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By: David Howard | G+

Steel Scrap Recycling via Electric Arc Furnace

Steel recycling has been going on for over a century and a half. Recycled steel has many advantages. Because recycled steel loses very little of it’s physical properties it’s often more affordable to recycle than to produce new steel from mined ore - especially when producing structural steel.

Steel recycling begins with collection and separation

Before reclaimed steel is melted down it must be collected, processed, and separated. Scrap steel is brought to recycling plants where it’s ground down into smaller parts and non-ferrous materials are extracted. This can be a multi-stage process. Scrap is loaded into roller and hammer mills that crushes and slices it into smaller pieces. Magnets, cyclonic vacuums, and humans separate out more non-ferrous materials. Items also pass through radiation detectors to find anything potentially dangerous. Finally, the processed scrap is collected into bundles and shipped to the foundry/mini-mill.

Mini-Mills and Electric Arc Furnaces

At the mini-mill, scrap is organized and then shuttled into the foundry via cranes or carts and loaded into a preheating hopper - usually heated by reclaimed exhaust gases. When ready, the scrap is loaded into the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF), by dropping it into the hot heel. Graphite carbon electrodes are then lowered and powered to produce electrical arcs reaching temperatures of up to 11,000 degrees - even though the molten steel usually stays around 3,000 degrees.

Depending on the final steel requirements, pure ore or other alloys can be added, along with carbon (via coal or coke). The molten steel is then tapped (poured off) into transfer kettles for continued processing into bars, rods or sheets.

Repco has a long history supplying electrical contacts and contact kits to the steel industry. Repco's, Marlton NJ warehouse, stocks thousands of contacts, brushes, and coils for hundreds of current and obsolete OEM motor and control series used throughout the steel industry.  From conveyor systems, cranes, and all types of motors and controls Repco has replacement parts available for use in your scrap yard, mini-mill, or foundry.

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