Case Study: Pyrotek delivered an insulating solution that enabled a customer in Eastern Europe to reduce energy consumption related to their steel ladle by EUR€250,000 per year and delivered a return on their investment in less than three months.
Steel plants around the world, and particularly in Europe, face sky high energy increases currently and are forced to search for ways to reduce their energy costs.
Pyrotek was able to study and identify a high-value technical solution that reduced the Eastern European steel plant's energy consumption. This particular Pyrotek customer produces flat carbon steel and operates with a capacity of 2 million tons per year.
Pyrotek Sales Manager Raphaël Amesse, who has broad experience developing innovative insulating solutions in the industry, learned this plant was implementing a program to reduce its global energy costs. He identified its steel ladles as being a source of high energy losses.
"High heat loss rates were due to low mechanical resistance, resulting in rapid deterioration of their actual insulation," Raphaël says. "From the ladle furnace to the caster, they were losing an average 40°Celsius in 42 minutes, or 0.94°Celsius per minute."
The plant's refractory manager provided Pyrotek with some operations data and a heat-loss study was conducted on the plant's 150-metric-ton capacity steel ladle. The Pyrotek technical team proposed the optimal insulation thickness for the plant's specific operating conditions. The Pyrotek solution was ISOMAG 70XCO 12.7 millimeter.
"The advantage of using ISOMAG is that it can withstand pressure up to 15 MPa and retain its insulating power in time for a steady performance," Raphaël says.
Studying the level of expected savings in energy and reduced heat loss due to the insulation was important.
"The heat-loss study allowed us to estimate the potential savings with a good level of accuracy coming from multiple past cases," he says. "With that, the process engineer from the plant was able to get the approval from the meltshop manager and go forward with the ISOMAG insulation for a trial."
Also challenging to demonstrate is the actual level of energy savings during a trial. It is time consuming and requires a global understanding of the process parameters.
Raphaël stayed in touch with the plant process engineer, who shared information related to the energy consumption and losses over a period of more than one year. He collaborated with the Pyrotek team and defined the savings with three primary metrics.
- Ladle furnace energy reduction of 1.5kWH/mt
- Cooling rate reduction of 0.05°C/minute
- Shell temperature reduction of -27°C
Now, the plant is only losing 36.5°C (0.86°C per minute) instead of 40°C. That 3.5°C is worth EUR€250,000 per year with production at 2 million tons per year. (Note: the calculation of savings was made when the price of energy was EUR€80/MWh.)
KEY TAKEAWAY: Two main obstacles stand in the way of a successful insulation trial — estimating the potential savings to get the trial approved and calculating the real savings during the trial. Understanding this and helping the customer to overcome those two hurdles leads to a successful trial. Customer collaboration was a key to their satisfaction. Pyrotek is a trusted advisor and solution provider, not just a product supplier.