ArcSpec

Measure, control and optimize your EAF in real-time

The lack of visibility and changes in the process is a challenging match

Steelmaking with the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) is an extremely energy-intensive process. Large production volumes and variance in raw materials and other process inputs make operating EAF very complicated and costly. Optimizing the process could enable significant savings in operating expenses while also improving the productivity.

The extreme conditions inside the furnace limit the visibility of the process. The use of conventional measurement methods can not withstand the heat and slag spray. This has caused inefficiencies in the process. Unnecessary use of energy, excessive wear of furnace equipment, and delays in production cause.

Until now.

Based on our patented technologies, we have developed the ArcSpec system. ArcSpec is a unique process control system that has finally enabled us to see into the furnace. The system measures, controls, and optimizes the furnace in real-time. Real-time dynamic control leads to:

Improved energy efficiency

Increased production capacity

Reduced electrode and refractories consumption

Optimize the Electric Arc Furnace process

An Electric Arc Furnace generates huge amounts of light from several sources. The arc, flames, and hot slag inside the furnace all emit light. ArcSpec measures these light sources in real-time with Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES). Light’s spectrum gives information about the melting progression and source of the light.

ArcSpec then further analyses this information into control signals. The signals are then sent to the furnace control system to make the necessary changes to optimize the process. When to start the different phases of the process and how to control the process parameters.

Increased visibility and optimization reduces the overall process time and improves energy efficiency.

ArcSpec collects light from the EAF

The system breaks the light into spectral components

ArcSpec analyzes the data and generates control signals

The process is adjusted based on the signals

ArcSpec modules

In addition to the ability to see into the process, the system enables various controlling applications for the EAF process to serve the needs of different kinds of furnaces. We offer these control applications as control modules. With these control modules, we ensure that every delivered system is customized to match the needs of the furnace.

MONITOR sensor module

PRODUCTIVITY control module

EFFICIENCY control module

BASKET control module

BURNER control module

Future development

MONITOR sensor module

Monitor the progress of scrap melting

The MONITOR sensor module is used to monitor the progress of scrap melting. It supports the decision-making process of the operators by providing them with measured scrap melting progress information. No control actions are performed.

 

PRODUCTIVITY control module

Use higher voltage taps longer safely to decrease tap-to-tap times

The PRODUCTIVITY control module monitors the arc visibility and scrap melting to time electrode voltage tap changes. For example, in stainless steelmaking voltage taps are lowered when the scrap protecting the sides of the furnace has molten.

By measuring scrap melting, it is possible to time the voltage tap decrease more accurately. This enables the use of higher voltage taps for a longer time. Optimized use of the electric current decreases the tap-to-tap times. This results in increased productivity without an increase in refractory wear.

 

EFFICIENCY control module

Use higher electrode voltages and lower current safely to decrease electrode consumption

The EFFICIENCY control module adjusts the electrical setpoints of the electrodes to achieve a longer arc, which corresponds to a higher voltage and lower current. This information is sent to the furnace automation system. The goal is to operate as close to the optimum power factor as possible.

Often this approach leads to a slightly longer tap-to-tap time but decreases electricity and electrode consumption. The damaging effect of the longer arc is mitigated by closely monitoring the measured light intensity levels. Upon increasing light levels, the voltage tap is automatically decreased. Alternatively, the electric setpoint of individual electrodes may be reset to the normal value, shortening the arc.

 

BASKET control module

Time the metal scrap charges as soon as safely possible

The BASKET control module monitors the progress of scrap melting in real-time to determine the optimal moment for additional scrap charges. The additional baskets should be charged as soon as they fit safely into the furnace. Too early charging will cause overfilling of EAF, whereas late-charging decreases furnace productivity and electric efficiency.

By measuring scrap melting, the scrap basket can be charged earlier on average. Optimal timing leads to faster tap-to-tap times and increased energy efficiency.

The system will give a message to the operator when the scrap basket should be charged. If basket volume information is available, the optimal moment of charging can be determined based on the scrap volume. If this information is not available, the system can give conditional commands to the operator. The message can be shown on the ArcSpec user interface or the factory’s own display via the automation system.

 

BURNER control module

Time burner operations

The BURNER control module controls burner operations with direct light information. The heating efficiency of burners decreases as meltdown proceeds. Operation with a low efficiency causes the energy of the burners to go into the furnace atmosphere rather than the scrap.

The drop in efficiency can be detected as an increase in the measured light intensity near the burner. The system shuts off the burner if it detects a drop in efficiency. Each burner can be controlled individually based on the measurements performed in that area. Optimal burner operation will improve the heating efficiency and provide savings in natural gas consumption.

 

Future development of ArcSpec modules

Luxmet is committed to developing the ArcSpec system. This means more functionalities and possibilities for our customers to benefit from the Optical Emission Spectrometry technology.

The technology enables real-time measurements of temperatures inside the furnace and the lights spectrum contains data about chemical elements reacting. These features enable notable possibilities for future development and our customers.

Everything as a service

We offer the ArcSpec system also as a turnkey service. Our services can consist of an assessment period prior to any final decision. All our products can be offered as a continuous service, including the use and maintenance of the system.

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