Methods and Technology

Submerged arc furnace (ferroalloy)

Various framework conditions

Usually, smelters come in the form of open or closed, AC or DC-type furnaces. This is very much a question of the raw materials available, the process chosen, and local environmental regulations. Depending on the process and capacity, operators use rectangular or circular furnaces.

SMS group electrode columns - the core equipment in each furnace - are famous for their reliable and efficient performance in all submerged-arc applications. Even more distinctive is today's generation of electrode columns because it ensures safe, maintenance-friendly operation with low energy consumption. That makes them the most modern electrode system on the market. Exclusively developed by SMS group, an innovative copper pressure ring for the lower part of the electrode reduces electrical losses.

Often the choice of sidewall cooling system can have a significant effect on the plant lifetime. What sets our inherently safe solutions apart is that they work with a minimum of necessary heat extraction, saving you energy. They are also suitable for circular as well as rectangular furnaces. Furthermore, our wide range of systems covers various types of direct and indirect water-cooled solutions including intensive copper cooling for high-power furnaces.
We supply a variety of furnace roof/hood options geared to the various process requirements. Decisive here are the maximum temperatures that occur as well as the process type in terms of refractories, steel (water or air-cooled), stainless, or copper (water-cooled) designs.

Latest-generation DC furnaces utilize a conventional electrode column system. It's also patented by SMS and enables your operators to control and slip the electrode under full power. That significantly boosts production levels. Also available is an in-house design tool designed to provide minimized arc deflection, which extends the lifetime of the lining. This DC technology can be used in specific areas such as FeCr, Co, TiO2, and waste recycling.

As a world-class tapping technology company, Paul Wurth recommends its affiliated company TMT - Tapping Measuring Technology - a joint venture with Dango & Dienenthal. Armed with inherited know- how and references, TMT has successfully extended its market position over the last 10 years.

Approaches & Technology image
Technology & Approaches image

Products for installing downstream of the SAF

Operating in South Africa, Metix supplied its latest five sinter plants to the country in cooperation with Outotec. The most recent one went online at the end of 2012 as part of the Xstrata-Merafe Tswelopele project. Included in Tswelopele was a 600,000 tpy pelletizing and sintering plant which was executed on an EPC basis. It particularly underlines our expertise in Cr-ore agglomeration technology.

There is also a wide SMS range of products for installing downstream of the SAF. Available here is innovative equipment for solidification, refining, and metal/matte/slag handling.

  • Slag (static or dynamic as well as wet and dry) and metal granulation systems
  • Pig iron casting machines and other casting systems for various metals (Fe, Fe-alloys, silicon etc.)
  • Metal/alloy handling equipment
  • Metal refining equipment
  • Ladle refining equipment
  • Ladle arc reheating stations
  • Tilting stations
  • Skimming stations
  • Injection stations
  • Top-blown converters
  • AOD converters
  • Vacuum AOD converters
  • Deslagging stations
  • Chemical heating furnaces
  • Water treatment plants
  • Cooling water systems
  • Heat recovery systems
  • De-dusting and gas cleaning solutions
Products for installing downstream of the SAF image Products for installing downstream of the SAF image

Paul Wurth is the leading supplier of slag granulation systems

Recognized as the best available technology is their fully automated wet granulation with INBA de-watering followed by steam condensation. This ensures reliable, flexible slag handling and production of slag sand. New on the market is impact disc granulation - a Paul Wurth solidification process for producing easy-to-handle and easy-to-melt metal granulate. The properties of the solidified product allow re-melting or chemical processing with fewer fines and losses.

To benefit both you and the environment, we developed innovations in energy recovery, water treatment, air pollution control, by-products, and recycling technologies as well as energy management services. These solutions that combine sustainability and economic operation carry our Ecoplants label.

Our de-dusting department focuses on making our plants eco-friendly and keeping your workplaces clean. It draws on in-depth experience of our entire product portfolio. That includes de-dusting and gas cleaning systems for submerged-arc furnaces, electric-arc furnaces, BOF, and other equipment used in the steel and metal industry. SMS group supplies dry and wet cleaning systems as well as electric filter stations for primary dedusting. To date, we have been involved in the construction of more than 35 gas cleaning plants for submerged-arc furnaces..

Paul Wurth is the leading supplier of slag granulation systems image Paul Wurth is the leading supplier of slag granulation systems image

Gas cleaning

When it comes to gas cleaning, we are the experts, with overall primary and secondary systems that protect the environment and keep workplaces clean. They include

  • Dry cleaning systems
  • Wet cleaning solutions
  • Electrostatic precipitators (ESP)
  • Hybrid systems (combination of wet cleaning and ESP)

The hybrid system is a low-investment solution ideal for plant upgrades, where conventional venturi scrubbers no longer meet environmental standards.

More often than not, the process determines how much electricity an electric smelter consumes. We significantly improve energy utilization by connecting furnaces to energy recovery systems. That ensures the hot combusted gases from open furnaces are recovered in tailor-made waste heat boilers, whereas process gas boilers recover the chemical and sensible heat from combustion boilers. This also lowers your carbon footprint.

You can rely on a whole range of SMS group technologies for ferroalloy refining, with a focus on FeNi, FeCr, FeMn, and other alloys. Our systems feature ladle furnaces with auxiliary equipment or special converters. We draw on a long history of converter technology to give you the best solutions today.

Gas cleaning image Gas cleaning image

Variety of systems for optimum furnace operation

You can choose from this range of converters:

  • Conventional BOF converters for FeNi
  • AOD converters for MC FeMn and MC FeCr
  • X-Melt AOD vacuum converters

It's vital that the raw materials are handled, treated, and conditioned in a way that ensures optimum furnace operation.

This is where SMS group offers you a wide variety of systems such as:

  • Unloading stations for trucks, trains, and ships
  • Stock yard systems, e.g. stacker-reclaimer systems
  • Material preparation, such as washing, sorting, screening, drying, agglomeration, and separation
  • Conveying systems for all facilities

Most applications involve casting SAF melt into a solid form before further treatment to meet the product requirements. This is our range of systems for conditioning cast products:

  • Crushing, grinding, and milling stations
  • Sorting, screening, and sizing systems
  • Agglomeration and densification facilities 
  • Packing facilities and loading systems
Variety of systems for optimum furnace operation image Variety of systems for optimum furnace operation image

Learn about our plant technology covering the entire process chain for the production of high-quality metals.