It all starts with scrap, which is carefully selected to match the properties desired for the final steel ingot as closely as possible. That material is placed in the electric arc furnace shown here, where it is melted down at temperatures that can exceed 3,000 F. Given this intense heat, it's critical to keep seals cool—a task that consumes as much as 70,000 gallons of water per minute.
Slag, a byproduct of the melting process, overflows from the electric arc furnace and collects in a designated area below.
Once finished in the electric arc furnace, the molten steel is poured into a ladle and transported via rail and crane for secondary refining in the ladle metallurgy furnace, which brings the material closer to final chemistry.
After refining, the ladle of molten steel is positioned for ‘teeming’ into the appropriate molds for cooling.
The steel cools in molds to form solid ingots like the ones shown here.
From the ingot, Finkl produces custom forgings for the oil and gas and other industries. Here, a press shapes a large gear pinion shaft.
MMS highlights plenty of machining applications in a given year, but its not often that we get a chance to tour a steel mill. I recently had the opportunity to do just that when A. Finkl & Sons' Tim Nealt, vice president sales, and Todd Gilhuly, district manager Canada, guided me through the steelmaker's new plant on the South Side of Chicago. Click through the gallery below for a sampling of what I saw.