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1) Blast Furnace Stock House

A blast furnace (BF) needs for the production of hot metal (HM) (i) iron bearing raw materials
like sinter, pellet, and calibrated lump ore also known as sized iron ore, (ii) fuels and reductant
like BF coke, nut coke and pulverized coal, (iii) fluxing materials like lime stone, dolomite, and
quartzite, and (iv) miscellaneous materials (also known as ‘additives’) like manganese ore, and
titani-ferrous iron ore etc. All these materials except the pulverized coal which is injected in the
blast furnace at the tuyere level are charged in the furnace at the top and are handled through a
stock house.

The stock house is the area where the individual raw material types are stored and then
measured out in the prescribed order for delivery to the top of the blast furnace. The typical
blast furnace stock house in the early 1900s was built as a deep pit in the ground and rail cars
were moved over it and discharged the raw materials into these storage bins. The stock house is
grouped into three sections of storage bins, usually comprised of coke bins, iron bearing
materials bins, and fluxing materials and additives bins.

The automated stock house is normally of two distinct and different types. The first type is the
replacement of the scale car under the raw material bins with a feeder and conveyor belt
system. Separate conveyors are provided for each type of raw material (coke, iron bearing
materials, and fluxing materials and additives etc.) over which rows of storage bins are
mounted, with vibrating feeders to discharge burden materials from storage bins to conveyors.
For the coke and iron bearing materials, a vibrating screen is located at the discharge of each
conveyor to screen the material and feed this material into weigh hoppers. This type of system
continues to feed weigh hoppers ahead of the skip cars. A typical arrangement of an automated
stock house for a skip fed blast furnace is shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1 Typical
arrangement of an automated stock house with skip car
The second type of the automated stock house is a large structure of storage bins built entirely
above ground and quite away from the blast furnace. This is usually done for the blast furnaces
where belt conveyor is used to carry the burden materials to the top of the furnace instead of
the skip cars. The method of filling the storage bins is usually by a conveyor belt system. The raw
materials are drawn from the storage bins by vibrating feeders and belt conveyors into weighing
hoppers. The weigh hoppers in turn discharge the material onto the main conveyor by means of
a collecting conveyor. The weighing hoppers are programmed to weigh the raw materials in the
correct order onto the main conveyor belt to the top of the furnace.

Both coke and the iron bearing materials are typically screened and another conveyor removes
the fines. The materials can be sampled, analyzed and tracked by a computer, enabling the
operator to precisely control chemical variation in furnace input materials. Coke moisture is
monitored and weighing corrections are made to assure the desired dry weight in the charge.
This monitoring of both the carbon bearing materials and the iron bearing raw materials
enables better control of the thermal condition of the blast furnace and helps in lowering of the
overall fuel rates. Typical simplified arrangement of equipment in a stock house is at Fig 2

Fig 2
Typical simplified equipment arrangement in the stock house

The functions of the stock house are (i) to receive various materials from their respective
storage or production units mostly by conveyorhouse

provide storage for sufficient duration, (iii) carry out the discharge of burden materials at the
desired sequence and at the required rate to meet the BF requirements
Typical schematic flow diagram of a stock house is given in Fig 3.

Fig 3 schematic flow diagram of a stock house

Design considerations for stock house planning for a large blast furnacefurnace:

 Capacity of hot metal in tons/day is determined based on useful volume and the
productivity of the blast furnace
 Qualities and types of raw materials used such as calibrated lump ore, sinter, pellets,
coke, nut coke, lime stone, dolomite, manganese ore and other materials like titani-
ferrous iron ore to be charged in the blast furnace are determined. In larger blast
furnaces normally two sizes of sinter are used. These sizes of sinter are normal size of 10
mm to 30 mm and small size of 5 mm to 10 mm. For blast furnace coke also, two sizes
are generally used. These sizes are 50 mm to 75 mm for the centre charging and 25 mm
to 50 mm for the peripheral charging. The coke for the peripheral charging is charged on
the belt conveyor first with the coke for centre charging is followed immediately. The
bell less top equipment indexes from the BF walls to the centre of the furnace and
distributes the coke for peripheral charging to the walls and the coke for the centre
charging to the centre of the furnace as per requirement. Size of calibrated lump ore is
normally 10 mm to 30 mm. Size of pellets is generally 8 mm to 16 mm.
2) Blast Furnace Cast House
The blast furnace (BF) cast house is the working area where hot metal and liquid slag are
tapped from the blast furnace and either poured into ladles (torpedo car or open top
ladle) or led off for solidification (pig casting and slag granulation) or treatment (cast
house desulphurization).
A good trouble free cast house operation is an important requirement in a high
productivity blast furnace for low cost operation. The cast house functional design,
operational practice, refractory technology, automation and environmental
requirements are important issues which are required to be looked into to meet the
demands for greater reliability and output from the cast house. In any blast furnace cast
house is the most labour intensive area in the entire BF operation. Its design must be
fully integrated with the expected hot metal production, hearth volume, and tapping
practice whilst minimizing use of labour, maintenance, materials and improving working
environment. The prime objective is to remove the liquid iron from the blast furnace at a
casting rate and through a number of casts per day that is determined by the smelting
rate, effective hearth volume, and the desire to maintain the hearth in a ‘dry’ condition
rather than by the availability of the cast house troughs, runners and cast house
equipment. Typical lay out of a cast house is shown in Fig 1

