Steelmaking is a herculean task which needs a lot of labor and is a time-consuming process. There are various ways of steelmaking and one such is the Electric Arc Furnace in short referred to as EAF.
In the beginning, EAF steelmaking was developed for making special grades of steels by using solid forms of feed like scrap and ferro alloys. Solid materials were melted with the help of an arc melting, which are refined through the adding of the suitable fluxes and utilized for further processing. Until recently (around 30-35yrs), tap to tap times of over 3hrs were quite familiar and specific power usage was often more than 700 kWh/ton i.e. nearly twice the thermodynamic requirement. Till late 20th century EAF steelmaking was viewpoint as an expensive and slow process and only apt for special and value added steels.
In the recent years, the EAF has surfaced as a significant steelmaking process. The pliability and simple adoptability of this steelmaking to acclimatize the unsteady market demand have developed into the construction of mini steel plants to supply totally diverse grades of finished product (like long or flat or mixed ) of plain carbon or alloy steels from scrap and alternative gold charge materials.
Some of the reasons for the increase in EAF production & technology around the world are because of the following reasons:
- Discontinuity of steelmaking process open hearth,
- Utilization of Hot metals and oxy fuels in the furnace, and
- Increasing accessibility of alternative iron sources, particularly from the developing countries.
There are even some advantages involved in the usage of this steelmaking process. Some of them include:
- They’re very flexible and quickly adoptable.
- Steel can be made from 100% scrap metal feedstock. Because of which less amount of energy is needed in the making.
- They can be quickly started and stopped thus permitting the steel mill to differ production according to the demand.