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Stainless steel production


Stainless steel - one of the most popular materials of the XXI century. Its production is a fairly complex technological process, carried out in three ways. There are open-hearth, oxygen-converter and electric steelmaking methods.

Open-hearth method

Melting of the metal is done in special furnaces - oscillating or stationary. Smelting lasts a long time - 4-6 hours, but during the melting process it is possible to control the quality of the metal with the help of repeated samples. In open-hearth furnaces, special grades of steel are produced by adding the necessary impurities. The open-hearth method is quite expensive. That is why recently it is being gradually abandoned.

Oxygen-converter method

The technology consists of the following. Pig iron and charge are loaded into a pear-shaped vessel. The mixture is blown with oxygen, supplied under pressure from below upwards. To process 1 ton of pig iron 350 cubic meters of oxygen is needed. No fuel is used in this process. Oxygen heats the mixture in the converter to its melting point. The excess carbon in the pig iron is oxidized and carried away with the flow of furnace gases. This method is by far the most common. It is more economical, but due to its rapidity is poorly controlled. A distinction is made between the oxygen-converter process with a combined top and bottom blowing.

The electric arc furnace method

Steel is melted in special electric furnaces. This method involves the use of electricity to heat cast iron. During the smelting process, slag is produced. The quality of steel depends on the composition of the slag, as well as its quantity. The slag acts as a transmitter of heat and oxygen and removes unnecessary harmful substances from the steel. The electric melting process results in the highest quality steel.


This is one of the most important steps in the production of stainless steel and rolled steel sheets. It is during the cooling process that the necessary properties of the metal are fixed. That is why high-quality stainless steel is only produced if the cooling is done correctly. The cooling of the billet is carried out as it moves along roller conveyors, conveyor belts and slappers. An earlier cooling technique, employed in older rolling mills, was cooling in stacks or on slabs. Stack cooling is also called self-tempering. Its disadvantages are reduction of steel tensile strength and yield strength.


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