the basic oxygen blast furnace. Blowing oxygen through molten pig iron lowers the carbon content of the alloy and changes it into steel.

Electric arc furnace steelmaking is the manufacture of steel from scrap or direct reduced iron melted by electric arcs.

These are known as primary steelmaking processes. Promat´s engineered insulation solutions are used to control process temperatures and reduce heat loss at each stage of the steelmaking sequence. Very large energy inputs are necessary to melt metal and any reduction of this energy use by control of heat losses can have a dramatic impact on the ultimate process costs. Optimised process control through precise temperature management also allows much better quality control and tighter control of the metallurgy.

Promat´s insulation solutions are also used extensively in secondary steelmaking, most commonly performed in ladles and often referred to as ladle metallurgy as it is used to add alloys and generally modify the steel chemistry. The use of the very best insulation increases ladle capacities, extends working life for more campaigns, and improves the quality of each melt by controlling temperature gradients.
  
The challenges for insulation used in steel making:
  • Thermal management – energy loss control – design optimisation
  • Best possible control of heat loss
  • Resistance to thermal shock
  • Resistance to compression by molten metal load
  • Non-combustible
  • Resistance to damage by water during installation alongside wet castable
  • Design for continuous high temperature operation without deterioration. Longest possible working life essential for insulation without excessive shrinkage or other impairment of performance.
  • Easy installation of insulation components
  • Fast ROI for insulation – cost effective system design for competitive high maintenance requirement.
Promat can help solve all these design challenges. By choosing from the broadest product portfolio on the market based on the "best in class" insulation products with the lowest thermal conductivity, we can design an "engineered solution" that best meets all design challenges. We select from the very best microporous, calcium silicate, refractory and fibre insulation products available.

A Promat system cannot be beat on performance.

Application solutions

A furnace takes an energy source in the form of a combustible fuel or electricity, and converts it into usable heat inside an insulated outer casing. 

The economics of this process are simple. The more efficient the insulation, the more effective the utilisation of the fuel source and the lower the costs of operating the process. An efficient insulation will also make fine temperature control much easier and will help the furnace manufacturer to achieve the lightest, most compact design. It is essential that a high temperature insulation is dimensionally stable and not subject to shrinkage or any other movement at very high operating temperatures.
Induction furnaces
An induction furnace is an electric powered furnace in which the heat is applied by induction heating of metal. Induction furnaces can be up to one hundred tonnes capacity and they are used to melt iron and steel as well as non-ferrous and precious metals.

The advantage of the induction furnace is a clean, energy-efficient and well-controllable melting process compared to most other means of metal melting. Most modern foundries use this type of furnace and now also more iron foundries are replacing cupolas with induction furnaces to melt cast iron.

Promat supplies insulation products with high mechanical strength for induction furnace casings.

Our product range for this application include DURATEC®, MONOLUX®, MICROTHERM® PANEL, PROMASIL®-1100 Super, PROMASIL®-1000L, ASLIFLEX®-1000 Glue and ALSIFLEX® high temperature wools.
Electric arc furnace
An electric arc furnace (EAF) is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric arc.

Industrial arc furnaces range in size from small units of approximately one tonne capacity (used in foundries for producing cast iron products) up to about 400 tonne units used for secondary steelmaking.

Promat´s products for this application include MICROTHERM® products, PROMATON® fire bricks, and PROMAGLAF® bio-soluble blankets.
Annealing/heat treatment furnaces
Walking beam furnaces are principally used to re-heat unfinished product such as bar, structural shapes and tube to an even temperature prior to entering the mill area of a facility. Most use natural gas as the heating fuel. The biggest advantage of using this type of furnace over a roller hearth type furnace is space limitations in the facility as a roller hearth will take as much as twice the length to obtain the same tempering.

Operating temperatures are generally around 1300 oC.

Promat´s products for this application include MICROTHERM® products, PROMATON® fire bricks and PROMAGLAF® bio-soluble wools.
Forging furnaces
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localised compressive forces. The blows are delivered with a power hammer or a die. Forging can be done cold but hot forging is more common. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to hundreds of metric tons.

Furnaces operate up to 1500 oC and Promat has supplied fibre products for this application. 

Promat´s products for this application include PROMATON® fire bricks, PROMAGLAF®-HTK bio-soluble wools, PROMACAST® and PROMACRETE® refractory concrete.