Fig 1
Typical layout of a
BF cast house
The design and
of the cast house
must improve
the efficiency
of BF operation
with respect to
the following parameters:
 Improvement in the working conditions for workmen engaged in tapping of the hot
metal and liquid slag
 Reduction in the amount of hot metal lost with the liquid slag
 Significantly reduce the volume of pollutants created during tapping
 Reduction in the losses of heat from the hot metal by maintaining its temperature
Cast house must have a certain number of entrances, passages and exits through
which workmen can evacuate the area in emergencies. It must be designed and
located in such a way that it is always possible for workmen to escape from any area
of the cast house without passing in front of tap holes or stepping over runners.
The cast house floors on the metal and slag sides must have smooth surfaces, and be
slightly sloping in certain parts. The angle of slope should not be selected simply for
easy removal of slag and hot metal. If the slope is too steep, work in the cast house
will be unnecessarily tiring and the risk of falls will be greater.
The depth of the runners should be large enough to accommodate the maximum
possible flow of hot metal after allowing for the presence of the refractoy lining.
Care should be taken in the selection and location of slag granulation plant, so that
there is no possibility of steam from cooling water being blown into the cast house.
Some system must be installed to protect workers and equipment from the
explosions which can occur when hot metal is accidentally tapped with slag
Transport and handling machinery used in the cast house must be carefully chosen,
as manual handling must be kept to an absolute minimum and every part of the tapping
floor must be accessible. Machinery should include one or more overhead travelling
cranes or other lifting devices and forklifts and other handling trucks. An access ramp
and maneuvering space on the tapping floor must be provided for handling trucks.
The hazards to which cast house workmen are exposed during tapping operations are
given below.
1. High temperature of materials and heat radiated by hot metal and molten slag
2. Overflow and spillage
3. Furnace breakout
4. Use of machinery such as taphole guns and drills, pneumatic, hydraulic and electric
equipment etc.
Modern blast furnaces have the following equipments, tools and consumables in the
cast house:

Taphole drill Level measuring system for

torpedo cars

Drill rod changer Tilting runner

Taphole clay gun Jack dam drill

Taphole clay gun loader Control cabins

Trough cover and trough Temperature measurement

cover manipulator and sampling
Taphole drills:

Economic tapping requires a high performance taphole channel. In addition to the choice of
appropriate taphole clay and the optimum opening strategy, optimal adjustments of the tapping
parameters as well as their reproducibility are important. Taphole drills must combine
maximum flexibility with well proven high capacity drill hammers to ensure effective drilling.
The basic design and installation requirements for taphole drills are as follows.

 The drill should be sufficiently powerful and rigid for accurate drilling of the taphole
 It should be possible to lock the drill in certain positions
 All the movements and manoeuvres of the drill should be remote controlled
 It must be possible to stop these at any given time
 The machine must be fitted with a warning siren or buzzer which should operate
automatically before the drill is set in motion

3) Gas cleaning plant (GCP)

The process of liquid iron production in the blast furnace (BF) generates gas at the furnace top
which is an important by-product of the BF process. This top gas of the blast furnace is at the
temperature and pressure existing at the BF top and usually contaminated with dust and water
particles. This top gas is having substantial calorific value and is known as raw BF gas or
contaminated BF gas. The composition and quantity of this top gas depend on the nature of the
technological process in the blast furnace and the type and the quality of the raw materials
used for the iron production in the blast furnace. In order to further use the raw BF gas, it is
necessary to clean it by using certain process systems which reduces its content of the solid

Typical analysis of the blast furnace gas for a blast furnace operating with pulverized coal
injection (PCI) is given in Tab 1. The process systems for the gas cleaning are either wet gas
cleaning system or dry cleaning system. High-efficiency gas cleaning systems are vital for the
reliable operation and long campaign life of high temperature hot blast system of the BF as well
as the BF gas network in the steel plant. Wet cleaning system is the more commonly used
system for the cleaning of BF gas.

