DTI weighs risks, gains of in­duc­tion fur­nace

BusinessMirror - - Front Page - By Eli­jah Felice E. Ros­ales @alyas­jah

THE Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) is as­sess­ing the risks and ben­e­fits of the use of in­duc­tion fur­nace for steel­mak­ing, as it tries to come up with tighter reg­u­la­tions for man­u­fac­tur­ing steel.

The Philip­pine In­duc­tion Smelt­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (Pisia) in Novem­ber pre­sented be­fore the DTI the ad­van­tages of em­ploy­ing in­duc­tion for steel­mak­ing, par­tic­u­larly on per­for­mance, power con­sump­tion, pro­duc­tion cost, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, as well as pol­lu­tion con­trol.

Pisia Pres­i­dent Ben­jamin Co

claimed the equip­ment was not pro­hib­ited in China as re­ported widely in the me­dia, but said sev­eral in­duc­tion fur­nace fa­cil­i­ties were closed down on over­ca­pac­ity and in vi­o­la­tion of state reg­u­la­tions.

Fur­ther, Co said it is im­pos­si­ble for Chi­nese in­duc­tion fur­naces to be trans­ported to the Philip­pines, as they are in­com­pat­i­ble with the coun­try’s ex­ist­ing en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture. He said Philip­pine power lines re­quire 60 hertz of fre­quency, higher than the 50 hertz of fre­quency re­quired in China power lines.

Trade Un­der­sec­re­tary Ruth B. Castelo, for her part, said what Pisia pre­sented will be “cru­cial” in the fi­nal pol­icy be­ing for­mu­lated by the govern­ment on the use of in­duc­tion fur­nace for steel­mak­ing.

“The pre­sen­ta­tion of the Pisia about in­duc­tion fur­nace is highly ap­pre­ci­ated by the DTI for this will be part of the tech­ni­cal pa­pers that will be stud­ied and val­i­dated by the agency in aid of de­ci­sion mak­ing and pol­icy for­mu­la­tion rel­a­tive to the in­duc­tion fur­nace tech­nol­ogy,” Castelo said in a state­ment on Tues­day.

“The depart­ment, as with all in­dus­tries, is com­mit­ted in study­ing the steel­mak­ing in­dus­try, in­clud­ing all tech­nolo­gies at hand,” she added.

Philip­pine Iron and Steel In­sti­tute (Pisi) Pres­i­dent Roberto M. Cola said in a text mes­sage to re­porters the DTI should lis­ten to his group’s ap­peal for a blan­ket ban on the use of in­duc­tion for steel­mak­ing.

As ear­lier re­ported in a Busi­nessMir­ror spe­cial re­port, Cola said the in­duc­tion process is a “hit-or-miss mech­a­nism” that has no re­fin­ing process to re­move im­pu­ri­ties. As such, its out­put steel is in­con­sis­tent in terms of qual­ity and could pose harm to users (See “House of Cards: Sub­stan­dard steel finds way into PHL con­struc­tion sec­tor,” in the Busi­nessMir­ror, Novem­ber 14, 2019).

“The DTI would need to mon­i­tor closely in­duc­tion fur­nace prod­ucts both in their plants, as well as the mar­ket, since this is a hit-or-miss tech­nol­ogy for con­struc­tion steel pro­duc­tion,” he said. “The DENR [Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources] should also mon­i­tor in­duc­tion fur­nace op­er­a­tions closely since they are highly pol­lut­ing. We should learn and fol­low what China did to their in­duc­tion fur­nace prob­lem: ban!” Cola added.

The Chi­nese govern­ment in 2017 im­posed a na­tion­wide ban on the use of in­duc­tion fur­nace for steel­mak­ing, which re­gional steel­mak­ers said re­sulted in the trans­fer of the equip­ment to South­east Asian economies.

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