The successful performance of the first blast furnace repair for this important customer in Colombia represents a substantial step in entering the South American market.The step is even more significant when considering this was the first blast furnace relining done by robotic shotcreting ever for the Acero PazDelRio plant in Sogamosa/Colombia.

“The job demanded precise preparation, and we conducted it in a close cooperation with the whole technical staff of Acero PazDelRio. We are extremely proud that our products, our service quality, and our innovative approach have convinced the new client to prefer us over local suppliers”, recaps Roman Cheglov, Vice President Sales & Technique for Seven Refractories.

Robotic shotcreting is becoming an increasingly appreciated blast furnace repair technique due to its fast installation rates and the possibility to perform the installation without complete cooling-down of the furnace, both features representing great technical and financial advantages.

In addition, robotic shotcreting has undeniable benefits in terms of work safety, keeping the involvement and the risks of the repair personnel to a minimum, since the operation was conducted outside of the furnace.

The enhanced work safety conditions enabled by applying the robotic shotcreting technique have been particularly appreciated by Acero PazDelRio, a company well known for the strict adoption of a very high level system of safety behavioral rules and operating procedures for all the technical activities to be carried out inside the plant, to which all the maintenance teams involved in the furnace repair had to adapt their way to operate.

Relining was performed with almost 200 tons of advanced refractory materials installed on the bosh, belly and stack of the furnace. Project leader Igor Paladin and Refractory engineer Dmitriy Mareshchenkov from Seven Refractories were guiding the project from the beginning till its complete realization.

“The client’s motto is “Acero colombiano hecho con el corazón” – or in translation, “Colombian steel made with the heart”. So our installation was essentially heart surgery”, smiles Igor Paladin. “And like in human surgery, getting the job done swiftly and perfectly is key.”

With a downtime of only one week, Acero PazDelRio was able to resume work fast, resulting in substantial cost savings. “To keep downtime to a minimum, our installation was performed in only 25 hours, including sealing of the service opening by a manual shotcrete. Managing the installation in only two shifts, we consider this an excellent achievement”, summarizes Dmitriy Mareshchenkov.