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Nitrogen pressure-reduction station for steel production

KLINGER Spain's nitrogen pressure-reduction station: Pioneering steel production efficiency and safety.

In the dynamic and challenging landscape of the steel industry, KLINGER Spain emerges as a key player, showcasing its innovative approach with a successful nitrogen pressure-reduction station installation. This reference case outlines the project's significance in the context of current market trends and the evolving role of nitrogen in steelmaking.

Contacts mentioned in the article:

Alberto Cervera, Quality and Services Manager at KLINGER Spain

Industry overview

The steel industry is undergoing significant changes, adapting to a mix of economic challenges and technological advancements. The global market, while grappling with the impacts of the U.S. recession and geopolitical events, is poised for a recovery, marked by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.47%. Major factors driving this optimism include the widespread application of steel in construction and automobile sectors, coupled with legislative initiatives such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the U.S.

Supply chain dynamics and regional market shifts also paint a complex picture. The industry is navigating through supply chain disruptions, like semiconductor shortages, and the potential influence of China's steel exports on global prices. The rising demand for renewable energy is also expected to advance steel demand for technologies like wind turbines and solar panels. However, regional diversification, especially in North America, promises a more balanced global landscape.

Boom during rolling process

The nitrogen challenge in steel production

Nitrogen (N2) plays a multifaceted role in steel production. It enhances the mechanical properties of steel, aiding in surface hardening and strength. However, nitrogen's role extends beyond its direct involvement in steel manufacturing to a critical operational function within the facility. Its primary use is to inert the lines during the transition of gases utilized in the production process, facilitating a seamless and efficient changeover and enhancing operational efficiency.

KLINGER Spain's response: nitrogen pressure reduction station

KLINGER Spain has innovatively addressed this operational necessity with its nitrogen pressure-reduction station. This system is designed to adjust nitrogen pressure from a high of 6 barg down to a more manageable 0.25 barg, ensuring that the transition between different gases used in production is both smooth and safe. This precise management of nitrogen pressure is crucial, not just for maintaining the steel's integrity, but also for ensuring a controlled environment during gas transitions or plant shutdowns.

“The nitrogen pressure-reduction station designed by KLINGER Spain is a testament to technical precision and engineering prowess. The main challenge was to ensure the safety and integrity of the plant's operations through effective pressure management.”

Alberto Cervera, Quality and Services Manager at KLINGER Spain

Key components and construction

KLINGER Spain's approach to constructing the station was comprehensive, involving meticulous design, assembly, and welding. The focus on precision in every stage, from component assembly to final testing, underscores KLINGER Spain's commitment to quality and reliability. The station comprises various components, including:

  • Filters
  • isolation valves
  • a regulating valve
  • safety valves
  • an expansion section
  • pressure gauges with ranges from 0-10 barg and 0-1 barg
  • reserve outlets
  • and tapping points for customer service.

Each element plays a crucial role in maintaining appropriate pressures and safeguarding the plant's instrumentation.

Last assembly stage

Testing and validation

The station underwent rigorous final acceptance testing, including a comprehensive pneumatic test, to ensure its functionality and compliance with industry standards. These tests yielded satisfactory results, confirming the station's readiness for operational deployment.

Nitrogen reduction station during the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). The entire skid was tested with particular attention to welded joints and threaded connections.

Results and impact

Thanks to the nitrogen pressure-reduction station, the steel production process has seen significant gains in both efficiency and safety. The ability to quickly inert the production lines during any change in gas types or during shutdowns minimizes production halts and thus, upholds the superior quality of the steel. This strategic approach by KLINGER Spain not only meets the immediate operational needs but also resonates with the ongoing evolution and challenges within the steel industry. The successful implementation of the nitrogen pressure-reduction station by KLINGER Spain is a clear demonstration of their technical expertise and strategic approach to problem-solving in the steel industry.

Fact box

Did you know ...

  • ... that Nitrogen enhances the size of the austenite phase zone in steel and can replace nickel in some steel types? It also forms highly stable nitrides with elements like chromium and titanium, which contribute to surface hardening and strengthening. However, excessive nitrogen can cause porosity or holes in the steel structure.
  • ... that Nitrogen also enhances the hardening rate due to cold deformation and improves the welding capabilities of high chromium ferrite steel​?
  • ... that Nitrogen is typically used in quantities less than 0.3% to a maximum of 0.6% by mass? Nitrogen is primarily utilized in nitrided quenched and tempered steel, ordinary low-alloy steel, stainless acid-resistant steel, and heat-resistant non-spalling steel.
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