High volumes of fuel are used in steel heating processes, therefore, practical advances that can dramatically reduce fuel and associated costs are of keen interest. Michigan Seamless Tube & Pipe (MST) achieved a 63% reduction in specific fuel consumption in its billet reheating operation after retrofitting the rotary-hearth furnace with “flameless” REBOX oxyfuel technology from Linde North America. The technical solution also greatly improved reheating capacity and eliminated the need for a walking-beam furnace.
The conversion process offers lessons for steel mills that hot work billets, ingots, slabs and other intermediate steel sections. The goal at MST was to increase billet reheating capacity while reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs without sacrificing billet yield or quality.