Showing posts with label Furnace (Kiln). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Furnace (Kiln). Show all posts

June 7, 2013

What is an Indurating Furnace

Indurating Furnaces are circular shaped furnaces like a Rotary Kiln and form a key part of one of the process routes for preparing iron ore fines for use in blast furnaces, and are specifically used to produce iron ore pellets.

Raw or “green” pellets need to be baked to give them sufficient mechanical strength to withstand further handling during transportation and charging to a blast furnace or to a direct reduced iron furnace.
Indurating Furnace - Arrangement of Iron Ore Pellets
Indurating Furnace - Arrangement of Pellets

Indurating Furnace
Indurating Furnace
In an Indurating Furnace, the pellets are loaded on to a travelling grate to a depth of approximately 30-60cm where they are preheated (typically to 800-9000C), before entering a higher temperature stage (around 1,200-1,3500C) which in some designs is a continuation of the travelling grate, and in others take the form of a rotary kiln. Once hardened the pellets are cooled ready for use. In a modern Indurating Furnace, there are 6 to 7 processing zones: Updraft drying (UDD) => Down draft drying (DDD) => Preheating (Ramp) => Firing => After-firing => Cooling. 
Refractory Lining | Steel Industry | Jobs: Iron Ore Pellets
Iron Ore Pellets
The thermal treatment done in an indurating furnace is similar to that of a straight line travelling grate. The gas and cooling air flow is down-draught. The grate bars are protected by hearth layer and the green pellet bed height is maintained about 20 cm in order to provide a better gas permeability. The side walls are protected with refractory lining. The fire pellets are removed from the grate by a scraping device which is installed at a sufficient distance between grate bar and hearth layer (with a depth approximately 5 cm) to leave the hearth layer in its position. The other route to preparing iron ore fines is to agglomerate them by sintering with coke and limestone.

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July 16, 2009

Kilns and Furnaces used in Ceramic and Refractory Industries : A General Description and Comparison

Loaded Car coming out of a Tunnel Kiln after firing image
Fig - Tunnel Kiln Car loaded with Wares (Refractory Bricks) coming out of the Kiln after Firing.

Kiln technology is quite ancient. The development of the kiln from a simple earthen trench filled with pots and fuel i.e. pit firing, to modern methods happened in stages. With the advent of the industrial age , kilns and furnaces were designed to utilize electric power and more refined fuels, including natural gas and propane instead of just wood or coal etc. The majority of large, industrial pottery kilns now use natural gas, as it is generally clean, efficient and easy to control. Modern kilns can be fitted with computerized controls, allowing fine adjustments during the firing cycle. A user may choose to control the rate of temperature increase or ramp, hold or soak the temperature at any given point, or control the rate of cooling as per the requirement. Both electric and gas kilns are common for smaller scale production in industry.

Fuel Fired Furnaces or Combustion Type of Furnaces are used to a greater extent in industry than the electric types because of high cost of electricity, but however the latter is preferred because it offers various advantages which may sometimes counter balance the cost factors for example,

(1) Cleanliness of operation.

(2) Quicker response in attaining the desired temperature.

(3) Better control of furnace atmosphere and temperature.

(4) Better cost and fuel efficiency.

Firing in Electric Furnaces is done by either of the following two methods –

(a) Induction Type: With primary or induced current flowing through resistors or by currents induced in the charge itself.

(b) Resistor Type: With the current applied to an external resistor, from which the heat is transmitted to the charge (stock material) either by conduction through a liquid or by radiation and conduction through a gaseous medium.

In Batch Type Kilns and Furnaces the temperature is practically kept constant throughout the interior. The wares or refractory bricks or any other item to be heated is laid in a certain position and remain there until the firing is completed. It is then generally removed by the same door by which it entered.

In Continuous Type Kilns and Furnaces has pre-heating and after-cooling zones, and the charged materials i.e. wares, bricks, etc. moves while it is being heated and the temperature varies from zone to zone remaining steady at the particular zone. In some cases the charge or stock material passes from over a stationary hearth, or else the hearth itself moves. The stock material passes over skids or rolls, being carried away in an incline by the force of gravity, or it is pushed through the furnace by mechanical means.

For many purposes the Rotating Hearth or Rotating Table Furnaces are very useful. The material may also be fed through the furnace by screw action in which system the whole furnace is a revolving tube with internal screw thread.

The Car-type or Periodic Furnace has a movable hearth which, however, remains stationary during the cooling period. The car is moved to a position outside the furnace for loading and unloading. This type of furnace is generally used for firing heavy or bulky shaped bricks. A similar principle is applied in the so-called Elevator Furnaces.

The Reverberatory type Coal Fired Grate Furnaces have bridge wall over which the flame sweeps into the furnace hearth.

If the flames are developed inside the heating chamber proper, and they come in direct contact with the stock material, the furnace is said to be Direct Fired type Furnace. If the flame is produced under the hearth and then sweeps up into the heating chamber then the furnace is to be Under Fired. According to the nature of the flow pattern the furnace may also be called Side Fired or Over Fired. For certain processes contact with the flue gas may be injurious to the materials being heated, in such cases the charge is sometimes, closed in a Muffle (Muffle Furnace) which are generally heated either by flue gas or by electric power.

