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Why are graphite electrodes important for steel?

May 21, 2019
Why are graphite electrodes important for steel?
1.They are literally essential in one type of steelmaking, electric arc furnace, or EAF. Even blast furnaces make use of electrodes during the refining process. Stainless steel uses electrodes faster than regular carbon steel. Stainless steel is generally more processed and higher specification than carbon steel. This extra value requires extra refining.
2.Globally just over 25% of steel is made in electric arc furnaces. In the United States 67% of steel is created using the EAF method, and in some other major markets like Italy it is over 75%.Graphite electrodes are made from amorphous graphite, and are used within the electric arc furnaces of steel mills because they can withstand the high temperatures used to melt down and recycle scrap steel.

3.It takes six-10 weeks to make an electrode, he said, while it takes six-eight hours to use one.Electric arc furnaces will typically operate nine graphite electrodes at any one time, and they comprise 1-2% of the cost of steelmaking.make steel through the Electric Arc Furnace route on shortage of graphite electrodes. So much,so that the rising costs of graphite electrodes is not the major concern; a bigger concern is securing adequate supply of electrodes. It is however noteworthy that graphite electrode producers are not entering into long-term contracts with steelmakers on account of consistent upward price movement and the persistent supply squeeze of Needle Coke.
4.Producers cannot increase electrode production capacity, however, as there is a shortage of needle coke, a primary raw material — this is being exacerbated by cokemakers selling into other markets, such as the lithium-ion sector, after the downturn in demand from electrode producers.Given these factors, electrode prices are rocketing.
5.Graphite electrodes represent only a small share of input costs for steel producers. However, they are an essential input material with no available substitute; hence the story going forward will be one of whether EAF producers can manage to source sufficient electrodes to allow EAF production to continue unaffected rather than a story of steep prices for Graphite Electrode producers. The growing EAF capacity in China will be a key determining factor of Graphite Electrode prices this year.

*source:http://www.adbrain.org/Instructions/20190509/53.html
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