POSCO announced the development of a new technology for high manganese steel that cuts production time in half and boosts efficiency by 10%. This new production process technology is based on a molten ferromanganese (FeMn) alloy.
POSCO began research & development for this technology in 2013 and invested a total of KRW 55 billion. After POSCO Technical Research Laboratories completed the initial testing, the equipment was transferred over to the Plate Rolling Department at Gwangyang Works for production.
Normally, high manganese is produced by melting solid manganese iron. When the solid manganese alloy iron is injected into a converter (a large container for storing molten iron), the temperature of the molten iron is lowered and then increased again. This leads to additional energy costs and extends the process time. In addition, with this process, refractories in the converter start to wear away as manganese oxide is generated in the process of melting.
To make this process more efficient, POSCO built PosLM (POSCO Liquid Manganese), its own special facility that is capable of storing molten manganese iron.
POSCO has already applied its own high-manganese steel in the oil sand slurry pipes for ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company. Also, because of its excellent durability, POSCO also plans to apply its high manganese steel to the inner parts of industrial power transformers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks.
From planning to production, the successful development of the high manganese steel production technology came about as a joint collaboration between POSCO Technical Research Laboratories, steel mills, and POSCO M-tech, the company’s material development unit. This technology received the Innovation Award at the 2016 POSCO Family Technology Awards.