Framatome invests €12.6 million on its site of Ugine and inaugurates its new VAR furnace

On Wednesday April 10, the new VAR furnace was inaugurated in the presence of government representatives, elected officials, partners from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and employees. After two and a half years of work, the Ugine Framatome site (Fuel BU) is now equipped with an additional VAR (vacuum arc remelting) furnace and a new control cabin, allowing various site alloys to be melted using state-of-the art equipment.

“This investment of 12.6 million euros over four years is vital for the sustainability of our activities, serving our customers in the nuclear, aerospace and metallurgical industries,” commented Marc Lo Pizzo, Site Director. “I am proud of this investment, and the professionalism of the teams mobilized to complete this project. This new equipment is an additional way to meet our national and international customers’ needs, and will be a driver of progress and future development for Ugine and its 300 employees”

The VAR furnace is at the heart of the industrial plan for the Ugine Framatome site. It transforms zirconium sponge into semi-finished zirconium and titanium alloy products, such as billets, forged bars and extruded blanks, among others. The completion of this new VAR furnace and the new control building represented a major test, with significant challenges for the site and its employees.

This industrial challenge, like any large-scale project, mobilized a dedicated team of 11 people, who worked full time on the project for more than two and a half years. Covering a range of highly varied disciplines, from civil engineering to control PLC programming, they demonstrated their expertise and commitment to the project. Most team members came from the Ugine site originally, and they contributed to all the stages throughout the project, from design right up to equipment installation, strengthening their own expertise and making the project a success. Regular discussions with other industrial sites, as well as the supervisory authorities, helped improve certain key issues for the project, such as occupational and nuclear safety, and the completion deadlines.

During these two and a half years, part of the Ugine site has had to adapt to the work as it progressed, with ongoing production continuing alongside the installation of the new furnace and building. Managing the teams and subcontractors called for strict adherence to the schedule, while the physical challenges included dealing with 208 m3 of concrete, 11.5 km of cables, 800 m of pipework and a weight of 45 metric tons – these figures show the scope of this vast project, as well as the types of challenges the teams faced.

The next phase of the project is now starting, with the lengthy qualification process for the equipment to allow the production of our various alloys in line with very strict standards of industrial safety and quality. The incorporation of operating experience feedback from more than 50 years of operating melting furnaces has helped us obtain equipment at the cutting edge of this field, and the first tests have been completed successfully.


The VAR (vacuum arc remelting) furnace comprises a removable cover resting on a water-cooled copper crucible connected to the positive pole, or anode, of an electrical power supply.

The negative pole, or cathode, is connected to the ram holding the electrode. This moves vertically in and out of the furnace via a “dynamic” (or sliding) vacuum seal. The power supply is a high current rectifier (to obtain a high-intensity direct current).

The arc is struck between the crucible base and the bottom of the electrode. The energy dissipated in this way by the arc causes the electrode to melt and then drip into the crucible. As the electrode is consumed, the “liquid” rises in the crucible and the ram gradually adjusts the height of the electrode using an electrical or hydraulic system, maintaining a constant arc length. This results in the gradual formation of an ingot, which solidifies as it cools in the copper crucible.

This type of furnace is known as a “consumable electrode” or CE furnace.

The diagrams below give a detail view of a VAR furnace and the arc zone during melting.

Source :

POSCO Chairman visits overseas units (US)

POSCO Chairman Choi Jeong-woo, right, shakes hands with an employee at PT Krakatau POSCO in Indonesia, Monday. PT Krakatau is a steel mill set up jointly by POSCO and Indonesia’s PT Krakatau Steel. Courtesy of POSCO

POSCO Chairman Choi Jeong-woo embarked on a tour to the group’s overseas units in Southeast Asian countries, marking his first visit to the outside units as the steelmaking group’s chairman, POSCO said Tuesday. As the first destination of the trip, Choi visited PT Krakatau POSCO, a POSCO steel mill in Indonesia, on Monday and will stay overseas until Friday to drop by a rebar manufacturing body in Vietnam and a Myanmar gas field developed byContinue reading

La spectaculaire réussite d’Aperam Alloys (FR)

