4 years ago, the Austrian steel company voestalpine commissioned what was then the largest and most advanced plant for Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) in the world in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, as part of its ‘Go West’ project.
AUMUND Fördertechnik GmbH supplied two Flat Plate Conveyors type FPB-K for cooling. The patented gentle HBI cooling on the plate conveyors contributes significantly to ensuring the high quality of the product.
The HBI Evaporation Cooler System ensures cooling of HBI in such a way as to protect the integrity of this valuable product just after it has been produced in the direct reduction and briquetting process. The two Flat Plate Conveyors spray the HBI with water mist and cool it down gently from 800 – 100°C. At a nominal conveying capacity of 141 tph, the conveying throughput is up to 285 tph each. Each conveyor has a centre distance of approximately 72 m.
The plate conveyors have been in continuous operation since 2016 at this location without any problems, despite being subjected to considerable mechanical and process-related pressure. These strains on the equipment, as well as the immense focus on availability, have now resulted in the plant operator, voestalpine Texas LLC, placing a conversion order with AUMUND Fördertechnik to upgrade both conveying lines to an enhanced overall design including modified chain drive.
The conversion is set to take place in November 2020 and be completed within 30 days. It will focus on the optimisation of the conveyor section design, with improved cleaning, including the chain strand at the drive. The conversion will ensure that the cooling conveyors continue to operate without interruption, as they always have. The plant will resume operation before the end of the year.
The voestalpine Corpus Christi plant, which produces 2 million tpy of high-quality HBI, supplies circa 40% of it by ship to the voestalpine AG steel plant in Linz, Austria. The HBI contributes heavily to decarbonisation and reduction of CO2 emissions. It is batched into the blast furnaces and therefore reduces the dependency on and consumption of sinter and coke. The rest of the production of HBI from Corpus Christi remains in the NAFTA Region (USA, Canada, Mexico).