Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : BOP Ladle Refractory Improvements
The Basic Oxygen Plant (BOP) operation at Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) requires the use of massive 350-ton ladles to receive the molten metal from the BOP vessel and transport it to the casters. These ladles are lined with refractory materials to insulate the steel shell from the molten metal. These refractory linings are subject to intense heat and rapid deterioration. In 1992, these linings lasted an average of 81.5 heats per ladle at a cost of 79¢ per ton of molten metal processed. BOP personnel have been working to extend the life of these linings and reduce the cost associated with frequent replacement.
The ladle-lining improvement efforts focused on the supplier base for developing new material compositions and lining designs. In 1992, the ladle team began to collect data on digout profiles. It documented all steel penetrations into the linings and recorded contact minutes of molten metal within the ladle. Next, it recompeted the contract to supply refractory materials and reduced the suppliers to two with a 70% to 30% work load split. By using this arrangement, WSC protects its interest with a secondary supplier and maintains the minimal work load needed to keep the secondary supplier viable. The suppliers have experimented with different material shapes and compositions. The use of newer compositions has led to thinner, longer-lasting liners.
As a result of these activities, the liner replacement cycle has been extended to 130 heats in 1996 with an average cost of 57¢ per ton of molten metal processed.
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