ArcelorMittal Asturias of Spain commissioned SMS Meer SpA of Italy to revamp its 150t/hr walking beam furnace feeding its wire rod mill.

The main drive of the project was to redesign the furnace’s combustion equipment, which is currently running with 100% natural gas.

The objective of the revamp is to reduce the plant’s operational costs by providing a level of flexibility so that the furnace can mix natural gas with combusting blast furnace gas, the latter being pre-heated using a new recuperator.

It is estimated that the steelmaker will be able to reduce natural gas consumption by 80% and that the furnace will be fully operational again in September – after one month of mill stoppage.

The project also enables ArcelorMittal Asturias to completely update its furnace combustion system to the meet with the latest European safety regulations.

Once operational, the new system will mean that any grade can be reheated without any limitations, it is claimed.

SMS’ Prometheus advanced combustion optimisation system will manage the new furnace once it is operational.

“This system allows targeted improvements of the metallurgical properties, for example, by increasing temperature uniformity and minimising negative effects such as steel decarburisation or high scale formation,” claims SMS. It will also reduce fuel consumption ‘by adopting heating strategies that minimise the temperature set points’ and guarantee attainment of the required temperature of the final stock target, said the company.