$19M No. 2 Coke Battery Rebuild Underway at ArcelorMittal – Burns Harbor

$19M No. 2 Coke Battery Rebuild Underway at ArcelorMittal – Burns Harbor

By Nagendra Singh, the process manager in operations technology for the coke plant at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor.

In 1974, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor completed construction on the No. 2 coke battery. Now, it’s getting a much-needed rebuild.

Over the last 25 years, the battery has performed exceptionally well, producing more than 900,000 tons of coke for Burns Harbor’s two blast furnaces. Its last pad-up rebuild was in 1994. This long life is a testament to the improved design and superior operation of the battery.

Roof repairs are underway at Burns Harbor’s No.2 coke battery. The repaired ovens are shown in the foreground.

The No. 2 battery now requires roof repairs. These repairs are essential in maintaining the highest level of productivity and potentially extending its life beyond the expected 50-year life cycle. The work will allow the No. 2 battery to continue meeting the coke demands of ArcelorMittal USA, including transfers to Indiana Harbor.

The key area of concern for No. 2 battery was the rising of the roof brickwork and tie-rods far above its design elevation. This was the result of the expansion stresses placed on the battery during its production lifetime.

Certain steps were taken to address the issue:

  • To accurately determine the scope of work, several small sections of the roof were demolished revealing that two to three layers of brick required replacement.
  • Next, the repair methodology needed to be refined to ensure that the work could be completed with high-quality at a reasonable cost. For this, a single oven was demolished in 2017 to minimize machine interference. An adjoining oven was then repaired in early 2018 to set the repair methodology in stone and arrive at precise cost estimates.
  • It was also decided to complete the repairs over five years, while keeping the battery at full production. This would mitigate the need to purchase expensive coke on the spot market that would increase costs for Burns Harbor and Indiana Harbor by as much as $50 million.

The project was approved in May 2018 for $19.25 million spread over five years.

Since then, an additional 11 ovens have been repaired, for a total of 13 ovens. The project team has had some major successes along the way. No safety incidents have occurred. The repair speed has doubled since the first oven was repaired in 2017 in 14 days. Ovens now take only seven days to repair. While the project began with repairing one oven at a time, the team now repairs sets of three ovens which has made the project both cost-efficient and time-effective.

The project is scheduled to be completed within budget and on-time in 2022.

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