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Here at Highmark Analytics, we provide monitoring equipment for a variety of industries. One of the industries that we are proud to serve is metal and steel manufacturers. One of the unique aspects of this industry is that monitoring equipment is not only designed to keep employees safe but can also help guarantee the quality of the metal produced. For example, by monitoring oxygen contamination, you can guarantee the quality of your steel. Read on to learn more about the important equipment we can help your steel manufacturing company with.

Raw Iron Production

The production of raw iron involves reducing iron ore (oxygen withdrawal) using either a blast furnace or a direct reduction process. Coke, natural gas, or coal are utilized as reduction materials to achieve this.

In the blast furnace process, a combination of prepared ore (pellets, sinter) and additives is introduced from the top, along with coke. A hot blast serves as an additional energy carrier, flowing in from below. The mixture of hot blast and reduction gases moves upward counter to the sinking raw materials and is extracted at the top as stack gas. The resulting liquid raw iron, along with slag, accumulates on the furnace floor, and it is periodically drawn off and usually transported to a steel works for further refinement.

Throughout the entire process, the composition of the stack gas plays a critical role in determining the combustion quality in the air heaters. For accurate and convenient measurement of key components like carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the stack gas, the emission measuring instrument Testo 350 is employed. This measurement is taken at the stack gas exit after the dust bag, in the blast furnace flue as a command variable for furnace operation, and in the downpipe before the dust bag for plant balance evaluation.

Moreover, the strategic positioning of the Testo 350 helps prevent the risk of fire in the CO dust bag by conducting measurements.

Coking Plants

Coking plants serve as thermal refinement facilities for mineral coal, employing dry distillation (pyrolysis) without air at temperatures of at least 800 °C. The primary objective of this process is to produce coke, a material highly sought after in metallurgy due to its remarkable properties, including a carbon content exceeding 97% and minimal volatile components. Coke oven gas is generated and utilized further as a byproduct of the coking process.

To achieve the desired outcome, specially suitable coal undergoes dry-distillation or “cooking” in a coke oven for approximately 15 hours before undergoing a cooling process.

In the past, wet cooling was common. Still, dry cooling in a slag cooler has largely replaced it, allowing for heat recovery via a heat recovery boiler and reducing pollutant emissions.

Several pollutants are generated during coke production, including dust, SO2, NOx, CO, and organic components. The exhaust gases’ composition and concentrations are monitored closely to comply with permissible limit values and optimize production. The Testo 350 emission measuring instrument plays a vital role in this regard, as it can measure SO2, NOx (the sum of NO and NO2), CO, and O2. With six slots and the ability to accommodate five gas sensors in addition to O2, the Testo 350 proves highly versatile.

The CO value in the blast furnace serves as an essential indicator of furnace combustion efficiency and is one of the most commonly measured parameters. The Testo 350 can measure CO concentrations of up to 50,000 ppm and incorporates an optimally integrable dilution system for precise readings.

The Testo 350 allows emission parameters to be measured and recorded easily and securely, providing accurate and reliable results. Additionally, the instrument allows visualization of load changes on components over time, facilitating targeted prevention of plant downtime. Employing the Testo 350 in steel, metal, and coke production leads to improved time and cost optimization, further benefiting the overall production process.

Employee Safety

Steel is an incredibly versatile material with widespread application across diverse industries, including construction, infrastructure, transportation, appliances, and machinery. The manufacturing process of steel, known as steelmaking, entails the fusion of iron with small quantities of carbon and other elements, resulting in a material with distinct properties. This process is achieved through two main methods—the traditional Basic Oxygen Furnace route and the more contemporary Electric Arc Furnace method.

Despite its significance, steelmaking involves various procedures that can produce hazardous and flammable gases, posing potential risks to the safety of workers. Some of these gases include:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO): Generated during the blast furnace process, wherein iron ore is reduced using carbon-based fuel. It is advisable to employ hydrogen-resistant CO sensors when dealing with the potential presence of H2.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon is eliminated as carbon dioxide when pure oxygen is introduced to pig iron to produce crude steel.
  • Combustibles: Certain gases like hydrogen (H2) are produced when water reacts with hot metal, and methane (CH4) is created during cooking.
  • Hydrogen sulfide (H2S): Formed during the decomposition of compounds containing sulfur.
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx): Produced during various steelmaking processes.
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2): Emitted when materials containing sulfur are subjected to heat during steel production.
    VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): Benzene and similar byproducts are generated during coke production.

Employers bear the responsibility of ensuring the safety and well-being of their workforce. This involves implementing appropriate measures such as ventilation systems, gas detection systems, provision of personal protective equipment, and adherence to safe handling procedures during steelmaking operations. By prioritizing these precautions, companies can mitigate risks and create a safer working environment.

Contact Highmark Analytics Today!

If you are a steel manufacturer, having the right emissions monitoring equipment can help to keep your employees safe while also helping to ensure the quality of the metal or steel you produce, regardless of whether you utilize raw iron production or coking plant methods. If you are looking to get monitoring equipment for your manufacturing center, such as the Testo 350, reach out to us today. Let us help you find the right emissions-monitoring equipment for your needs.