A worldwide unique 3D radar measurement makes it possible for the first time to monitor material's behavior in real time as it is fed into the blast furnace. Thanks to this innovation, the gas flow in the blast furnace can be optimally controlled.
When material is fed into the blast furnace, a coke layer and an ore layer, known as the burden, are alternatively charged. The high temperatures and dust make it very difficult to observe the burden’s behavior (position, distribution, surface, etc.). However, it is extremely important to know the material distribution at any point in time in order to control the gas flow in the blast furnace. Since no technology for this was available on the market, voestalpine developed the 3D radar technology. This unique, continuous 3D radar measurement can be used to monitor changes in the blast furnace in real time on a PC. It shows exactly where the material goes and how quickly it descends to each position in the blast furnace, enabling the gas flow rate in the blast furnace to be accurately adjusted.
Successful cooperation with JKU
The entire system was developed in cooperation with the Johannes Kepler University in Linz (JKU). The radar housing that protects the sensor from the inhospitable blast furnace environment was designed by voestalpine and optimized in cooperation with the JKU. The technology used is comparable to the technology for radar distance measurements used in the automotive industry to avoid collisions. The technology has been applied without any problems for six months. Following three years of development in Linz and test measurements at the Donawitz site, the system has now been registered for a European patent.