Primetals Technologies started up an electric-arc furnace (EAF) it supplied to specialty materials producer Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) for its Latrobe, Pa., facility. The EAF, which is designed to process a wide range of input materials and will replace equipment coming to the end of its useful life, increases flexibility and reliability while reducing energy consumption and maintenance requirements. It is part of ATI’s transformation of its Specialty Rolled Products business, which serves customers in aerospace, defense and other highly demanding markets. Primetals Technologies engineered the EAF specifically for foundry applications. It is suitable for melting and refining. The project also included the hydraulics for furnace movement and automation systems.

The EAF is designed as an alternating current (AC) system, so it is optimally equipped for the specific requirements of small batches, varying charge sizes and discontinuous production. AC arc furnaces can be operated with or without hot heel. In particular, smaller casting shops that produce a large number of different steels rely on a rapid changeover of production. This lowers costs, reduces maintenance and increases the availability of the EAF. It also permits an economical batch process since the steel solidifying on the ground between batches cannot cause any damage.