Most of the world's production of chromite (95%) is used in the metallurgical industry in the form of ferrochromium alloys. The alloys are produced by high temperature reduction smelting of chromite. They are essentially alloys of iron and chromium with much lesser amounts of carbon and silicon, the amounts depending upon the grade or type of alloy, and impurities such as sulphur, phosphorous and titanium. The conversion of chromite to ferrochromium alloys is dominated by electric submerged arc furnace smelting with carbonaceous reductants, predominantly coke, and fluxes to form the correct slag composition. Zenith is famous chrome smelting equipment supplier.
Chrome ore in various sizes is typically charged into a submerged furnace and reductants (coke, coal and quartzite) are added. The smelting process is energy intensive requiring upt to 4,000 kWh per tonne material weight. Slag is separated from the liquid ferrochrome and tapped into ladles for further processing. Liquid ferrochrome is then poured into moulds and after cooling crushed into sizes as required by the customers. Crushed ferrochrome is railed to final customers or harbours for shipment. Processing fine feed material requires high operating temperatures and consequently high power input to ensure the even flow of material to prevent sintering or hanging of furnace charge.
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