A new look for the blast furnacesMajor assembly works at the blast furnaces
ArcelorMittal Gent has 2 blast furnaces, each of which produces about 6,000 tonnes of hot metal a day.
The most recent relining of Blast Furnace A dates from 2003 when it was out of service for 90 days. The investment cost totalled 110 million euros.
This kind of major relining is thoroughly prepared by a team of ArcelorMittal Gent engineers and technicians. 3 to 4 years beforehand this team is made up of a mix of experienced construction site people and younger employees who in the longer term will be taking over the baton. In close cooperation between ArcelorMittal Gent's blast furnace, maintenance and engineering departments and scores of contractors, this huge project is thoroughly prepared and meticulously planned.
The relining project starts once production has ceased and the blast furnace has cooled. Mechanical and electrical disassembly and subsequent reassembly is organised under the tight coordination of a 50-strong ArcelorMittal Gent team. During the project, up to 700 people are present.
The workers' safety is of paramount importance. Everyone is instructed on safety in his or her mother tongue. During the project, the project management and companies involved constantly give safety advice. All this is to convince the workers that their safety has priority over achieving deadlines.
Symbolic lighting of Blast furnace A
The most recent blast furnace relinings at ArcelorMittal Gent were in 1989, 1992, 2001 and 2003. No serious accidents occurred during those relining projects and in each case the blast furnace was relined and restarted according to the timetable.
The following photomontage gives you an impression of the scope of the works.
Expertise, group work, safety aspects
To outsiders and visitors the blast furnace environment is spectacular. Yet it also means that there are potential risks present. These include high temperature, liquid metal, high pressure, various fluids and gases. These all occur at height levels varying between 0 and 80 m.
However, the blast furnace is a safe factory with good accident statistics. This has been achieved by intensive training, by composing experienced teams that take care of newcomers and by a logical attitude in respect of the risks.
Shop floor workers, office staff, foremen and process, production and maintenance engineers all work closely together each day. This gives ArcelorMittal Gent’s strategically important blast furnace installations an excellent reputation on a worldwide level in terms of high productivity, low costs or the few breakdowns and outages.