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Otto Junker
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PLASMA Ladle Furnace for Stainless Steels Goes into Operation

For the secondary metallurgical treatment and exact temperature setting of the steel melts in a 15 ton casting ladle, a new designed INDUGA plasma ladle furnace has been installed besides the existing vacuum degassing stand and put successfully into operation in the steelworks for forging and rolling blocks at Dörrenberg Edelstahl GmbH in Germany. The plasma ladle furnace is equipped with two graphite electrodes which are fixed to a movable rotating frame and operated electrically in single-phase mode with a maximum power of 1600 kW. The plasma ladle furnace heats in a defined and controllable atmosphere.

For this, the graphite electrodes have a central bore to be able to feed a plasma forming gas to the electrical arcs and thus control the atmosphere in the ladle furnace. The plasma arcs have a very smooth arc behaviour which is an important prerequisite for stable and, above all, non-contact operation between the steel melt and electrodes. This also avoids carburisation of the steel melt during heating. In addition, alloy materials or a top slag can be added through a covered opening, melted and kept hot to perform residual desulphurization for example. The metal bath slag reaction is supported here especially by the intensive argon flushing of the ladle which ensures that there is a constant exchange of material between slag and melt.

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