South Korea’s largest steelmaker Posco fired up its third blast furnace Tuesday after three months of renovation work that turned the steelmaking unit into the world’s fifth largest, the company said.
Posco spent a total of 370 billion won ($330 million) to reconstruct and expand its capacity to 5,600 cubic meters from 4,350 cubic meters.
Posco also added an automated monitoring system to check “the inner condition of the blast furnace” on a real-time basis, an official said. The monitoring system will produce operation data of the blast furnace, which can later provide base information for an automated steelmaking factory which Posco plans to operate in use of big data and artificial intelligence technology.
Posco Chairman Kwon Oh-joon reignites the steelmaker‘s third blast furnace in Pohang on Tuesday. (Posco)
The company currently operates 11 blast furnaces, with five of them over 5,500 cubic meters.
It started the expansion project for Pohang Blast Furnace No. 3 in February this year, as the lifespan of the furnace had ended. It was the third rework since it began to operate in 1987.
Starting in 1978, the blast furnace has produced a total of 119 million tons of molten metal to date.
Posco was expected to shut down its longest-operating blast furnace, which was first lit in 1973. However, the company’s spokesperson said that nothing had been decided yet.
Posco Chairman Kwon Oh-joon participated in the blowing-in event, along with some 200 attendees, including the company’s executives, staff members, as well as Pohang Mayor Lee Kang-Deok and lawmaker Kim Jung-jae.
By Shim Woo-hyun (email@example.com