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Port Talbot blast furnace equipped with new piping

A new blast furnace at Wales-based Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks has been equipped with some three miles of cooling pipework, installed by Fairwood Fabrications and supplied by Pipe Centre.

The £9 million (€10.5 million) installation was part of a complete rebuild of No. 4 Blast Furnace at the South Wales plant. The pipework forms a part of the furnace’s 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 which are believed to be improvements from the previous blast furnace in terms of safety and reliability.

The large volumes of water required are supplied via two 42 inch carbon-steel mains, with two pump-houses, each with operational and standby pumps. The project required 150 cast iron gate valves in total, from 2 to 36 inches, 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. ‘Therefore it had to be supplied in a carefully staged sequence to our contractors, so they could carry out the preparation work before supplying to us.’

The overall blast furnace rebuild project was completed at a cost of £185 million.