Increasing Ladle Efficiency and Service Life Through Proper Preheating Technology

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Mike Tomassi, Chief Engineer

For aluminium foundries globally, Pyrotek’s ladle preheater systems provide safe and easy operation, take up little space, and offer flexibility and customization in design.

Foundries already using the technology have discovered the energy savings and process efficiency created, a reduction in maintenance downtime, and seen the service life of their refractory-lined transfer ladles maximized.

“It’s crucial that our customers get the highest performance from their transfer ladles and have the safest, most efficient process of preheating them,” says Mike Tomassi, Chief Engineer at Pyrotek’s Cortland, New York, USA, facility. “Our transfer ladle preheat systems help operators properly heat their vessels so they can spend more time operating and less time in maintenance.”



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Pyrotek ladle preheat system

Safety First

Engineers at Pyrotek
first thought of forklift operators, furnace technicians, and foundry maintenance personnel when they designed this system and its advanced, easy-to-use control panel.

  • Single selector switch for stopping and starting
  • Single selector switch for raising and lowering combustion lid
  • Emergency stopping control
  • Standard alarm lights
  • Stores automated preheat profiles that launch with a single push button

The system’s burner is contained in an insulated cover, and only turns on when the ladle is in place. The system will automatically shut off if the temperature exceeds a preprogramed setpoint.

“Typically, customers will just use a torch, with no safety features or controls, to preheat vessels,” says Tomassi.

 Note: Pyrotek’s transfer ladle preheater systems meet all North American combustion and electrical codes.



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“Typically, customers will just use a torch, with no safety of efficiency controls, to preheat vessels."


The preheat system is designed as a compact, stand-alone station with a small plant-floor footprint, giving plant managers the ability to have multiple stations operating at the same time.

“This creates efficiencies throughout their process, along with better temperature control of metal into the furnaces from the transfer crucibles,” says Tomassi.

The consistent metal temperature provided by the system reduces heat loss during a transfer, increasing energy cost savings.

“In many cases, without preheat stations like Pyrotek’s, furnace temperatures must be raised to account for the ‘cold’ crucible metal that is being poured into them—translating into higher energy costs as well,” says Tomassi.


A ladle preheat system is a stand-alone station with a burner, system control center, and movable heater assembly inside of an insulated cover. The heater and cover assembly is raised and lowered above open ladles. These systems are typically designed for ladle capacities of one-half to two tonnes (1,000 to 4,000 pounds). Gas and electric power options are available, and equipment controls can be customized to customer needs, ranging from advanced temperature control options to manual controls.


Pyrotek's ladle preheat system's advanced, easy-to-use controls.


  • Uniform preheating
  • Consistent hold temperatures
  • Reduction of heat loss during transfers
  • Ease of operation
  • Installation, commissioning, field support
  • Plug-and-play design only requires 120 volts and 5 pounds-per-square-inch of natural gas

Posted in Product Spotlight.

Tags: Foundry, Ladles.