In Batch Type Fuel Fired furnaces the products of combustion leave at a high temperature and carry with them a large amount of heat which can not be utilized directly in the furnaces. Part of this heat is utilized by Regenerators or Recuperators in pre-heating the cold stock (charge at ambient temperature) or the combustion air. Both principles are used in Tunnel Kiln in which pre-heating and cooling zones are provided along with the burning zone or firing zone as integral parts of the kiln itself. As the name suggests Tunnel kiln is a long structure in which the wares or materials which are to be fired are pushed from out-side loaded on Tunnel Kiln cars and are transported through the kiln while the temperature is increased steadily first, by the products of combustion (flue gas, hot air) until entering the firing zone of the kiln where it is fired directly or indirectly either by fuel or by electric power. So, after due pre-heating these cars carrying stocks (wares / charges) enter the combustion zone / firing zone / soaking zone / burning zone where it gets properly fired and the hot fired materials (stocks) leaving the firing zone, gives up its heat to the cooling air and thereby gets cooled gradually in the after-cooling zone before leaving the Tunnel Kiln. The following table distinguishes some aspects between the batch-type and continuous-type furnaces. In the forthcoming articles we will discuss more on some of these and other furnaces individually which are used exclusively in large to medium scale metallurgical and non-metallurgical industries.

Comparison between Batch Type and Continuous Type Furnaces

Batch Type Furnaces

Continuous Type Furnaces

Capital Investment



Flexibility of Operation



Fuel Efficiency




Firing quality inferior in bulk production

Firing quality better in bulk production

Operating Cost



Related Previous Articles

The Function of a Furnace and Kiln Used in Ceramic and Other Industries

Criteria for Selection of Furnace (and Kiln)

Classification of Kilns and Furnaces

June 25, 2009

Classification of Kilns and Furnaces

The term ‘Kiln’ is normally used when referring to high temperature treatment of non-metallic materials in various industries like in the ceramic, cement (cement rotary kiln), lime (lime kiln) etc. whereas, when melting at high temperature is involved the term ‘Furnace’ is used as in steel manufacture (Blast Furnace, Basic Oxygen Furnace, Ladle Furnace), glass industries (Glass Melting Tank Furnace) etc. More about the meaning and function of a furnace and kiln has been dealt in one of our previous article: The Function of a Furnace (Kiln) used in Ceramic Industries [Read]. Here we shall discuss about the different criteria used for classifying a kiln or furnace.

Furnaces may be classified broadly:
(a) According to the nature of heating medium -
(1) Fuel fired furnace, (2) Electrically heated furnace.
(b) According to the form and shape of the space to be heated -
(1) Shaft kiln, (2) Crucible furnace, (3) Rotary kiln, (4) Hearth furnace, (5) Tunnel kiln,
(6) Muffle furnace, (7)Tank furnace etc.
(c) According to the process taking place -
(1) Ceramic (2) Metallurgical (3) Non-metallurgical etc.
(d) According to the products obtained -
(1) Lime kiln (2) Cement kiln (3) Copper smelter (4) Glass tank furnace (5) Gold furnace etc.
(e) According to the method of handling and firing the materials in its passage through the furnace -
(1) Direct fired (2) Indirect fired (3) Batch type firing (Intermediate, Periodic)
(4) Continuous type firing.

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June 21, 2009

Criteria for Selection of Furnace (and Kiln)

The following matters require special attention before selection of a furnace or kiln:

>> Robustness of furnace or kiln structure.

>> Ease of control of kiln or furnace atmosphere, temperature and flame.

>> Fuel efficiency.

>> Ease of maintenance.

>> Refractory design and insulation.

>> Provision of adequate draught.

>> Arrangements for recovery of waste heat.

>> Loading (charging) and unloading arrangements.

>> Furnace volume.

In selecting the furnace or kiln, the purpose for which it is required and the probable fuel consumption / electricity charges, probable cost of firing per Ton or per piece are some other points of primary importance.

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The Function of a Furnace and Kiln used in Ceramic and other Industries

The Function of a Furnace and Kiln used in Ceramic and other Industries

There are so many definitions for Kiln and Furnace. Actually kilns are an integral part of the manufacture of all ceramics, which require heat treatment, often at high temperature. The distinction of a Kiln and a Furnace is often done on the basis of user industry than on the design of the device. Generally the term kiln is used when referring to high temperature treatment of non-metallic materials such as in the ceramic, cement (cement rotary kiln), lime (lime kiln) industries etc. When melting is involved the term furnace is used as in steel manufacture (Blast Furnace, Basic Oxygen Furnace, Ladle Furnace), glass industries (Glass Melting Tank Furnace) etc.

As a practical working definition, it has been proposed to restrict the term Furnace (or Kiln) to an industrial appliance, constructed to heat a material through a cycle involving temperatures exceeding 400OC. This temperature has been chosen in order to exclude a large number of industrial process in which steam is used as a medium of transferring heat. It is essential that the heat released in the space of the furnace should be so utilized that the maximum heat economy is effected. A good working furnace must therefore -

>> have very good control of temperature.

>> require a minimum amount of fuel or other energy sources and other auxiliary materials.

>> require minimum capital and maintenance costs.

It is felt that a greater use of thermodynamics in furnace design can lead to more accurate and closer way of thinking about such problems as those of preheat, utilization of waste heat, recirculation of the flue gases and different qualities of energy sources, etc.

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Criteria for Selection of Furnace (and Kiln)