The basic materials technology utilised in the vast majority of Blast Furnace Runner Castables is now more than 30 years old. It could be argued that a series of economy drives during this period have resulted in more effort being expended in reducing material costs than in actually improving product performance. It is also true that the installation practices used today are less carefully controlled and monitored than in the early years after the initial introduction of Runner castables. Sheffield Refractories is committed to drive Casthouse Materials Technology forward with a joint focus on Material Technology and Installation Technology.
Sheffield Refractories has developed a Casthouse Design Software package where different Runner Designs / Modifications can be reviewed and assessed in minutes. For example, if a Blast Furnace Plant would like to consider switching to a Side Skimmer this option can be reviewed and the various implications in terms of multiple performance factors can be readily assessed. The package will also produce instant 3D Drawings and Dimensioned Technical Drawings along with detailed Thermal Profiles. We believe that this package can significantly assist in revolutionising the potential development of both current Casthouse Designs and the Casthouse Design for new furnaces. The company is continuing to develop this software.
Sheffield Refractories has developed a FULL range of specialist materials to cover the various Casthouse applications. Where possible the material have been developed so that they can be installed as Vibrocast Materials, as Pumping Grade products or even applied as Shotcrete. We have developed Pumping systems that can ‘Speed Up’ Runner Installations, improve the technical quality of the Installation and secure a safer working environment.
Sheffield Refractories has also committed significant resources towards finding workable Shotcrete repair techniques for Main Iron Runners. This includes the innovative use of Depth Image Cameras and Robitics so that material can be applied in hot conditions without operatives having to work in a difficult or uncomfortable environment.
Sheffield Refractories Ltd won the contract to rebuild the casthouse of the Queen Anne Blast Furnace at British Steel Scunthorpe Works. This contract involved the development of innovative forwark systems, the provision and management of all labour plus the supply of more than 1,500 tonnes of monolithic refractory materials. The initial scope of the contract was subsequently extended to include Stave Grouting, Shotcrete application inside the furnace and fireproofing. Sheffield Rferactories Ltd was then allocated a 3 year Runner Maintenance Contract linked to a Taphole Clay supply contract at the Scunthorpe Plant.
A further addition to the scope of services Sheffield Refractories Ltd can provide for Blast Furnace customers was realised in November 2015 when the company manually installed 1,000 tonnes of Stack Shotcrete material during the refractory lining rebuild of a Blast Furnace in the Ukraine. The 1,000 tonnes of material was installed on a 24 hour / day basis with the full installation being completed within 6 days. The material, equipment and the full installation crew for this project were supplied from Sheffield Refractories limited in the UK.
Sheffield Refractories is committed to the continued development of Materials and Installation Techniques for Blast Furnace Monolithic applications.