How Do I Compare Electric Arc Furnaces and Blast Furnaces?

Written by helen akers
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How Do I Compare Electric Arc Furnaces and Blast Furnaces?
Electric arc and blast furnaces create high temperatures to turn metals into liquid form. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Both blast and electric arc furnaces are used in industrial settings to heat and mould metal. A blast furnace is used to make steel from liquid iron, while an electric arc furnace is used to make steel from scrap material. Electric arc furnaces use two different types of electrical currents to create heat. Blast furnaces force air into the bottom of the furnace into a heated stove area. The heat from the blast furnace's stove area converts the forced air into heated air to melt metal.

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  1. 1

    Compare the feasibility of obtaining steel scrap for an electric arc furnace or iron ore and limestone for a blast furnace. The types of raw materials that are the most cost efficient for the organisation will determine the type of furnace that you need.

  2. 2

    Determine if you can properly handle the size, features, and associated emission process of an electric arc furnace. An electric arc furnace's capacity is up to 400 tons. Its design is cylinder in nature, with charging door and spout. The electric arc furnace runs on direct charge and alternating charge electricity, with temperatures reaching 3500 degrees Celsius.

  3. 3

    Determine if you can accommodate the size and features of a blast furnace. A blast furnace utilises separate storage bins for each type of iron oxide material such as sinter and limestone. A gas line is used in conjunction with forced air chambers to produce the temperatures necessary to melt the iron oxide material.

  4. 4

    Contrast the differences in processing time for each furnace to assess which type will best suit productivity needs. Blast furnaces are capable of producing up to 13,000 tons of steel each day. The process of converting raw iron oxides into melted steel can take anywhere from six to eight hours per batch. Electric arc furnaces typically produce up to 150 tons per batch. Batch production time with an electric arc furnace averages around 90 minutes.

  5. 5

    Examine the typical life value and any associated routine maintenance costs for each furnace type. Blast furnaces are known to run continuously for four to 10 years. Within this time frame, you can expect brief stops in production or routine maintenance. Operating energy costs for an electric arc furnace are significantly lower than that of a blast furnace. Electric arc furnaces require less capital or start-up costs.

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