Space-saving and robust: Siemens VAI develops a new suspension system for LD (BOF) converters

Siemens VAI now offers steelmakers the Simetal Compact Link, a new solution for the suspension of LD (BOF) converters. This system combines the proven, maintenance-free ConLink suspension system with lamella-type elements mounted below the trunnion ring. The result is a space-saving...

Space-saving and robust: Siemens VAI develops a new suspension system for LD (BOF) converters

Linz, Austria, 2010-Nov-17

Siemens VAI now offers steelmakers the Simetal Compact Link, a new solution for the suspension of LD (BOF) converters. This system combines the proven, maintenance-free ConLink suspension system with lamella-type elements mounted below the trunnion ring. The result is a space-saving converter suspension that enables the converter vessel to expand without obstruction. The compact dimensions of the Simetal Compact Link allow the converter capacity to be maximized for given available space. The suspension system is also suitable to retrofit existing converter facilities, and has already been successfully installed on three converters in the steelworks of voestalpine Stahl in Linz, Austria.

180-ton LD converter

A 180-ton LD converter in the voestalpine AG steelworks in Linz, Austria. The converter vessel is outfitted with a Simetal Compact Link suspension system from Siemens VAI.

Converter vessels are subject to high thermal stresses during operation that lead to substantial thermal expansion and deformation. The converter is connected to the trunnion ring by a suspension system that has to compensate for these effects. Increasing productivity demands and the resulting large converter sizes of today place enormous burdens on the suspension system.. To date, there have been two main technical approaches for supporting high suspension loads: a static suspension system with link elements, and a radially flexible lamella suspension system of compact size.

The Simetal Compact Link combines the advantages of both of these suspension types by incorporating vertical lamella elements and horizontal links. Depending on requirements, the links can be positioned either above or below the trunnion ring. As the lamella elements also absorb some of the forces acting horizontally, the horizontal links can be dimensioned smaller as they no longer have to bear all of the horizontal forces. Arrangement of the horizontal links and lamella elements below the trunnion ring means that all of the suspension elements are located in a protected area.

Three LD converter plants in the Linz Steelworks of voestalpine AG have been outfitted with the Simetal Compact Link converter suspension system. As this solution requires less space than the previously installed suspension system, the tapping weights of these converters could be increased to 180 tons. This has expanded the plant's steel output from 5.45 to 6 million tons per year. The insights gained from this first implementation have already been applied to further improve and optimize the system.

Further information about solutions for steel works, rolling mills and processing lines can be found at: http://www.siemens.com/metals


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