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Fig. 2: Burner in operation
© BFI
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Industrial heating processes

Heating processes are decisive for the quality, costs, energy requirement and environmental impact of many products manufactured in the steel industry. Heating, hot forming and heat treatment are often coupled. Since the smallest variation in temperature, combustion gas composition, furnace atmosphere or other parameters may have great effect on the product quality, these processes have to be understood, optimised and precisely controlled. The objectives are to develop an accelerated and equally convective heat influx to the entire material used, optimised exposure and loading times for the furnaces and a reduction of unwanted physical and chemical processes such as negative effects of scale, surface decarburisation and tension. With regard to these objectives, several different approaches lend themselves to optimised heating processes: avoiding heat losses and recovering heat, exactly controlling the combustion gas composition, oxygen level and furnace atmosphere as well as linking individual measures to primary process management (e.g. model-based furnace operation). More and more powerful simulation programs and new sensors further contribute towards reproducing and understanding very complex furnace processes.

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