Sheffield Forgemasters Enhances Ladle Fleet

Published: 26 January 2009

Sheffield Forgemasters has dramatically increased the size of its pouring ladles in a £500,000 investment project to boost output at the Brightside Lane base.

The engineering experts commissioned the production of four 105t pouring ladles last year and they have just been completed. The new ladles are a significant upgrade on the company's current fleet of 90t ladles and will afford the steel division a 17 per cent increase in steel output.

The giant ladles, which are made fabricated in steel and lined with refractory, measure up at 4.5 metres in height, 3.3 metres in diameter and each weigh just over 55 tonnes without any steel.

The ladles are an essential component of steel processing for the supply of liquid steel to the foundry, for large and conventional ingot production.

Steel from the furnace, which is heated to temperatures in excess of 1600 degress Farenheit, is transferred by the ladles as liquid steel for secondary steelmaking, where alloy materials are added and degassing takes place to condition the steel to customer specifications.

Since the ladles entered the production line five weeks ago they have already processed in excess of 55 heats of steel, totalling approximately 5,500t of liquid steel. The steel from the new ladle fleet has been utilised to manufacture high integrity components and materials for power generation applications, wind energy components, offshore steels and forgings for the nuclear industry.

Dr Stephen Price, managing director of Sheffield Forgemasters' steel division, said: "The addition of the new ladles to our steel production line is a landmark development for Sheffield Forgemasters and will make a significant change to our current steel output.

"We are continually trying to raise the bar for steel industry standards and having this pouring capacity will mean we can continue to meet industry demands for bigger and more complex products.

"The sheer size of the ladles, their handling and the logistical considerations to integrate them within existing facilities have required a team effort right across the company."

During the design and manufacturing stages, the ladles have to satisfy stringent design codes and be validated both for thermal performance and structural integrity.

The designer for the project was Bennett Associates and Hadee Engineering Co. Ltd was the engineering fabricator.