Without any doubt, we can say that steel is one of the most popular and important structural materials. It is used in the construction of transport, aviation, construction and so on. It should be noted that today the production of steel is very well developed. This branch of metallurgy is one of the most difficult and time-consuming. Let's more in detail talk on this topic and examine all the interesting nuances and details.
About the global steel industry
In 2014, there was some recovery of the metallurgical industry, in particular the steel industry, after the 2012 crisis. Statistics show that global smelting is growing every year. For example, from 2001 to 2012, the volume increased by almost 700 million tons. However, the production cycle makes the steel industry a relatively volatile industry.
Today we can say that the annual demand for this material will constantly increase. Countries with developed infrastructure will act as the main buyers. This is due to the need for urbanization and industrialization. From this we can make a simple conclusion - the production of steel will not go anywhere, and will only develop.
Kremenchug Steel Plant
This Ukrainian company is known almost all over the world. For the most part parts for freight wagons, in particular wheels, are cast here. In addition, the plant manufactures cast parts for the automotive industry and its own repair needs. Approximately 2,500 specialists work at this plant as of 2014. But due to the economic crisis in Ukraine and the deterioration of relations with Russia, the plant almost completely stopped. This is due to the fact that about 95% of the manufactured products were bought by the Russian Federation. As a result, they are increasingly talking about the conservation of the plant, and after that it can simply be disassembled.
The first visible deterioration began in 2009, when the company lost most of its assets. Already in 2010, the plant became bankrupt, but did not stop its work. However, by 2013, production volumes decreased by 48%, which in fact meant stopping the enterprise, which happened a little later. Now it is difficult to say whether the Kremenchug Steel Works will work or not.
Oxygen converter process
Currently, there are several ways to get steel. One of them, he is the main - oxygen-converter. This method appeared somewhat later Bessemer. In fact, we can say that the process of obtaining steel in the converter is exactly the same, but somewhat improved. Let's take a quick look at how everything works.
The Converter is filled with liquid iron, which is bottom blown with oxygen. In the process of oxidation of impurities of pig iron because of what is happening and its transformation into steel. Moreover, steel production technology is such that during the oxidation heat is generated, which is enough to provide the required temperature in the chamber. As you can see, this is a quite simple method to get a quality product in a short time. The temperature in the chamber is typically maintained in the range of 1,600 degrees.
This is another popular method for producing quality steel. The bottom line is that the smelting is carried out on the hearth in a reflective furnace. Previously it is equipped with regenerators, which are necessary for heating the air or gas. It can be said that the very idea of such a smelting appeared quite a long time ago, however, the open-hearth steel production process requires a high temperature, which could not be achieved. But in 1864 for the first time used regenerators, which showed their best side.
To produce steel in open-hearth furnace the charge is loaded. It includes scrap, scrap and cast iron. As a result of exposure to high temperature after some time there is melting of the charge, and then it also has special additives. They are needed in order to give the steel the required properties. The finished product is cast into ladles and transported to the destination. As the open-hearth method is quite effective and does not require large expenditures, therefore, very soon became the main almost all over the world.
Pro electric steel production
Today, virtually any steel mill incorporates electric arc furnaces. In addition, there are DC and AC furnaces, but they are rarely used and the smelting volumes from them are small. But electric arc furnaces are very popular. This is due to the fact that they can get steel electric furnace range. It is quite simple to get high-alloyed and alloyed steels. At the same time, it is not possible to achieve the same good results in open-hearth furnaces and converters. This is due to the fact that rapid heating is carried out in the arc furnace, which allows you to add a large number of alloying elements. Along with this, the protection of metal from intoxication gives a good result. In principle, there is the possibility of not only a smooth temperature control, but also accurate, which is also important. In view of the fact that this method is only developing, we can talk about its prospects.
Steel production in Russia
They are familiar with the Russian metallurgy all over the world, as it is quite powerful and competitive. No exception is the industry such as steel production. At present, the Russian Federation is ranked 5th in the world in the amount of steel produced. Despite the fact that domestic interests in the metal are quite high, as of 2012, about 40% of the total production was exported.
According to statistics, over the past 10 years there has been a positive trend in the development of the steel industry in Russia. Compared with 1999, in 2009, productivity was increased by about 64%, which is quite significant. At the same time, many leading Russian plants do not lag behind foreign competitors and catch up with them in terms of productivity. In 2009, about 57% of steel in Russia was made in oxygen converters, 27% in electric arc furnaces and only 16% in open-hearth furnaces. In general, the Russian Federation annually produces about 4.5% of world production. But according to statistics, this figure is gradually creeping up, which indicates a positive trend.
On the situation in the world in 2014
As noted above, after the global crisis in 2012, the steel industry recovered only after several years. So, during this time, the world demand for the metal increased by 3.3%. Many experts say that it happened because in advanced economies the growing demand for steel. The most intensive growth of steel production takes place in China. There from 2013 to 2015 was made up 3.5%. Not to mention the growth in India where it was produced became more 5.6%. In the U.S., the increase in production volumes based on the increasing demand of the automotive industry. It is planned to produce 3% more steel compared to previous years. In Europe in 2012 and 2013 was a negative trend, that is, consumption has not increased, but decreased. But in 2014, consumption grew by 2.1%. The result, though small, but pleasant.
About prices and something else
As noted above, the metallurgical industry is cyclical. This suggests that metal prices are constantly changing: then they grow, then fall. Nevertheless, in comparison with 2012 a good growth was noticed. However, you need to understand that everything depends on the cost of raw materials. The more expensive coke, charge, scrap and other products are, the more expensive steel will be. It is impossible not to pay attention to such a factor as the glut of the market with cheap Chinese products. This can significantly reduce prices. Another interesting point is that many consumers are trying to replace steel with other materials. Instead of steel shovels use plastic, metal parts are replaced with polymeric. For example, the body of an electric car is no longer made of steel, but of special fiber, which, according to the manufacturer, has excellent strength and performance characteristics and significantly lower weight.
As you can see, today there are several relevant ways to get steel. This is a converter method, open-hearth and smelting in arc furnaces. Each of them is good and has its drawbacks. Nevertheless, steel production in the world is such that it is necessary to use even the most profitable, from an economic point of view, methods. One thing is for sure, steel prices will gradually grow and volumes will increase. But it will happen until a certain point. In any case, after some time there will be better materials that will have less weight, better corrosion resistance, etc. Today, if they are, they look unprofitable against the background of metal products because of their high cost. Basically, that's all.