ThyssenKrupp‘s steel division has awarded contracts for the construction of a ladle furnace in Duisburg, allowing the manufacturer to expand its product portfolio to include high-alloy grades.

“This step will enable us to offer new steel grades and thus substantially and sustainably improve our competitive position,” said Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe Andreas Goss.

Around EUR40m (US$45m) will be invested in the project, slated to start next autumn, at BOF melt shop 2 in Duisburg-Beeckerwerth.

“Given the uncertainties surrounding the steel sector, the decision to build the ladle furnace was not made lightly,” added Goss.

“But at the same time we want to send out a positive signal about the future of the German steel industry and our site.”

In the steel production process, a ladle furnace is located between the converter and the continuous caster and is used for secondary metallurgy.

The new twin ladle furnace in Duisburg will have a capacity of 265 metric tons per treatment. Its main task will be to heat the melt, which will improve the energy efficiency of the production process and reduce operating costs.

In addition to the ladle furnace, the project will also include the construction of dedusting and alloying systems in melt shop 2.

Alongside the technical innovations, the new unit will be completely encased in soundproofing panels to reduce noise levels.

The ladle furnace will be used to treat high-alloy steel grades with an alloy content, for example, manganese, of more than 5%.

It will also allow the development and production of materials such as high-strength, durable steel grades for lightweight automotive construction.