ArcelorMittal Belval and Differdange have started the modernised electric arc furnace at the Esch-Belval steelworks as planned. The upper and lower vessels were replaced during two weeks of conversion work and a new fin-type bottom electrode was installed.
Roland Bastian, CEO of ArcelorMittal Belval, said, "The commissioning of the electric arc furnace in mid-April was a complete success”.
The old furnace's production record of 30 batches per day was equalled in May following a short test phase. Thanks to the modernisation, the plant's production capacity has been increased to 1Mt of crude steel per year.
The new plant will make a significant contribution to reducing the transformation costs including energy, material and labour costs involved in smelting the scrap metal. A 15% saving in natural gas has been achieved after just one month of operation. It has been possible during this period to reduce the overall energy consumption by around 3%. Energy costs alone already account for 40% of the costs of steel production in Belval.
The new electrode technology improves the flow of electricity in the furnace, increasing productivity. A smaller furnace diameter has also increased the thermal utilisation factor. The new furnace can now yield 160 tonnes of crude steel per batch, compared with155 tonnes previously.
In addition, maintenance costs have been reduced as the new bottom vessel can process twice as many batches as its predecessor, before it has to be changed.