Constituent Unit Value

CO %vol. 20-24

CO2 %vol. 18-23

H2 %vol. 1.5-4.5
N2 %vol. 52-57

SO2 mg/cum 10-30

NH3 mg/cum 5-21

Tab 1 Typical analysis of BF gas with PCI

Effective removal of a mixture of coarse and fine dust from a very dusty gas necessitates the use of a dust
catcher and a multi venturi scrubbing system. Effective cooling requires the use of a gas cooling tower prior to
BF gas discharge into the BF gas network in the steel plant. The raw BF gas is cleaned in gas cleaning plant in
two stages namely primary gas cleaning stage and secondary gas cleaning stage. Typical flow sheet of blast
furnace gas cleaning system is shown in Fig 1.

Primary gas cleaning stage:

Primary gas cleaning is based on the gravity separation principle and is used for the
removal of large particles of the dust. It is the dry separation of dust particles in the blast
furnace top gas before wet scrubbing and is commonly done by a gravity dust catcher or
most recently by large diameter cyclones. In this stage all the coarser particles are
removed. The objective is to remove as much dust as possible in a dry condition for
reuse and recycling. The recycled dust must also be low in Zinc and lead to satisfy the
limits of the blast furnace zinc balance. The dust removal efficiency of the separator is
dependent on the particle size distribution, on the separation mechanism (i.e.
gravitational or centrifugal force) and, to a lesser degree, on the inlet dust loading. The
separated dust is normally of size greater than 10 micrometers and is collected in the
dust storage hopper, which is usually sized for one and half days of dust accumulation,
and emptied via a dust discharge system.
The dust catcher is a large cylindrical structure normally with a large diameter and with
the required height. It is usually lined to insulate it and prevent the condensation of
moisture in BF gas so that the dust remains dry and does not ball up and flow freely into
the conical portion of the dust catcher at its bottom for its periodical removal.
In case of cyclone dust catcher the operation and efficiency of the dust catcher is based
on centrifugal forces. In the cyclone dust catcher the raw blast furnace gas is introduced
by one or two tangential inlets with a velocity to force the dust particles to the wall and
separate them from the gas stream. The cyclone dust catcher can have different type of
internal construction. One type of cyclone is completely empty, while other type has a
complicated inlet dome and
replaceable guide vanes.
Secondary gas cleaning stage:
BF gas after primary cleaning in the dust catcher, where the majority of heavy particles
are removed, moves towards the secondary gas cleaning stage (scrubbers) which is the
wet cleaning system. In this stage, BF gas is cleaned in contact with water and almost all
the suspended particles are separated (more than 99 %). In some plant this gas is further
taken into electrostatics precipitators. Treated gas after secondary gas cleaning stage is
taken into BF gas network of the plant and is used also for BF stoves heating.

4) Pig casting machines(PCM)

HM produced in the BF, whenever not used directly in the steel melting shop or foundry,
is cast into PI in the PCM. The HM is solidified In the PCM to small pieces. The PI
produced in PCM is in sizes generally of 10 to 45 kg/piece. Such small sizes of PI pieces
are produced in PCM by pouring the HM into the mould having small pockets. There the
HM is solidified by cooling with air followed by water cooling.
PCMs are designed either for pouring HM from open top ladles or from torpedo ladles.
Open top hot metal ladles are normally tilted with the help of a tilting winch. In case of
torpedo ladle the tilting arrangement of the ladle is provided on the ladle car itself.
The HM drawn from the HM ladle is poured into a metal transfer launder of PCM for
casting into the PI. The metal transfer launder has a fabricated casing, which is lined with
refractory. A continuous slope is maintained in the refractory for smooth flow of the HM
from receiving point to the discharge point. The launder casing is anchored to the
pouring end platform.
There are two usual casting systems namely (i) conveyor belt or strand type PCM, and (ii)
wheel type PCM. Strand type PCMs are the most popular machines for the casting of HM
into pig iron and are described here.
The body of the PCM consists of four main parts namely (i) machine head, (ii) machine
tail, (iii) rollers and link chain, and (iv) device to handle stickers. The machine head has
the driving system which is composed of the set of variable speed controlled motor, gear
reducer and sprocket. At the machine tail take-up device is provided on the tail sprocket
shaft to give appropriate tension to the link chain.
Moulds are anchored to the chain at LH and RH links. The chain duly fitted with moulds
forms the train. The chain links pass through the sprocket assembly at the discharge end
and at pouring end. Motor gear unit drives the sprocket assembly at discharge end
whereas the sprocket assembly at pouring end is free to rotate on its bearings. The PCM
drive is coupled to the drive sprocket assembly by a geared coupling. The drive for the
PCM consists of (i) an AC squirrel cage induction motor, (ii) a pin and bush coupling
between motor and gear box, (iii) a helical gear box for speed reduction, and (iv) a
geared coupling between the gear box output shaft and the shaft of the drive sprocket
assembly. The sprocket assembly at the pouring end is made to float to render
compensation for expansion of chain links and for overcoming jams due to external
The PCM is supported on a technological structure. For convenience of operation
and maintenance, following technological platforms, walkways, ladders/staircases
and material handling facilities are provided.
 Pouring end platform with railing. It is desirable to have refractory flooring at the
platform as the HM may spill over the place.
 Discharge end platform with railing. The discharge end sprocket assembly, strand
drive, PI impactor, wagon-spraying unit and discharge chute are mounted on the
 Walkways with railings along the sides of PCM strands (with common middle
walkway in case of twin strand PCM).
 Staircases/ladders with railing for reaching the walkways at lower lever and
discharge end platform.
A typical cross sectional view of a pig casting machine is shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2 Typical
cross sectional view of a pig
casting machine

