NEW YORK Siemens VAI Metal Technologies GmbH & Co.s Simetal Quantum electric-arc furnace (EF) technology is off to a strong start in initial hot tests in Mexico, according to chief technology officer Andreas Flick.
The facility could set world records for low energy consumption in electric steelmaking by using about 280 kilowatt hours (kWh) per tonne, Flick told the Steel Success Strategies XXIX conference in New York sponsored by AMM and World Steel Dynamics Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
The Linz, Austria-based company has already received several follow-up orders for the furnace, he added.
The plant uses preheating and heating energy of offgases "to an extremely high extent, which means 280-kWh-per-tonne energy demand for a 100-percent scrap charge," Flick said. "Thats something that might be a world record."
Comparable conventional EFs use about 370 kWh per tonne, according to Siemens estimates.
Flick declined to disclose specific test results for the plant so far, noting that hot tests and commissioning are still under way. The plant, which has a monthly capacity of 100,000 tonnes of crude steel, has yet to begin normal production, Flick told AMM via e-mail, although production could begin by late summer.
Introduced in 2012, the Simetal Quantum EF is designed to reduce conversion costs, significantly shorten tap-to-tap time, and reduce emissions by 30 percent relative to conventional furnaces. The design also reduces oxygen and electrode consumption.
All of the scrap is preheated before final melting in the furnace vessel, which is key to the technology, according to Siemens marketing material for the product. The scrap preheating by gas takes place at the top of the EF, a highly efficient method, Flick told AMM.
The steel plant in Orizaba, Mexico, is owned by long steel producer Talleres y Aceros SA de CV (Tyasa), according to AMM sister publication Steel First.
The Orizaba plant, which represents a $200-million investment by Tyasa, will produce billet. The Tyasa project is the first commercial test of a Simetal Quantum EF.