ROURKELA: In a major production setback to the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of SAIL, the Blast Furnace (BF)-V ‘Durga’, the mainstay of RSP’s hot metal production and second largest BF of the country, continues to remain crippled after a major breakdown on Thursday.
Sources said although trouble started from Tuesday evening, functioning of the BF-V fully collapsed at about 9 am on Thursday with jamming of all 36 tuyeres (a nozzle through which air is forced into a furnace) with materials. The BF-V has four tap holes for releasing hot metal.
Two tap holes at diagonal direction work at a time. On Tuesday evening, one tap hole was under maintenance and two other diagonal tap holes were working erratically and discharging only slag. Mud guns were unsuccessfully used and to RSP’s ill-luck, two power blowers stopped working to cause pressure imbalance and jamming of all 36 tuyeres with materials on Thursday morning.
Attributing it to technical reasons, Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS) general secretary H S Bal said after collapse of the BF, hot metal and slag materials became cold and jammed the tuyeres. It would take minimum of 4-5 days to clean the tuyeres with application of heat and hot air to restore normalcy. The cumulative production loss could be anything between `250 and `300 crore, he added.
Bal said the decision to send General Manager (Steel) and GM (BFs) on training at a time was not wise. Meanwhile, SAIL’s Director (Technical) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bokaro Steel Plant have arrived to monitor the restoration process, he said.
Rourkela Shramik Sangh (RSS) general secretary Prashant Behera said after its commissioning in August 2013, BF-V has developed a major breakdown for the third time now.
Claiming that it may take at least 10 days to fully stabilise production, Behera apprehended it may subsequently hamper output at downstream production units like steel melting shop-1 & 2, hot strip mill, plate mill and pipe plant.
Sources said BF-V generates about 8,000 tonnes of hot metal per day while BF-IV produces about 2,000 tonnes. The old BF-1, after dismantling, is getting ready to work as new BF-1 while the BF-2 and 3 are abandoned.