The lime milk splashing unit

works on the principle of
scooping of lime milk, by
continuous rotation of a
paddle impeller partially submerged in the lime milk. For this purpose, two discs fitted on a
shaft are housed in the fabricated body of the lime milk splashing unit. At the periphery of the
disc, are provided the scoops. The speed of the disc is adjusted such that adequate splashing
velocities are achieved for coating of time on the cavities of the moulds. The location of the
splashing unit is selected such that the return mould remains at adequate temperature for
immediate sticking of the lime to it and that the coated mould does not hold any water by the
time the mould .

5) Slag granulation plant (SGP)

Around 300 kg of liquid slag is produced as byproduct while producing one ton of hot metal in a
blast furnace (BF). This slag is at a temperature of around 1500 deg C and has a sensible heat of
approximately 400 M Cal per ton. BF slag is rich in CaO, SiO2, Al2O3, and MgO which are similar
to the components of Portland cement.

When the high temperature liquid BF slag is cooled fast enough then the slag has a large
percentage of glassy phase with high cementations activity and hence it can be used as a higher
value product, especially for substitution of Portland cement. This is also a good way to reduce
CO2 emission because the cement manufacturing also produces large amount of CO2.

To obtain glassy phase in BF slag, the liquid BF slag is subjected to water granulation process.
Today rapid cooling of liquid slag in a closed water slag granulation plant is state of the art
process. The rapid cooling of the liquid BF slag in the water prevents the crystallization of slag
and breaks the slag into small particles by thermal stress. The liquid BF slag freezes in an
amorphous granulate, called granulated BF slag. The non crystallization rate of the water
granulated BF slag can reach to a level of 95 %. By contrast, the glassy phase obtained during
crystallization of liquid BF slag by slow cooling in the air is quite limited.

However, water granulation of liquid BF slag consumes large volumes of water (1,000 to 1,500
litres of evaporative loss per ton of liquid BF slag processed) and can generate acid mist causing
air pollution. Also there is the need of a proper water management on one hand and the
necessity of the drying of the granulated BF slag on the other hand. So, not only the sensible
heat of the liquid BF slag is lost, but it is also necessary to have an upstream slag drying unit for
using the granulated BF slag in the cement industry. The drying process normally consumes heat
energy up to 72 M Cal/ton of slag

Dry slag granulation using a rotary cup air blast atomizer:

The dry slag granulation process is essentially to atomize the liquid slag and then to cool the
particles rapidly so as to produce a glassy slag. The atomization is done using a rotary cup air
blast atomizer. The particles cool as they travel through the air and are then cooled further in a
fluidized bed. Both of these processes provide the rapid cooling necessary for the formation of
glassy slag product. The fluidized bed is a convenient method of containing the slag particles as
it prevents the agglomeration of hot particles in addition to providing rapid cooling.
Slag particles with a mean diameter of around 2 mm can be produced by the atomizer and so
the slag product is in a form that is easy to handle. Tests have shown that the slag particles are
cooled fast enough for the product to have glass content in excess of 95 %. Also very little slag
wool is produced in the process. The principle of rotary cup atomizer is shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1 Principle of rotary cup atomizer

The rotary cup air blast atomizer has the following advantages.

 It offers fine control very easily. The particle size can be controlled by varying either the
rotary cup speed or the air blast flow. This atomizer also produces a relatively narrow
particle size range. The problem of having a rotating cup in contact with molten slag
need not be limitation and can be solved with careful design and the correct choice of
 The power required to drive this atomizer is considerably less than that required by a
twin fluid atomizer. A twin fluid atomizer needs over 20 times as much power to atomize
the slag to similar sized particles as that required by a rotary atomizer. This could affect
the overall cost savings of the heat recovery process by up to 5 %.
 The trajectory of the slag particles is outwards and upwards. The upwards motion means
that the atomizer can be used in a location where there is restricted height between the
slag delivery point and the ground as in the case at a blast furnace where slag is supplied
from the cast house floor which is usually 7 m above the ground.