Submerged arc furnace (silicon & special metallurgy)

Primary products
Special Metallurgy

Our international experts are passionate about electric smelters and submerged-arc furnaces for TiO2 slag, CaC2, minerals, refractories, ferroalloys, silicon, and non-ferrous metals. This is a field where SMS group in Düsseldorf and Metix in Johannesburg pool their know-how for your benefit. Our team in Düsseldorf handles all SAF-related projects for electric smelters and submerged-arc furnaces worldwide, except in Southern Africa. That leaves Metix responsible for all submerged-arc furnace and electric smelter projects in the southern African region. What's more, Metix supplies feed material pre-heating systems as well as pellet and sinter plants. Paul Wurth provides support with refractory design and tapping/stoking equipment. We join forces with you to work together in partnership, always finding the best possible solution. Our teams are available at any time to stand by your side and help you get the results you want.


Know-how is necessary

What makes electric smelters for special applications particularly challenging is that they are usually tailor-made to meet unique requirements. This means special know-how is necessary for their technological development. That's why, we have, in recent years, engineered and supplied the core equipment for units producing CaC2 slag, TiO2 slag, and hot metal, as well as fused magnesia and dephosphorization furnaces. We also supply test and pilot furnaces for upscaling new processes. All our units are custom-made.

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Titanium slag

You can derive an extra benefit from titanium slag furnaces because they produce TiO2-rich slag and pig iron as valuable by-products. The ilmenite ore can be processed in either DC or AC furnaces ...

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Calcium carbide (CaC2)

Calcium carbide (CaC2) is the raw material for acetylene and calcium cyanimide. Today it's mainly used in the chemical industry and as a desulfurization agent in steel production. ...

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General minerals

Our furnaces are also used in various fields for refractory and mineral production.
That's because SAFs are ideal for producing these products: ...

Ferro silicon and silicon

Technically, the furnaces used for silicon and FeSi are very similar. Yet the materials have different applications. Most FeSi goes to the steel industry, whereas silicon is used much more widely: in steel and aluminium production, the chemicals industry for producing silicones, and in electronics, etc. Typically, ferro-silicon grades produced in submerged-arc furnaces have SI contents from 15 to 96%. Grades with more than 96% Si are known as silicon. The high energy concentration and process gas formation involved here place extreme demands on the design and material of these furnaces.

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Approaches & Technology

Experience for the future

Crucial for our excellent design are our experienced experts, plus a strong R+D department, and advanced engineering tools. All this makes it possible to calculate complex structural furnace parts and intensive thermal areas. These are capabilities even more important for designing large-capacity furnaces. Moreover, FEM calculation is an extra option for cutting electrical losses with alternating magnetic fields.

Our customers have told us again and again that our designs result in reliable and efficient plants. That's because our engineering also ensures long equipment and component service lives. Some SMS group furnaces have been in operation for more than 40 years - and are still running smoothly.

During recent decades, we have developed numerous smelter solutions to cope with the specific conditions dictated by various processes. Take a look at the resulting wide range below.

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Additional competencies

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Each process requires extensive and in-depth process know-how. You benefit from the expertise of our metallurgical department because it provides a solid basis for efficient design as well as safe and reliable operation of your applications. We also team up with many plant operators and renowned institutes worldwide. What has emerged over decades of development in this field is a metallurgical model founded on practical and scientific data.

Our in-house software for complex metallurgical evaluation combined with our experienced employees are your guarantee for reliable and achievable figures. Working hand in hand with the metallurgical department means our experts define the right processes and furnace dimensions for you. This results in perfect solutions for your specific metallurgical requirements. Plus: intelligent dimensioning gives you higher yield and keeps your consumption low.

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The SMS group turnkey department is noted for its expertise in planning and supplying complete plants of any size for ferroalloys, nonferrous metals, and other products worldwide. As leading partners in consortiums or as plant planning specialists, we offer you comprehensive know-how
and a wide spectrum of services. Our full technical service ranges from the planning and project phase to the handover of the turnkey plant. We also provide engineering for individual plant sections that are subsequently combined with other units to build a complete plant. Acting as an EPC/EPCM contractor, SMS group has implemented many projects based on these business models:

  • Business model 1: Core equipment delivery (e.g. Barro Alto/Brazil)
  • Business model 2: Turnkey equipment delivery (e.g. Silicium Kazakhstan)
  • Business model 3: Business model 2 + local engineering by SMS group, procurement and construction by customer with SMS group assistance (e.g. Vale/Brazil, Kazchrome/Kazakhstan)
  • Business model 4: Business model 3 + local civil engineering and construction engineering by SMS group (e.g. PCC Bakki/Iceland)

There is no better indication of the SMS group Johannesburg office's competence in EPC services than the impressive track record of Metix in installing plants with full budget and time responsibility. Metix enjoys an excellent reputation - particularly in FeCr sinter plants (based on Outotec design and technology) and electric smelters. The Sakura project in Malaysia, where SMS group is supplying a complete FeMn-plant, is managed on a full EPC contract basis.

