Outlook for Blast Furnace Ironmaking
The blast furnace today continues as the primary production method of hot metal in large-scale steel production. The blast furnace process has been the target of repeated attempts to replace it with various process options, including direct reduction and coke-free smelting reduction. While these new technologies are being adopted in appropriate niches, the blast furnace has responded to the challenge by being amenable to continuous improvement. I will review the major developmental and improvement trends and then list the current important issues in ironmaking. I will outline the challenges to be faced by the blast furnace to maintain its position as the primary hot metal production process. The iron ore implications will also be discussed including QCM’s role in supplying iron ore to both blast furnace and alternative ironmaking markets. This paper is an update of a paper presented at the SME, Minnesota Section Annual Meeting in April, 1998.