A new state-of-the-art blast furnace at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks has been equipped with three miles of cooling pipework.
Installed by Fairwood Fabrications and supplied by Pipe Center,the £9m installation was part of a complete rebuild of No. 4 Blast Furnace at the South Wales plant, which has created one of the most modern iron making facilities in the world.
The pipework is said to form an essential part of the furnace’s vital temperature-management system, delivering cooling water to the furnace-shell’s cupro-nickel heat exchanging plates.
The new No.4 Blast Furnace has specially designed closed-circuit cooling water systems that are significant improvements from the previous blast furnace in terms of safety and reliability.
The large volumes of water required are supplied via two 42in carbon-steel mains, with two pump-houses, each with operational and standby pumps.
Major sections of the pipework, including heat exchangers and valves, were prefabricated offsite at Fairwood Fabrications’ facility at Port Talbot.
The project included 18 giant 36in high pressure gate valves, sourced by Pipe Center from a leading international supplier. Fairwood Fabrications attended witness tests carried out on the valves by the manufacturer to 12Bar.
The project required 150 cast iron gate valves in total, from 2in to 36in, plus an assortment of standard non-return and butterfly valves.
“All pipework had to be shot-blasted and treated with four layers of epoxy prior to fabrication,” says Wayne Adams, contract manager at Fairwood Fabrications.