Inspection of Whyalla’s No. 2 Blast Furnace during the recent visit in February 2020 (from L-R: Matt Middleton, John Tsalapatis, Brian Monaghan, Xuefong Dong and Paul Zulli)

On Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th of February, members of the Steel Research Hub (SRH), Paul Zulli (Director), Brian Monaghan (Program D Leader) and Xuefeng Dong (Researcher) travelled to Whyalla steelworks to meet with Industry Partner Liberty Primary Steel officers.  These included John Tsalapatis (Ironmaking Metallurgy Manager), Matt Middleton, Des Bartholomew and Peter Mayfield (ironmaking/refractory engineers), Petr Suchánek and Jari Peltonen (steelmaking/casting technology managers) and Mark Eaton (Manager Ironmaking) and Dan Tucker (Manager Steelmaking).

The visit covered:

  • With Ironmaking technical management and engineers, the details of the current SRH research project addressing blast furnace productivity and hearth campaign life
  • With senior operations and technical management, the background to the new SRH proposed, what lies ahead regarding the current hub and proposed new hub, together with their specific business focus and transformation plans
  • With Steelmaking technical management, their current steel quality issues and plant transformation plans

Liberty officers indicated that they were pleased with the collaboration and excellent outcomes from the campaign life research activity undertaken.  They indicated that this had provided them with a detailed examination and analysis of Whyalla’s No. 2 Blast Furnace’s current operational campaign.  It was agreed that this research would continue for a few more months, together with a new campaign life activity that was discussed, dealing with refractory repairs of coke ovens.  Steelmaking officers were very interested in exploring research opportunities around achieving higher steel quality for specific end-user customers.  Finally, discussions with senior plant managers provided them with insights on the progress of the current SRH, as well what could be achieved for Liberty Steel and their transformational plans, through the proposed ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Innovation.