Spécialiste des alliages spéciaux, Apéram Alloys, à Imphy, est l’un des leaders mondiaux dans son domaine. Ils sont utilisés dans une quarantaine de pays. La société est nominée pour les Trophées des réussites 2019, dans la catégorie “international”. Rester compétitif sur le marché mondial. Tel est le défi permanent d’Apéram, spécialiste des aciers inoxydables, électriques et spéciaux. Des productions issues de minerais purs ou du recyclage de matériaux, à savoir les déchets des productions de l’entreprise elle-même ou d’autres clients. « Notre terrain de jeu, c’est le monde », insiste Frédéric Mattéi, directeur général de la division alliages et spécialités, et président d’Apéram Alloys Imphy. «

Kobe Steel to increase production capacity of steel powder plant (US)

February 7, 2019 – Kobe Steel, Ltd – TOKYO, February 7, 2019 — Kobe Steel, Ltd. plans to invest approximately 1.8 billion yen to increase the production capacity of its Steel Powder Plant in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. The production capacity of steel powder products will increase to 110,000 metric tons per year, from the current 96,000 metric tons per year. Mass production is scheduled to begin in the April–June quarter of 2021. Kobe Steel’s steel powder products are mainly used in powder metallurgy to make automotive sintered parts such asContinue reading

Hindalco Industries eyes lithium to strengthen its aluminium business (US)

Hindalco Industries is eyeing lithium in the minor mineral space in order to strengthen its aluminium business. “Lithium is the closest to our (aluminium) business, and in India, there could be some opportunities in this minor mineral. We are watching. If we get an opportunity we will get into this minor mineral,” said Satish Pai, managing director of the company. The country’s largest aluminium producer has captive bauxite mines in Continue reading

Les nouveaux patrons d’Ascoval prennent possession de l’aciérie nordiste (FR)

Une nouvelle page se tourne pour le site de Saint-Saulve et ses de 281 salariés, qui doit désormais trouver de nouveaux clients à travers l’Europe et le monde.

Ils ont désormais les clés d’Ascoval. Vendredi 1er février, le groupe Altifort est entré en possession de l’aciérie de Saint-Saulve (Nord), près de Valenciennes. Après quarante-deux années passées dans le giron de Vallourec, et un an d’administration judiciaire, l’usine tourne une nouvelle page de son histoire. Elle s’annonce difficile. D’ailleurs, les salariés, touchés par le chômage partiel, en conviennent. Jeudi

Continue reading

Spirit AeroSystems acquires Joule Form™ manufacturing process Press to efficiently form lightweight titanium parts by directing energy (US)

To minimize the cost and quality challenges associated with titanium forging and machining, Spirit developed Joule Form process. This capability enables Spirit to minimize waste and maximize value, while directing energy only where it is needed, thereby decreasing the cost of machined parts and minimizing the company’s carbon footprint.

St. Louis, MO – Beckwood Press Company, a leading manufacturer of custom hydraulic presses, and Kansas Oklahoma Machine Tools (KOMT), a prominent machinery distributor throughout the Midwest, recently delivered the first ever press with automated die change to Spirit AeroSystems for use in Spirit’s Joule Form™ manufacturing process. The Joule FormTM process is a proprietary method developed by Spirit for shaping metal parts at elevated temperatures in the fabrication of aerospace components.  Using the automated press systemContinue reading

Leader mondial de son secteur, cette PME de l’Isère prouve que la métallurgie a sa place en France (FR)

Winoa détient un savoir-faire unique dans la fabrication des grenailles abrasives. En plus de son site historique basé en Isère, le groupe possède onze usines dans le monde. Il souhaite désormais se développer en Chine et en Inde.

voestalpine pins lowered profit forecast on Bartow plant (US)

“An ongoing shortage of skilled workers in the region has had an impact on the fact that we have not been able to find and maintain enough qualified personnel to process these orders in time,” a voestalpine AG representative told The Daily Tribune News.

On Wednesday, voestalpine AG gave investors some discomforting news — not only did the Linz, Austria-based manufacturer miss its nine-month earning forecast by 187 million euros (equivalent to roughly $213 million), the international steel company also announced it was lowering its full-year profit forecast from roughly 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) to about $750 million euros ($854.1 million.). Such marks the second time voestalpine has lowered its profit forecast in the current fiscal year. By Thursday, voestalpine shares were down by as much as 8 percent — a substantial decrease for a company that already saw its shares lose almost half their value over the lastContinue reading