Steel is the most used metal today, because of its high quality and features such as durability, high strength, corrosion resistance, long lifespan, cost effectiveness and high efficiency. From small scale to large scale production all use steel of different grades in various quantities. Almost, 50% of the world steel production goes into construction. This means we are surrounded by steel. Most of our daily use products such as kitchen ware to transport to machinery everything is made up of steel. Steel has become such an indispensable metal that we just can’t imagine our life without steel. Steel has become synonymous to growth and development.
Yet, have we ever wondered how steel is made? Which processes produces steel with effective features and qualities.
1 . Extraction of Iron Ore
Steel is the most refined metal that is made from iron ore. Iron when mined from the earth is in its raw form. It is heated to remove the impurities to get purified iron ore extract. This process of getting pure iron is known as smelting. Once the impurities are removed, it forms into a stronger metal ready to be used, which can then be formed into steel.
2. Making of Steel
The steel can be obtained, mainly through two processes: Blast furnace/Oxygen furnace and/or Electric arc furnace (EAF)
Blast Furnace/Oxygen Furnace
This process basically uses iron ore, limestone, coke and scrap as its basic raw materials.
Iron ore and coke added to the blast furnace are heated to make pig iron. This pig iron is poured into torpedo car and then unloaded into a ladle. Here the chemical compositions are made suitable for the kind of steel in requirement.
Then, sulfur levels are reduced as it makes the steel brittle and impacts the final strength of the steel. Further, the pig iron is mixed with a lance of oxygen to reduce the carbon content. It is at this point scrap steel is added to the liquid. This results in production of steel which is very close to the chemical qualities of the final grade required. Majority of the steel produced in the world uses oxygen furnace method due to its reliability on the quality of steel produced.
Electric Arc Furnace
This method mainly uses scrap as its raw material. Scrap steel is put into electric arc to re-melt. Fluxes are added to it to get the desired end product of steel. Thus this method is short, easier and faster for making steel. This uses furnaces of around 100 tonnes capacity which can produce steel within 40 to 50 minutes.
The gases emitted in making of steel by these processes can further be used for generating electricity through the use of reciprocating gas engines.
3. Continuous Casting
After the desired composition of liquid steel is obtained, it is poured into three different huge casters to produce various thickness and form of steel.
One caster creates steel slabs, which are used to produce steel plates and used in hot strip mills and cold roll mills to produce hot rolled coils and cold rolled coils respectively through steel rolling process.
Along with it, steel is poured in continuous billets casters to create billets, through which wire rods and steel wires are produced in wire mills.
Other than this is the bloom caster, which forms thick blooms which are used for making structural shapes and rails (railway tracks).
4. Making Of Plate
The first step includes removing of oxide coating. This requires heating a slab up to 12000C to obtain a top quality steel plate. These slabs are passed continuously through rolling stands to reduce the thickness of the slab to get the suitable thickness for the plates. It is easier to make thin plates compared to thick plates as only the thickness of the slab has to be reduced to an appropriate level.
5. Quality Testing & Delivery
Quality test such as leveling which checks the evenness off the plates, heat treatment, cooling for tempering, and a range of certifications and testings are carried out to match quality standards. After quality check and stamping the steel is cut into various size as per demand and then delivered to the customer.
V.K Industries being a major steel supplier in the market, prefers to deal in the best quality steel at best prices. By leveraging its 30 years of experience in the industry, it imports high quality steel from the best and renowned mills from all over the world. It is known for efficiently delivering any amount of quantity of steel material in short duration. It specializes in wire rods, steel plates and coils.
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