23/08/2022 – Successful startup of large LD converter with innovative suspension system

LD converter starts up at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant

Recently, a new LD converter (BOF) implemented by Primetals Technologies was started up at Arcelor Mittal Belgium’s steel plant in Gent, Belgium. To meet the demands on pre-assembly works, Primetals Technologies came up with several innovative ideas.


Charging of the new LD converter at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Gent during first heat. © Primetals


Arcelor Mittal Belgium wanted most of the pre-assembly works to be done at the manufacturing site in Poland as a way of avoiding possible delays. The vessel and trunnion ring had been assembled as one unit in Poland, rendering the result too big to pass underneath an existing pipe bridge at the steel plant in Gent. Therefore, using a 1000t-crane, Primetals Technologies lifted the vessel and trunnion ring – weighing around 380 tons altogether – over the 10m-high pipe bridge.

 Thanks to good planning and preparation, Primetals Technologies met the customer’s tight 35-day timeline without any interruption in the ongoing production at LD converter No. 3 during the shutdown. As an example, Primetals Technologies made key preparations during a pre-shutdown in June 2021 to ensure that everything would be running smoothly during the revamp. “From the start of our project until commissioning we experienced a very professional collaboration with the project team of Primetals Technologies,” says Glenn Gosseye, Project Manager at Arcelor Mittal Belgium.

 “Although it was performed in a very challenging environment, we managed to stay within our target of a 35-day shutdown,” says Hannes Seys, Project Engineer at Arcelor Mittal Belgium.

 The LD converter supplied to Arcelor Mittal Belgium by Primetals Technologies features an optimized converter shape. This will further increase both yield and energy efficiency of the steelmaking process. Another important feature is the Vaicon Link 2.0 – a suspension system that keeps the vessel stable in all directions and still allows for thermal expansion. It ensures ideal conditions during the whole lifetime of the converter. Primetals Technologies developed this system more than 20 years ago and has continuously refined it.

 Average LD converter heat sizes are around 180t, hence a heat size of 330t makes this LD converter one of the world’s largest. In total, Primetals Technologies supplied Arcelor Mittal Belgium with 1,000t of equipment while installing the LD converter in Gent. High quality flat products

 The project scope includes engineering and building as well as the supply of the following equipment: converter, trunnion ring, maintenance free suspension system, tilting drive, rotary joint and piping, slag shields, and parts of the doghouse. The existing slag stopper, supplied by Primetals Technologies in 2013 was reused.