Specialized industrial furnaces are crucial to the processes performed by manufacturers, foundries, engineering operations, mining companies and steel production industries. Metallurgical industrial furnaces are at the center of operations for these industries, providing the direct-fired or induction heat necessary to perform processing functions that range from reducing iron ore to its more malleable form, pig iron, to steelmaking, metal casting and heat-treating base metals.
Various Functions of Industrial Furnaces
Smelting: One of the most common uses for industrial furnaces is the process of extractive metallurgy, or smelting. An industrial induction furnace can produce base metals such as iron, copper and silver from its ore by combining extreme heat with a chemical reducing agent such as coke, and decomposing the ore to separate the pure, elemental metal from the impure slag.
Steelmaking: The process of producing steel from raw iron can be addressed by one of two basic methods: basic oxygen furnace steel making and electric arc furnace steel making. In the first, iron ore is transformed by the industrial blast furnace into liquid pig-iron and combined with scrap steel. In the second method, electricity is used to melt sponge iron (also known as direct reduced iron- DRI) and solid scrap steel. Alloying elements, such as nickel, vanadium, chromium and manganese, are then added to produce different grades of steel.
Metal Casting: Foundries utilize several types of specialized industrial furnaces in order to melt the metals that are then poured as liquid into a mold. Pure materials and alloying elements are melted and refined in induction furnaces and electric furnaces, and then processed in various types of molds, including sand, wax, ceramic, metal die and billets.
Heat Treatment Industry: Rolling mills industrial furnaces to prepare metal stock for forming. Flat bars of iron and steel are passed through rolls that press the metal into sheets, or passed between grooved rolls (called slitters) that cut the bars into rods. A forge is another type of industrial furnace that is used to heat metal into a malleable state, and also for hardening, annealing and tempering metal.