Innovative collaboration boosts steel-making capabilities for Villares Metals

Brazilian steel producer is the first in South America to benefit from ABB’s electric arc furnace-specific VD4-AF circuit breaker technology designed to withstand the extreme demands made by EAFs and increase output while improving safety.

Leading steel and special alloys producer, Villares Metals, is enjoying tangible operational and cost efficiencies at its Sumaré facility after turning to ABB Electrification for a superior, dedicated circuit breaker solution with vacuum actuation technology.

The VD4-AF device delivers 150,000 maintenance-free operations and easily clears furnace-fault currents as high as 31.5 kA, while providing embedded monitoring to ensure safer and more reliable switching protection for EAF operations, along with predictive maintenance.

Financial and operational burden can make it difficult for steelmakers to optimize operations to remain ‘future ready’ and primed for growth, but with close collaboration the project was delivered in record time to minimize disruption and downtime for ‘always-on’ steelmaking operations – with the entire ABB solution installed in just a matter of weeks for Villares Metals.

To operate seamlessly and safely in the harsh arc-furnace conditions, ABB also had to provide a robust solution that could withstand the challenging environment. Its UniGear ZS3.2, a metal-clad air-insulated MV switchgear designed for arduous indoor applications, was commissioned with a customized panel to ensure the highest safety standards in accordance with IEC 62.271-200.

Paulo Naletto, Steelworks and High Voltage Maintenance supervisor at Villares Metals, said: “The company decided to purchase ABB’s withdrawable VD4-AF circuit breaker solution prioritizing operators’ safety and decreasing the cost of ownership of the arc furnace’s operations. With a longer useful life of the equipment, we were able to reduce the exposure of our employees to safety risks and increase the reliability and operational safety of the arc furnace.”

Previously, Villares Metals would have had to replace standard circuit breakers every 25,000 to 30,000 operations or less – and in some cases, regular maintenance would also have been required every 10,000 operations.

Reducing the need for regular replacement products and remediation work also saves them money, while the asset optimization qualities of VD4-AF translates to a reduced footprint.

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Green Steel World Editorial Team

Green Steel World Editorial Team

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