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Besides supplying engineering, equipment, and plant, we also provide these services and engineering:

  • Operating cost optimization
  • Environmental impact studies
  • De-bottlenecking, plant logistics, process modeling
  • Technical feasibility studies
  • Product optimization programs and product change/expansion plans


Upgrades and modernizations

Over the past 35 years, SMS group has modified more than 80 submerged-arc furnaces. Revamping plants is challenging because of the nature of brownfield design. It requires the lowest possible downtime during revamping as well as adapting the existing plant environment.

Our smart solutions are designed to achieve higher production levels while retaining the approximate dimensions of both the furnace and the plant. We do this by revamping the electrode columns, side wall cooling system, and thyristor control system, and enlarging the transformer capacity. It’s also possible to boost production with intelligent logistical improvements and charging patterns.

The potential capacity expansion from a newly-developed copper cooling system was demonstrated by a rectangular submerged-arc furnace in New Caledonia. Here, we doubled the capacity of each furnace without altering the dimensions.

Services and spare parts

Maintaining plants at this high level of operation demands sophisticated and efficient spare parts and components management as well as servicing. That’s where our team of specialists comes in – ready to offer you customer support in all spare parts-related issues. Equally important is our commitment to improving the performance of your existing plant units. Total quality management always forms an essential part of our services. Therefore we repair and manufacture wear parts in our workshops worldwide, or source them from our qualified suppliers. Our specialists also assist locally when repair work is necessary. Simply contact our team with any inquiries about effective spare parts management. 

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Selected References

ReferencesSince 2000

SMS group, a strong partner

SMS group supplies a wide product portfolio to end users who process ferroalloys, PGM, NF metals, iron, and steel. Over the last 100 years, we have developed many processes to produce more than 60 different kinds of metals and slags (collecting in excess of 750 references) Internationally, SMS group ranks among the strongest players in the field of all smelter components, equipment, and plant solutions. Today we are the global leader in metallurgical plant and machines, not least because we integrated top names such as Demag, Krupp, Krupp Technologie, Schloemann, Concast, MAN-GHH, Paul Wurth, and Metix.

SMS group constantly develops applications for all kinds of customers. They are located throughout the world, predominantly in countries with large raw material reserves and/or low energy costs.

SMS group, a strong partner image

Electrical and automation systems

Future-proof complete solutions from one source

  • Integrated solutions consisting of mechanics, electrics, and automation
  • The benefits of long-term experience with X-Pact® world-leading automation
  • Energy distribution and drive systems
  • The only genuine future-proof automation system
  • Control stations designed around the operator
  • Innovative HMI system for production-centered operation
  • Plug & Work integration test, process and production simulation, near-reality 3D visualization
  • All-inclusive modernization
  • International setup
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Holistic, efficient, and future-proof

Products and solutions for submerged arc furnaces

SAF HD Monitoring
Water leakage detection system
SAF reporting system
Thyristor control
SAF electrode regulator
Your professional partner for submerged-arc furnaces

Our specialists in electrics, automation, technology, and mechanics work hand in hand to ensure your systems function smoothly. That’s how we create intelligent, market-centered solutions that boost your production. Only optimized automation technology enables you to produce a wide range of ferroalloys and nonferrous metals in modern SAF plants. This saves you both money and resources in the form of raw materials and energy.


Future-proof complete solutions from one source
SAF Bulletin 2015
Energy-efficient gas cleaning
Ahead of Times with Plug & Work
SAF HD Monitoring
2016 Program
Acting Economically – Growing Sustainably
Integrated Process Control in the Steelworks
SAF Reporting System
X-Pact Vision
Production Planning and Scheduling


SMSgroup Fröhling,Dr. Christian

Dr. Christian Fröhling

SMS group GmbH
Technical Sales SAF/Gas Cleaning Syst./Energy/Environment
Eduard-Schloemann-Straße 4
40237 Düsseldorf

Phone : +49 211 881 5288
Fax : +49 211 881 775288

SMSgroup Degel,Dr. Rolf

Dr. Rolf Degel

SMS group GmbH
Vice President Special Metallurgical Plants
Eduard-Schloemann-Straße 4
40237 Düsseldorf

Phone : +49 211 881 6372
Fax : +49 211 881 776372

SMSgroup Köneke, Martin

Martin Köneke

SMS group GmbH
Submerged arc furnaces
Eduard-Schloemann-Straße 4
40237 Düsseldorf

Phone : +49 211 881 6584
Fax : +49 211 881 776584


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