Home / Sponge-Jet Technology Elevates Steel Mill Expansion

Sponge-Jet Technology Elevates Steel Mill Expansion

Vologda Region, Russia

The expansion of PAO Severstal’s operations, Russia’s leading steel and mining powerhouse, involved meticulous planning and execution, especially with the addition of a new blast furnace at their Cherepovets Steel Mill in Vologda Region. Integral to this expansion was the construction of a new wet cleaning scrubber and demister, tasks that demanded precision and efficiency to meet strict deadlines.

The multi-disciplinary team—comprising engineers, pipefitters, welders, electricians, alongside blasting and painting specialists—needed to operate in concert within a tight 20-day window. The goal was to prepare the steel surfaces of the scrubber and demister to an ISO 8501-1 Sa 2.5 cleanliness level with a minimum surface profile of ±75μm (±3mil). The scrubber, towering at 30 meters (98 feet) and spanning 6 meters (19 feet) in width, presented a considerable challenge, not least due to the confined entry and exit points.

Faced with choosing an optimal abrasive solution, the team weighed copper slag against Sponge Media, with a keen focus on efficiency, minimal disturbance to ongoing work, and safety.

Cherepovets Steel Mill in Vologda Region, Russia

The criteria for selection included:

Speed and Efficiency: Sponge-Jet’s Silver 16 Sponge Media™ not only met but exceeded the required surface preparation standards more swiftly and effectively than copper slag, which fell short in achieving the desired profile.

Concurrent Operations: The inherent dust and rebound suppression of Sponge Media meant less interference with other trades working in close quarters, offering a significant advantage over the more disruptive copper slag.

Simplification of Media Handling: Copper slag’s heavier weight posed logistical challenges in terms of collection and removal. In contrast, the lighter Sponge Media could be efficiently collected on scaffolding platforms and easily recycled, enhancing operational efficiency and safety.

The decision to proceed with Sponge Media was driven by its compatibility with the project’s overarching requirements—speed, efficiency, and minimal operational disruption. PASSATSTAL RUS, Ltd, the Sponge-Jet distributor involved in the project, highlighted the seamless integration of abrasive blasting and painting operations into the broader construction schedule as a key benefit.

By the end of the 20-day period, the project was completed successfully, with painting operations able to proceed adjacent to ongoing blasting work—a testament to the versatility and efficiency of Sponge Media. The use of Sponge Media resulted in a dramatic reduction in abrasive consumption compared to copper slag, with less than two tons of Silver 16 Sponge Media used compared to an estimated 50 tons of copper slag, without compromising on productivity rates.

This strategic choice not only facilitated the timely completion of the steel mill’s expansion but also underscored the value of innovative solutions in large-scale industrial projects, enhancing efficiency while minimizing environmental impact and operational disruptions.


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