The challenge

In the steelmaking process, while the molten steel is still in the ladle and before the molten steel is poured the steel must be purified to achieve desired properties in the finished product. To purify the molten steel users will employ a vacuum degassing process to create a higher quality, lower carbon steel with minimal oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen contamination. Traditionally this vacuum process would have used steam injector pumps to achieve the desired vacuum levels. However, these steam injectors are very energy intense, fixed capacity and require significant maintenance.

The solution

Utilising a multi-stage vacuum pumping system EPC and System Integrators we were able to achieve the desired results. Howden was successful in securing the first stage boosters (72 units) in the largest steel degassing application using mechanical pumps (Shan Steel). While the boosters performance was as anticipated the EPC and customers desire was to move away from a booster that required pressure lubrication. Equipped with this knowledge Howden set-off to design and build our next generation of vacuum booster tailored specifically to the service and duty required in steel degassing applications.

The outcome

In 2019 Howden was successful in supplying its second generation of vacuum booster to the steel degassing market. Howden was awarded a second contract with this EPC and customer Tang Steel for the supply of 53 first stage boosters. Positive feedback was received from the customer on the performance of these second generation vacuum boosters.

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Pumps at Tang Steel

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